|how religions spread|
There was a time when I assumed that one of the religions must be "the right one", the one that was really true, while the others were misguided. So, I spent some time looking at each one trying to find some unique feature that indicated it was the one that really came from God and wasn't just made up by people.
Of course, in the end, I've decided that they were all made up by people. There are lots of different factors in this decision, ten years worth of thinking, definitely too much for me to list here.
But one piece of the puzzle which is important and simple enough for anyone to understand is that there is something obviously wrong with the way religions spread.
If you were God and you wanted people to know about you, how would you inform them? I can think of a lot of ways that are better than telling one person in ancient times and having them transcribe it so that other people can make copies of what they've written (with errors introduced of course), spreading by word of mouth and as these hand-written books are passed around. I mean, why not at least use your infinite powers to give the person a few thousand copies of the book (printed on nearly indestructible material) to distribute? Why start "the message" in just one place on the whole Earth? Contact a person on each CONTINENT, at least! Or, why not just have everyone born knowing what it is you want them to know?
(There is, I guess, the possibility that God doesn't want us to know about him, and that's why he didn't do any of those more sensible things. But then, I bet this all-powerful being could keep us from knowing anything about him if that was his goal...and again we're back to thinking that any of the religious books written about him must be completely bogus.)
Anyway, the point is that truth and lies spread in very different ways among people. The only way a lie to spread is from the person who made it up through other people to other people. Truth, on the other hand, can be separately discovered by different people who've never even communicated with each other.
Science is full of people making the same discoveries without communicating. People often become atheist by thinking on their own without having ever read a book by other atheists or talked to anyone about atheistic philosophies. But, as far as I know, there is no religion that people spontaneously realize is the truth without having heard about it from someone else. Of course, the person who founded the religion "realized" it on their own, but then everyone else after that seems to get it through hearing about it.
To me, it isn't a coincidence that this is the way lies spread rather than the way truth spreads. It is just one more piece of evidence -- my favorite one -- that religion is just a bunch of lies.