Just a short one today… I was amazed at a share on an atheist Facebook group recently, where the person tried to rebut the often-used atheist argument (according to him) that there are many different denominations of each religion, by suggesting that all those other denominations were created by the devil.
Really? I don’t think he thought it through. When I was still a believer (many years ago), there was one thing that always haunted me: How can I believe that my religion is right, when the only difference between myself and others is that I was born into it?
That was the one aspect of my religion that I thought about the most. I thought about it every day. Oh, I tried not to. I tried to cherry-pick just like everybody else who went to Mass. I tried to pick out the sweet sermons of Father Tom, our parish priest who liked to preach about love. He was a great priest, someone that others could learn from, and he could say more in five minutes than someone whose sermon lasted for forty five minutes. So I tried to cherry-pick the good bits out of my religion just like everybody around me, but I could not.
I’d wake up the next day and think about it again… “I’m Roman Catholic”, I’d tell myself. “The one true faith”, I’d tell myself. “But what if I wasn’t? What if I’d been born Jewish? What if I’d been born Muslim? Wouldn’t I be just as sure about that religion?” It didn’t occur to me to ask my parents, or the priest, because I knew what they would tell me. I also knew what the clergy of some other religion would tell me: That theirs is the true religion. And they would be every bit as sincere and sure of themselves as Father Tom.
That was the beginning of my freedom from indoctrination. The one little thought that planted so very much doubt, it could not be ignored. There is only one answer to those questions I asked myself as a teenager: No religion is right. All gods ever worshipped by man were created by man. To hang onto your indoctrination, despite knowing logically that it makes no sense, requires rationalization that can only come from a madman like the man who posted that nonsense on Facebook. I’m not saying it’s easy… To let go of years of brainwashing is exceptionally difficult, but to go ahead and believe that your religion is right but every other religion is wrong… that’s not only stupid, it is also arrogant.