To begin, I would like to assert that each and every individual has the right to believe in any
and every deity or religion - no matter how fantastical or misguided
it may be - that they so please. If we can not agree on that
assertion, then there is no point in proceeding, as anyone's
interpretation of the divine seems as ignorant and ridiculous to
another, as the other's does to the first.
Since people base their faith simply on locally available literature,
combined with years of indoctrination during youth, it is safe to say
that firm belief in their god, is as valid as the belief of anyone else in
their own separate god, even if they are the same god, with a
To put it plainly, YOU are as entitled to your own beliefs as anyone
else in the world is to theirs, no matter how wrong you think they
are; because they probably think you are equally wrong, but must
accept your right to believe what you will, or negate their own.
With that being said, I am sad to inform you that no matter how firm
your belief in your religion/god/gods, or how strong the arguments
are in favor of it, it does not correspond to anything in reality, and
so can not be said to be true, as such. You may still continue
believing without fear of being an idiot, but you can not claim that
your belief, or religion is "True". It may seem "real" to you, and that
is fine, as it is your right to believe whatever your hearts desire.
But it is not true.
In order for something to be true, we must be able to assign it a
truth value. That is, we must be able to say it is true, or it is false.
For example, we could say that Snow is White. To verify the truth
value of this statement, we would reference our understanding of
each concept and then see if the proposed relationship between
them corresponds to the assertion. In my experience, Snow is
White, and so I can say the statement is True.
To have the understanding of concepts necessary to assign truth
value we must have an experience of them, which implies
knowledge of them. Using the same example as above, many
people live in regions that it does not snow. Therefore, even though
they may have a concept of White, they would not be able to say,
truthfully, that Snow is White. IT would be true, but they can not
claim knowledge of that fact, and so can not assign it a truth value.
Now I realize I'm going all over the place with this, but please just
try to follow the general idea, and everything will fall into place.
Knowledge is defined as a true justified belief, with an account.
Boy, that's pretty exciting isn't it? We've already discussed belief
and how one assigns a truth value, but to review....you can
"believe" whatever you want, but for it to be "true", you must have
an experience of it, in order to assign it truth value based on
concept comparison. The word justified in this case is used to
reinforce the need for the belief to be grounded in experience.
Having an account further reinforces the fact that, without a
justifiable experience with a concept, we can't have a true belief in
it. We may have a genuine belief in it, but not a True one. Many
people have written tomes on the concept I have summed up for
you in one paragraph. Plenty of other reading is available on it and
if any of them make more sense than mine, by all means substitute
it for the garbage I have fed you.
Back to the truth value thing. In order for us to claim something as
true, it must be falsifiable. That does not mean to make it false, but
to give it the opportunity to show itself to be false. If we wanted to
know if there was any truth to the statement "Unicorns existed once
on this earth", we could check the crust of the earth for fossil
evidence, like we have done with Dinosaurs and ancient civilizations.
We would be justified in believing that since we haven't found
evidence of unicorn remains amongst those ranging millions of
years ago to hundreds of years ago, it is unlikely that the statement
is True. We can believe in Unicorns, nonetheless, as we can
believe in santa claus, the tooth fairy, god, dragons or any other
fanciful notion. But again, belief does not make something true.
Although we can't prove the sun will rise each morning until it
happens, we are justified in believing it will based on our
experience. We can go so far as to say that it is true that the sun
will rise tomorrow. We need not prove each and every concept, but
may use the vast sums of knowledge built by the rest of mankind.
But it is important that you COULD prove each and every concept
you claim to have knowledge of.
Therefore, although we may believe anything we wish, including any
religion or in any god of our choosing, we can't claim that it is true,
or corresponds to anything in reality. We may not even be justified
in the belief, but can believe it anyway.
So before you kill someone for their religious beliefs, or for their
lack of belief in your system, please remember that none of it
corresponds to reality, and so your murder is madness.