A reader writes:
My experience is different from your reader's. I grew up in a picture postcard New England Protestant church that was burnt down by the British, twice, for storing rebel arms. My mother and two of my brother are still very religious. I started out distrustful of organized religion, but with a general belief in God and Jesus, and it wasn’t until some of my wife’s friends went evangelical that I started to question my own beliefs.
I decided I wanted to learn what was the “truth”. I read a number of books, Ehrman in particular, and came to the conclusion that the corruption of faith was much worse than I had thought, and that we really don’t know beyond bold strokes what Jesus really taught.
From there I started reading some works by Harris, Dwakins, and others and became a 98% atheist. But I haven’t stopped there, now I’m reading about the “Evolution of God”. Who knows, maybe I’ll get more religious later in life, but at the moment I doubt it.
So unlike your reader I did make a choice based on research and a (hopefully) rational weighing of the lack of evidence. Ehrman started out not particularly religious, became a hard line evangelical, and then became at least an agnostic if not an atheist. So I do believe that one’s religious beliefs are a choice, it maybe a choice that many people are born into and never leave their comfort zone to question, but it is a choice.
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