My conservative friend presented me with the following argument for why religion should play a bigger role in the lives of Americans, which I found absolutely fascinating. It went something like this:

If you accept God and the Bible you stand to gain future eternal rewards.

If by some chance there is no God, or the Bible is wrong, you have lost nothing, except an hour out of your Sundays. However, if you continue to refuse God, you are certain to experience a future of pain and torment, since you will not ascend into Heaven. You have so little to gain and everything to lose by ignoring the Bible. Why not wager that God does indeed exist, and is the path to a better future?

And to my conservative friends who no doubt agree with this line of thought, I ask you this: why are you not willing to make a similar wager regarding climate change? We have everything to lose and little to gain if we wager that climate change isn’t real. And the stakes are much higher, considering we are damning not ourselves, but our future generations to suffering.

Kevin Parks


(24) comments


Here’s a deity wager I’d be happy to accept. Assume a deity that doesn’t care whether you believe in it but does care if you put some other deity above it. People who do believe in this god — let’s call it Almighty Jhol — go to heaven. So do atheists. So does anyone who believes equally in Almighty Jhol and any other god(s). The only people who go to hell are those who put other gods ahead of Almghty Jhol. Christians, Muslims, Jews, etc.

.If you don’t believe in Jhol and by some chance Jhol doesn’t exist, you haven’t wasted your Sunday mornings in church. On the other hand, if you don’t believe in Jhol and it does exist, you haven’t wasted your Sunday mornings in church.

PurplePickles aka L&M

Imagine if there was no religion????


I detest that song.


The interesting part of religion is almost all societies had some form of religion. Is there a superior being and why did humans develope? It is a mystery to all of us and mysteries need to be resolved.

One of the most ancient religions, Jewish, believes Christ was a prophet; not a God.

Who's right? God only knows.


You think God can’t see your innermost thoughts? You think God doesn’t know if you are believing in Him “just in case”? You think God doesn’t take special pleasure in casting down false believers like that?


so the fact that someone does not believe in God will go to hell but someone that does and kills can go to heaven?


That’s a belief, not a fact. Also, it assumes the existence of H&H. Also not facts.

Greg F

The problem with religious folks is that they rarely practice what they preach or believe in...and force their way of thinking on others and into policy and education. It's fine if you want to believe in any of the over 7 million gods that have been and still are being worshiped at one time or another. Many have been discarded as new ones came along, so not one can say they are the solution. Religion tends to disavow science over hypothesis, and confuse hypothesis with theory and scientific practices. The way things are in this world and the cruelty and injustice that there is, if there is a god, that god should be down on its knees (if it has them) and beg us for its forgiveness. If there is a god, that god is a real jackass. I have met far too many followers of various religions that act all high and mighty as they are believers and (against their own books) retaliate against those who aren't of their own faith by murdering them in the name of whatever god they have, discriminating against them, and otherwise shunning them. I've met too many that say one thing from their book and do the exact opposite (Trump voters for sure). I've seen too many that don't follow certain excerpts that are in their book (Matthew 6:5:6 for instance that says to pray in private and not in public like the hypocrites) and cherry pick what they like and ignore the rest. In my view, there is no god, period. All you've done is waste an hour (likely many, many more) in practicing a futile set of rituals, and trying to convert others. All religion has done is start more wars and kill millions of people since it's been around, and justify all of that in the name of their supposed god. People just can't curb their god, and shove it into people's faces. You can't stand it when someone questions you or disagrees with you, and you come on to forums to try and normalize the belief in your fairy tale as being harmless and "why won't lose anything." Except that is not true either. Those I know who do not follow any religion have found happiness and fulfillment and piece of mind, are moral folks that need no unicorn to guide them and be good people. Yet they get called all sorts of names and shunned by the religious zealots of the world, who seem mostly out to grab a buck out of your wallet than anything else to build their mansions and buy their luxury jets and build bigger castles and cathedrals to get the gullible to buy in even further to squeeze more out of them. Sorry, but to me, religion is an evil plague for those who cannot guide themselves and need some comfort against all the things they either can't or don't want to understand...or realize that there just are no answers to every question. God is simply a fabrication that was originated as a tall tale that gave people a reason not to kill each other the second they met and to give a base for trust. Now it serves the opposite reason. It divides us rather than brings us together. We see the religious right doing everything they can to control laws and educational policies so they can have it their way, and simply do not see how others can disagree and not want to have those beliefs shoved down their throat. Roe-V-Wade for instance...there is a compromise there, and it is a matter of opinion, and I frankly don't give a hoot about what your bible teachings say there...that's your opinion and you are entitled to it, but you aren't entitled to ram it into every aspect of society. a nutshell, take your bible and park it.


