Prevalent belief, no surprise
I just recently heard something on a podcast that made me think, it really is no surprise that belief is so prevalent. The person said that when he was young he tried believing “like everyone around him did”. I must say that even I as a 2nd generation atheist in a country that is really not that religious also at some point in my life tried belief thing, not much and it certainly didn’t stick but my mind was open to it. Now any company would love the chance to get 100% of the population to try their product, by chance alone a significant portion of the population will buy (into) it, add peer pressure/power/influence/indoctrination/reward/fear and imho it’s no wonder that the majority believe in god.
Just a thought.
I’d say that one of the biggest problems is that not only are most people never trained to think in a logical manner, they are (as you imply) actively encouraged not to. There are many groups that have something to gain from people not looking too closely at facts or asking tough-to-answer questions.
Parents lie to their children and expect to be believed or react negatively when something they say is questioned. Schools spend a great deal of time giving information and very little time telling students what to do with that information, and certainly do not react well to those who ask questions, do not automatically accept the word of an authority, or reach conclusions other than the “right” conclusion. Even the news presents subjects with bias far more often than journalistic ethics should allow and expects to be simply believed. I won’t even get into advertisers.
Lack of knowledge of how to have an intelligent conversation is epidemic.
In my own experience, my questioning of religion was met by responses that did more to ask why I “hated” the church or “rejected” my parents than answer my questions. I was told that there were certain kinds of questions one shouldn’t ask, and that there were specific “correct” ways one should read religious books. I was told that the answers to my questions were within my heart, but when my heart gave me the “wrong” answers I either wasn’t trying hard enough or I was being deceived by Satan. I was warned that I shouldn’t read books that disagreed with accepted belief because “whenever [anyone] reads a book, they end up believing that what it says is true.”
It’s all very frustrating, and it makes life that much harder for those of us who encourage critical thinking. I’ve had people tell me that it won’t matter to them if their beliefs are logical or not unless I can show where the Bible says that people must be logical. I’ve seen people completely unphased when their beliefs are self contradictory. I’ve — on far too many occasions — been confronted by people who insist that their argument is correct because it reaches the conclusion they want to reach, even though they admit that the argument is fatally flawed. The average person doesn’t even draw a strong line between truth and opinion.
Depressing, isn’t it?