In the discussion between a religious person and an atheist, there is an everlasting argument on whether God exists or not.
Whenever I get the opportunity to chat with any of those strongly-opinionated people from either side, just for the sake of argument, I tend to hold an opposite view.
Why would I do that?
Well, maybe it amuses me to walk on that very thin rope between earth and sky. Maybe it is just because I know that there is no way that we can prove any of positions or to get such an answer, regardless of believing that God exists or not.
Clearly, the argument here is a clash of beliefs. It is not that one side believes and the other does not; they both believe but opposite things. There is that subtle difference, which can easily pass us, if we are not careful enough.
The wrong perception on the atheist corner is to say, “I don’t believe that God exists,” when they actually believe that God does not exist. The wrong perception on the theist corner can be summed up with this question, “If you believe that God exists, can you prove it?”
If we would need to pick a “best” argument against the atheist, probably it would be possible existence in a simulated universe.
The best argument against the theist is the ability to recreate scientific knowledge from scratch and again get similar, if not the same, results, which is not quite possible with religious scriptures.
To think about these things, it is not possible to avoid heated emotions, common to fundamentalists on both sides.
Scientific fundamentalism is characterized with the belief that we know enough in order to give an answer, when we clearly do not know enough to understand ourselves or the universe in which we live. Please take a note that all scientists are not scientific fundamentalists and that many scientific fundamentalists are not scientists — they just believe in science.
Religious fundamentalism is characterized by the strong belief in invented stories that do not hold any proofs in reality. Again, not all religious persons are religious fundamentalists, and many religious fundamentalists are not religious or believers.
Religion relies on beliefs — invented stories we tell each other — rather than on knowledge, and that has had an immense impact on the evolution of human beings. If you are interested to find out a bit more, read the book “Sapiens”, by Noah Harari.
The nature of believing on its own does not require information but your personal inclination toward a desired outcome. If you have information and proof, then you do not need to believe.
Why is believing important at all?
It allows us to live in ignorance, when we do not have enough information about our surroundings - therefore it speeds things up.
Imagine that, in relation to other human beings, in order to secure the best outcome, you need to know how everyone will behave. So, basically, in order to trust them, you need to find out more about them. But, you will never know enough to tell you that they will not harm you, steal from you, cheat you, lie, or do any other bad thing from your perspective. As there is no way you can find out everything about them, you need to choose, from the little information that was available to you, weather you will trust them or not.
If you always choose not to trust, your and their lives will be under constant stress, and you will not be able to relax, therefore wasting your energy needlessly. In ancient times, when people had less free time, they needed some kind of way to allow them to continue with their lives, despite the ongoing issues they had one with another.
There is the saying that “what you do not know cannot hurt you.”
For the sake of the experiment, imagine that you are the owner of an 18th-century company, you have a partner, and that there was an issue with missing money. Now, you can either choose to trust him or not. If you choose to worry every day, spending time checking his every move, you will lose lots of time, your mental and physical health will suffer, and, along with it, your company will suffer much more than the amount of missing money.
On the other hand, you can choose to trust, being positive all the way, and then, when you get enough information, maybe you will find out that everything was just a mistake, or maybe you will be badly hurt that you have been cheated all this time. The only difference is that you choose to relax and live positively, until it is differently proven.
For lots of people, this looks like a gamble, as maybe your partner can siphon more money than your company can handle, and it is true. Life is a gamble, and most of our lives, we live in ignorance, rather than with knowledge, so, sometimes, invented stories and beliefs are needed to get us through our lives and get our civilisation to some other stage of evolution.
And, on the question “Does God exist or not?” the simple answer is that we do not know, but it is on us to choose what we would like to believe in and whom we should trust.