The idea that any one of our religions represents the infallible word of the One True God requires an encyclopedic ignorance of history, mythology, and art even to be entertained—as the beliefs, rituals, and iconography of each of our religions attest to centuries of crosspollination among them. Whatever their imagined source, the doctrines of modern religions are no more tenable than those which, for lack of adherents, were cast upon the scrap heap of mythology millennia ago; for there is no more evidence to justify a belief in the literal existence of Yahweh and Satan than there was to keep Zeus perched upon his mountain throne or Poseidon churning the seas.
According to Gallup, 35 percent of Americans believe that the Bible
is the literal and inerrant word of the Creator of the universe.
Another 48 percent believe that it is the “inspired” word of the
same—still inerrant, though certain of its passages must be interpreted
symbolically before their truth can be brought to light. Only 17 percent
of us remain to doubt that a personal God, in his infinite wisdom, is
likely to have authored this text—or, for that matter, to have created
the earth with its 250,000 species of beetles. Some 46 percent of
Americans take a literalist view of creation (40 percent believe that
God has guided creation over the course of millions of years). This
means that 120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the
Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer. If our polls are to be
trusted, nearly 230 million Americans believe that a book showing
neither unity of style nor internal consistency was authored by an
omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent deity. A survey of Hindus,
Muslims, and Jews around the world would surely yield similar results,
revealing that we, as a species, have grown almost perfectly intoxicated
by our myths. How is it that, in this one area of our lives, we have
convinced ourselves that our beliefs about the world can float entirely
free of reason and evidence?