Blaise Pascal believed that it is best to err on the side of the existence of god, because if god is not real, what have you lost by believing in him? Pascal’s Wager has been presented to me on many occasions since becoming an atheist. I have lots of responses actually, and one of them came to mind while I was at a charity event a couple of weeks ago. As fate would have it, I ran into two Christian couples that used to be very good friends of mine. We went on vacation together; our kids hung out together. We shared happiness and heartache. We truly depended on one another. Of course, that all changed once I gave up Christianity and divorced. Both couples virtually disappeared from my life. The last conversation I had with one of the wives was when she told me the reason she didn’t invite me to her daughter’s wedding was because it was going to be a “Christian” wedding and she was “afraid of what I would do.” The last time the other friend spoke to me was when she told me that she took it personally when I stopped going to church. The last time I ran into her, she pretended like she didn’t recognize me and turned away. I was friends with both husbands as well, but because I am now single AND a nonbeliever, I am doubly dangerous in their wives’ eyes, perhaps theirs too. To be fair, this time both of these couples were more than pleasant to me. Maybe it was because I was with my man and in a public place. I’m not sure. My friend, that hadn’t invited me to the wedding, insisted that she would love to get together with me and would call. In my experience, this doesn’t happen. I’ve heard that so many times from old Christian friends, to no avail.
This got me thinking. Christians believe that in order to get to Heaven, you must believe and trust in Jesus Christ for your salvation. I do not. Worse than that (In their eyes), I once professed to believe in all that, but no longer do—making me an apostate. Because of this, they believe they will never see me in their heaven. My Christian friends know this all too well. They insist that they still want to remain friends, spend time with me, still love and care about me, but I never hear from them. They continue to have parties and do fun things; I’m never invited. Here is my point: If they really do love and care for me and they really believe they will never see me on the other side, why don’t they want to spend as much time as they can with me, in the here and now? I mean, if they really want to spend time with me and they know time is short, why don’t they? The same could be asked of my sister and my mother. I know they believe I won’t be in their heaven and yet they do not speak to me or try to mend our relationship. The only conclusion I can come to is that they really only loved and cared for me because I believed in the same god as them. Now that I no longer do and am open about it, they do not want me around. Every thing I was: My sense of humor, my wit and sarcasm, the desire to have fun at all costs, everything that made me, me, well that has somehow become moot. They can’t enjoy my company anymore. I’m sullied. You know what though? It’s their loss. I was a good friend, a fun friend, a generous and kind friend and sister and daughter. They don’t get the benefit of that any more. Others do now.
So, what does one have to lose by believing in God? The answer is simple: Relationships, for one—deep, abiding, loving, and simply enjoyable relationships. That is one of the prices people pay for believing in a nonexistent god. I’m not willing to pay that price, but that’s just me.