Let’s imagine we’re sitting together having a relaxed, honest and open discussion about religion. On the table is a huge stack of white index cards and on each index card is one of thousands of different religions, gods, belief systems, along with arguments for believing in that particular religion or god. Maybe a card has a current religion, or maybe it has a older religion that no one believes in any more, or is largely forgotten. It doesn’t matter – the point is that they’re all here in this great big stack, except for the ones that you believe in – you religion’s not in this stack.
One at a time, I draw up a card and I read you the religion and god and arguments for why you should believe in it and you respond with the reasons you dismiss the arguments and why you don’t believe the religion or god, and I’ll write the responses down.
So we go through every argument ever made for every other religion, their gods, supposed holy books, witnesses, miracles, profits, saviours, prophecies, testimonies, answered prayers, faith claims, affects for good, archeological support; whatever the argument, we go through it. We note all your counter arguments and dismissals on the back on each card.
It won’t take long before we realize that there is a pattern. Your argument for dismissing one religion will likely be similar to a previous answer. We won’t need to write anything down any more – we can just refer back to a previous argument.
Once we get to the bottom of the stack, I take another card out of my pocket. This card has your religion and god on them, and all the arguments that you think support them. We go through that card and they are refuted referring back to arguments you made before, just as we did with all the previous cards.
The fact is that you’re an atheist in regards to thousands of other religions and gods. You already know everything there is to know about dismissing religious arguments. You’re an expert already. You rationally dismiss thousands of other religions or gods just like any atheist does. The difference is you don’t turn that critical side of your mind to your own beliefs.
This realization is all anyone needs to know to recognize their faith doesn’t stand up any more. It’s just question of how honest you can be with yourself.