What's with THE ONE TRUE FAITH anyway?

In Apostates: what made you lose your religion?, jjimm posted the following argument:

Y’know, jjimm never actually disproved choice 1. All logic tells us is that the chance that our particular religion is THE ONE TRUE FAITH is pretty freakin’ low. But so what?

What’s with THE ONE TRUE FAITH meme, anyway? All humans have imperfect knowledge. Any subject matter is to be learned in pieces, & a person can have holes in their understanding. Is my understanding of Russian history either perfect or completely wrong? How about my comprehension of photosynthesis?

I think C. S. Lewis, in The Case for Christianity, had a good point. Whatever you believe about religion is incomplete, imperfect, & partly erroneous. Whatever someone from another religion believes is incomplete, imperfect, & partly erroneous. His example: If Christianity is true, then Judaism is largely true, albeit incomplete. And Hinduism is more true than atheism, in that it at least believes in God, even if its number of Gods is inaccurate.

So, yeah, jjimm, your argument never really closed.

Well…you kinda started out like you were sounding mad because he discounted item #1…then you went off and discounted item #1. I’m not sure I follow.

Well I did say “unless I’m seriously mistaken about the universe”. It could so happen that one particular wild-eyed shouty fundamentalist - for the sake of argument, a Polynesian one with a god who has a massive cock, is the one who’s right. It’s just that I doubt it a lot, based on a vaue understanding of statistics.

The more efficient a religion ( memeplex ) is at spreading and surviving, the more widespread and longlasting it will be. Intolerance and closemindedness are good for this, and the belief that you have the One True God is good at promoting intolerance and closemindedness. Therefore, anytime the idea that your faith is the One True Faith appears, it will tend to spread, as it will aid the survival of the religious memeplex of which it is a part. In other words, evolution.

Hmmm? Oh . . . Here it is, then.

Actually, my posting of the picture of Tangaroa has hinted to me why my arguments about this subject usually fail: IMO most religious people arguing with atheists dismiss any but the Big 5 [Chrisitianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism].

If one were to take the myriad less popular beliefs into account, and consider that fundamentalists of their stripe might be the ‘OTF’ (meaning all the others are wrong), maybe one would understand atheist positions more.

“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all other possible gods, you’ll understand why I dismiss yours.” – Steven Roberts

Yeah, I put that quote in the post that’s being quibbled over. To me it’s a shining beacon of logic; to others, it’s a steaming pile of parrot dung. What can one say? Each to their own.

Religion is cultural. If there were only one god, there wouldn’t be a quibble over it. If you lived in England, chances are you’d be protestant. If you were in China, you’d probably be Buddhist. If you were from Japan, you’d probably be Shinto, and so forth.

There is either no true faith, or they’re all true…except for athiests. Occam’s Razor says athiesm is right.

You’re all forgetting that most believers in any religion believe that their religion was revealed by the one true god, who of course knows what the ONE TRUE FAITH is.

Conveniently for them, this revelation happened a long time ago, and no one thought to write it down at the time. Inconveniently, lots of stuff about the universe that those who did write stuff down thought would never be known got known, and their guesses were wrong.
So, anyone who truly things their religion is revealed should logically believe it is the OTF.

This holds up about as well logically as a confirmed bachelor saying to a married man, “I just married one fewer woman than you did. When you understand why you didn’t marry all other possible women, you’ll understand why I didn’t marry any.”

The OP is absolutely right in pointing out that jjimm’s “three choices” do not exhaust the possibilities. Since there is often significant overlap in what different religions believe, it’s not impossible for one religion to be completely right and others to be partly right but mistaken about some things, or for all religions to be mixtures of truth and error but for some to come closer to reality than others.

Considering that one is a matter of preference and the other a matter of fact, it’s not the same at all. My taste in women can be different than another man’s, but a god either does or does not exist for everyone.

[SOUTHPARK]The answer we were looking for is “Mormon”…Mormon was the correct answer[/SOUTHPARK]

Nah, I’m going with these guys.

Besides, not only are the labels funky, but it’s really great-smelling soap!

Okay, how about this: I say to Einstein, “When you understand why you dismiss E = mc[sup]3[/sup], E = mc[sup]4[/sup], etc., you’ll understand why I dismiss E = mc[sup]2[/sup].”

The logical pattern is, “If all possible answers to a question except one are wrong, then that one answer must also be wrong.”

I think the main problem with your quote is that it implies that the believer arrived at his belief through a process of elimination: he somehow ruled out all other possible gods and then went with the one that was left.

It seems you’re likening atheism to ‘just another god’. I, and the quot, maintain it’s an absence of belief. If Tangaroa exists, then the Judaeo/Christian/Islamic god is necessarily non-existent. However, you and I and our wives could all sit down and have a cup of tea together: your wife’s existence doesn’t negate the existence of mine.

I’d like to comment on the quote which I have seen quite often on the SDMBs.

While it is clever and I understand the attraction, in the end it is meaningless. In the apostasy thread I read quite a few interesting stories about smart folks who couldn’t accepct the existing concepts of God they had encountered so they eventually abandoned all concepts. Fair enough.

Others like myself have been able to see our concept of God change without needing or wanting to abandon every concept. There are those who have gone from atheism to belief. It’s cute but not accurate for this “shining beacon of logic” to imply that atheism is the ultimate logical and final destination. People change and go through changes. Big surprise.

What? No. If there is such a species as “god,” then why would there be only one? If Tangaroa exists, the likelihood increases that Thor exists, or Mithra, or Apollo–or Gabriel. The answer then is that something called “Allah” might exist, but not be the only one.

Y’know, not even Muslims believe that Allah is the only superior supernatural being; there are angels, djinn, & the shaitan. Christians acknowledge the existence of angels & devils. Jews speak of angels as well. In such a world, why not a djinn or devil calling himself Tangaroa, or Thor?

It’s still not the same; Einstein would simply point to the evidence that makes E=mc[sup]2[/sup] different than the other answers. The point of the quote is that there is no reason to favor one god-belief over another; no reason to favor Jehovah over Zeus or Thor or Kali.