I’m Marc Perkel, founder of the Church of Reality – a religion based on believing what is actually objectively real. On August 1 2016 I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Adneocarsonoma of the lung. this is a fatal diagnosis and if you just Google that the answer is – I have 8 months to live average, and that was 3 months ago. My sense is that I have more time than that but it is unlikely I’ll be here 2 years from now. And my sense could be completely wrong and I could drop dead from side effects of the treatment tomorrow.
So – Christian friends and Atheist friends are asking the question, will I cave in at the last minute and turn Christian, accept Jesus, in a last ditch effort to get into Heaven. And the answer to that is – Hell NO!
I’m publishing this because Christians often claim falsely that dying Atheists turned to Jesus when they haven’t and I want to make the record clear while I’m still here that’s not going to happen, and I want both Theists and Atheists to understand why. If anyone says that I accepted Jesus – they are lying. I just want to make this clear up front because I know they are going to take what I wrote out of context and lie about it. And anyone who lies about it can’t possibly believe in the god they claim to believe in.
One of the issues people talk about is what’s called Pascal’s Wager. Basically it says that you should turn Christian at the end because you have nothing to lose if there is no God, but if there is a God you can avoid burning in Hell at the last minute. With the risk looming of eternal damnation, isn’t it better to not risk it just in case? No – it is not.
The question makes several assumptions that are just not true.
First – it assumes that the Christian God is the “real God” and that all other gods are not real. What if the god of Islam is the real god? If true, I still go to Hell. So in order to get saved at the last minute I would not only have to accept God – but I’d have to pick the right god. And there’s so many gods to choose from. Even in the Christian world how would I know if I get the right one?
And that leaves me with the first question. Just as a thought experiment, let’s say that I want to accept the real god before I die, what is the criteria for figuring which god is the real god?
Choosing the Right God
If I’m choosing a god, the first thing I would need to do is eliminate the gods that don’y make any sense. Let’s assume the God is the omnipotent creator of Reality and that “he” is all wise. So if the religion in question has a god that is inconsistent with that, or a god that doesn’t make sense, that would be the wrong god. And if I pick the wrong god, then that’s as bad as no god at all.
The Christian rules are that no matter that I have been an Atheist all my life, and even if I were an evil person, I could just declare I believe in Jesus at the end of life making my most sincere effort to believe in it, and that get’s me into Heaven. And isn’t that just a little bit suspicious on it’s face?
To believe that would be to believe God is stupid and couldn’t tell that you’re trying to cheat the system trying to get into Heaven out of selfishness and fear. Of course you could try to trick God into thinking you’re sincere by giving all your money to the church (who serves God by collecting money for him) but you can’t take money with you anyhow so giving your money away isn’t something that God is going to believe. So – on the basis that God wasn’t born (again) yesterday, I’m not buying it.
You would also have to believe that God is incredibly cruel and that he would punish you for believing in Reality rather than faith and will punish you forever for taking his creating seriously. So God created a world for us that we’re not supposed to believe in and substitute an afterlife which there is no evidence for. One must turn their back on the natural world (real world) to believe. But isn’t the rejection of Reality itself a clear admission that what they want you to believe in isn’t real? And if it isn’t real, why should I believe in it?
The God of Islam is even worse. If I accept their god, I get 72 virgins in the afterlife. 72 women who have rejected sex are going to have sex with me? Kind of sounds like a rape fantasy to me. I just think that a god that is sexually obsessed can’t possibly be real.
A God that makes sense?
But – without criticizing other religions unnecessarily, let’s do a thought experiment. Is there any definition of God that makes sense in a Reality based perspective? could there be some God out there for which there isn’t a popular religion around? A yet to be discovered God? Something that’s real that deserves the title God? This might come as a shock to the Atheist world, but perhaps there is. Perhaps there is a god that even an Atheist can believe in.
We all know that if there is a god, that God would be big. When it comes to gods, size matters. This is especially true if you are talking about male gods. So if my god is bigger that your god, my god wins. So any true god would have to be the biggest thing in the Universe. If it’s not – it’s not God.
So – what is the definition of Reality? Reality is the sum total of all existence. Reality is everything that is real. If there were a god that was real, that god would be a subset of Reality itself. This nothing can be bigger than Reality.
So – if god is the biggest think in existence, and Reality includes all of existence, then the only possible definition of God that could possibly make sense if if God were a personification or holy name for Reality itself. Just as Uncle Sam is a personification of America, God is a personification of Reality. And if Reality is my God, then my God is bigger than your god, and therefore my God wins! And this is all based on size alone.
Winning Pascal’s Wager
My Atheist friends are probably cringing at this but the concept of a reality based god is actually useful in that it displaces other notions of gods as the superior god, the one true God. If my god is the right god then other gods are inferior to my god. What makes this useful is that I win Pascal’s Wager. If God is a holy name for Reality, and I believe in Reality, then it is me who has accepts God and it is the other religions who have rejected God. What it causes is a role reversal. It is the Christians and the Muslims who have turned their back on the one true God and therefore I am the “believer” and traditional religions are the Atheists.
It is interesting that it’s not the Atheists who are turning to the biblical god, but Christians who turn to the Realist based God when they are facing a mortal illness. They go to the hospital and turn to Science to get that “miracle cure” that someone just invested. Those miracles come from the real world, not the imaginary world. Besides, if you really are a true believer then you wouldn’t fight death, you would welcome death. Death is an opportunity to leave this sinful world earlier and live in paradise sooner. So if you’re Christian or Muslim and you are fighting death, I don’t think you’re a true believer. In the end it is you who are losing Pascal’s Wager because you are turning to my God, the one true God for your salvation. When you go to the hospital and get CT scans, MRI, X-rays, advanced drugs, surgery, These are the “miracles” of Science. Science is what has the power to cheat death, and if we ever do find eternal life it will come from Science. It will be from living in right relationship with Reality.
How is a Reality based God Useful?
As many Atheists would react, I too was resistant to using the “G Word”. A friend of mine, Michael Dowd, also known as Reverend Reality, introduced me to the concept. Initially I had a yuck response but I do listen and explore ideas that are repulsive at first. As I thought things through I started warming up to the idea.
A Reality based god is useful in that it is something to compare all other gods against. A Reality based god causes a lot of religions stuff to make sense. For example, “God is everywhere, he fills the universe. Everywhere you look you see God. God is our creator and God gives us life. And only through living in right relationship with God do we survive. If we turn our back on God we shall surely die.”
Take the above statement and substitute the word “Reality” in place of the word “God”. Now it all makes sense. That’s the kind of god an Atheist can believe in. And it has even greater implications.
My God isn’t the God of the Bible. My God reveals himself through evidence. Evidence is scripture and Science is God’s word. Science is the new Bible. So is Science better than the Bible? It all depends on what the word “better” means to you.
Most religions claim to be the “Truth”. What is Truth? Truth is what’s real. Reality is the sum total of all Truth. Science is, by definition, the study of the Truth. In fact, if one doesn’t put the pursuit of the Truth first, it’s not science. We all know that God is all about Truth. So Science is the study of God. When you find the one true God – it all makes sense. And if your God doesn’t make sense, you have the wrong god.
In the context of Truth one would expect that God would say the same thing to everyone. Since Science is God’s word, if different people do an experiment they all get the same results. So if you are a space alien on the other side of the universe and you measure the charge of an electron, you get the same answer. My God has a consistent message for everyone. Is your God consistent?