Belief is in the mind of the intellect. If it is fabricated to control and oppress then it does nothing to create an ambient life on earth. If its purpose seems hell bent on armageddon then this is where it will lead. If on the other hand it is nurturing and respectful of all then it should be honored and obligated.
I have no fear of this life and its finality. If it takes a reward for you to believe then it has no place on earth. Pascal's wager is old and has been argued over for centuries.
Believe if you wish/want/ have to what you've been told. Whether it's true or not doesn't matter if it works. Like William James said- Belief in something doesn't make it true. It is true because we believe it.
Woody Allen said "I believe in death after life—the other way doesn't make any sense."
I can understand some not wanting to belive in God, Heaven and Hell and all the rest. But why ridicule someone who does?
No ridicule intended. You can believe whatever you want. BUT if it is not true then all your assumptions are wrong about life, its purpose and meaning. Pascals wager could be construed as the desperate fear filled mans attempt to bring some form of clarity and understanding to a question that should have never been asked. Why not just accept your fate like all the other living things on earth? What is it about the anthropomorphic state of man that he has to deify his existence?
The easy way out seems to be believing in some force that governs and watches over you instead of facing the realities of life as to what they are- natural occurences and situations in time and space. Placing a deity at the head satisfies our fears but never ever allows for the human condition to be the real truth. This is why the patriarchal masculine god can't be real as men fabricate him to exist because he fabricated our existence? Can you think "Conundrum"?
Personally I believe that every day I see my creator and I appreciate it and acknowledge it daily, thanking it with each morning- it's right under my feet. Why look for illusions to guide you when terra firma is right there. Truth from fiction doesn't make it with me, but hey if it works for you then go for it. Like I said once you get past the propaganda and ask the right questions and reason the right answers, a whole new way of seeing the world opens up to you. If that scares you then stay in your comfort zone. Me, I personally see our time on earth as one where we should help each other and make a better world happen, since we are all brothers and sisters here. But if it is a lie then everything known is wrong and this patriarchal structure is nothing more than a maze to justify the mosaic of vertices- a caste system of obligation to superiority. My politics are based in Communityism and my beliefs are based in progressive reality. I don't care if I'm wrong because believing in reality is better than believing in fairy tales or fantasy. If you are right, I still don't care because I took control of my own life and gave up on wrong ways of seeing things, to accept a better way of dealing with things. I no longer blameshift for reasons other than their underlying causes. Not gods and devils but good and evils of men. This puts the proper perspective on things. Life to death are transitive and we should only concern ourselves with life. Death is the finality and nothing more. If we paid more attention to life, then death would not be feared, but understood.
If there is a god then who would he aspire to be like? Does he care more about life than death? After all, if he is the "Great Creator" then life should be his priority. I think he doesn't really give a shit anyway and we are the ones with a problem that needs a god that cares about all our absurd goings on in his name. Perhaps our soul(conscience) is more sensitive and heightened to believe because we have so little self control, and this is why we need and crave a god who will always forgive us our trespasses. When will we take responsibility for our own actions? Perhaps when we finally shake our addiction problems to a god that isn't there and spend our time helping each other, ending wars, and taking responsibility for our actions.
Like I said before this could merely be a survival mechanism that has developed from some primitive instinct somewhere between a sponge until man made his regal appearance. Being aware of our surroundings gave us a new perspective but may have been the catalyst for new ideas about our position on earth and the universe. Having a god in a position of authority and governing our lives works better and helps give the herd a homogeneus consistency. It allows for human frailty as an excuse for wars and oppression.
This is why it is said that if you think there is division between church and state, then you don't understand religion and politics. They are so inextricably entwined together that they can trace their roots to each other.