I recently watched a video where Atheist, Richard Dawkins spoke to a group about the non-existence of God, or Jesus, and took questions/comments after his speech.
One well-mannered, deeply-faithful man stood up and said, “You claim that God, and Jesus do not exist, but I experienced Jesus personally. He came to me and stood before me, and said to me that if I believed in him, I would be saved. What do you say about that?
Dawkins quietly replied, “You suffered a delusion.”
The man did not relinquish his spot at the front of the line, and instead said, “My friend has allowed me to take his place. God and Jesus must exist. I cannot afford to be in error about my salvation. I have too much invested in it. I have seen the face of Christ! He has spoken to me! What is your response to that??!
Again, quietly, Dawkins told him, “You have experienced an hallucination.”
But there, ladies and gentlemen, you have the truth about religion, and it’s not an honest truth. Unwittingly, he has revealed that Religion is a commercial transaction – “cannot afford – too much invested”. If you do something for me now, later on, when nobody can see, or prove anything, I promise to do something nice for you.” Police break up similar scams and people go to prison on a weekly basis, for cons like that.
A moderator on the Atheist Experience show had a similar protest. (They are all too common.) His response was, “It’s like the man who, all through his working life, took every dollar not spent on food, clothing, housing, etc. and bought lottery tickets. Now that retirement is looming, and he has nothing in a retirement fund, he is forced to keep buying lottery tickets in a desperate attempt to beat the already-proven shitty odds.”
Which brings us, strangely, sideways, to Bob. I worked with Bob. He was a gorgeous creature. He could have married anyone he pleased – he just didn’t please anyone. He had the body of an Adonis….and the mind of a milk-cow. Strong like ox – almost as smart. No-one ever suggested that was because his gym membership included an all-you-can-eat steroid buffet, because they might have caused ‘roid-rage’ or testosterone-induced posturing. If Bob had been any meeker, someone would have had to water him twice a week.
My wife worked with a young woman in her late twenties, who had gone to school with him. Bob had no wife or kids. He lived in a nice apartment, owned a nice car, a big flat-screen TV, a high-end computer when they were expensive and not common, stereo, and furniture almost as gorgeous as he was.
The two met one day in a supermarket, and Bob bragged about all his beautiful possessions. Somewhere, he had obtained black satin sheets for his bed, and insisted that she come to his apartment to see them. (Yeah, right! Oh well, could be a fun tumble.)
He showed her all his fabulous furniture, and took her into his bedroom and showed her his magnificent black satin sheets and then, having bragged about his beautiful possessions (again), he all but pushed her out the door.
When our standard, net, weekly take-home pay was $383, one week Bob decided that everything was paid for. Instead of depositing his paycheck in a bank, he took it to a Lottery kiosk, and spent the entire sum on Lotto tickets.
He told people at the shop what he had done. Me?? I’d have kept my mouth shut. When the inevitable question was asked, “How much did you win?” the answer was, absolutely nothing! Not $10. Not $5. Not $2. Not even a free ticket for next week’s draw. $383 for a handful of something that couldn’t even be used as toilet paper.
I could never afford to do that, and probably wouldn’t, even if I could….but some people can and do. A young, dot-com millionaire received a half-million dollar bonus that he hadn’t expected. He flew from LA to Vegas, dumped $500,000 in cash on a roulette table, and bet it all on black. It came up red. He shrugged, and picked up his empty briefcase.
When someone asked him how he could calmly do such a thing, he replied that he still had a small fortune; as much as he’d had yesterday, and he’d had fun. He said that, if he’d won, he’d probably just have wasted it on something. Not a church, though. You always lose, betting on salvation.