… Maverick Philosopher: The Pragmatic and the Evidential: Is It Ever Rational to Believe Beyond the Evidence? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
It is the same with God and the soul. The pragmatic argument in favor of them is truth-insensitive: whether or not it is a good argument is independent of whether or not God and the soul are real. For suppose I'm wrong. I live my life under the aegis of God, freedom, and immortality, but then one day I die and become nothing. I was just a bag of chemicals after all. It was all just a big joke. Electrochemistry played me for a fool. So what? What did I lose by being a believer? Nothing of any value. Indeed, I have gained value since studies show that believers tend to be happier people. But if I am right, then I have done what is necessary to enter into my higher destiny. Either way I am better off than without the belief in God and the soul. If I am not better off in this life and the next, then I am better off in this life alone.
Or, as I like to say, if, when I die, it turns out there is no God, I will never know that I was wrong. But if an atheist dies, and it turns there is a God, he will know that he was wrong.