I decided to start the discussion on why people believe in god with an atheist argument, John Loftus’ outsider test for faith, simply because it is relevant to the entire discussion.
The test is simple, not really designed for use in a debate, but things don’t always turn out as they were intended. The outsider test is more of a reflective exercise for religious people to take, in order to test whether their beliefs are worthwhile.
The test would involve a believer asking themselves what they think the good reasons for their belief are, and would they accept the same arguments if they were presented for another deity. If the answer is no, then the believer has already rejected it as a good reason, and would either have to accept their reasoning as inconsistent, or would be compelled to acknowledge they don’t have any good reasons for believing it. This would normally result in disbelief, but people do cognitive dissonance quite well, so it wouldn’t always happen.
Obviously using someone’s own argument against them is a powerful debating tool. There are arguments out there designed around this idea, and they can be very strong. I plan on using a specially designed one later.
It is possible, of course that some people believe all gods to be the same, but revealed through different people, in which case I’m not sure if the test would work. But this idea is pretty absurd anyway.
Christianity teaches salvation by faith, with actions not being good enough, many other religions are based entirely on ones actions when it comes to whatever form of judgment they have. Both of these positions are strongly supported fundamentals of the belief systems, and thus a conflict here, would make the theory contradictory, since one of the basics people need to understand about god, purpose and salvation two different, and mutally exclusive things.
Of course, polytheism isn’t really compatible with montheism either, and the theory seems to disregard polytheistic claims. This is likely because the ecumenical idea is very western, which is traditionally monotheistic.
We can toss the idea around a bit in the comments if anyone needs clarity, feels they can better explain things, or disagrees.