What if I die and find myself thrust into a divine world and placed before God for judgement? What if all my calculations were wrong, and I was supposed to suspend my reason and live a life of blind faith?
This is a challenge brought to many atheists, and indeed, I have asked myself this very question.
As a formally religious person, there remains in me fragments of faith and so, I take this question a step further and live my life by a certain maxim: No matter what I do in life, I want to be able to face God (if he exists) at the end of days and present him with a coherent answer for all my actions.
However, I have given up on the truth of my faith, or any system which does not see reason as the way of determining fact validity, and so, the question from above (pun intended) persists: What if I'm wrong?
Of course, every religious person should ask himself this very question. After all, there have been thousands of gods worshiped since the beginning of time. The chances that out of the thousands of gods you either guessed correctly, in the case of converts, or happened to be born into the right faith, in the case of most believers, are incredibly slim.
This is the obvious counter-argument to the famous wager of Blaise Pascal. Pascal's wager which reads that it is more rational to live with the belief in God. Since it is a 50/50 chance whether he does or does not exist, it is the most rational conclusion to choose belief. If you are wrong you die and nothing happens, but if you are right you enjoy an eternity of happiness.
Of course, he seemingly did not consider the fact that perhaps his faith was misplaced and that another god was the true god and would now punish him for all eternity for his mistaken belief. As I said, the probability that one guessed right out of the thousands of choices are very difficult odds indeed.
In reality, therefore, whether religious or not all must have an answer prepared for the "day of reckoning." Now, before I continue I must say: This is not an important question! We humans must live our lives with what we can see and feel, we cannot challenge the very essence of our knowledge with fantastical unproven claims. I cannot allow some fear of hell to interfere with my philosophical or scientific mode of thought.
However, as I said, it is a question posed to, and thought about by many atheists, I therefore feel as if it is worthy of a response albeit a brief one.
If there is a God(s) I will say to him/her/them: I am sorry that I did not believe in you. How was I supposed to? You allowed so many people to declare mutually exclusive faiths that I was left with no one to follow. Why did you create reason, if in order to believe in you, one had to abandon it? Why did you give me an intellect powerful enough to destroy you? Why did you hide yourself in such an absolute manner if you wanted my complete devotion?
I should hope that any god worth believing in, would accept my honesty. I hope that the god(s) will be happier that I used the reason given to me to create the most truthful existence that I could. I hope god(s) will admire that even when faced with the dark cloud of doubt, I ventured forth pursuing, above all else, truth.
I am aware, however, that I might be sent to hell by Zeus or Ra or Baal or Molech or Chang Hsi or Dionysus or Epona or Fenrir or Horus or Jupiter or Lakshmi or Marduk or Odin or Si-Wang Mu or of course, the Abrahamic God, the popular God of the last few centuries, who either agrees with Moses, Jesus, or Mohammad. (For the readers sake I did not write all the gods listed.)
That is a chance I am willing, or rather compelled, to take.