Would you die for your religious beliefs?

In the post “Would you kill for atheism?,” Mark made the following comment:

That’s the wrong question. The question should be, would you die for your religious beliefs?

My answer isn’t different, however: No. Since I don’t have any religious beliefs, I don’t have anything to die for.

(We’ll save the “atheism is a religion” question for a future post, but here’s a quick spoiler:  No, it isn’t.)

But maybe this is the wrong question, too. Perhaps it should be “Would you die for your lack of religious belief?” or “Would you die to defend atheism?”

And for those, the answer is the same. No. Life is far too precious to waste it over ideological disagreements.

The fact is, if I were in a stressful situation, where someone was pointing a gun to my head and telling me that I needed to accept Christ or Mohammed or any other savior, or threatening to kill me if I admitted to being an atheist, I would lie to save my own life. I’d pretend to accept any religion my captor wanted me to right then and there, just for my own self-preservation.

Yep, I would lie – something I normally have a rule against – to keep myself (or others) from dying. And I’m convinced that this would be the most reasonable, rational thing to do.

Cowardly? Maybe. That’s for others to judge, and I’m not particularly interested in their decision. My life is all that I have, and there are a few people beside myself who treasure it – my daughters and partner in particular.

Really, I think most other people would do the same thing in the same situation. But I could be wrong about that.

Thanks for the question, Mark!


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I am an atheist, a person who does not believe in the existence of any gods.

Many people don't know a lot about atheists, and have questions about them. In this blog, I do my best to answer them, to help build an understanding between atheists and theists.

Do you have a question? You can post it in the comments to any of my blog entries, and I will do my best to answer it in a new entry.


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