I’d rather live my life…


A friend of mine sent an e-mail out to a group of us the other day. It was one of those e-mails that you would likely normally delete right away, recognized without having to fully read… a wish and a prayer and a send this to your friends, let’s see if you return it to me e-mails.

But every so often I scroll along on those very e-mails just to see if I can find something… anything… that offers a clue as to why the person decided to send it, and to a degree, why they sent it to me.

Was it because the content had some special meaning to them… something that might not really matter to me in the grand design of things… and perhaps they felt inspired to send it and truly believed I could appreciate it?

Did it include puppies?

Was it because there was something in the content I should have seen… but would have missed it by just clicking to delete it?

Maybe… just maybe… there was a good reason for why they sent it. Every so often, maybe comes around, and there is.

In this case…


There wasn’t.

But near the end, I saw a quote that seems so innocent and well-intended that I want to note it here for you… because I couldn’t disagree with it more if I tried.

I’d rather live my life thinking there is a God and it turns out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t a God and find out there is.

Yes… I completely disagree.

Here’s why…

In my opinion, that quote says that the person is acting in a specific way because they believe it will deliver a specific reward. As a quick summary, they expect to be judged. So all the nice things that person does, this statement offers up that they basically do all of them because they feel obligated to do it.

They aren’t doing nice things for people just because it’s a nice thing to do. They aren’t doing nice things because they honestly believe in good and bad, right and wrong. They do things a certain way because they believe they are being watched.

And in support of this interpretation, I look toward the second half of the quote. Because there, it says that those living life without judgement are doing things incorrectly. Those folks are evil.

It’s almost an adult version of bribing kids with threats of Santa Claus. God is watching… knows when you’re awake… you’d better behave.

I believe in giving to charity… in helping out those less fortunate than I am, and extending a hand when I can to those in need… in the importance of family and friends. I do what I can.

I’ll admit the truth to you… I have my doubts about the existence of God.

Look at the quote again: “I’d rather live my life thinking there is a God and it turns out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t a God and find out there is.

If it turns out that there is a God, and the day comes that I am judged… as long as my life is fairly viewed, I’ve got no worries about it. I’m human and I make my share of mistakes. But I don’t deserve charcoal in my stocking because of the way I’ve behaved over the course of my life.

Honestly, I don’t know why this quote in the e-mail really set me off. In the end, I think the believers and the non-believers (it you’ll allow me the generalizations and categories) would agree on the concept of treating people the way you would hope to be treated. Not much of a difference there. And on the surface, the wish is kind enough.

But it does upset me to think that there is, in fact, a big difference for many. I’m certain there are people that agree with a reading of this quote that a person that lives their life as though they don’t believe in God is going to be in trouble if it turns out there is. People that feel a person that doesn’t believe in God is a law-breaking, greedy, miserable, evil person.

I just don’t think that’s true.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com