It sounds like something a con artist would say. A psycho con artist.
A guy walks up to you on the street: "I have a marvelous free gift just for you. It's inside this small locked box. You have to swear that you believe the gift is inside before I give you the box. You can't just say you believe, you have to really mean it. And it is worth 1000 bucks."
This does not sound right to you. "Why should I believe that there is a marvelous gift in the locked box?"
"You just have to have faith."
There are nine empty boxes sitting open beside the guy. They look just like the locked one. You take the locked one and shake it. There is no sound.
"Uhh, those boxes are all empty. This locked one sounds like there is nothing inside it, either. And if I have to pay 1000 bucks for it, how is it free?"
"Don't worry about that--someone else already paid for these gifts. If you have faith that the gift is inside, you can have the box. But if you don't accept the box, someone will shoot you in the leg
You hand the box back to the guy. "What, so now you are threatening me? You sound like a loony."
"I am not threatening you. I am just warning you that people who don't accept the box with the marvelous gift get shot in the leg. Remember on the news last week, that young guy who was shot in the leg? I'll bet he did not have one of these boxes."
The con artist points to a large group of people all holding locked boxes and smiling. "They all believe, and see how they haven't gotten shot in the leg."
"Most people never get shot in the leg-- it has nothing to do with any stupid box. Besides, those boxes are still locked. How do any of those people know there is a gift inside?"
"They have faith
. They humbled themselves and admitted that their lives were meaningless without the marvelous gift inside the box. Don't you feel sad and empty sometimes? "
"Well yeah, but--"
"That is because you have a box-shaped hole in your heart. Accept the box."
The smiling people begin to sing a beautiful song about how glad they are that they believe there is a gift in the box, and how happy they are that they have not been shot in the leg.
You shake your head in wonder. "When do they get to actually open their boxes?"
"They don't. They have to care for the box, and then leave the box for their children to open after they die."
"What a stupid story. This sounds like a bunch of craziness to me. Keep your stupid box. I'm outta here." You quickly walk away. The man yells, "You are going to get shot in the leg! Just you wait!" You ignore him.
After a few minutes you look back and see the con man is talking to another person. To your surprise, the woman smiles, nods and accepts the locked box. As you watch she joins the singing group.... We atheists are surrounded by smiling, singing people clutching the tattered empty gift boxes they got from their parents.