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Elm1969's avatar

Do we need to know if god exists or doesn't?

Asked by Elm1969 (500points) April 18th, 2012

There is so much debate regarding the existance or non existance of god but why? If we found that god exists, what effect would it have on the human race? If we found that god did not exist what impact would that have?

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35 Answers

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Who is “we?” I’ve never felt a need to know. Maybe you should attempt to broaden your life experience by purposely hanging out with different types of people, spread it out a little. Go live in another country, another culture, learn the language. You will surely find that many people get along just fine without a big brother god, protector, punisher, or whatever it is you’re imagining. They are busy living good wholesome, ethical lives without a supreme being to keep them in line.

GracieT's avatar

Actually I’ve wondered that for a while. The only idea I have is from the point of view of the believers. Evangelicals, anyway, believe that unless you believe as they do you will wind up in Hell. Therefore, for them, it’s literally a matter of life and death.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, many people don’t need to know since either they were raised to believe and so they do or they don’t. Personally, I find it irrelevant but it’s like with UFOs, wouldn’t it be cool to know?

marinelife's avatar

Because believers believe that their behavior hasa an influence on how they spend the afterlife.

Blackberry's avatar

People affect the lives of others due to this.

rebbel's avatar

Why do we want to know if Maria Sharapova moans as much in bed as she does on court?
Why do we want to know how rainbows are formed?
Why do we want to know if that boy in class likes us?

We are a curious species.
That is why.

mazingerz88's avatar

Because we die. And it’s normal for people to wonder whether there will be something else or just oblivion. And yes, if Sharapova moans as much in bed as in the court.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

One can be an agnostic who still adheres to the dictates of a religion as a guide for day to day behaviour. Even atheists have to choose how they will behave and how they will deal with others. We don’t need to know and for many people there is hardly anything that would persuade them to set aside their doubts.

Elm1969's avatar

My view is that If you choose to believe another human about their thoughts it is up to you to decied for yourself if it is believable or not. If you agree with what that person tells you and consider them to be a good source then that can become your own perspective if you want. If you do not agree then your perspective may remain with you first thought but you may consider that of others and accept that your own beliefs are different.

Beliefs are personal and can be shared if desired. I do not think that anything needs to be proved, I think that we should accept that others are like minded and that others are not.

Why should any human being tell another that their beliefs are wrong?

Charles's avatar

Even if it was proven god doesn’t exist, the power of religious brainwashing has victimized so many people that god’s lack of existence would never be accepted.

Fly's avatar

Not at all! It is just our nature to be curious. I would certainly like to know, but in the end, whether or not there is some higher deity has no effect on me, personally. Being an agnostic atheist, I live my life based on how I think I should, based on my own perceptions of morality and right versus wrong, and not based on any indoctrinated religion. I would not act any differently were I to discover the existence of a God or a lack thereof.

I doubt that a discovery either way would really have a significant effect on the world. Most agnostics and atheists say that if there was irrefutable evidence that a God exists, they would believe it, but it would not change their life or behaviors in any way; similarly, the discovery that a God does not exist would also have a minimal effect as religions that subscribe to a belief in a God/Gods are primarily faith-based and often discount science in favor of faith.

Blondesjon's avatar

No. No we don’t.

we don’t need to know that over indulgence in alcohol leads to intoxication to keep us from becoming drunk either.

Elm1969's avatar

@GracieT what if you don’t believe in hell where do you go?

FutureMemory's avatar

Why should any human being tell another that their beliefs are wrong?

Because people commit unspeakable atrocities based on those beliefs.

Salem Witch Trials, anyone?

kess's avatar

Knowing God is knowing life and self….otherwise death will reign over you.

wundayatta's avatar

Of course it would make a huge difference. It depends on the God, and the peculiarities of that God. Some Gods don’t want you to eat shellfish. Some don’t want you to have abortions. Some don’t believe in capitalism or lending and on and on. Depending on the rules that God had, we’d have to change our behavior if we knew that God existed, or else suffer the consequences.

