Holding breath one more time.
C'mon, people. If there was a religion that actually reflected the real world, it would be accepted by everyone without a problem. No need for complicated, contradictory apologetic arguments. No need to "just shut up and believe" or "just have faith" or "fake it till you make it", or "pray ceaselessly" until something, anything, happens so that you can interpret it as a sign from your god. No need to try to persuade people with long, illogical parables, or analogies that defy analysis. No need to rely on short, pithy, bumper sticker slogans that fall apart under the slightest scrutiny.
The religion's explanations would be clear to anyone, even those whose "hearts are not open" and would explain the way the universe worked anywhere, anytime. If the religion said "do X something to get result Y something" you could always expect that X would give you Y, no matter what. If the religion said that saying certain magic words would cure disease, disease would be cured. All tests conducted using information provided by the religion would prove that religion's accuracy.
People who lived according to the rules provided by that religion would be obviously better off than those who did not follow the religion--by any and all measures. You would be able to clearly see the difference. They should be the people magically spared anytime a tornado or flood or hurricane hit. They should be happier, healthier, live longer, have better relationships with family and friends, no crime, no divorces, no car accidents, no money problems or whatever. Life should work better for them.
But what do we see when we look at the world? Nothing like what should be if any one of the major religions were true. Not a thing shows any improvement overall between people who follow a religion and people who don't. Just a long list of excuses as to why nothing
works the way the religion says it should. Access to clean water, enough food, good basic health care and education have far more to do with people's well-being than any
religion. There is certainly no evidence that Christianity helps people more than basic non-religious public services.
In fact, as we have pointed out numerous times to a resounding cricket noise, the places where more people claim to follow a religion, like the US south, inner cities and rural areas, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Brazil, India tend to be much worse off
than the places where more people are voluntarily secular or even atheist (US north, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Holland, Japan). More crime, sickness, family breakups, poverty, civil strife, general misery--even religious people are better off in the non-religious places
You would think that these facts, clearly stated, would be enough to end all religious claims. But no, we non-religious people have to fight for every social or scientific advance against people who seem to want the world to be worse off. We have to argue for common sense,, for science education, for human rights, for social services, for people to stop relying on magic
. We are the people who have to shut up or lose family, friends, jobs-- in some parts of the world, even our lives
And tomorrow, someone will see Zeus on a piece of meatloaf. Thousands will believe! Because when you have no facts on your side, magic is all that's left.