@jazzman: What you posted is similar to what I am feeling right now....
My only problem is this: What if that is wrong? We all go to "hell". If it is right, we can live our lives on the EDGE of [insert religion here], still getting into "heaven" but still being an all around good person.
We could all be wrong about every theological point ever advanced.
Think about this:
How many different religions are there? Possibly thousands throughout human history.
Do they all agree on the nature of God? No.
Can any one person from any one religion present any facts to confirm for us what god or gods exist? No.
Can we know even one specific thing about any particular god? No.
Can we know that any particular god cares about us and truly wants us to live in some sort of paradise with this god? No.
We can believe all manner of things about gods, but we can know nothing about gods, as gods -- if they exist -- appear to exist in realms to which we have no access. We can't study deities. We can only study what people believe about deities.
Because we don't know anything about deities, I must assume we're all wrong in what we might believe the nature of deities to be, if deities exist. What we think we know is speculation.
If I'm wrong, and if the Christian view of God is correct, then I'm headed for hell after I die, as are all people who aren't true Christians. If I'm wrong, and the Muslim view of God is correct, then I'm headed for hell after I die, and so is everyone else who isn't a true Muslim, and that includes Christians. If I'm wrong, and the ancient Egyptian view of death is correct, then anyone who hasn't been provided what we call the Egyptian Book of the Dead is doomed, and that includes Christians and Muslims whose tombs don't include a copy of the Book of the Dead to allow them to negotiate the underworld.
Do you see where I'm going? I can't live my life as if one or another religious tradition is the one to follow on pain of eternal torture. There's no way to know which religious tradition is the right one to follow. If there is a god who knows what's in my heart, then that god knows I accept that god's existence as long as I don't have to do it on speculation.
If a god needs my praise, then that god has it, if that god created our universe. What a magnificent and mysterious place, our universe. And what a magnificent act of creation it is to have made it possible for planets to form and life to emerge and diversify, all by seemingly natural forces. I can do nothing but praise a god with that kind of power and apparent foresight. But does that mean that god has prepared a place of eternal paradise for me and anyone else who simply believes in that god, or a place of torture for those who don't -- based on the theological precepts generated by a small group of very culture-conscious people who lived on our atom-sized planet a few thousand years before I was born? It seems to me a vanishingly trivial thing that such a Creator would need our praise and belief in him/her and would punish us for not believing he/she exists based on the ideas of what can only be described as an obscure group of humans on an obscure planet in an obscure galaxy in a universe so vast as to defy imagination.
The question "what if we're wrong" has no answer, because no matter how we address the question, we can't know the answer. The question plays on our fears because we've been exposed to the idea of heaven and hell, and eternal torture scares us. We'd rather be in heaven, if descriptions of hell are accurate. But why should the ancient Jewish and Christian ideas of eternal paradise or torture mean anything to us? They're just some of many ideas about what awaits us humans after we die. But no one knows what awaits us, if anything at all. It's unreasonable to live our lives trying to answer the question "what if we're wrong?", because we're probably all wrong no matter what we think.