Conclusion

Back to the Life-21 home page

There are dozens of major religions and thousands of minor ones and variations on the major ones. When looked at objectively, none stands out as having a unique claim to the truth. Certainly, there are many many things about Christianity as recorded in the bible which don't make sense, are self-contradictory or which are contrary to what we know of the world and more in keeping with iron-age ideas. Other religions seem to be no better.

Warrior  

It should be expected that if there is a god of the whole universe, then everyone on Earth should be exposed to the same religion. Instead, one's religion seems to be mainly determined by that of one's parents and community, which in turn is determined by where one is born. If you grew up in the Middle East, you would probably be convinced that Islam is the truth. If you grew up in America, you would probably be convinced that Christianity is the truth. If you grew up in China, you would probably be convinced that both these views are wrong. Beliefs depending on that of one's community is more compatible with the idea that religion is the result of indoctrination than that it is the result of divine grace and guidance. Also one would expect that the god would provide us with reliable information on the nature of our world and what is required of us to satisfy the god's requirements.

The most common alternative to a religious view of the world is the materialist view held by most scientists. While there have always been and still are questions that science hasn't yet been able to answer, there is nothing that has been reliably reported about the world that contradicts the scientific model or that requires the existence of a soul or a god.

If one takes an objective and informed perspective on whether the materialist view is adequate or a theistic view is necessary, one is likely to see the materialist view as adequate. Even if one concludes that the theistic view is necessary, one has no way of knowing which of the numerous religions is the right one. And most religions say that most of the others are false, not the way the god wants us to go and leading to damnation rather than reward. The luck of our place of birth is not a reliable indication of which religion is right, though most religious people of all persuasions still tend to be convinced that the religion prevalent in the community is the true one.

One reason for this is that we tend to be indoctrinated into the religion from a young age and such indoctrination forms a very stable part of our psyche which is hard to shake off later. Another reason is that looking at other possibilites risks denting one's faith and, with most religions, faith is more important than knowledge. In many cases it also risks rejection and reprisals by one's community and family. In some countries, doubting the official religion is punishable by death.

Those who do consider possibilities beyond what they were brought up with and are prepared to look at evidence against that view and in favour of other views are likely to realise that there are many religions with equal claim to the truth and nothing to pick between them. However, there is really only one materialist view which, with the exception of a few minor details, nearly everyone who takes that view accepts.

Those who are convinced by and happy in their chosen religion and who have no desire to consider other possibilities are often very comfortable in their position in the green zone of the confidence spectrum. They have confidence that there will be a life after death and that it will be pleasant.

Spectrum of beliefs  

Those who are happy that the materialist view of life is the correct one tend to be happy and comfortable in their position in the blue zone. Even if they consider that they might be wrong, if they have looked closely at Christianity, they might realise that there is nothing they can do to change their fate anyway. So there is no point in worrying about it. In general, the chances of that being the case are acceptably small and so do not disturnb their comfort.

Those in the red zone, people who have a religious background but have doubts about its truth, tend to be less comfortable. Many religions have a hell which is unimaginably awful for those without due faith. The thought that one's inadequate faith might cause one to end up in that hell can be quite scary. This site hopefully provides ideas which can help such people move out of that red zone into the blue zone with its comfort and peace of mind.

Top of this page          Life-21 home page

Image Acknowledgements

God: Gratis Graphics