@Inquisitous: Who said that I walk up to somebody in the street and ask what they believe? That is a strawman, m'dear, and one I will not bother addressing. Suffice to say this: I do not bring up the subject of religion, normally. You posted on a thread that asked if you believed, and somebody else who was in the conversation might have presumed to ask why you believe it. If you don't like being asked why, then don't share your beliefs at all....because like it or not, that will be one of the first questions if you state your beliefs. Simple.
@Dhi: I quite frankly disagree that we are all "going through the motions as if a God did exist" because we're not. You might be, but don't presume to speak for anybody else. This effectively boils down to "what point is there in life without God," which is a pointless question because the point should always be to make it a better place for the people you leave behind. Simple as. You make your own point, and I do not do that because of some cultural indoctrination. Some people do it because they want to enjoy themselves, and some do it because they want to leave something behind. You might go through the motions, but don't think to impose your motivations on anybody else.
- So? We have morals. Those are not religiously inspired. They come from the realisation that, as a social species, humanity needs to at least kind of get along for society to function properly. This is a survival trait that has been passed down through the generations through evolution, since the members of the species who did not obey the societies rules and endangered themselves and others tended to die. Quickly. On a more cognitive level, it's because people tend to realise that in order to survive, everybody needs to at least pretend to get along and follow rules that protect people from harm. THAT is where morals and social rules come from, not religion. And you using the terms "higher power" or "divine right" is you trying to sneak terminology that refers to the very thing that has yet to be demonstrated. Yes, we have moral compasses. But no, they do not come from religion. They come from a mixture of social pressures, yes, but mainly evolutionary biology.
- Again, so? How does that even correlate to us going through the motions as if there were a deity? That's pretty much "what point is there in life without a God," which I answered above. The answer is, the same point as there would be if there was a God; whatever the hell you want. You can hold whatever beliefs you want, but don't impose your personal beliefs on a wider populace. Everybody has their own goals and aims, and to say "Nope, you're doing it because society has influenced you with the idea that there's a God, so you're acting like there is even if you don't think that way" is massively insensitive and fallacious of you.
- Pah. Those stories were around before Gods. We like them because we can identify with the small, powerless individual and join them in their journey to import and power. Nothing religious about it, and I don't like you trying to co-opt everything about our society into being owed to religion. I don't argue that ideas and attitudes depend on the culture, but saying that we enjoy our stories because of religion? That's just reaching. Even if there was a correlation, correlation does not equal causation. As for Karma, yes, you're damn right I think that it's a despicable idea. Not because of any sympathy with the unfortunate or because of ANY religious teachings, but because the idea that a victim of a crime somehow deserved it is inherently disgusting, especially since there is no proof that reincarnation actually exists. A little girl gets murdered, and karma states that she deserved it...yeah, no thank you. That's a despicable idea that I want no part of.
Again, no. We're not. You might be, but I'm not, and I would ask you to stop imposing your beliefs on everybody else, because that's what you're doing. "Oh, what you did just there? You did that because you think God exists. You don't? Well, you're going through the motions as if he did anyway." No. That's not true, and that's not fair. That might be your opinion, but at least when it comes to me, your opinion is wrong. I do what I do because I want to do it and because I have personal aims and goals, not because I'm going through the motions "just in case." Thank you.