Believers are Products of their Environment

Believers are Products of their Environment November 2, 2012

What fraction of Muslims were not raised in a Muslim environment? What fraction of Christians were not raised in a Christian environment? What does it say about the validity of religious claims that people typically take on the religion of their culture?

When someone gets a religious vision, why does it have elements from that person’s religion and not some other religion? Why do Hindus not get visions of Mary or Jesus or Christian angels, and why do Christians not get visions of Hindu gods?

To avoid the charge of special pleading, Christians must argue that they were just extraordinarily lucky to have been born in a place and time in which the correct religion happened to be available.

Religion is like language. I speak English because I was raised in America. I didn’t evaluate all the languages of the world before I picked the best one; it was just part of my environment.

Any Christian will tell you that babies born to Muslim parents are almost exclusively Muslim for no more profound reason than that they were raised in a Muslim environment. Why should it be any different for babies born to Christian parents?

Christians aren’t Christian because Christianity is true, but because they were born into a Christian environment. Christianity is a cultural trait, not a reflection of the truth.

What religion a man shall have is a historical accident,
quite as much as what language he shall speak.
— George Santayana

(This is a modification of a post that originally appeared 9/16/11.)

Photo credit: Wikipedia

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