"By what right, rabbi, do you say that you know God better than they do, that your God is better than theirs, that you have an access that I can’t claim to have, to knowing not just that there is a God, but that you know his mind. You put it modestly, but it is a fantastically arrogant claim that you make — an incredibly immodest claim" --Christopher Hitchens
A common argument made by theists is their humility in the face of a superior being in whose hands they put their faith (and a rarer antipodal argument that atheists are arrogant for not believing in a god for which there is no evidence).
But whatever denomination you profess, the vast majority of people alive today think you’re wrong. The largest denomination, Catholics, are thought to have it wrong even by most other Christians. In fact, when you consider all religions throughout time, 99% of people ever to have lived likely disagreed with your concept of “god” and the afterlife.
And while not obsessed on the matter, you can not be a member of any religion without an understanding that not everybody agrees with you.
If, indeed, you have the correct god, then one of the following three things must be true:
- You’re very lucky, having been born both in a time and place where your religion was available.
- You were led to your religion by divine providence (whereas god has misled nearly every other human being in history)
- You’ve a knowledge or metaphysical intuition superior to others (again, practically everyone to have lived).
The first is incompatible with a sense of religious morality. If your religion determines who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, but your religion is simply the luck of the draw, then who gets infinite reward or infinite suffering is capricious and arbitrary. Certainly any arguments on religious grounds are completely moot–the grandest waste of time in human history.
The second and third, however, require some sense of superiority to your fellow man. Perhaps god, favoring you for reasons unknown, put the right path before you, and you were able (as his humble servant) to find and follow it. There is no interpretation of that whereby you are not, either by reasoning or divine favor, superior to non-believers.
Indeed, isn’t this a given by any religion that proselytizes? You must inherently believe that you’re doing the non-believers a favor, converting them to your faith. This cannot be done without some sense of superiority (don’t mind me, I’m just on a mission from God). And if there’s anything more satisfying to a human being than righteous indignation, I’ve never heard of it (it’s the basis for every road rage incident you’ve ever seen–“How dare he cut me off!”. Heck how many people can say that they don’t secretly want someone to do something stupid on the freeway so that you can get mad at them for it?).
Theistic religions, on the whole, are an assault on reason and good judgement. When proof of God lies in the gaps of human knowledge, religion becomes motivated to halt or even roll back the progress of science (I’d object less if science weren’t so ubiquitously successful, and instrumental in putting us in the least violent, happiest and most prosperity time in human history).