Oh goody! We’re going to play a game of What If. I have not been amused or entertained by one of those for years.
Let’s say you were in a naval battle in the middle of the ocean and your ship was destroyed so you are in very cold water. You know that you need to act now to get on a ship or you will die. Now there are 4 ships that you can swim to. But it looks like all the ships are very badly damaged and unlikely to be seaworthy enough to save you. It’s hard to tell from your position but as best you can tell one ship has a 5% chance but the others have less than a 2% chance of being seaworthy enough to save you.
What do you do? Do you think well no one has “proven” or “verified” that any of these ships will save me so I might as well die in the water? Or do you start swimming to the ship that gives you a five percent chance (the best shot)? I think that is the obvious choice. You are not in a position to demand “proofs” or “verification.” You just have to make do with the information you have.
I think this is analogous to the situation we are in when it comes to how we should live. We can’t pause our life until someone can prove how we are supposed to live. We choose to act or not act all the time. And we can’t insist on verification or proof beyond what we have. We just have to take our best shot.
For me I think following Christ’s teachings is the “best shot.” I may wish I had better evidence or proofs but reality does not bend to my wishes. The rational person bends his beliefs and actions to reality.
People often believe that they are thinking, when all they’re really doing is rearranging their prejudices. So, you’re going to dream up a scenario that is so outlandish and restrictive, that it makes your already-decided-on choice look good barely acceptable.
I am disturbed that you would advocate a selection with a 95% chance of failure, but, as you inferred, It’s (barely) better than nothing. Desperation is not considered a good method of choice. It usually results in wrong decisions. Even choice is a bad method. You can attend a Christian church, and repeat all the magic words, but it won’t produce the honest, true-hearted Belief that the unwritten rules call for.
I’d like to ask what mechanism you used to determine what percentage of success your choice, both in real life and in your specious analogy, had. I see none, other than desperation and gullibility – only an unproven claim.
Unlike your fantasy-novel format, in real life it is both possible and advisable to do some research, so that you don’t end up in these religious shipwreck scenarios.
What if that water isn’t as cold and deep as you believe? What if you were just told that, by the guy who runs the life-preserver franchise? What if, no matter which ship you swam to, it sank and drowned you? What if the ship you chose was an enemy vessel, and the agents of Allah tortured you to death? What if you stopped panicking, and used your strength and determination to swim toward the big orange rubber raft that the rescue helicopter just dropped, labelled Reason/Reality? What if you’re not Captain James T. Kirk, and there just is no right answer?
What if you summarily dismiss all of my What Ifs, because you think that they sound almost as silly as your What Ifs??!