I am actually a believer but I think I can add some food for thought to your suggestion to Leonardo.
The fact is - people should not choose to believe in God just in case he happens to be there when they die to judge them. Religions sell this idea to people every day and I think it is wrong to appeal to people's fear. The people who may be converted to "believe" in God are really only doing what they believe they can to stop being afraid of death - that is not the same as TRULY believing in God.
Now, if you do not believe in God and you die and discover there is a God - well, let's give him/her a little bit of credit - a God, by definition knows far more about what goes on in our hearts and minds than we do and I for one would trust him to recognise a sincere person who believed only what his conscience and evidence allowed him to believe - I don't think it is relevant to think a non-believer would be punished for not knowing any better - this is not a popular position amongst believers but I personally stand firmly by it.
In summary - a person who believes in God because they are afraid of punishment from God if they fail to believe is someone who believes in self preservation at all costs only - it is not a belief in God at all, it is fear hiding as belief.
As I said, those are just my opinions and offered as food for thought.
Yes I do agree with you that by definition a God knows far more and I do believe that God does know everything. I do however believe that you are incorrect in stating that he will recognise the person who's conscience and evidence allowed him to believe. I believe that every single person on this earth was born with the already imprinted map to what is right and what is wrong, we've known this since birth (that is why the tree that Adam and Eve ate from was called the Tree Of KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, if they did not eat from it, we would not have had this knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil has already been with us for millions of years). Remember when you were small and you did something wrong, you knew that it was wrong even before you were told that it was. All humans have been born with this imprint. I firmly believe that the person who says that he did not know that he was wrong is lying and that to me is self preservation of which I also believe all humans where born with.
To your second answer - I do believe that you should fear God's punishment. You feared (and by that I mean, you feared getting a hiding because you did something wrong) but you also loved your own father. I believe it is the same with our Heavenly Father and no, it is not selling that to the non-believer, I do believe that to be fact and to that I stand firm in my belief that God should be feared, that is why He is God.
But then again, it might be only me that believe this, and that is my opinion.
Edited by chiole, 19 April 2012 - 07:36 AM.