Gotcha!? (Part 5)

Here is the final Gotcha question from their Christian friends that John and Brett respond to:

Gotcha 5 – that happens if your wrong?


Atheist – but there are any number of religions that we could say “what if they are right and I am wrong”.

Me – I agree the “what happens if you are wrong” question isn’t’ really a gotcha. It’s just trying to make sure that an atheist has really considered the God question, or more specifically the Jesus question, sufficiently to be confident that they have made the right choice, given the catastrophic consequences of being wrong. You could argue back that you don’t have time to consider all the different religions and philosophies that claim bad consequences for disbelieving them. However, I can’t really think of that many and surely everyone has time to consider the top one or two. The consequences for getting it wrong about Jesus are about as bad as it gets. It’s also not some crazy made up thing believed by one or two people recently. We are talking billions of people globally over the last 2000 years, with roots going back may more millennia. It’s definitely worth being really really sure you have given it due consideration.

Atheist response “I choose to live my life in a way that is both accurate and helpful to the people around me”

That’s good. Me too. But I would simply ask “why?”. Why is that an objectively true basis for living your life? Because it makes you happy? But why is that an objective basis for your life? The more benevolent “Because it makes the most people happy” answer suffers form the same flaw. I’m not saying it’s not good for people to be happy. I also want the maximum number of people to be maximally happy (ideally including me!) for the maximum period of time. I’m just asking why that is an objectively valid basis for living my life? It’s not good enough to say it is axiomatic, or because it just is, because abstract ideas, truth etc do not have some independent existence. They must be grounded in something and part of a bigger actually existing entity/system.

Ok so that’s it. The gotchas are really about the basis for meaning, morality and  matter and then making sure someone has really thought about it.



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