"We Believe in Nothing, Lebowski!"
An anonymous commenter on this blog noted,
For those that believe in nothing, then nothing is what they will receive.This is the sort of comment that is interesting because it is somehow meant to be persuasive to the atheist or non-theist, but actually only makes sense within the religious (typically Christian) worldview. Only within that worldview do one's unfounded "beliefs" make any difference as to what one "receives" or does not "receive."
Because, only in the magical thinking world of the theist do beliefs magically affect reality. In my reality-based world, something is true or it isn't. Something exists or it doesn't. My "beliefs" on the matter don't actually affect the truth of a proposition. I lack belief in God or god(s) because, on the balance of evidence, there is no reason to think He or they exist. If God doesn't exist, whether I believe in Him or not makes no difference in whether I will get a supernatural reward for believing in Him, either here on Earth or after I die. Until and unless I am presented with convincing evidence to the contrary, I have no reason to believe anyone is going to receive a special reward for believing in a God or god(s). No matter how much I may wish it were true that I was going to live forever in some afterlife paradise, I know I won't. Wishing something were true, or choosing to believe it to be true despite the evidence, doesn't make it so.
Arguments along these lines commit the logical fallacy of arguing from consequences, where the arguer claims that X must be true because of the bad consequences of X being false (or vice-versa). "You should believe in God because if you don't, you'll miss out on eternal joy," or "You should believe in God because if you don't you'll go to Hell," say nothing about the actual truth of the claim "God exists," which is the question that is at the heart of the matter for atheists and non-theists.