When I was 12 or 13 years old, I thought Boy, I was sure lucky to be born into the one true faith!
. I had been raised in the Church of Christ
. Even then, when we would be taught how all other religions were incorrect, when I would conclude Boy, I was sure lucky to be born into the one true faith!
, something about that bothered me - we were such a small church
, and no one else in my school was a member, or even protestant
! Could I really believe that out of every place I could have been born, God
really decided to put me into a family that had it right?
I think I brought it up once to someone at church, but it was shot down pretty quickly.
Eventually, I realized that people of every religion must think this, that God has blessed them with parents who have already found the correct religion.
It's hard to justify.
My church was about half lifetime southerners, and half former alcoholics or divorcees. I can't remember a single person raised in a non-christian tradition. Many of the converts had fallen away when they were younger, and were now coming back because of their despair at modern American culture.
How many people convert to a drastically different religion? It doesn't seem like many.
Does every religious person thank god for sending them into the correct family? How can they keep believing that when people in contradictory religions believe the same thing, on the same reasoning, and yet both of them believe the other is wrong?
There is no logical difference in the form of the arguments used by both christians and muslims who believe this, yet they contradict each other. If either is right, somebody's gotta be wrong. But since their arguments are indistinguishable from each other, even being right doesn't help.
I don't have a problem with respecting your elders and continuing their traditions. However, I think that you get into trouble logically when those traditions are claiming to be uniquely right, and that other people's beliefs are wrong.
An example from math - say you have equations with two variables, say A and B. Sometimes equations have the property that you can switch the variables - rename the A's B, and the B's A, and then simplify, and you have the same equations you started with. With that as your only information, it's wrong to categorically state any difference between them. That is not to say that there really is no difference - difference is quite possible. It does say though that unless you get more information, you can't say anything about the one without saying the same thing about the other.
That's how I see the naive approach to religion - a naive Muslim and a naive Christian both believed what they were told and accepted it completely. They're like the variables. Both people claim a difference between the one they were given and the other, yet logically I can't find any difference.
The point is, naively accepting something is always wrong, since you won't be able to contradict someone who's naively accepted something contradictory to your belief.
And that is my problem with faith.