Why My Religion is Right and Yours is Wrong
If you are a human being who lives on Earth, you have probably been exposed to other human beings who are not your exact clones. If this sounds like you, then you have probably also been told once or twice that what you believe is wrong and (coincidentally) the person who told you this just so happens to have the correct set of beliefs that you should promptly integrate into your life.
The first time I heard this, I was excited at this easy replacement for years of personal discipline, study, and introspection. Imagine my shock and amazement when I found that that the reasons they offered as to why they were right didn’t quite stand up to the feeble light of early dawn.
To save you from suffering the same disappointment that I endured, I have listed some of these reasons that failed to provide me the “easy out” and forced me to do actual real work in finding my own personal spirituality.
1) My Religion is old, so it must be right.
Due to the fact that people have believed something for a real long time, it must be correct. This is quickly shot down with this:
From my quick search on Google, the oldest formal religion appears to be Hinduism. So if you’re not a Hindu, you’ve already buzzed out.
The oldest informal religion was probably cavemen worshipping the sun and cowering from the angry storm gods. So, if you’re not a Hindu and don’t worship the sun and fear the storm gods, you’ve just buzzed out twice.
But even If you do happen to be a Hindu and worship the sun and fear the storm gods, it still doesn’t mean you are right. Sorry. When it comes right down to it, this answer is really no more valid than any other when it comes to establishing a logical basis for your belief system.
2) Lots of other people believe it too, so it must be right.
If everybody decided to go and jump off a bridge, would you do it too?
Lots of people were pretty darn sure the Earth was flat, yet even that power of belief was unable to squish our planet into a nice one-horizon pancake planet. If you like to follow this line of reasoning, let’s go see where it actually leads.
If your reason for belief is how many people agree with you, then the latest statistics show that you would be a member of one of the many (over 1,000) variations of Christianity, because Christianity represents about 33% of the world’s population if you lump all the Christian variants together.
If you are Christian, you’re probably feeling pretty good about this right now. Not so fast!
Looking at this the opposite way, fully 66% of the world’s population agrees that Christianity is actually NOT the correct religion to follow. In fact, looking at it this way, NO religious choice is the correct one.
3) This Holy Book says its true, so it must be right.
Welcome to the land of Circular Reasoning!
Here’s how it usually works: “My Religion is Right!” “Why?” “Because my Holy Book says it is!” “Well, why should I believe your Holy Book is Right?” “Because my Religion says it is!”
You can not logically say “Here’s my first premise, here’s my second premise. My first premise is true because my second premise says it is. My second premise is true because my first premise says it is. Therefore, both premises are true and support each other!”
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work when exposed to any form of logic or rationality. In order to provide “proof”, there must be validation from outside of the condition being tested.
4) It just feels true for me, so it must be right.
If you are an emotionally-based person, this is probably the only valid reason to prefer one belief system over another. In your gut or your heart, it just feels right.
But remember that you based your beliefs based on your PERSONAL feelings. If another person chooses a different belief system based on THEIR OWN PERSONAL feelings, you can not logically discount their choice but assert that your own is Real when you both selected your beliefs based on the exact same criteria.
Therefore, religious choices chosen in this way can only be a PERSONAL choice for you and you alone, because only you can experience the emotional foundation of your beliefs.
I hope this helped to illustrate that there is no magic reason that anyone’s belief system is right or wrong. It is, at best, a personal decision as to what criteria you use to find your spiritual path through life.
Most importantly, there is no way that you can make a logical case that your belief system is “more right” than anybody else’s.
It also leaves the possibility that none of them are COMPLETELY correct, that different religions have different aspects that may be correct, and no single religion has it all right.
There is also the theoretical possibility that ALL religions could be right, except for the fact that some religions state that ONLY their religion is correct, which would thereby make it impossible for all of them to be right according to their own doctrines.
Therefore, please treat everyone with respect and courtesy when discussing your beliefs or theirs. If you try to find the core principles that guide most religions, you will find that they all share many similarities, and there is room in the world for all of them.