Do believers really believe? I think most of them don’t. If most religious people really believed what they profess, the world would look a lot different and they’d act a lot different!
It takes an awful lot of cognitive dissonance for the religious to still believe in a loving god that personally cares for humanity, when they switch on the news and see millions starving to death; children being abused and killed; natural disasters devastating homes and lives; crime and violence on the rise. The planet we live on has absolutely no deference for human life. It is humans that must manipulate the earth in order to improve quality of life; (there is nothing more unnatural than farming). All this on a planet that was “made” for humans; all this whilst a loving wise father watches over and allows it to happen. The believer must accept all the facts of this world, whilst contradictorily believing the unbelievable.
This is because religious belief is a warm security blanket stowed away in a mental closet of the believing mind. It is an artificial contrivance of man. It is the product of ancient fears and superstitions, given a story and a name. It provides comfort and home, but at a price: the deferment of reason. The faithful are classic exponents of the Orwellian doublethink: holding two pieces of “knowledge” simultaneously whilst concurrently acknowledging subconsciously that both cannot be true. E.g.: being a geologist or biologist or cosmologist yet believing that the earth was created 6000 years ago. A triter example: having friends and acquaintances that you care for and respect, whilst fully believing they’re depraved sinners who are going to be killed by god. Yet another example: knowing the world is ending soon or Christ is returning etc, yet working a full time job and having a career; making friends, buying that new TV or house; or taking out pensions and retirement plans.
You see, if believers really believed they were allies with god and the things of this world were fleeting, and that they were protagonists in a grand universal battle between good and evil, it would be impossible to live each day like a normal person! But quite simply, the average believer does just want to live each day this way, but cannot bear giving up their cherish delusions. So, they cheat! They live their lives as if their beliefs were not real, yet simultaneously holding that they are!
If you really thought that god was on your side and had a plan for mankind, and that the good were to be saved and the wicked would get their comeuppance, why would other peoples’ lives bother you so much? Isn’t it enough to know that you have the truth and have found the right god, instead of forcing that belief on everyone else? If homosexuals and atheists and abortionists etc are wicked and sinful, then doesn’t your god have a plan for them? Why would you want to have the laws of the land changed, and preach hate and punishment for those your god disapproves of? Or can’t your god fight his own battles?
No, believers cannot keep their beliefs to themselves because of one thing: doubt. If they were utterly convinced and had total pure irrational 100% faith in their religion, they would mind their own business and not bother anyone. But because their beliefs are comforting ideas that they wheel in and out of their minds when necessary, doubt is the eternal splinter. As a result, they cannot abide those who disagree with them. Anyone who doubts is a threat to their belief, which is why believers are obsessed with ‘heathens’ and ‘infidels’. In trying to silence or destroy the opposition, they’re really trying to allay the contradictory voices of doubt in their own head. After all, what does it matter if you believe in a flat/young earth, co-existing humans and dinosaurs, special creation, intelligent design, transubstantiation, the superiority of men over women, angels, demons, ghosts, gods, spirits, immaculate conceptions, or the tooth fairy, if there is no one left to disagree with you?!
If the religious really believed those things and had nothing to fear, those who disagreed or disbelieved would be irrelevant! But the religious cannot stand disbelief in any form, especially atheism, because atheism is the embodiment of their greatest fear: losing the comforting mental blanket they can pull out of a mental compartment and wrap themselves up in. This is why religion is so intolerant of difference, and so repulsed by disbelief. It is why children are brainwashed from as soon as they can talk. It is why religion tries to control every part of human life from diet to sexuality, because one little bit of freedom leads to another, and eventually the liberated mind will discover non-belief naturally.
But what does the truth have to fear? The only thing the truth should fear is censorship. So, let me ask you: what represents the side of inquiry and freedom? Is it religion, or is it atheism?
Those who are that desperate to convince others of their beliefs are really just trying to convince themselves.