Is God Useful? – 8-Bit Philosophy

Is God Useful? – 8-Bit Philosophy


Imagine that Leonardo, ever the devout believer,
receives a message from Splinter, who says that God wants Leonardo
to do something incomprehensible. You must take your youngest mutant Michelangelo to the top of the Empire State Building and sacrifice him. Utterly devastated, but equally unwilling
to believe the messages are a hoax, Leonardo takes the happy-go-lucky Michelangelo
to the Empire State Building. Fortunately for him, at the last moment, Leonardo’s hand is stayed when an alternate sacrifice suddenly appears. He does not have to sacrifice his beloved
Michelangelo. Leonardo was relieved that his devotion was rewarded, while Michelangelo
can’t understand how Leonardo could buy into such nonsense. Splinter’s message couldn’t
possibly be from God, and if there is a God, he would never ask Leonardo
to do something so horrific, right? For American Philosopher William James, the question of belief in God is one of the most important questions we will ever consider. Lot’s of people already believe,
and lots don’t, so depending on who you talk to, believing is considered like “Well of course he’s real” or like “Please, what sort of idiot believes this crap?” When pressed on their reasoning for the matter
of their belief, the believer and non believer can come up with equally compelling arguments. For James, a belief’s value resides in how it cashes out. Not in whether it’s true in some objective sense. In other words, how useful believing is.
Rationality and empirical evidence are no help with deciding our belief, because, as one philosopher said, you can’t poke God with a stick. Consequently, James thinks it’s acceptable to believe in something despite its lack of scientific rigor. In other words, our emotional nature
comes into play on certain beliefs. Belief in God, then, is a matter not
of logical science, but of volition, of will. But it’s not a mere matter of believing because it makes you feel good. It’s a matter of taking the option seriously. For example, you can entertain the fact that fairies
exist but there is no risk attached to it. James would call this a dead hypothesis. Not so with deciding whether or not you believe in God. The choice you make is a big deal.
It impacts your life in profound ways. In a time in which we worship
reason and scientific method, it’s easy to dismiss anything that doesn’t
completely rely on evidence and rationality. But to James, our will to believe is a legitimate option
that should not and cannot be dismissed. So dear viewer, the pragmatic question is:
Are you better off believing or not? Thanks for watching, beloved viewer.

100 Comments on "Is God Useful? – 8-Bit Philosophy"


  1. The problem with this line of thinking is that it fails to distinguish between different religions. By doing so, it does not address the fact all religions have different ideas about who "God" is, and therefore have varying degrees of factual evidence concerning their religious tenants.

    The question, therefore, is not whether believing in "God" is useful, but rather, "Which God is it useful to believe in?" Follow up questions would include, "Why is it useful to believe in this God?" and "What do we mean by 'useful'?"

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  2. God is Equilibrium.

    ^ This Logically Proves The Existence of God. ^

    LOGIC:
    Logic is Based on Premises
    Premises are Statements that Declare what something "is"
    Whenever you declare what something "is"
    You declare what something "equals"

    Equaling comes from Equilibrium.

    LANGUAGE:
    Every word is defined.
    Whenever you define a word, you declare what a word "is"
    Whenever you declare what "is"
    You declare what something "Equals"

    Equaling comes from Equilibrium.

    MATH:
    All through out math
    You are solving for what "Equals"

    Equaling comes from Equilibrium.

    God is Equilibrium.

    Without Equilibrium
    There is NO Logic, Language, Math or Science.

    Without God
    There is NO Logic, Language, Math or Science.

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  3. Doesn't matter whether it is emotionally better for people to believe in something. Either something is true or it is not. Give me a hard truth over a comforting lie any day.

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  4. Great video. I really like your entire series and hope you will do many more. Anyway in regards to deciding if believing in a God is useful maybe this diagram will help. Sorry I can't give the direct link because youtube blocks it for some unknown reason. Anyway go to deviantart and do a search for an artist named LBAMagic and in his gallery find a diagram called God is safe (for now).

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  5. i couldn't help but notice that you failed to actually address the benefits of belief in god. judging by the content of your other videos, i can only assume it's because you are not a Christian and didn't do enough research on the subject to properly represent it. As a Christian, i choose to believe on god regardless of whether the bible is true or not is because just about all of them have practical applications that help to separate us from animals.

