Ah, Pascal’s Wager: You ask “What if I’m wrong?” Viewing the Bible rationally and measuring Apologist arguments logically leaves the possibility of being wrong so small that it might as well not exist at all.
There is the possibility that some kind of God does exist, and throughout history there have been thousands of different gods worshiped by humans. People worship the God of their tribe and call all other gods “false.” Personally, I believe that even if there is such a thing as a God, we wouldn’t be able to recognize it any more than an ant could recognize a whale. Such a God would be irrelevant.
As to local Gods, there is absolutely no proof that the God of the Bible exists. Every pro-God argument is either based on the Bible which is proven hearsay – and is rife with contradictions – or the arguments fall to belief or “faith.”
In a nutshell: how can the word of a Divine being contain contradictions, and how can there be multiple versions of the words of a Divine being? Every argument for the existence of the Biblical God can be refuted using the Bible, so arguments always come down to saying faith equals fact – but declaring something to be a fact when there’s absolutely no empirical or logical evidence is just insane.
Can beliefs be chosen? Not really. We gain beliefs through observation and thoughtful evaluation, and experience. Our experiences can involve many things, including indoctrination by others. When a person accepts Jesus into their life what they are really doing is succumbing to indoctrination. It feels like a choice, and in a way it is, but converts are not choosing to believe, they are choosing to agree.
Atheism is also not a choice: atheism is a conclusion.
Beliefs can be rational: we observe that apples fall from trees and never fall back up, so we believe gravity is real. The Sun has always come up in the East, so we believe it will come up in the East tomorrow. It even makes sense to believe in some imaginary things. Money is imaginary. Laws are imaginary. They are based on a shared belief in their value, and that belief enables civilized living.
Beliefs that are irrational are called “superstition.” We believe because we think those beliefs might give us some influence over our lives. Lucky horseshoes and rabbit’s feet, wearing a particular garment when playing sports, blowing on the dice when gambling, wearing a lucky tie when negotiating a contract, making the sign of the Cross for protection. Saying such things as: “Everything happens for a reason” or “What goes around comes around” are superstitious, meaningless salves.
Organized superstition is called religion, with regular meetings and dues paying members. Because the word “superstition” has negative connotations they call it “faith.”
The problem is that these superstitious organizations accumulate power. Power at the ballot box where they can sway elections in favor of people who share their particular bigotries. Representatives who push to have their particular superstitions taught in public schools, or press for legislation to siphon off school tax dollars to subsidize their religious teachings through vouchers. Churches operating tax-free while actively legislating for my tax dollars to proselytize their superstitions is offensive and disgusting.
I don’t care if people want to believe in nonsense. I do have an issue when they try to inject their superstitions into public discourse as if their beliefs have merit. Fortunately things are getting better as more and more people realize that Christianity is not only ridiculous, but is also destructive. The main qualities of Christianity are bigotry, hypocrisy, and more than anything: denial of the harmful nature of their beliefs.
I would hope Christians would resist indoctrinating their children, and allow them to examine different beliefs with an open mind, but that’s unlikely to happen because their egos won’t allow it. It’s their right to raise their children as they choose, but it’s not their right to indoctrinate other people’s children, and I have a problem when they persist.
As to being “wrong”: the Bible says those who are “saved” will spend eternity in Heaven praising God. What kind of independent man or woman would really want that? I might wish it on my worst enemy, but as for me, I am not a slave and I kiss no one’s ass – and I ask no one to kiss mine or anyone else’s.