One truism of religion is, yours is always the authentic one.
This amusing cartoon alludes to that in the sense that even across whole societies, one religious tradition tends to dominate and is viewed in consensus as the “one, true faith.”
In the United States, its Christianity. In Arab countries, it’s Islam. In India, Hiduism. And so forth.
So, whatever the main religion of the country you happen to be born in almost always becomes your religion, which you either keep or shed as you grow into adulthood, but usually keep.
The flip side of this is, if you somehow can’t get on board with the religion of your homeland, you immediately become the “other,” someone to be wary of. I was born into a Catholic family but became an atheist before graduating from high school. As a Catholic, I was a member of society in good standing; as an atheist, people, at best, aren’t sure what to make of me—and often worry about the safety of my soul and the grounding of my morals.
In truth, atheists are no different than anyone else, religious or not. We just don’t ascribe anything in material existence, in reality, to supernatural or divine causation (because we don’t believe anything “supernatural” exists). However, because we’re human beings, chances are excellent that our morals are virtually identical to yours in terms of how we treat others and try to live kindly, caring lives. Evolution has generally made all of us that way, down our DNA.
So, if you see someone bowing down to rocks or golden calves or crucifixes, or gazing up at stars with sublime delight on a clear night, think of them as all the same—people expressing their awe and reverence toward the mystery of life’s grandeur and trying to focus it.All good if never used to hurt or oppress anyone.
After all, each of our divine obsessions is the right one for us even if they’re all wrong.