Unless, of course, the God didn’t make us suffer consequences or delayed the consequences until after death. In that case, you’re right. It wouldn’t make a difference. It wouldn’t affect life as we know it. It would only affect death, and no one really acts as if death matters, despite what they might say. Everyone acts as if this life is all the life there is.

Berserker's avatar

Well, if to receive salvation one must accept God, then I guess in a way we would need to know.

SavoirFaire's avatar

“It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all.”
—Denis Diderot

It is surely true that people’s behavior would change if they knew that God did or did not exist. Many people justify their behaviors on the basis of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Should it change our behavior, though? I think not. I don’t need to know that God exists in order to understand why kindness is good and a murder is bad. I don’t need to know that God does not exist in order to understand that there is nothing wrong with masturbation or homosexuality. Quite frankly, it is those who do think that the answers to these questions depend on the existence or non-existence of God who worry me. How frightening their lives must be, thinking that God—if He exists—might be so unreasonable as to not understand these simple and obvious truths.

GracieT's avatar

@Elm1969, people that don’t believe in God go to hell- period. That’s the BIG difference between born again Christians and everyone else. That belief separates them from everyone else.

Charles's avatar

“Why should any human being tell another that their beliefs are wrong?”

Because they probably are wrong.

“Knowing God is knowing life and self….otherwise death will reign over you.”

Ya, right.

Trillian's avatar

“the power of religious brainwashing has victimized so many people that god’s lack of existence would never be accepted.”
As if we’re not brainwashed all day by the media.

YARNLADY's avatar

Only if we are going to go around killing people because of it.

stardust's avatar

No, we don’t need to know. How would the Catholic church for one extort so much money out of its believers then? It beggars belief how much power institutions wield hanging onto that one.

Rarebear's avatar

Absolutely, yes.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t really think so but if most of humanity believed this way, what would they have to argue endlessly about?

Bill1939's avatar

I doubt that incontrovertible proof that God does or does not exist will ever be found. However, the perception of the nature of the God or Gods they believe exists may change as more is learned about the subtleness in the aspects of matter and energy.

Elm1969's avatar

There are days that I wish I could exchange places with others so that I could experience their beliefs about god.

I find that I am misunderstood at times too and would like to experience what it would be like to have a discussion with another “me” also.

After having experienced both mind sets I wonder if I will still have the same conclusion

Coloma's avatar

I don’t think we need to know, but it sure would be interesting.
I think the concept of “God” may actually be related to sightings/visitations from aliens in our past. Seriously. Watch the “Ancient astronauts” series from the History channel.

Pretty mesmerizing, and while I don’t believe in everything they say, still, EVERY single culture all has the exact SAME historical connection of beings in chariots of “fire” coming to earth. Many ancient religious paintings show UFO type crafts hovering in the backgrounds, along with many other works of art, cave drawings, etc. that show eerily similar depictions of beings in space suits and crafts long before the reality of these potentials in modern science.
I think this theory is just as good as any other. Perhaps we were aided in our journey from beings from other galaxies.

Who knows, but the series was quite captivating and has some pretty thoguht provoking content. ;-)

Seek's avatar

@Coloma If you like that, read Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock. It’s a heavy read, but it’ll blow. your. mind. Even makes my skeptic head spin a little. (ok… a lot.)

ddude1116's avatar

We don’t need to know. The thing I like so much about God is how little we know. If we knew the reality to Him, it’d take the mystery religion requires to enamor us.

Thammuz's avatar

Unless christianity and every other religion are willing to drop their bullshit and practice in private without trying to teach horrendously twisted moral values to anyone within earshot, yeah, we do.

We do because maybe, just maybe, people won’t fall for their shit anymore once we have conclusive proof that they’re wrong.

Of course this will never happen because people are always willing to believe a comfortable lie and because most definitions of god are unfalsifiable, which means that whether they exist or not makes absolutely no observable difference.

Bill1939's avatar

I wish I could be as certain as some are that all religions are BS. Any belief, religious or scientific, is likely to contain conjectured aspects for which supportive evidence has not been discovered. For example, what some scientists may think exists inside black holes are merely hypotheses, not theory or fact. It is not reasonable to want scientific beliefs shared, but not religious beliefs.

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