Most of humanity is religious. In fact, the vast majority of the people who have ever lived on the planet have been religious. In every place, at every period, in every culture, people have come to understand that god exists. Why do you think you know better? Religious belief is a consensus.
How to debunk it
- This is no more than a classic logical fallacy: appeal to popularity, or appeal to the masses. It’s such an old fallacy, in fact, that it has a name in Latin: argumentum ad populum. Even ancient Greek philosophers wrote about it.
- You don’t have to go back all that far in history to find a time when practically everyone on the planet believed in witchcraft. Does that mean witchcraft used to be true? Is it less true now because way fewer people buy into it?
- People from every place, period and culture have also come up with their own versions of astrology. Looking up at the constellations, what North Americans know as the Big Dipper, the French call la Casserole. In England it has been called the Plough since medieval times, and ancient Chinese people imagined it as a bureaucrat seated in the sky. To northern Europeans it was a wooden cart, the ancient Greeks and native Americans saw it as the tail of a bear, and ancient Egyptians imagined it was a bull followed by a reclining man and a hippopotamus with a crocodile on its back. In short, yes, people from every culture have always been superstitious, and have found their own unique ways of arriving at different and imaginative celestial explanations for what they see. This proves that people are superstitious and imaginative, not that the plethora of mythical explanations they’ve come up with, including godly ones, are true.
- Objective truth isn’t discovered by popularity, it’s discovered by reason and evidence. Only then can you check how broad the consensus is, but there has to be an objective anchoring of reason and evidence before that.
- People haven’t just believed in one god but in many gods, so there’s no consensus to begin with. It’s true that more people now believe in Yahweh or Allah than in Lord Brahma, but does that mean that Yahweh/Allah is, say, twice as objectively true as Brahma? Before about two thousand years ago, most of the people on the planet had never even heard of Yahweh. And Christianity and Islam hadn’t even been invented. Does that mean that Yahweh was less objectively true then than he is now? Many more people used to believe in Ra and in Zeus/Jupiter back then. Does that mean they objectively existed more then than they do now? This isn’t the way we discover objective truths.
Get the Debating Religion book now and start debunking common religious arguments in real time. This is a practical hand-book comprised of short segments that introduce common religious arguments followed by bullet-point replies that debunk them—simply, quickly, straight to the point.
2 thoughts on “Debunking The “Most People Are Religious” Argument”
This argument overlooks the possibility of a Perennial philosophy.
Except for the fact that if you actually study the doctrines of each religion, you’ll see that they conflict with those of other religions. Contradictory ideas cannot be true at the same time.