The problem with religon is that they believe is everyone other than their own followers are damned.
Ok first of all sorry to be blunt but that is not true. Of some religions yes it is but not most.
Now I have a little argument for the materialists in the crowd to consider...Creationism, I first of all do not believe that this is the case, I am not too stubborn to accept for example that the world is millions/billions of years old.
As background I have studied Biology, Chemisty, Physics quite alot I spent 3 years working on a Biology degree before changing my mind and getting one in Philosophy instead.
That said I do believe in evolution, not because it is a supposed fact (as mentioned earlier facts tend to be disproved) but because it makes sense and you can see the trends throughout our history. But consider the argument of intelligent design, a guiding hand aiding the development of life.
Picture this, a father is teaching his son to ride a bike, if he leaves the training wheels on he controls everything...the kid wont fall, he also wont learn. The second father tells his son to go outside and ride the bike...no training wheels no teaching. The third father goes out with his son and sets him on a bike while holding the seat eventually letting go and the child learns.
To explain: The first...creationism...contradicts modern sciencentific theory hard to justify a theory that contradicts what we experience. The second is evolution in the purely material sense of thinking. No guidance no help, likely to fail. The third, intelligent design, the creation of a system either constantly guided or set in motion by a divine being.(whatever that may be)
There is proof that Creationism is flawed, I do not believe that the world was for example created in 7 days ( I am catholic for reference) However I see nothing in modern science to contradict the idea of Intelligent design, I will admit that it is difficult if not impossible to argue against the idea, after all how do you prove that the system you are within is controlled, or not, from without.
That said I have already eliminated Creationism as a viable idea and we are left with two more. Lets take a look at a purely physical/material world. The idea is stimulating and very attractive at first glance. In theory with enough time and advances in our scientific capability we would know the future!!! Outrageous you claim? Impossible you say?? In a purely material world all things are broken down to chemical/physical/biological interactions/reactions. If all this is based on universal rules (i.e. gravity, reaction laws) all we would have to do is input a start point into the supercomputer in the sky and BAM!!! The future history of the world is at your fingertips...
If youve followed me this far I daresay please continue a little longer! That is not the most troubling thing to me...formulate in your mind your conception and ideas on things like Justice and Free Will. Seriously stop and Consider what you think of them, thier value.
If all things are physical and all things are therefore based on predictable physical actions they cease to exist or at least cease to matter. If our actions are not based on choice how can we be held responsible for them? If we had no choice but to act as we did how can we punish people for what they do? They couldnt have done otherwise?? Free will in this case would exist only as an illusion, I daresay no one on this forum could logically and believably deny their own free will...
This all has lead me to believe that there is something spiritual in the world, there must be something that transcends the purely physical, I cannot refute that I make my own choices...after all I could have chosen not to write this at all!!
And top it all off with an appropriate quote!
Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly: "I seek God! I seek God!" -- As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated? -- Thus they yelled and laughed.
The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.
"How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us -- for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto."
Here the madman fell silent and looked again at his listeners; and they, too, were silent and stared at him in astonishment. At last he threw his lantern on the ground, and it broke into pieces and went out. "I have come too early," he said then; "my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, still wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men. Lightning and thunder require time; the light of the stars requires time; deeds, though done, still require time to be seen and heard. This deed is still more distant from them than most distant stars -- and yet they have done it themselves.
It has been related further that on the same day the madman forced his way into several churches and there struck up his requiem aeternam deo. Led out and called to account, he is said always to have replied nothing but: "What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?"
[Source: Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science (1882, 1887) para. 125; Walter Kaufmann ed. (New York: Vintage, 1974), pp.181-82.]