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  6. Uwah! What was that snare sample at the title screen? It totally sounded like the old Konami/Ultra NES sample BEFORE it was down-sampled for the 2A03! I'll probably end up having to contact the composer, but if anyone else can figure it out for me, please tell. I might just be hearing it wrong, of course… XD
    I'm a huge collector of sounds, and helping me gain access to even one pre-down-sample NES sample would net at least ten samples from my own library as a reward. I'm even working on ways to give regular samples the 2A03 down-sample effect, and I've invented some surprisingly amazing sounds when applying the effect to directly ripped SNES samples. I can also manage to create pseudo-up-samples every now and then by applying a bunch of FX trickery, but access to the actual original samples would make things sooo much more efficient. 😀

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  7. The interpretation of the Binding of Isaac posed in the video ignores the fundamental assumption being made that life is preferable to non-life, and that therefore it is objectively bad/evil/horrible/what have you for God to have commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.

    If you understand that as a personal assumption rather than an absolute truth, then a lot of the philosophical difficulties with that biblical episode begin to fall away. Fundamentally, the test here wasn't whether Abraham would sacrifice his son, but whether he was willing to sacrifice his subjective understanding of reality in face of what (his perception of) God was telling him to do.

    Ultimately this ties in to the questions surrounding the capacity for knowledge and the fundamental nature of good and evil. But assuming one is certain that they are being directed by God, wouldn't that make the command to action necessarily, objectively good? Or do you define "goodness" as being absolute and outside of the divine? If so, then the objective nature of good should be directly observable – i.e.: there should be universal agreement upon what is, in fact, good. Historically, it is evident that no such agreement exists, and an absolute, universal, objective good would seem to be nonexistent.

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  8. I can't choose between believing or not believing in god because after so much thinking and reflecting i know he doesn't exist,at least the ones that we as humans create doesn't exist

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  9. Well i have a problem based on this:

    I am NOT an atheist…
    I am NOT an agnostic…
    I am NOT religious, if anything spiritual perhaps…

    But the thing that bothers me is that if tomorrow morning a paper was published saying "GOD EXISTS we have proof!" or instead "FINAL EVIDENCE for the non-existence of GOD"…

    It would all be the same to me… i am what i am and i will not excuse myself nor pride myself too much on it… but i DON'T NEED GOD to be that, what i want to be, a good person(?)

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  10. Then again believing in which kind of God is useful? Theistic?
    Deistic?
    Doubt the question a little more and the answer to it becomes harder
    and more compelling.
    I'd rather live knowing less about the cosmos than believing in an
    answer that might be wrong. This makes the whole prospect of discovery a
    lot more interesting and fulfilling.

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  11. Disbelief protects me from being controled or running into a situation that will mess me over and allows me to entertain cool scientific ideas without fear that they contradict my baseless claim.

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  12. Because science bases truth purely on it's ability to be tested and repeatedly shown to be "useful" it is by definition always the most inherently pragmatic set of views : 3

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  13. The answer is (in the case of the average religion) we are much morally better off not believing in god and instead using rationality.

    Sources: all of human history.

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  14. Sees title, "Is God Useful?" Gets excited to learn what the masterminds at Wisecrack have to say. First panel: "Is the BELIEF in God Useful?"

    …Flips out…. "Those are different questions!" I yell. heavy sigh

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  15. This video may be talking about if belief in God is useful, not if God is useful, but I can answer the question "is God useful". Yes. Without God, life is completely pointless. If there is no God or afterlife, everything will eventually end. That means nothing that ever happens in the whole of time and space makes any difference in the end. The end of a godless universe would just be cold, pointless, infinite nothing. So even if you know for a fact that there is no God, even though you can't disprove God, don't pointlessly bicker with people who know for a fact that God is real, even if you assume they can't prove God.

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  16. The desire, the need to understand – this is a powerful human drive. To refuse to question is to accept your own understanding; to refuse to question is to accept your own ignorance. To understand that something is a mystery beyond your comprehension is to revel in your own ignorance.

    Belief in god, spaghetti monsters, shamanism, silver clouds, the philosophers stone, batman, none of these beliefs are delusional if the belief in question is accepted as ordinary by ones peer group, family, social connections, etc. But to refuse to question, to refuse to try to learn more, is to be forever ignorant.

    So, is belief in god useful? Well, that question seems to have little to do with the god in question, but the religious peoples that you interact with. Many religious people will decry something as "not natural" or "not God's way", ignoring the fact the it was once natural to wipe their own asses with there hand and NOT wash. Many religious individuals will challenge new ideas with ignorance, preventing the growth of the idea/object in question. But since blood transfusions and organ transplants have saved a lot of lives that prayer, belief, and faith could not, but not all religious peoples attempted to stop those ideas from circulating, we can conclude that belief in god is irrelevant.

