There is a common argument against religious belief that points out the diversity of religious beliefs available. People everywhere almost invariably have supernatural beliefs, but they also believe in all sorts of different religions. Most people follow the faith they were born into. And even though such an accidental circumstance largely determines their faith, they also are very often confident that they have the One True Faith and that others are mistaken to some degree. This seems odd.
I wonder, however, how much of the plausibility of this objection to religious belief derives from liberal individualist assumptions. We would be bothered less if faith didn’t correlate so strongly with circumstances of birthif, perhaps, faith could be more reasonably seen as a matter of choice. But why would that matter so much? Some people believe, some don’t. The believers, if they take an individualist approach, might argue that they respond to the Holy Spirit (or its functional equivalent in whatever religion they adopt). Their particular circumstances make them more receptive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Other ways of life, other personal circumstances, happen to set other people at a farther remove to opportunities for spiritual enlightenment. This type of account of individual choice, I think, does seem more plausible to those of us who are secular liberals, even if, on balance, we think that other considerations decisively weigh against supernatural beliefs. But circumstances are just circumstances. Why should circumstances of birth and community count against the truth of a belief more than those individual idiosyncrasies of a life that a believer interprets as making one more receptive to the True Faith?
I agree that the diversity of supernatural beliefs counts against any notion of a One True Faith. But I also think that it is diversity per se that matterswhether this is due to communities of birth or the varying biographies of individual seekers of enlightenment is less relevant than we make it out to be.