The reason we arrive at different conclusions is because we have different minds, personalities, and backgrounds, which determine our fundamental beliefs. This amounts to the argument from the multiplicity of religions. How do we know which religion to “choose” when there are multiple ones, each one having millions of defenders claiming their way of thinking is best?

As the atheist Richard Dawkins says, he goes only one step further than every religious person, since everyone who subscribes to just one organized religion already disbelieves in every other religion and god. The atheist merely exercises the same doubt in that one last religion and god.

So the test is only of your imagination. Can you put yourself in the shoes of someone who grew up in a different country and who practically inherited the religion of his parents, which differs from the religion you likely inherited from your parents? Can you see how that foreigner had just as little choice in his culture and worldview as you had in receiving yours? Can you not see, then, how absurd is the religious idea of divine judgment of our beliefs?

Divine judgment of our actions might make sense (if there were a God), but having a belief isn’t an action you choose to take. The facts are as they are, the evidence is as you see it, and we can think and understand only as well as we can, based on the type of people we are and given our experience, our training, our skills, and many other factors.

Punishing a nonbeliever in a religion would be like punishing someone who never saw a mouse or an elephant, but who was taught growing up that mice are larger than elephants. It would be like punishing leaves for growing on trees, or punishing the sky for being blue rather than green. The punishment would be insane and the deity would hardly be worthy of worship.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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