This is one fun thread! Thank you for sticking with it, skeptic54768. You are all the way live
, as we used to say back in the day, back in the Hood.
I am getting a bit of JW vibe from you, esp. with the stuff about demons making people believe false religions, not wearing crosses, and seeing satanic symbols everywhere. I was a JW from birth until I started thinking about it all. What I realize now is that if there was one true powerful god-being who really wanted everyone to know about it, everyone would know about it! How could it be otherwise? Why the need for convoluted explanations about god letting demons trick people into hell and so on?
There would be no way the world would look like it does--with most humans coming from polytheistic tribal backgrounds, if one god really existed. There would not be any need for missionaries going around telling people about the one god. We would all know about this one god automatically, the way everyone knows about the sun and the moon.
Maybe we would not all choose to worship it, but we would all know it existed. How could there be false religions, atheists or people changing from the one true faith to anything else? That would only happen if 1) god wanted it to happen or 2) there is no god.
When I lived in different countries, I studied up on lots of different religious traditions, and figured out that they were all wrong. I stopped believing in all supernatural beings, because there is no good evidence that any exist. I will attend just about anyone's religious service and am willing to listen to anyone's spiel. But it better have good evidence if you expect me to think it is true.
One big thing that made me doubt the Jesus, was meeting so many good and kind people in non-Christian cultures. There are honest, devout Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, pagans, wiccans, Rastas, santeros and vodun believers-- all of whom share the same basic human values. They love their kids and want them to have good lives. They want good health. They want to live in a peaceful and prosperous society. And they try to make this happen.
Even though most religions say that this life is not the main one and there is an even more important afterlife, nobody acts like they really think this
. Nobody is in a big hurry to get to the next life.
In reality, everyone acts as though this is the only life they will get. Thank Shango.
Only Christians and Muslims bother to proselytize to others. The rest basically leave you alone to do your thing, or even combine several religions with no problem. The result is that there are very few actual rule-by-religion countries on the planet and few people want to live in one. Thank Thor.
What I have found is that people are basically smart, funny and decent, in spite of the silly, ignorant and contradictory stuff they claim to believe. No matter what their god(s) tell them to do, people don't generally go around robbing, enslaving, raping or killing others. All societies have made those things illegal in spite of their barbaric ancient religious texts and in fact, most people live almost as if they were atheists......