Awe, Gratitude, Reverence, and a Sense of Responsibility
We believe different things for different reasons. Sometimes, our beliefs are rational or sensible. Sometimes, our beliefs are borne of experience. Sometimes, our beliefs are due to fear or insecurity.
Some people believe things because it feels more comfortable to believe them (and more uncomfortable not to believe them.) They might say things like this:
I believe that there is a God or a Supreme Being who loves me, because I would feel lonely and unloved otherwise.
I believe that God creates rules and monitors our compliance, because the Universe would feel unfair and unjust otherwise.
I believe that God establishes a purpose for each of us, because the Universe would feel aimless and meaningless otherwise.
I believe that God gives each of us a soul, because our lives would feel short and our journeys would feel incomplete otherwise.
I believe that God gives each of us free will, because our "choices" would feel hollow and we would feel just like animals otherwise.
I get why these beliefs might feel comfortable and (at first glance) I get why the opposite beliefs might feel uncomfortable, but let's take a closer look:
Let's assume that there is no God, there are no rules, there is no purpose, we have no souls, and we have no free will.
Q: What would such a Universe look like?
A: That Universe would look EXACTLY like this Universe.
What if we are merely animals who live (hopefully) 60 or 80 years, clinging to a small rock that is hurtling through cold, dark, endless space, and experiencing fortune and misfortune alike, living lives that are alternately beautiful and terrible, until it's "lights out" or we get stirred into the cosmic soup?
Can we feel awe for a Universe, whether created or eternal, that allows us to have this wondrous experience, which is both unique and universal? Of course.
Can we feel gratitude for a Universe that blesses us with these very special places, these very special times, and these very special people? Of course.
Can we feel reverence for a Universe that is so finely tuned that it can manifest all of this beauty in form and energy and consciousness? Of course.
Can we feel a sense of responsibility to bring the Kingdom of God (whether there is a God or not) as creation's stewards and our brothers' keepers? Of course.
Let's assume that there is a God, there are rules, there is justice, there is purpose, we have souls, and we have free will.
Certainty, comfort, security!! Hooray, whoopee!! See you on the other side!! That's terrific news!! What a wonderful surprise!!
Here's the important question: Would we live your lives any differently if we thought that our beliefs might be untrue, no matter how comfortable they feel?