God is an intuitive concept.
If you were to take a child raised by agnostic parents (for they would be the only parents that wouldn’t try to impose their beliefs on their children: for the simple fact that they themselves have no idea what they are), and ask him whether there is any intelligence beyond us, a creator, an omnibenevolent omnipotent omniscient being, I’m sure he would likely say yes to one of the above.
In the end, we all want to believe that there’s a reason for everything. This is the main reason that religious doubters of any degree have such a trouble embracing their doubts: not only are they the minority, but what they think and observe is completely different from what they feel they should think and observe. This is the reason American Atheists calls this the “other closet.”
The question then, is whether we should or should not be more tolerant of other people’s beliefs, knowing that everything they hold dear hinges on this and how hard it is to break out of the cycle? My answer is in the form of a traditional Jack Bauer analogy:
Adriano believes that Jack Bauer from 24 is the greatest character
Steve believes that he is Jack Bauer in 24.
Both are beliefs and both make complete sense (intuitively, if you will) to the people that hold them. Adriano’s belief is his and his alone. He could go around and talk about 24 and how great it is, annoying everyone he can. He could raise his kids with 24 and force them to see an episode every week. The most that we would do to Adriano is give him dirty looks and try to ignore his eccentricity.
Steve, on the other hand, is willing to kill Arabs and create a war for his belief. Steve should be prevented from reproducing, or at least locked up so that he’s not a danger to himself or others.
In the end, I rather like theists. They think they have someone to blame their troubles on (which I feel only hinders their personal growth, but still). Most of my friends are theists and, so long as they don’t try to change my beliefs, I won’t try to change theirs. In the end of the day, it’s all about cooperation and living a good life.
… unless they want me to sit down and watch an episode of 24…