    Rapists and murderers can be found amongst the religious and the faithless alike. Scientists, charlatans, stage actors, comedians, fighter jet pilots, all can be found, without any pattern among their religions. Belief in anything is acceptable. The problem is when what you think you know, what you believe, keeps you and others from thriving, from being, from helping, from learning, and from growing.

    Thus, the RELEVANT question is not "Is belief in God useful.", the relevant question is "Is religion useful?".

    I posit that any organization that decries free thought and free belief is an organization that is foul. When someone tells me what to believe, and presents no proof, the only way I can take what the say seriously is if I can trust them. If an organization is shown to have untrustworthy aspects, how can that organization be trusted? Or, said differently, how can you priests still be priests when you have raped children, and how can I trust an organization that allowed such corruption and villainy to grow within its ranks? When you can offer me no proof, and act negatively when I question, how can my knowledge grow? How can my knowledge of god grow? And, if I can understand god as well as you, why will you not consider my understanding, and instead force me to kneel to yours?

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  17. You could believe in both. Rationality and God are both believable. Rationality multiplies a thing by the parts of a thing like a ratio. God is more like the upper limit of sentience. A consciousness singularity instead of a technological singularity.

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  18. This is the framework I have been using for some time when it comes to dealing with the two conflicting ideas I have – my distrust of God's existence and the paralysing fear that there is no purpose or meaning to this life. For years I had been sticking with the former and tried to embrace that life is meaningless, but without success, leading to a mental breakdown where I just gave up trying.

    A couple of suicide attempts later, I got so desperate that I decided to give faith a go and genuinely subscribed to the belief that God has a plan for me and that he is watching over me. This was the only thing that got me out of the rut.

    I still have distrust in God's existence, but also recognise that AT THE TIME it was absolutely the better choice to believe in it to help me get back on my feet. So is God useful? For me, yes, he is useful under certain circumstances.

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  19. It desnt matter if God is real or not, What matter is that without Christianity we would all still be barbarians killing each other over countless gods and still performing animal and human sacrifice.

    People that belive in the same God already kill each other over religion, imagine how it would be like if we still had countless pagan gods

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  20. I never able find a way to put myself in that thinking before. It's quite interesting. Felt like gambling, felt like 'miracle'. A result in which you desire but never possibly having any of effort into.

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  21. What we know to be true today can change in an instant, the only truth we have is what we know right NOW. and for each of us, our different life experiences will lead us to different truths. Its very hard to to tell anyone, what they think they experienced is not real.

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  22. I love philosophy I really do but I've been studying the god argument all my life, 21yrs and counting since I was 10, but this is poorly reasoned. It only matters if god exists if what man says about god is true. The moment you take away everything man says about god, which eventually you have to if you ask the question—what do we actually know about god for sure?—you are left with what god truly is: nothing. The concept of god is the greatest example of the power of suggestion to ever exist. Also I'd like to point out that the fairy suggestion doesn't make sense either because you're comparing something with no consequences to something with consequences, which illustrates his flawed thinking further as he presumes a god that interacts and judges. Were he to say fairies are dangerous and if you wander alone through a forest at night they will skin you alive and eat your genitals then the comparison is indeed accurate as now nonbelief in fairies has consequences, ie risk is involved. The moment you suggest god takes no part in our lives, as with the fairies he mentions, and you remove risk it matters not if god exists as if god is neutral (negligent), simply uncaring, then belief is not useful and irrelevant. The other possibility is that god is cruel and malicious which also makes belief not useful or relevant as he will do as he pleases whether you like it or not.

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  23. Christianity and those religions relating to it have held back humanity for far too long, it has been far too detrimental for us to continue on like we have been. I say we kick it to the curb.

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  24. It's no, maybe only on a per-individual basis but that's another topic. If we're better off believing lies and depending on em to make through the day then we really need to evaluate humanity as a whole.

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  25. Science and Philosophy lead me to a belief in God. I became a Christian through logic and reason. The question at the end of the video is self-defeating.

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  26. Life is like the star-ship Enterprise, you need a calm logical person (Spock) and an emotional person (McCoy) and a man in the middle that knows which tool is best given the situation (Kirk). If you have this then you will be successful.

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  27. As a christian I'd like to thank every atheist here who's willing to engage in civilised conversation

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  28. the real question is: does having a god make everything more meaningful? I would say no. in every religion there is a mention about how human being cannot percieve everything in the universe (which is sad but true since we cannot observe 'singularity' physically speaking) and it is very intiutive that religious people would ask themselves the same questions as non-believers, like for instance: what is the meaning of this ceremony that i am currently doing? or do I have to prey to get into heaven? why does god hate people who dont prey / or dont believe? wasn't human being a perfect creation? So all in all religious people dont have answers to their questions either, just like non-believers. They just pretend that they understand more, thus they think they can/should be happier, thats all.

