I was just wondering how many declared "Believers" are really atheists pretending to believe. I think the percentage.is huge. There are oodles f reasons, from shame to game. All religions and churches are con games and con men run con games ipso facto all leaders are atheists. When you really consider the wacky shit spelled in any religious text only a truly deluded person could believe it. So I think most of them are fakers. I've been an atheist almost all my life. No religion in my upbringing..But for about five years I got sucked into joining a church. There is a principle that says "if you spend enough time at a car dealer your gonna buy a car" . So for maybe six to nine montHs of the five years I became deluded enough to think I believed.I;would like to hear from any ex-fakers out there. If you share your reasons it would be cool... ... . .
I may have some of the details wrong, but I think it is in one of Dan Barker's books where he recounts a story of a prominent televangelist who was asked in private if he actually believed all this crap. The televangelist said something like, "Well, it's too late to back out now."
I was agnostic for most of my life starting in middle school. I didn't subscribe to any organized religion because I felt all were too controlling and manipulative. I guess you could say that I was a faker while being in church as I just went along with what ever church I was attending at the time. I was never a "crusader" for any church, nor any religion. I always felt my beliefs were mine alone, and I wasn't going to push them onto someone. My pretense was based on a need to belong, to have friends, to fill a social need, so I pretended to fit in and be accepted. I've moved a lot in my life and church was always a means to find friends and social activities.
I think the majority going to church are pretenders, but for various reasons. Here are some of the reasons I believe people pretend to be believers:
I don't think that it is a simple either/or, a lot are cherry pickers, who, believe yes, but make it easy for themselves by just ignoring the bits they don't like. It is quite possible to genuinely believe a vague deism/spirituality and believe that being a church member puts you in touch with that, without thinking that more than one percent of your holy book is true. The trouble with that though, is that of course it creates a happy safe home for the fundamentalist. Where sheltered by passive acceptance they can swim and plot without challenge, and it is therefore why even the most vague spiritualism is harmful.
I do think there a lot of "pretenders" out there faking it or posing as Christians (as well as many hypocrites) just so they can fit in with mainstream society and more easily get ahead in employment, business, etc. by trading on the credential of being Christian in the US. It would be hard to measure because it's really hard to get most people to admit the truth about themselves, even in anonymous surveys, if the subject is something they feel shame or embarrassment about, such as being dishonest or lying about their beliefs.
I would express it differently. I think many so-called believers are religious only in the sense of the habit, ritual and identity of religion, and not in any real sense to the claims and beliefs of religion. Press them on their religion and you get little more than a simple summary of religious clichés. The doubts they have are internized or ignored because the actual beliefs are not that important in the first place. Huge numbers of people like this make up the numbers in religion, in my opinion. I wouldn't call them atheists, exactly, but notionally religious people based on habit and intellectual laziness.
I have for humor ssid, 99% of Christians are typical dishonest illogical atheist that say they are christian just for the after service all you csn eat pot luck buffet making the other 1% of Christians look bad.
There is "fake" you might say. I grew up going to church, helping people, believing Jesys would one day free the world from the Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worshippers. Then as biblical text would explain about spiritual warfare not against flesh and blood, but against principlespalties, powers and wickedness in high places I took up the spiritual warfare like no other Christians seem to ever do. Then at the peak, climax, turning point after a lot of prophetic supernatural experiences I met a "Jesus style God" and found out Jesus is lord of host Lucifer the devil leading the Masonic lodge secret religion racist devil worshiping European invadors.
No one understands, biblical text is full of metaphorically written stuff, and with language translations small details and meanings can be lost. For example, compare original word "ruach" most commonly translated into English as "spirit".
Ruach is more like kinetic energy where as spirit is more ghostly meaning. Makes a lot of difference. These little things people don't study out and it gives for a deception and misunderstanding of biblical text. Today, Christianity is more of a paganism in the "name of Jesus."
I've always thought the same, though I assumed it's because of not-thinking rather than being a willing part of a con-game... confirmation bias for members of extreme sects extends to their whole life so it must be hard to escape, but the same is true of atheists since our rationale of science and logic tends t be self-confirming when the world as we know it depends on the same. I think the numbers of the genuinely religious of any faith or of the genuinely atheist in non-religious countries, are around 10-20% and that usually is a phase (often adolescent or mid-life crisis) which then sometimes sticks.
I have tried my damnedest to believe. Raised in Baptist schools and churches, with a father who was a deacon, I believed, as a small child, that I personally was responsible for putting an innocent man to death on a cross. It was horrifying! I asked Jesus into my heart, likely, thousands of times! When I studied Aboriginal culture in South Australia in 1996, it got me thinking that my indoctrination up to that point was hogwash. I have been searching for truth ever since, but what is so great about the Baptist's take on the heaven and hell program, is 'once saved, always saved,' so if per chance I'm wrong for going astray, I have this safety net of 'getting saved' a bazillion times to catch me, like coffee grounds on a cheesecloth strainer! Well, you get my point.