I don’t believe in magic. We’re all muggles. This means I also don’t believe in voodoo, superstition, and curses. Oh , I don’t believe in any gods either, in case you were wondering.
“The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.” — Albert Einstein, January 3, 1954
I’m always amazed that humans who are otherwise rational, believe in religion. Think about this; If a woman walked up to you and said she was pregnant but never had sex (or in vitro), would you believe her or think she was just lying to cover up the promiscuity? Most everyone would say she was lying, but Christians supposedly believe that a woman 2000 years ago, was telling the truth.
Likewise, if someone claims to be the second coming of the messiah, we want to lock him in a loony bin. When people come face to face with something that is impossible, they dismiss it, yet they believe there was a virgin birth that produced a messiah, who could magically turn water to wine and bread into fish.
Even worse is the fact you can’t reason with these folks. Try this on them: Fact — there can be only one true religion, because what makes one religion different from another is incompatible beliefs. So, for the major religious divisions, it’s pretty obvious. Jews don’t believe Jesus was the son of God. So, Christianity and Judaism are in conflict. At most, one of those religions can be true.
We can go through every other major religion and point out that they conflict with each other on certain beliefs, sometimes minor, sometimes major. There are five major religions, but in total, there are over 4200 different religions if we looks at all the various ‘flavors’. For the sake of argument, let’s just assume there are 100 ‘flavors’ of religion that are significant and have incompatible beliefs. I picked that number to make the math easy but it would seem to be a reasonable minimum.
Given that each of these 100 flavors of religion is incompatible with the other 99, we therefore conclude that 99% of religions are false. And if 99% are false, then the chances are, none of them are the one true religion. Even if one is actually the true religion, there’s a 99% chance that the one an individual follows is the wrong one. There’s no methodology for choosing a religion, and no way to prove one is right. If by some chance, one actual true religion exists, there would be no way to know if you are following it and there’s a 99% chance that you aren’t. If adherence to the practices of the one true religion are required to attain a favorable status in some sort of afterlife, then most people are damned.
If you try to explain this to believers, they will insist that they follow the one true religion and all others are wrong. Just try asking them how they know this. “Oh, it’s my faith. I just know it.” and other bullshit is likely to spew from their mouths. When you point out to them that if they had been born in another country, or even just been born in another part of this country, they would be swearing a different religion was the true one.
I snicker when I see a believer trashing another religion. A sweet Catholic lady whom I know to be a kind and loving person, nonetheless lashed out at Unitarians, pointing out how (in her mind) ridiculous their religion was. I bit my tongue. I wanted to point out to her that followers of her faith were responsible for countless atrocities such as crusades, selling indulgences, the inquisition, and other silliness such as determining that condoms and pills are not acceptable forms of birth control, but the rhythm method is! Instead, I ignored her comment. You can’t win these arguments.
Increasingly, more people are questioning religious beliefs; Thinking people. And this makes the believers feel insecure, because deep down, most of them harbor doubt. Typically, the more boisterous someone is about his/her religion, the more doubt he/she feels. They don’t want others to doubt, because that fuels their own doubt.
It is because I don’t want to get involved in these no-win situations that I mostly keep my beliefs, well, lack thereof, to myself. I know others who also hide their lack of faith. In a way, I find it easier to tell someone I am gay than tell them I don’t believe in god(s). When I share my orientation, the religious will simply believe that I’m going to burn in hell for my sins, but it’s my problem, not theirs. But when I say I don’t believe in god, I’m directly challenging their beliefs. This causes an emotional reaction. And the more doubts they have, the worse their reactions typically are.
But just like each person who comes out as gay makes the world a slightly better place for gay folks, each non-believer who comes out makes it easier for the others of us to come out. Still, I keep it mostly to myself. Living in a deeply religious region makes it much more difficult and honestly, I have enough to deal with by living as an openly gay man. A wise boss of mine frequently offered the advice “Pick your battles wisely.”