Jake & Elwood Blues ask What if I'm wrong?.
Well, if I'm wrong, I'm wrong. So what?
The potential consequences of a belief, especially when those consequences aren't at all provable, aren't a valid basis for choosing that belief. Sure, if Yahweh exists, and at all resembles the savage, bloodthirsty, crazily jealous (of whom?) and positively batshit-insane character of the Old Testament, I'm pretty much screwed, in hell for all eternity. Of course, if Allah really exists, and resembles the equally batshit-insane character in the Koran, I'm equally screwed.
And let me assure you, gentle reader, that I am God's prophet on Earth and you will spend eternity in a fiery hell unless you renounce all other religions, create a shrine to Charles Darwin and Richard Feynman, and send me $100. That may sound implausible, but what if you're wrong?
We do have to make decisions on our best estimate of the consequences. I've evaluated the potential consequences of dying in fiery car crash, and I believe the chances are rather slim, hence I actually drive my car. But it's pointless to ask, "What if I'm wrong about the chances?" Well, if I'm wrong, then I'll probably die in a fiery car crash. But take a person who believes the opposite: What if they're wrong and not driving a car will increase one's chances of dying in a fiery car crash? Yes, that seems implausible, but the question, "What if you're wrong?" assumes that the seemingly implausible is actually true.
It's a sucker's game, an attempt to motivate people to act from fear rather than rational sense.
One thing that irritates me about this line from Christians (and Muslims) is that I hate threats. And it is most definitely a threat: Believe in Christianity (or Islam), without regard to how absurd it might seem, because if you don't you'll be tortured for an eternity in hell.
Leaving God aside for a moment, we have the problem of credibility. I might or might not trust God, but why in the world should I trust Christians? You might as well rob a bank by phone. You might as well knock on my door and say, "Give me all your money, or my invisible friend will obtain a nuclear weapon from Albania and set it off in your garage."
All threats are violent assaults, and, frankly, it's only the fact that I'm convulsed with laughter at the ridiculous notion of eternal punishment beyond the grave that stops me from defending myself. But such threats don't much improve my moral evaluation of the Christians who make them.
And even if Yahweh Himself were to threaten me, I would still give him two middle fingers. Don't threaten me, give me reasons. You created the universe, and now you're acting like a B-movie mafia thug?
But of course, Yahweh does not exist. Allah does not exist. Krishna, Shiva, and Kali don't exist. The Buddha was just a guy, albeit a pretty smart guy. Thor, Zeus, Marduk, Cthulhu, and all the rest are characters in imaginative fictional literature; they are inventions of the human mind. There is no heaven, no hell, and this life is all we have. If it pleases you to live this life in fear, and spend a good portion of it giving thanks to the ceiling and supporting parasitic priests, well, it's your life, not mine.
Even if I'm wrong, I'm not going to live my life controlled by absurd fears, ridiculous threats and contemptible parasites.