Nobody is free to believe what they want (another reason the foundation of Christianity is flawed). You cannot choose. Choose to earnestly believe – right now – that you can fly like Superman. You cannot, because belief is NOT a choice. Everything is meaningless given eternity.
Let me add more!
Superman is a great line for talking about religion with adults. Though I have heard there was once a boy who thought he could fly like Superman after watching a cartoon, and he jumped off a roof and died. The cartoons persuaded him he lived in a cartoon reality and that’s why the truth matters!
That’s why I take umbrage whenever someone quotes Jesus, saying that with just a little faith you can tell mountains to move into the sea because the bible says that. To them I say, TRY IT! You know why so many gays and trans people understand religion but leave it anyway? It’s because they’ve prayed to God for things like to be straight, or to become a woman, and then nothing happened.
Regular people living comfortable lives don’t ever have to ask God for miracles, and therefore never are presented with natural evidence that God either doesn’t exist, or won’t answer the tiniest of requests like the bible says that he often did for characters in the bible stories. Regular boring people…are unchallenged, and tend to stay…regular boring people. As contrasted with Holocaust survivors and people who have led extraordinary lives. Extraordinary lives often have desperate situations where they pray for miracles and have them unanswered. Then they decide to stop ignoring their doubts, and begin to earnestly ask themselves why they weren’t answered in the hardest periods of their lives.
I find the claim that a person can pretend to believe in Jesus if they don’t believe it, just saying they have faith, especially funny. People form beliefs mostly unconsciously on the basis of evidence, prior experience and theories. A person cannot choose to have a belief they do not already hold. Even if a person chooses to think a certain way, (i.e. to frame their thoughts in positive thinking,) that’s only because they already have the belief that thinking in that way is in their best interest.
Nevertheless, it’s interesting how religious people from different religions have come to think untrue things.
Perhaps I’m not religious because I came to believe so strongly in the idea of pursuing six sigma that it changed me for a while. It made me think about how to improve my own internal thought processes to make fewer mistakes. I’ll never again accept the idea that we need to sit around and pray and wait for a savior to save us. I’ve prayed futilely, and I know no savior will ever come and build utopia for us. If we want to like civilized people then we have to build utopia ourselves! Isn’t that inspiring? It would be so meaningless if our struggles could have been prevented by a heavenly god at any time.
But we are creatures of the six sigma, meaning we’re creatures of perpetual self-improvement, who have struggled from our humblest origins for billions of years to get where we are today.
I prefer that epic system of belief any day over a claim that we were put here only 6,000 years ago. Or the concurrent assumption that dinosaurs didn’t exist, reign, and wage genocidal wars on one another for millions of years. I feel way more gratitude to my ancestors for not giving up than I possibly could feel as a theist, and way more connected to all the species on Earth than I would in a system where we were created separately from the rest with clay or dust.