I have often wondered why some people believe in the supernatural and others, such as myself, do not. I used to dismiss religious people as merely deluded and that supernatural belief would continue in its inevitable decline.

Then I went to America where I discovered that the overwhelming majority of the locals actually believed that there was a God. Even today in the country that put men on the moon, more than half of Americans believe that the bible is literally true and that the earth is no older than 6000 years.

For me this was like discovering that half of the adults I met still believed in Father Christmas and fairies.

Yet still I persisted in the thought that once given a few salient facts and the elements of critical thinking, these gullible believers in the supernatural would shed their irrational beliefs and accept the improbability of the existence of a supreme being. At the very least they would conclude that even if there were some supernatural entity, it would not likely concern itself with the banality of earthly affairs let alone what its inhabitants did while naked.

After watching innumerable debates on the existence or otherwise of a celestial dictator, I have come to the unsatisfactory conclusion that most people believe what they believe for no particular reason at all. They believe because they believe. Others do not believe because they just don’t, some of us are are just not made that way.

Both sides of the debate can and do construct elegant arguments for their respective world views but their belief or unbelief is not usually the conclusion of these constructions, it is their starting point.

I don’t think anyone actually chooses to believe or disbelieve any more than they choose the color of their eyes or their sexuality. Some complex cocktail of internal and external circumstances conspire to dictate belief or unbelief and then cunningly masks that accidental confluence of influences as either divinely inspired faith or rational deduction.

So will I stop banging my head against the brick wall of irrational belief ? Probably not, I’m not that rational.