I have been an atheist my entire life, even though I grew up in a devout Seventh Day Adventist home. Almost my entire family is still with the church. This gives me a unique view of "faith". The believers I know share a common lack of intellectual curiousity. They certainly don't want to be confused with facts.
Let's assume for a minute that their god exists. This god created and looks after a universe with possibly 1,000,000,000,000 stars. Despite this, he is able to help his believers choose a mate, listen to their prayers and look after their every need. For reasons known only to them, he simply ignores the fact that about 29,000 innocent children die every day from preventable causes.
This god they have invented for themselves is either completely powerless or a complete asshole. You have to be an idiot to believe in this god.
I particularly resonate with the "choose a mate" part because of the Christian Mingles TV ads. These guys actually run your profile through computers and seek out profiles of others who are similar to you, but the TV ads say that your mate has been chosen by God. Isn't that special?! The late George Carlin couldn't for the life of him figure out why anyone would fight a war claiming "God's on our side" because, hey, what makes us so special? Lincoln said the same thing after a battle, that both sides were claiming God as their benefactor, pointing out the folly of it all. (Lincoln was an atheist. Friends record as much, but of course he had to keep it hush hush for political reasons. And because of that spendthrift haridan shrew, Mary Todd.)
New Age type beliefs are fairly similar. I have often heard people going on about how they "put out their intentions to the universe" to find their ideal romantic partner, then the "miracle" happens and they find someone they are happy with, courtesy of the universe. And yet, while the "universe" is arranging some lucky person's love life, it also neglects to feed starving children or heal preventable diseases. Personally, I find it extraordinarily egocentric for someone to think the universe is taking a special interest in making them happy when there are abundant examples of people whose basic human needs the universe seems to have forgotten.
I find most forms of religion egocentric. The reason for this is fairly simple. Why would one invent a god for someone else's use? Even their seeming altruism is selfish. It's intended to insure one's place in the afterlife they believe awaits those who do "good".
You got it booklover, nothing more to be said!
You know, I've often thought to myself, I should really start a religion of some sort. I mean, tax free status, no real overhead (how much does promising "salvation" cost), rubes shelling out their hard earned money to you to buy their way into heaven, convincing battered women and desperate parents of drug addicts that it's part of god's plan, and lining my pockets with the elderly's social security money that should have gone to pay for medicine.
On second thought, even though I've really done a lot of rotten shit in my life, I just can't bring myself to be that immoral.
I am struggling with this between some family members. And, I do not want to admit that I don't believe anymore, because I don't want them to waste their time praying for me, and I don't want to waste any more of my time trying to explain science to them anymore. They are happy as a clam to just believe as they are told, and not search into why they should or should not. I couldn't even explain to them the difference between a scientific fact and a belief. They called it my beliefs.