It’s no secret that even entertaining the possibly that no one is watching over us is extremely challenging for many people. As we know, the emotional bond with, and in some cases, dependence upon, such a God is held so deeply inside some people that the idea that no Father in Heaven exists would be too traumatic even to consider.
What happens sometimes, though, is that people use the above as a/the reason for why they believe in God. So that if you ask someone, “Why do you believe in God?” instead of hearing a logical argument for God’s existence, the response you often hear is something like:
“I’d much rather believe in a world where this is a god watching over me. I can’t imagine living in one where there isn’t.” Or:
“Life would be so meaningless if there’s no God and everything is just random.” Or, my favorite, from a good friend of mine:
“If I don’t believe in God, who am I going to b—- to?”
For an “intellectual 2 by 4”TM response, here’s my personal favorite:
Alternatively, here’s a response I once gave someone on this. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
We would rather live in a world without cancer and without hunger, but unfortunately we have to deal with what is. Right?
I could keep saying, “I’d much rather live in a world where I imagine there’s no cancer and no hunger,” but if I do that, I’m less likely to do the best I can given these realities. I won’t try to help cancer patients or poor people. I won’t get checked for prostate cancer when I’m 40. Etc.
So too herrrre, [that’s how we used to talk in yeshiva – FTJ] I feel like I’m better off dealing with the reality that there is no one up there watching over me, because if I keep imagining there is one, I’ll be less likely to live my life in the best possible way given this reality.
E.g. Instead of turning to a god when I’m in need, I’ll turn directly to those who can really help. Or I’ll find new capabilities within myself. I’m also more aware now of how much I need to help the less fortunate, because if humans won’t, no one will.