Alan Jacobs on challenging religious sincerity:

It’s easy to come up with a story explaining why this person or that person is falsely professing religious belief; and, because we don’t have any (human or mechanical) mind-readers at hand, such skepticism can never be either refuted or confirmed. I’ve been around this highly annoying block way too many times. I have politically conservative Christian friends who are certain that Bill and Hillary Clinton have never been Christians but have been faking it all these years for political leverage; I have politically liberal friends who say exactly the same thing about George Bush. Maybe they’re all right; maybe they’re all wrong. How the hell would I know?

In general, people should be allowed to define the content of their own religious experience - not its authenticity.

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