I started to leave a comment at this post: Do people cling to certain religions based on where they were raised? by The Isaiah 53:5 Project.
An objection to Christianity I hear all the time is one that suggests faith is based less on reason and truth and more on geography, cultural influences, and traditions. In other words, if a person were to grow up in America they would likely be a Christian while a person growing up in Baghdad will likely be a Muslim.
While this argument might seem to have some merit, its true goal is to cast doubt on the truth of Christianity and question the intellectual honesty or intelligence of believers who claim to believe in Christianity based on the truth of its claims. (continued here)
My intent was to reply to this comment.
“Surely, no one can take beliefs that were handed down to them by their parents seriously especially when there are so many religious options, can they?”
You took the words right out of my mouth. I think the vast majority of theists simply absorb the beliefs of their parents and never seriously question them. Those who eventually do question them, usually de-convert.unless coerced and threatened by their “belief system”.
Then, when my reply started to grow, I decided to make a post of it. So here it is.
@The Isaiah 53:5 Project
Surely, no one can take beliefs that were handed down to them by their parents seriously especially when there are so many religious options, can they?
History argues against the notion that people just believe what their parents believe. Contemplate the number of religious movements that have rapidly spread across large nations and even the globe. Sometimes they spread by word of mouth. Sometimes they spread with the aid of brute force, but spread they did and do.
Examples include widely diverse beliefs and ideologies such as Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Communism, Islam, Christianity, and…. Even within Christianity, we had the Protestant Reformation, and suddenly people wanted something different. When Martin Luther spoke of justification by faith, many understood the significance of those words, took them to heart, and struggled to put them into practice.
In the years that proceeded the birth of Jesus Christ, the Roman Empire, a pagan masterpiece, encompassed much of the known world. What is paganism? It was the science of the time, and it was the atheism of the time. When the Romans conquered a country, they adopted that nation’s gods. They add these new gods to their own and congratulated themselves as open-minded. To the minds of the Romans, the gods were tools they could manipulate. They did not really understand their gods, but much like the black boxes we call computers, they had instructions. Follow the instructions, make the proper sacrifices, flatter the gods correctly, and the gods performed.
The Jews? The Jews the Romans regarded as closed minded. Only one God? For similar reasons they detested the Christians. Yet both the Jews and the Christians survived the hatred of the Romans.
Why does Christianity seem to be floundering in our time? We have been taught to judge a thing by how well it works for us. Earlier generations understood God permits no such nonsense. God is our Father, and we are His children. Commonsense demands obey Him. When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, He freed us to serve (1 Corinthians 7:21-24), not to be God.
God demands we serve Him without reservation, and that sounds scary. Hence, we study the Bible reluctantly, and we send our children to public schools where the Bible is a dreaded and abhorred competitor (Politicians want our hearts, minds, and souls too.). Instead of learning about the Bible and its influence of upon the events of the last two millennia, we allow strangers to teach our children to pretend they know what it is in the Bible and to pretend it does not matter. Thus, we get atheists, open-minded souls who howl about the closed-minded, superstitious Christians. Thus, we get atheists who argue among themselves over the best approach to extinguishing Christianity.
Should be easy to convert everyone to militant atheism, right? Isn’t Atheism the one true faith? Yet for some reason, Christianity stubbornly persists. Why? Atheist converts are not converts to anything. They are still what they were before.When people deconvert from Christianity, it is because they never Christian converts.