The question itself is not mean to presuppose God'e existence, it was just the shortest way to ask the question. Here is the fullest version of the thought experiment I am asking all of my readers to try out.
If tomorrow, humanity discovered definitive evidence that disproved the existence of God and the afterlife, how would that alter your life? What would you do with yourself knowing that there is no afterlife, and that we are all here by a one-in-a-dillion chance?
This question applies to believers, non-believers, and agnostics alike. I am willing to bet that even people who say they are atheist still have some glimmer of hope in them, some nagging desire for there to be existence beyond this physical realm. I don't think any human particularly enjoys the notion of the void--of a state of no consciousness. So what would it do to you to know, with certainty (because I don't care who you are: you can never know for certain what lies beyond the veil of life) that this life is all there is?
This question may be hard to answer for theists. I get the sense that they don't often entertain the notion of a Godless universe, because such a thought is frightening to them. I admit, the thought of such a thing is disturbing to me as well, but I am guessing that my fears are different than that of, say, a Christian or a Muslim.
For me, the non-existence of God would not mean much. In fact, it would actually make me feel even more special. To think that somehow this entire existence we know today is the product of sheer chance is pretty damn amazing in my opinion. To think, that out of all the billions of stars and the maelstrom of unorganized matter in the universe, this thing we call life happened here on Earth is sort of overwhelming, especially when you know how utterly inhospitable much of the universe is.
I already have a sense of insignificance, because even if there is a God who thinks I'm special, that doesn't take away from the fact that when I die, an imperceivable fraction of the universe will care. My life means nothing to Mars, or to Alpha Centauri. The Vega system will never hear about the mediochre Jack Camwell dying, as all humans must, in relative obscurity.
The words I am writing at this moment will have no greater impact on the whole of existence than a single drop of water bears significance to the ocean. And you know what? I'm pretty okay with that. I don't need to believe that some mystical force loves me and cherishes me, because I know there are other human beings to whom I mean the world. I understand and accept my insignificance, but my children sure as hell don't. I'm more important to them than anything they even know of (except maybe for Spongebob and Adventure time--haha).
And I know that the people I care about certainly are not insignificant to me. My children, my family and friends--they all mean something to me. They're special to me from my mother to the Anonymous Howard Beale, as I like to call him.
So why would I need God to feel like my life still bears meaning in the face of insignificance? Should not the prospect of facing the eternal void, the uncompromising abyss, only spur me to seek further meaning and greatness to this thing we call life?
Perhaps I would be liberated if I knew that God did not exist. Perhaps that would allow my mind to explore further possibilities of what exists beyond existence. Maybe, just maybe, I would find more satisfaction in life knowing that this is all I have. If God does not give my life meaning and purpose, then it would befall my shoulders to do so.
That's what I'm asking my readers to do. Imagine that there is no God, and that the only meaning we have is what we make of it. It sounds bleak at first, because there are those who would make humanity out to be nothing but piles of flesh and bone--resources to be used up. But there are those, like myself, who do not consign ourselves to our physicality simply because God may not exist. Life is special whether it is by complete chance or if it is the design of a higher intelligence.
This week's experiment is to find meaning in life without God. Try it, if you dare. You may be surprised what you come up with.