I wasn't always atheist. When I first began to question my religion, I decided to start writing down my thoughts, so I wouldn't be able to take them back or forget about them later. This is what I wrote at the exact moment that my mind, then in turmoil, managed to purge itself of religion. I no longer believe that "everyone I love is an idiot," but it's quite humorous for me to read back over it now. At the time it was a huge, difficult step. It's interesting to see religion try to fight back about halfway through my rambling, but it just couldn't compete with solid logic.
Now, in books and on this site, it's amazing to read how many ideas I had on my own that so many other people also had, completely independently of me. Regardless of the path you took, we all arrived at the exact same conclusion, which is saying something in itself.
Here it is for your reading pleasure:
For the sake of argument, let us assume that one of the following religions is actually correct: Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. These religions are arguably similar in some ways, but they all have major differences as well. I think it is safe to say that these religions are different enough such that no more than one of them can be totally correct at the same time. So by using logical rules, you can conclude that two out of these three religions (at the very least) actually have to be utterly false. This means that regardless of what the actual truth is, there are billions of people out there that have devoted their hearts and minds to entire religions that are entirely incorrect. That statement is a fact, and the only thing that might save these "misguided" people now is if the "true God" admires their sincere attempt at being spiritual and grants them some kind of pardon for it. Otherwise, these people are making fools of themselves by following their incorrect religion, and may even suffer an eternity of damnation for their trouble. It doesn't matter that they believe with total sincerity or that their religion has thousands of years of history and tradition. When you're wrong, you're just wrong. I don't know who is wrong exactly, but it's definitely possible to be wrong, and that is something that none of us ever consider. At least two thirds of all religious people are completely wasting their time. Just knowing this, it seems like we (Christians) would be wise to take a look at our own religion and start to question its validity. What exactly is it that makes this true again? Who first convinced you? Did you know a guy who knew Jesus or something? I don't. I'm just going on what my grandfather told me. The ludicrous part is that no one who is religious is actually trying to verify it. That sort of second-guessing would be considered a major chink in their faith armor. "You must have faith," they all say. Faith by itself is a very noble concept, but taking an idea that is already false and believing in it more sincerely is not going to automatically make it true. Don't we need to make sure the idea is true first before we affirm our belief in it?
To be clear, I don't claim to have the universe figured out, and I don't even have a decent alternate theory for how anything can exist without a creator. Not to mention, if the creator is skilled enough to be able to create everything, I'm fairly certain he's skilled enough to be able to hide himself from me if that is what he really wanted to do. Frankly, if I had an ant farm, I wouldn't spend time meddling with it. I'd want to see what the ants could do on their own, and the ants would not be able to determine whether I was a part of their universe even if they tried. By the same logic, I couldn't, in my right mind, blame the ants if they did not know about me, worship me, or include me in their daily lives. God is certainly welcome to display his glorious existence to me at any time, but I can no longer float this idea on faith alone. The idea of faith itself being a requirement to get into heaven is essentially blackmail by the church. I finally cornered my most religious friend, whom I have known for 25 years, asked him directly, "Why do we have faith?" He's a patient guy. Smart too. He calmly gave me his answer: Because not having faith is to not believe in God. Failure to believe is sinning in the eyes of God. Great. Now let me break down what just happened into simpler pieces until it is crystal clear. I told him that I am having trouble believing in God. Then he told me that I should believe anyway. Then I asked why. The answer I received is because that is what God wants. But didn't I just tell you, not ten seconds ago, that I might have a problem believing in God to begin with? You can't tell me that I should believe in God because that is what God wants. That is blatant circular logic. We have a MAJOR problem here. How are so many people wrong? Am I the only person here who isn't an idiot? Everyone I love is an idiot. I am extremely confused right now, and I feel like I am holding something that is turning to dust in my hands.