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Each religion holds critical beliefs that are utterly incompatible with the others. How do we know which we should believe? If having the wrong ideas leads to eternal suffering, we need to know which ones are right.
There are about 2.2 billion Christians on this planet. In order to be identified as a Christian, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he was raised from the dead and that his death offers eternal salvation to all of mankind.
If people don't accept these basic ideas, they really cannot call themselves Christians.
Most Christians believe the biblical stories about Jesus to be literal, historical truth. However, Earth contains more than 7 billion people, meaning that a large majority do not believe these ideas about Jesus.
How can it be that so few have this vital knowledge? Does it make sense that a majority of the world's people could be condemned to eternal despair simply due to geography?
There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. They believe that Jesus was a lesser prophet than Mohammed, and that God's true word is revealed only through Mohammed. Though they believe in essentially the same God, they have very different ideas about how he wants us to live in order to be accepted into heaven.
There are about 13 million Jews in the world, and none of them believes that Jesus Christ was the Son of God or that his death gives us eternal salvation. They believe he was a false messiah and that the true messiah has not yet come.
Islam, Judaism and Christianity therefore have irreconcilable, non-negotiable ideas about the divinity of Jesus Christ. They cannot all be right.
There are about 1 billion Hindus on this planet, and they do not believe Jesus was a divine being. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions on the planet, predating all the monotheistic religions by centuries. Its followers believe we are reincarnated to live on Earth over and over again. Hindu belief spans monotheism, polytheism and atheism, clearly an irresolvable conflict with Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
There are about 500 million Buddhists in the world, and none of them believes in a personal God. They are, therefore, atheist by definition. They do not believe that humans possess an eternal soul. They believe in reincarnation, which is irreconcilable with the beliefs of the monotheistic majority. Buddhism predates those religions by centuries.
There are about 500 million Taoists and Confucianists in the world, and none of them believes in a personal God or the central ideas of Christianity. They identify with multiple gods, but they believe death is final and irrevocable. Consequently, the idea of salvation has no meaning for them.
There are innumerable other religions, each with their own ideas about our origins and our fate. Does it make sense that something as important as the knowledge of the fate of mankind would be revealed to only a minority, and that the knowledge is not verifiable, but available only through word of mouth?
Any sufficiently advanced society in the world could verify the speed of light and the basic laws of planetary motion. Anthropologists of any culture could discover the fact of evolution in the fossil record. Anyone could derive the Pythagorean theorem from simpler mathematics. Such concepts, independently verifiable by anyone of any culture or age, are very likely to be true.
The world's religions, on the other hand, are mutually incompatible with one another. Therefore, they cannot all be correct. However, they can all be wrong.
From the dawn of human consciousness, we have sought answers to the big questions of why we are here and where we are going. However, we must remain humble enough to say that we simply do not know. No other answer is supported by evidence, and any claim to specific knowledge will be opposed by a majority of the world's people. It then comes down to faith.
Where faith is concerned, I agree with the co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker, when he said, "Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits."
Do you agree with any of this, none of this why or why not?
Answer by KristiS11384 at 3:43 PM on Oct. 2, 2012
Answer by Farmlady09 at 5:50 PM on Sep. 30, 2012
Where faith is concerned, I agree with the co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker, when he said, "Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits
Also this paragraph is a "cop-out" by the writer who is basically doing the same thing he finds wrong with world religions. By not acknowledging that peoples beliefs are complex and others have given as much thought to their belief system as the writer has. He is condescending the same thing he accuses religion of being. He doesn't have to agree with my beliefs but he clearly doesn't understand why I believe what I do either.
Answer by RyansMom001 at 4:28 PM on Sep. 30, 2012
Answer by adnilm at 4:07 PM on Sep. 30, 2012
Answer by Dardenella at 5:15 PM on Sep. 30, 2012
Answer by NotPanicking at 3:13 PM on Oct. 1, 2012
Answer by Nimue930 at 4:14 PM on Sep. 30, 2012
Individuals are like that to. If you hold a certain belief it's because you think this belief is correct, or you wouldn't believe it.
I think you can hold a belief and still acknowledge that others feel just as strongly about their beliefs. Many world religions follow this philosophy, individuals in a religion might not.
Answer by RyansMom001 at 4:14 PM on Sep. 30, 2012
Answer by Nimue930 at 12:39 PM on Oct. 1, 2012
Answer by KristiS11384 at 6:19 PM on Oct. 1, 2012