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  29. Life under the sun. Enjoy it while you can. Every breath is one of mercy but know there is no excuse for those who have been told the Good News.

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  30. Here's why a believe in god isn't helpful. "Most men would rather deny a hard truth, than face it." This qoute from Tyrion from Game of Thrones perfectly illustrates the problem. A believe in god promotes mental weakness. Meanwhile atheism might be more mentally challanging, but it promotes mental strength and the will to rather solve problems, than invent reasons for not doing so.

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  31. The problem it's not beliving or not. The problem is at you belief starts to mold your etic accordenly to your prejudgement, when it demand society to behave as some model of purity.

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  32. Based on Kant's distinction of the pnueminal and phenomenal, we might conclude that we can't ever know if there is a God. So, to me, the question comes down to utility. Is belief in a God better than non belief? What are you're thoughts?

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  33. 1:21 You mean spending hours reading and listening to arguments that never end well? Then yes, that's what youtube commentators always do while watching videos about beliefs.

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  34. Humanity is better of not believing in any supernatural forces. Religion, has been a way to explain the unexplained, wherever it might reside without considering alternate explanations or being intellectually honest and accepting your current lack of knowledge. The issue with this, is that, religion is inflexible to new evidence, because the ideas where imagined to be morally comfortable, making people resist change to these ideas. This inflexibility means that the truth can be easily obscured or ignored, creating a time whereby there is very little progress, an example being the dark ages. Take in comparison science and the scientific method, which has yielded important progress. The reason for this scientific progress, is the fact that humans are curious beings, and will search for answers. Pairing this curiosity with the honesty of science, and people will investigate what is honestly said to be unknown, and using the scientific method will come with unbiased answers that are open for review, creating progress. An apt way to put is, that religion imagines morally comfortable answers which people will keep for obvious reasons, whilst the scientific method provides answers that may not be appealing, but are as far as we know the truth. In effect, religion gives a warm bed and lies, whilst science provides the truth, but the bed is to be built, and the building of the bed will drive progress.

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  35. I never did like philosophical pragmatism. And the more I consider the consequences of beliefs in general, the more relevant the truth-values of those beliefs become.

    Really well-done video on the topic, though.

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  36. WOW, fallacious argument. Most gods do not ask for human sacrifices.

    Anyways, God is useful as a comparison to your own conglamoration of virtues that you reflect upon in order to improve your own character. Even Atheists admit that God is at the very least a construct that we use to explain virtue through story. God is a reference point that even Atheists still use (if they can remember their own thought processes during their developmental years).

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  37. Am I the only one who thinks science and religion are both wonderfully absurd? Because we don't know anything of where we came from and it's a human's basic function to theorize and question so we just come up with the most absurd scenarios.

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  38. The pragmatic value of not believing in God is the satisfaction you gain by knowing that you don't deceive yourself in purpose in order to feel good or solve an existential problem.

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  39. Voltaire says it all : "If God wouldn't exist, it would be necessary to invent him." Read Dostoyevsky's "Brothers Karamazov" if you don't believe me.

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  40. Isn't it crazy to think that God would tell someone to sacrifice their own son?
    A perfect God telling someone to do that comes off as insane! And for a person to follow through with listening to that comes off as even more insane!
    One would need to assume that the reason for telling someone to kill their first born son, would need to be for a just and good purpose. That the son must have deserved it or that the son was going to become something worse if he stayed alive.
    On the surface this story may come across as a test of faith. But there is another deeper more impact full layer that actually demonstrates God's love for us.
    I think a reason why God had said such an insane thing as "kill your first born son," was to get us to think about such an insane command. To show us that if we were to do this, it would be an act of complete faith and devotion towards God by listening to God.
    If I was told to kill my first born son, not that I have one, I don't think I could do it because of my love towards my son.
    However, God loves you and I so much, that he killed his only son just so we could have a perfect relationship with Him through His son's sacrifice.
    When we hear the story of God telling a father to kill his son, we can't fathom how God can be good. But if the tables were turned and God killed his only son for us, then maybe that can help you to see how much God truly loves us.

