This is my first time to this site, and I liked all the comments. I figured I'd write something.
As I read the comments, it reminds me of the Christians I know in my life (my family for example).
From my experience, it's not the evidence that causes them to believe so much as being born into it, and then believing God has changed their life, or "blessed" it somehow.
It's like giving someone a magic pill, and telling them this has great power, and it will help you if you just believe. So they do, and they work hard, and lo and behold, they change!! And they keep on believing in this power pill and sharing the Good News to all, and you just want to wake them up and tell them its not real.
Like God, why can't they see what seems so obvious?
And for the most part, this may not be harmful to them or those around them. It might actually continue to be beneficial. So why speak out against it? Because when you look at the big picture, it becomes dangerous. Because entire lives are built on false reasoning. People's priorities become skewed. And these people can make choices based on false presumptions, that effect all of us.
One, albeit fanciful, example: What if we find out that a comet is going to destroy Earth 10 years from now. What will we as a human race do? I would worry that all the God/afterlife believers would jump at the chance to "save" as many souls as possible, seeing the comet as God's plan, and there is no need to worry for he has everything in control. Where as unbelievers as a whole would be more inclined to find a way to save the planet.
Sure, Christians can do good things, so can non-Christians. It's not about the good that happens, it's about the bad that happens BECAUSE of religion. And when these bad things happen, religion doesn't seek to change.
In my opinion, many people use God as a temporary fix. Whether its because they need a greater purpose, or social need or [insert common human condition here]. They have some need, and don't have the right tools to fix it (or don't bother to look), so they find a God to fit this need. And there ARE tools out there, to fix it right, but it might take some time and some study. God is a temp-fix, duck tape at best.
I was a Christian for a number of years. One side of my family has four generations of Pastors, with a couple of ministers on the other side too. My whole family worked (and some still work) for the church. But thankfully I questioned. I love science and logic and it was only a matter of time before I finally put religion to the test. It took me a good 5 years of further reading, studying and questioning before I was able to have a strong foundation in which to live my life. But that doesn't mean I've stopped questioning or searching.
It was scary, and it was new to me, but the more I saw the truth the stronger I felt. As a Christian, you feel you have it all together, like you are strong and unshakable. You think the non-Christians are lost, with no purpose. But for most free-thinkers, rationalists, atheists, this isn't true.
When Christians ask me, "How can you be moral when you don't believe in God?" or "If you don't believe in God, what's the point, why don't you just kill yourself?" it tells me their mind and reasoning is in a bad place. In my opinion, this is why so many of the deconverted feel more free. We can look at things like death, morals, suffering, pleasure, family, self, life, ect., and see things how they really are -- the real truth to these things as we know it now. I can give good, reality-based reasons to why I don't steal or hurt others, rather than, "Because God said so, and I love God."
I don't know it all, and I can admit that. No one knows it all. But that's no reason to assume there must be a God out there.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)