Hmmm, yes. Most people speak the language of their place of birth as well. And wear clothing familiar to the culture of their birth. And make almost all moral and ethical decisions based on assumptions ingrained in them before they could walk.
This does not, in my opinion speak positively or negatively toward truth value, or superiority of one idea or behavior over another. It’s just a fact of life that we are empathetic, imitative, cultural creatures, whose “self” never occurs in a vacuum.
Actually, the above facts do (implicitly) speak volumes about the “truth value or superiority” of ideas and behaviors.
They do so in two (reinforcing) ways:
- First, if an individual’s (purported) “beliefs” are “based on assumptions ingrained in them before they could walk” – and are (in most cases) no different from other such accidents of birth (“native” language, familiar/socially-sanctioned clothing styles, etc.) – then nobody can be held responsible for the fact that they happen to ape and parrot in any particular way: they “can’t help it”. it is all part and parcel of whatever “heritage” was perpetrated on them “before they could walk”.
So, for example, that fact disqualifies any and all yip-yap about against “pagans”/”unbelievers”. Then again, it also flatly and unequivocally disqualifies the purported “believer”, as well – on the grounds that their “beliefs” are overwhelmingly likely to be nothing more/less/other than yet another artifact of their acculturation.
To paraphrase a Unitarian Universalist bromide, both the (supposed) “believer” and (supposed) “unbeliever” most likely operate from an unchosen “faith”. It is unchosen, because it was perpetrated on them “from before they could walk” – along with a myriad of other demographic “shibboleths” of the same kind (language/dialect, clothing “choices”, “familiar” foods, etc.)
It is a “faith” in that there is no evidential basis which would allow them to evaluate whether or not their particular subcultural shibboleths are genuinely better than any other such tribal taboos. Most people never even bother to question whichever “identity” was perpetrated on them “before the could walk”.
Nevertheless, they will hate and murder over such “shibboleths”.
Moreover, “missionaries” have no qualms destroying entire cultures (about which they typically know nothing), in order to “spread the good news” about a (most likely fictional) God-main in whom they can’t really be said to “believe” – merely because they happen to originate from an geographic region/ethnic group whose ancestors were (typically) “converted” at sword-point.
Now, what do I mean when I say that they don’t actually “believe” any of it?
Here’s a question: do children “believe” in Sant
a/the tooth fairy?
Typically, they ‘believe” in these things for two reasons:
- Mommy and Daddy said so
- Mommy/Daddy/Adults-in-general invest a great deal of effort into FAKING the existence of “Santa” (for example: innumerable fat guys in red suits at shopping malls, the weather service pretending to “track his sleigh”, etc. – right on down to parents partially eating the cookies/drinking the milk left out “for Santa”.)
In other words, one of the first lessons children (implicitly) learn is: a vitally-important aspect of the “innocence of childhood” involves adults systematically lying to children, and creating what amounts to an elaborate “false flag” operation, every Christmas Eve:
I’m somewhat off-topic. However, my main point is: approximately 99% of the population (even those who pretend to most zealously “believe” in whichever religion happens to have been endemic to their birth-place/ethnicity) “believe” such things for the same reason that small children “believe in” Santa/the Tooth Fairy.
Admitting this fact would be deeply humiliating for any even halfway-honest adult, so they concoct (flimsy) rationalizations – the Calvinist doctrine of “predestination”, for instance.
(This is convenient, because it gives them a convenient method of hand-waving away the whole issue: Yahweh has “predestined” specific individuals to be born into specific ethnic groups, some of he has predestined to “choose” to become ‘true’ Christians”. Conveniently, “Pastor” BoBo just coincidentally happens to have been born into exactly that ethnoreligious subculture.) 🙂
Interestingly, whichever of the two primary variants of Calvinist Predestination one “believes” also just happens to boil down to a mere accident of birth.