The One True Religion
What would it be like?

In the debate between religion and atheism, accusations of bias, prejudice and closed-mindedness regularly fly back and forth between the opposing sides. Theists argue that atheists have shut their eyes, have hearts hopelessly darkened by sin, are too proud to admit the possibility of a being greater than themselves, are too attached to their hedonistic lifestyles to follow godly rules, and so on. Atheists retort that theists follow belief systems which encourage blind faith, discourage questioning and rational examination, lack supporting evidence, and rely on the myths of an ancient tribe of primitive desert nomads as a guide for daily life.

It might seem as if this is the kind of argument that could go on forever - but both sides' positions are not equal. There is a point of asymmetry, and that point is this:

Take an atheist and a theist. Ask each one what it would take to convince them that they were mistaken and the other side was correct. In the vast majority of cases, you'll only get an answer from one, and it won't be the theist.

I have been a non-believer for years, and I have never encountered an atheist who has said anything like, "Nothing could convince me that there is a god. I have faith in my atheism; I believe in my heart that there is no higher power." No atheist I have ever known has ever said anything even remotely resembling this, and it is just as well - one can easily imagine how the theists would respond if they did. But now reverse that statement. "Nothing could convince me that there is no god. I have faith in his existence; I believe in my heart that there is a higher power." Does that sound a little more commonplace?

Simply put, as detailed in "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists", the difference between the two sides is that, in most cases, atheists are willing to be convinced if the proper evidence is supplied. Theists, in most cases, are not, and it is precisely this that proves beyond a doubt that they, and not we, are the ones whose minds are closed.

In this spirit, detailed below is what I would expect any true religion, any belief system that had it right, to be like. These criteria are, I feel, eminently reasonable, and we would have every right to expect them of at least one religion in a world where God really did exist. Needless to say, no currently existing religion meets all of them. As you read this list, if you belong to a religion that does not meet one or more of these criteria, I invite you to consider why not.

The one true religion would be:

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