Pascal said that it was best to believe in God, because if you were wrong you'd have nothing to lose, but if you were right you'd win an eternity in heaven.
If you were wrong you'd have nothing to lose???
How about 500 Sunday mornings spent at church when I could have been out riding my bike, or hiking in the mountains, or home writing my blog posts for the week or, god forbid, sleeping in?
How about those thousands - thousands - of mornings I got up before dawn, before the rest of my family woke, and sat on the sofa reading my Bible and praying, and desperately trying to wrench some meaning from all of this ancient claptrap?
Nothing to lose?
I finally realized why becoming an atheist has left me so incredibly pissed off. Okay, there are a whole bunch of reasons, but this is a big one.
All that time I've wasted! I could have been going to the gym, or getting more sleep, or writing BOOKS for god's sake. I could have been taking my kids on fun outings rather than making them sit through Sunday school. I could have been reading actual, real, intelligent and entertaining books instead of forcing myself through that goddamned Bible over and over and over and over again.
Pascal was an idiot.
I'm pissed for myself, and for my family, for all the time we've lost. Now that I realize there is no afterlife, every single moment of this life is that much more precious... and I've wasted so much of it. I'm completely heartbroken over this. I will never get those hours back.
But even bigger than this, even more than the tiny self-absorbed consideration of little old me, is the time and intelligence wasted - wasted! - throughout history. All those smart people who could have been studying science or mathematics or anything that might be actually useful... who instead spent their lives "parsing a collective delusion" (as Sam Harris said in Letter to A Christian Nation.)
So much waste!
Someday, maybe I'll come back around and find some good in all that time I spent studying the Bible, all that time I spent praying.
But I'm a long way from that. Right now I'm pissed. Not to mention, I'm pretty flabbergasted that someone really smart like Pascal could have come up with something so obviously stupid that even I - not the sharpest tool in the shed - have been able to see it.
Damn it. I'm pissed.