To be honest to myself, my arguements for God tend to be somewhat self satisfying. In effect I am using you to try to argue that to myself that there is no God. Honestly that is what my body desires. With no God, i have no worries about "karma" or the afterlife. I dont have to care if i decide to break into someones house and shoot them, sell drugs, rob banks, anything. It doesnt matter. The world is my oyster and I can do anything my little cold heart desires.
Unfortunately to this effect, I have this constant nagging voice. It tells me God is real. It tells me to remember the things ive seen, the things Ive read, the things ive done.
So i take up the pro-god stance and I employ you to convince me otherwise. I WANT you to convince me otherwise. I really do.
I'll bite. I know there's been a lot of replies and follow up posts from you J, but I'd like to say some stuff that I wish to hear your opinion on.
The reasons that we don't do bad things are many, but for starters, its because we get little gratification from it. It is a known fact that being kind to others simply feels better than hurting them. It is also a known fact that most people try to avoid things that make them feel bad, is it not? You don't see many people running around kicking brick walls with bare feet and that's because the consequences don't feel very good. We don't like killing people because it feels bad. We don't like stealing because it feels bad. While kicking a wall is physical pain, emotional pain is also something we, as humans, feel, and it deters us from doing things that make us feel bad. Also, being self aware has allowed us the ability to recognize the things that make us feel bad, so we can extrapolate that to others and assume that what makes US feel bad, will also make others feel bad. Empathy is an evolved emotion that everyone has (though to varying degrees).
Another reason is the idea of reciprocation. When you are bad to someone, it generally makes them want to be bad to you. This is something we, as self-aware, sentient beings understand very well. When you kick someone, they are bound to kick you back, and that's something we try to avoid. If you show your fellow humans some love and respect, they generally return it in kind.
The entire argument, however, is not about whether or not God exists. This argument that you have taken up is an argument for whether or not it's better to believe in God or to not believe in God. That argument has nothing to do with whether or not God is real. I have no problem with you trying to argue this, but I just want to make sure this is what you're going for. As long as you understand this, then please also understand that some of us value the truth, regardless of the consequences; maybe you don't, I don't know. The situation then comes down to whether or not you personally choose to live in the real world and accept the consequences of there being no God, or live in a fantasy world where God is wonderful and great and loves everybody, yet at the same time punishes the shit out of you if you cross him.
As an atheist, I understand that at any time, I could go out and murder, rape, pillage and kill indiscriminately and in the end, I would suffer no punishment from God. If I had no conscience, and felt no empathy, and wanted to feel emotional pain, I could do any of that. So could anyone. Some people actually do that but we usually put them in psychiactric wards, because it's not conducive to peaceful societies. The only punishment you have to fear in reality is how it makes you feel, and what society decides to do with you if they catch you. That's the truth. We don't try to hide from it. We accept it. That's the grown up thing to do.
For you, however, it's a little different. God is your eternal watchful father, always hovering over you with his naughty and nice list, because you aren't grown up enough to be trusted to do the right thing. The scary thing is that it sounds to me like the only thing keeping you from doing some of the worst things in the world is your belief that God will punish you if you don't. Let me ask you though. When a 7 year old finds out that Santa isn't real for the first time, do they instantly become raving lunatics around Christmas time or do they find a way to be good kids anyway? It's the same thing. People don't need to believe in fictional characters that will punish them for being naughty, in order to be nice. (BTW, I try to tell this stuff to my wife, but she just likes the surprise on my kids faces when they see all the presents that Santa managed to stuff down a 10 inch wide chimney. I wish she'd understand that the kids would still be just as happy to see the presents if they knew we bought them, but... oh well.)
As a point of curiosity, I would like to raise a question about the way it makes you feel to always be held back by your God's hand of justice? If you truly wish, as you say, to rape, kill, maim, and slaughter people because you want to, then why would you choose to worship the God you worship in the first place? Does it make you feel bad to know that the God you claim to worship values being good and nice to people, while at the same time, you value none of that? Is it difficult to go through life knowing you will never have the satisfaction of raping, killing and destruction that you are so eager to do, simply because your "goodie-two-shoes" God is blocking you at every turn? This is a very strange twist, I must admit. Most theists that come here feel that their God agrees with their own moral positions, but you are certainly a different sort. The very God you worship has the opposite of your own morality. Don't despair though, J. You ARE IN LUCK. You see, the God of the Old Testament is really the one you should be looking at. He doesn't value any of that good guy crap. He values what you value. He loves to kill. Dashes babies against rocks and all that. He's right up your alley!
You said that the world is your oyster, and you can do anything your heart desires. That is absolutely true (arguments for free will vs determinism should be held in check here). If your heart desires the things you say it desires, then that makes you vastly different from the rest of us. None of us want to do bad things to other people. That's the simple fact of it. We don't want to. It doesn't feel good. Just like barefoot brickwall kicking. You don't do it because it doesn't feel good. You understand feelings in every other way, don't you? Why is this one so confusing for you?
As a final note, if the only thing that keeps you from killing other people is your belief in God, then in my opinion you're inherently a pretty bad guy. If you stop believing in God, you should be thrown in jail for the rest of your life as a means of preventing mass murder. Keep believing J. It's good for you. God is not so good for sane people, because sane people don't have the desires to hurt and kill like you do. Belief in God for those people is completely unnecessary to living a moral life. But for you, regardless of whether or not God is real, I would recommend believing in God because it seems you'd be psychopathic without it.
As a person who is "pro-God," wouldn't it be better to be motivated by a love for our fellow man as opposed to being motivated by fear of judgment?
You mean... like the atheists do?