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The Mystery in the Box

September 11, 2010 on 11:22 pm | 4 Comments

I was just looking in my neighbor’s yard. There is a large wooden crate behind his deck that hasn’t been touched in the last 6 months. As far as I can tell, it is there to stay. This got me thinking about people’s belief in god.

If my neighbor told me that inside his crate was $1 billion, I would probably call him crazy. But if he told me that I could have the $1 billion, he might pique my interest for a moment. I’d want to see some sort of proof or obtain some form of collateral, but he would have my attention. Here’s the bombshell: he tells me that to obtain the treasure, I would have to spend an indeterminate amount of time cleaning his house, mowing his lawn, doing other various chores, and finally giving him 10% of my annual income.

Well, screw that. Sure he lets me play basketball on his nice court, gives me a meal once in a while, and takes me on his annual ski trip with his family, but I’d still want some sort of evidence that the $1 billion actually existed before I donated vast amounts of my time and resources to obtaining it.

I know this isn’t a direct parallel to the god belief that so many among us hold, especially considering that the rewards of most modern religions don’t come until after death (if at all). Add in to that the uncertainty of whether our actions are predetermined or based on free will, and you have an even stickier situation which should give more people pause before devoting their livelihoods to the religion of their choice. Unfortunately, it does not.

People, for the most part, tend to carry on the beliefs of their ancestors and hold them dear without ever taking a moment to question them (After all, questioning those beliefs is a sin in itself.) What does it take to actually get someone with such a deeply internalized belief to question it? A traumatic experience? A trip to rock bottom? Too often, these events further entrench beliefs rather than diminish them.

I guess atheists need to start having a ton of babies.

4 Comments

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  1. Thanks for taking the time to write something thoughtful. There are a lot of atheist sites, but they are as light in good thinking as religious ones.

    Comment by lnocsifan — October 12, 2010 #

  2. do you think your neighbor would sell me the crate? I love it. I can’t afford $1 billion.

    Comment by emily — December 10, 2011 #

  3. Unfortunately, Atheists generally use contraception, as we do not believe that they are evil contraptions spawned by the unholy demon-lord, Satan.

    Comment by Disgruntly — March 5, 2012 #

  4. to your comment “After all, questioning those beliefs is a sin in itself”…In Christianity this is not true. We are encouraged to ask questions and seek things out for ourselves not taking what someone teaches necessarily at face value. I am not clear about this with other religious faiths. Just thought I’d clear that up.

    Comment by teri — August 16, 2012 #

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