“Doesn’t the vast majority of people believe in God…?” – You’ve probably heard this overwhelming argument in one of your endless debates with some religious preachers.
The calculation made by our conversational partners is quite clear: Let’s add the number of Christians worldwide (say, about 2 billion) to the number of Muslims worldwide (some 2 billion more) and add the number of Jews in the world (a few more millions). Together we have a considerable number of people. We may also add all kinds of people from other cultures, who believe that their religious rituals are directed towards the “Creator of the Universe”. Altogether, we now have most of humanity – more or less – in our hands.
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Given this form of calculation, most people also believe that Asians are smarter than Europeans. Simply put: An overwhelming majority of people naturally believe that they are smarter than others. Since most people in the world are Asians… you can do the math yourself. Most of mankind also believes that bowing towards the East is good for them: On one hand, billions of Muslims pray this way, and on the other hand, billions of Asians do it out of politeness, while they are already… in the East.
However, the bowing of Palestinians on the Temple Mount is not the same as the bowing of samurai in Tokyo. Similarly, God’s law for Paul from Italy is totally different than God’s law for Moishe from Jerusalem. The former checks that his people baptize their babies while the latter checks that they don’t eat cheeseburgers, God forbid. One rests on Sunday, the other rests on Saturday. One has a son born of a woman’s womb, the other is childless. It is quite impossible for the same entity to possess all these qualities at the same time!
If you really think about it, a similar comparison can be made between, say, the Greek Zeus and, say, the Muslim Allah. Although both love animal sacrifices, the former has a large family, while the latter is content with angelic friends.
In fact, the division into “Christians, Muslims, Jews” is extremely artificial. The Shiite Allah likes people to beat themselves once a year until they bleed and rejects later traditions of the Qur’an. The Sunni Allah promotes later traditions to the Qur’an. The God of the Jewish Hasidic Satmar community holds the Zionists as heretics and will punish them when they reach the heavens. The God of the Jewish “Bnei Akiva” youth movement likes the Zionists very much. In principle, these cannot all be “the same one”, even if in this case their names are all but different evolutions of the same ancient Phoenician ‘El’.
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Even two Jewish Vizhnitz followers don’t exactly believe in the same God either. Each one of them – in their mind – is a person with a complete worldview of their own, which is different from all the others. There is no way both exactly imagine the same god, not to mention the same heaven or hell or messiah. The number of gods is therefore at least the number of people who believe in gods. Considering all those who change their opinions from one day to another, the split personalities and the polytheists – the number is probably much larger.
“Doesn’t the vast majority of people believe in God…?” – What a joke.