Why don’t Christians believe 72 virgins will be waiting for them in heaven? Why don’t Muslims or Jews believe Jesus walked on water or was the son of god or that they should occasionally eat crackers and wine with reverence?
If you remove the theological underpinnings, and get to the question of what, how, and why humans behave the way they do, you’re left with a fairly simple exposure: the reason people don’t believe doctrinal claims of other religions is because either they’ve never heard of it, or because the right people didn’t tell them about it at the right time.
Ask any Christian or Jew if they believe that Muhammad was carried on a unicorn (Buraq) between Mecca and Jerusalem, and they’ll say of course not. Yet, if Jesus or Moses had experienced similarly outrageous transportation, they would believe it without question.
The problem of modern religions, and the horrors they espouse, isn’t necessarily one of plausibility, although they’ve all got their own breathtaking whoppers. Rather, the problem is one of the timing of the ritual brainwashing.
If kids aren’t indoctrinated with the cultural prerequisite belief framework at a young enough age (which happens to be before they can think for themselves), they have a much higher chance of not believing. So, like in Nineteen Eighty-Four, assimilation to the Dear Leader’s framework is necessary.
When I was a Christian, ideas like this would occur to me all the time. I started considering the implications of the brainwashing-religion paradox (failure to brainwash would result in the end of religion). In a world where tribes have killed each other for millenia, commanded or inspired by these religious frameworks which contain a range of implausible and irreconcilable doctrinal
assertions, it raises the question: ARE THEY ALL WRONG?
Islam, Judaism, Christianity, their shared underlying mythology, and subsequent divergence, have cooked up an absurd outcome via these tribal allegiances. People are willing to die because they were told a particular collection of stories when they were the right age, told by the right people, and these stories all urge them to recognize that the other groups will be hell bent on subjugating them, and that they should defend their own ideology at the expense of the other; even if the other is individually innocent, they belong to a collective which is guilty of the worst sort of heresy.
That simple question we can ask ourselves: why do I believe this? It’s an important question, and when answered honestly, I think the answer is because the right people told me to at a specific time in my intellectual development.