If there is a god, one that created all of existence (save for itself, I think. A god that existed would necessarily be part of existence, but it couldn't create itself), then it would follow that such a god wouldn't be absolutely perfect in every way, as is posited by the many people that believe in it.

A perfect being should be content merely to exist, in need and in want of nothing. What could possible disturb the perfect god's equilibrium to cause it to want to create the universe?

The act of creation would mean that god had a desire, a need for something, something that it didn't have. A perfect being would have everything it needed, everything that it might possible want.

Therefore, at the very least, god's not perfect, because in desiring something, it lacked in something, and lacking is an imperfection.

To most people, the idea that god isn't perfect isn't very appealing.

Though just because it's not what you want it be, it doesn't follow that perfection would have to be a quality of a being that may have created the universe.

Many times, I have heard people relate something similar, or sometimes identical, to an argument named Pascal's wager, after the French mathematician.

I used to hold it in high esteem, but since then its irredeemable flaws have become apparent to me.

In its basic form is that if there is a god, and said god exists, then you get rewarded with eternal, infinite bliss in paradise or heaven.

If, on the other hand, you don't have faith, and there's one, then you get rewarded with eternal hellfire.

On the other hand, if there is no god, no matter what you believe, you get nothing, because death only provides you with oblivion, faithful and infidels alike.

So given the choices of getting nothing, losing in effect everything, and gaining all the pleasure in the world, the rational mind would go all in on the chance that god exists.

Most of the wager's flaws arise from holding many unfounded assumptions, the most egregious being that belief is rewarded and disbelief is punished.

Why should you assume that?

What justification is there other than that's the most common thing for people to believe?

A god that rewards skepticism and punishes believers with a vengeance is at least as imaginable as the traditional conception.

Likewise, it's perfectly easy to imagine a god that rewards everyone, or punishes all, or doles out sentences at random whether somebody's a believer or not.

That any of these are possible destroys the integrity of the wager, in my opinion, irreparably.

It also assumes that belief is something that can freely be chosen.

That's something that's very hard for me to accept.

No matter how hard I try, it would be impossible, for example, for me to believe that George W. has been a great president, or even a capable president.

I really do understand the appeal that religion holds for people, it provides a concrete foundation and ready made, clear cut answers to almost all questions (Why X? It's god's will).

It is a means of escape, a way to get through the day, because it holds the promise, the allure of better things to come, if only you follow some rules and engage in some rituals.

I wish that I could throw myself into religion.

If that were possible, it would make my life very much easier, but I can't bring myself to it.

To be able to believe in something, I'd have to think that whatever the religion said was the way things actually were.

From my experience of the way the world works, it's impossible for me to believe that Jesus arose from the dead, or there was a worldwide deluge, or any of the countless other myths that form the basis of most religions.

The beliefs and rituals of religions don't jive with the way I think the world works.

A god capable of creating something as majestic as the universe, ought not care about who sticks what body part in which hole.

I don't think that such a mighty being would be so insecure as to require our unquestioning devotion.

Such a god wouldn't give a damn about what day of the week you paid reverence to him on, or by what name you called it.

Such a god wouldn't care if you ate pork, shellfish, beef, or any other food.

Such a god wouldn't care how you shaved your beard, or the length of your hair.

Such a god would have nothing to do with arbitrary laws for agents it created and controls.

A god as mighty and as awesome as the one believed in by so many people, would not be so insecure and vain that it needed the respect and fear of such a tiny, insignificant group as the human race.