    Now I'm going to watch the rest of the 2.5 minutes

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  41. god is as useful as nail polish.

    some use it to get more self confidence and let it tell who you are. which it's cool. some are not even need it, which it's cool too. nothing wrong no matter which way you choose. you'll be who you choose to be

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  42. I want to believe in a god I really do, but I just find it very difficult. Obviously a biblical version of god can't exist, that has been proven time and time again with science and archeology, but at least to know that there is something above us, a god that didn't had weird rules like religion gives us but instead a god which his laws are the laws of science after all: is the word of god is so powerful then why can we sin? If god's only rules where the rules of the universe then it's literally impossible for us to break them. But I don't know, the thing is that once you know that the universe and everything in it can and did occur on its own without the need of divine intervention. You just can't go back

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  43. The fact that they assume that there aren't scientific reasons/arguments for God existence, and that its really just "blind-faith" is so stupid. At least go through the arguments before throwing them out.

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  44. Only the weak need to be good because some higher power is going to judge them. How about be good for the sake of humanity.

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  45. It's my personal opinion that god and religion at their core value are useful. Helping people to be good, and overcome death denial.
    But when you base your life around it and it begins to affect not only you but those around you, it becomes problematic.
    If you have someone who believes in magical fairies who like mischief and petty thievery, you may be content in calling them Insane or just leaving them be.
    When that person however calls out of work because (s)he thinks the "fairies stole and hid her car keys". It becomes an issue for society, not a belief to be respected.
    Just about everything on earth has the capacity to be abused. It's when we shut that abusal down that it stops for the most part. But with religion it's different. Because religion is considered sacred And therefore almost immune to criticism or scrutiny.

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  46. I find it rather difficult for myself to believe anything that isn’t backed by hard evidence and reasoning. Thus I reject all religious faith, and I also somewhat detest the idea of morality.

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  47. If there is a god there is no free will since he saw what happens in the future and made everything at certain points to make a particular future happen. Being all everything negates the power of others and free will is the power to choose.

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  48. It seems to me like it has advantages in terms of willpower, and in taking matters seriously.

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  49. Traditional religion = broke
    Not believe in gods = woke
    BELIEVE IN THE GOD EMPEROR OF MANKIND = brain expanding

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  50. Interested in philosophy? Don't believe in God. Become a God. Check out Hyperianism. https://youtu.be/2RlLjYfvC4w

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  51. Is God useful? I don't know. Is it useful to believe in God? Let's see, the concept of God might not be in contradiction of pure logic and you might not be able to disprove it with the scientific method, but as soon as you apply our current scientific body of knowledge and logic to each specific God then that's not the case anymore. For example, it is said that the God of the Catholics is all loving, perfect and all powerful, that he created the world in 7 days and the origin of humanity started with Adam and Eve that were created in the image of God. If we use logic, how does a perfect creation of a perfect creator can commit sin? If something as complex as a human needed a intelligent creator then that creator must also be very complex and following that logic where does the creator come from? If we use our current scientific body of knowledge we can assume that the origin of humans and the earth is not how it is described in the book of genesis. So, if you have to believe in a God, why should it be the Catholic God? Can it be any God? If it can be any God then you can believe in anything and at that point what's the difference between being open on believing in anything and believing on nothing? So, at the end, is there any use in believing in a God? To me, if it can be anything is just as useful as believing in nothing.

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  52. I simply believe in a creationary will that brought about the universe as we know it, and ultimately gave us life, and eventually, the thinking skills to question the nature of our existence, and ruminate over death and other things we can't know until our time comes.

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  53. Yes, I believe things that aren't scientific. And so does most everyone else (besides maybe some hardcore scientists who dismiss all of the soft sciences). Psychology isn't scientific, but (most) everyone believes in it. Socialogy is unscientific. History is unscientific (it relies purely on what old texts say). And even economics is unscientific since, obviously, you can't apply the scientific method to it.

    Not all of knowledge is scientific, but certainly doesn't mean that knowledge must be scientific to be valuable. As the philsopher AND scientist, Paul Feyerabend, said: all methodologies have its flaws. He also criticized other scientists for how they tried to mis-apply their own way of thinking to everything, even if it clearly doesn't benefit it. On a side note, he also criticized scientists for only accepting criticism that followed 'rules that science has set up for itself'. Essentially, only people fully indoctrinated into science have the right to criticize it. That's like saying on Christians can criticize Christianity, or Hindus Hinduism. You get the idea.

    Anyway, yes, its normal for people to believe something that isn't scientific, because not everything IS scientific. If we thought purely scientifically, then there would be no such thing as psychological treatment, history would be considered completely unknowable, and we would have NO theories on how society as a whole ( or any part of society) works.

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  54. "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite." — Bertrand Russell

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  55. I can think of a few reasons why belief in a god is more harmful than useful. However, I can understand why people believe in it.

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