A person I was friends with not so long ago professes to be a devout Catholic. He does the gratuitous hour a week in the pews and prays at meals....and - nothing else, except rag on illegal aliens, spew hatred for liberals and Muslims, and denies climate change until he’s blue in the face. I once asked him how he can so steadfastly deny climate change when Pope Francis in 2015 issued his encyclical ‘On Care For Our Common Home’ in which he called on believers who deny CC to open their minds and accept it as a human rights issue. His response: “oh, he’s a left wing liberal from South America. I don’t care about what he says.” Well, isn’t that special? So aside from hardly being a Christ-like fellow, he’s a stone cold religious hypocrite. Whenever his alt-right political views conflict with the Bible or church, he chooses politics every time (sorry pal, you can’t have it both ways). So for him, religion is merely a means to an end for his personal salvation. I know atheists that are far better people in the spirit of Christ than him.

So, just because he thinks he believes does he get invited to heaven but better people who actually help to make the world a cleaner and better place - rather than his complaining and passing wicked judgment from his high horse on others - don’t make the cut? Does an axe murder who becomes born again or confesses his sins on his death bed qualify for eternal salivation because he had a last minute epiphany? How about a defrocked priest who was a pedophile but still reads his Bible religiously?

Dude, it’s not what you believe about God that redeems you in the end, but how much you live by the golden rule and just be an overall good person.

Me thinks you’re not giving this enough thought.


My apologies to the author. I agree with him. My rhetorical questions are for his friend.


"I know atheists that are far better people in the spirit of Christ than him."

I'm sure you meant that as a compliment. But just in case you don't know, some of us don't think the spirit of Christ is worthy of emulation.


I was raised Catholic and educated in Catholic schools. I’m not religious and don’t go to church. But I don’t hold anything against people who do, as long as they don’t get all pious about it and tell others they’re going to hell because they don’t “believe”. Those people feel compelled to turn their faith into a crusade of indoctrination that turns me off. But most people who practice their faith do so quietly and keep it to themselves. If faith gives them a foundation to live by the golden rule and gives them hope to overcome life’s difficulties then that’s great for them.


I disagree with a good part of this comment but, regardless, it misses my point about the “spirit of Christ” not being a compliment in the eyes of some people. It is kind of like complimenting someone by saying “that’s real white of you”.

I have no issue with loud and some might say obnoxious piety. As an atheist, I am a huge supporter of the free exercise clause of the 1A. As for he golden rule, I have explained many times ion these boards why it is a lousy guide for moral behavior so I won’t go into that again.



.I was raised a Catholic and went to public schools. Nuns came to the public school for Catholics and ministers for the Protestants. We had religion on our report cards. Eventually that changed and public schools gave time to go to the church of your choice for religious education. We even had Christmas plays in the public schools. That too changed. .We also would sing Christmas carols in public schools. No more. I really liked the plays and Christmas carols.

PurplePickles aka L&M


No we don't. Emulating Christ would make me a very immoral person. We are talking about the Christ in the bible right? Well wait a minute here let me get some clarification if I could? What exactly is the spirit of Christ? Spirits nor Christ are actual real things so what is the spirit of Christ exactly?


I suspect what most people mean when they use a term such “spirit of Christ” is the nice stuff. The cherry-picked parts of the Greek scriptures. matts853 says he was raised Catholic. In my observation, many lay Catholics are very poorly read in their bible. I have no idea if that is true of matts. But I am well-read in the bible and know that the “spirit of Jesus” is woefully incomplete.

Which is why I so strongly urge adherents of all Christian religions to read their bibles. Read it in full and with the rigor one might apply to, say, “Dianetics”.


This is called "Pretzel logic". Climate Change has been going on forever - millions of years. It's funny, a little time ago, the scientists thought the world was getting colder, but that didn't materialize. We are getting a little warmer, but numerous things could change that at any time - Volcano's wildfires, anything that can block the sun for a period of time will do it. We had a hole in our Ozone and the scientists were screaming it would ruin our earth, it's now gone. The earth will heal itself, can we help by reducing greenhouse gases? Probably.

Greg F

Um..Jerrycan, we had a hole in our ozone and science told us exactly why it was there. We banned the substances from aerosol cans and such that made that hole. The fact that you don't understand science doesn't mean it is wrong. And thus, that's how we get stories like the bible that were made up to give people a false understanding of what was going on around them. Most people at the time the bible was written never ventured more than 3 miles from their birth place and never met more than 50 people in their lives. ALL of them had no clue where the sun went at night and thought stars were gods and gave them names to help comfort them against the unknown. Seems you still want to name stars and figure out why grass grows and figure out things that science has already given us a far better understanding of than a 2000 year old book that was revised and changed by people who wanted to gain control over the masses. Good luck with that.


Oh there are so many ways to waste time. Choose church.


Right on DW!!


I enjoy going to church. I just don't believe everything.


If there is a god but not the one you thought, you’ve lost the wager.

The analogy is silly. We have data for the climate. We don’t have data for deities.

Greg F

..and we will never get that data either.


We might. I try to avoid jumping to conclusions.

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