Devil’s Advocate: Having a unique perspective on all this, as should be obvious from my very name, allow me to inject my two cents.
People come down here all the time. It gets quite crowded, and the waiting line to boiled in the fiery flames is very long. So we all have plenty of time to while away, and we talk very freely. Here are the various religious positions people tell me they have.
The Scared in a Scary World Guy: I can’t handle it anymore. I’m about to lose my mind. I can only keep on going if I can assume there is Someone more powerful than me out there to help me out. Naturally, I’ll seize on any scrap of anything to bolster my need.
The Mellow Atheist: I see no evidence for any spiritual forces, and I feel no inner need for them to be any. So let’s leave it at that.
The Varieties of Religious Experience Guy: I never gave it much thought, until one day I was dying in a hospital bed. Suddenly I looked down and saw myself. An out of body experience. Then a very warm, friendly, masculine voice told me, “God here.”
“Nice to meet You, Sir. Am I dead?”
“No, you still have a minor role to play in the world.”
“Then what am I doing here floating above my physical body?”
“It’s a way of giving you some rest. You’ll be back inside soon.”
Smiling Dave: Why was he down there with you, Devil?
DA: Nobody’s perfect. BTW, what’s your take, Dave?
SD: I’m a very, very, very, very, mild case of V. of Rel. Exp Guy. But I’ve spoken to a solid V.O.R.E.G., and, given my pre-existing mild case, I was open enough to be totally convinced by his story.
DA: But what about all the unanswered devastating questions that Science Guy and Bitter Atheist Guy keep asking?
SD: I don’t know the answers.
DA: How does God expect people to even believe He exists, given that He almost never shows Himself like He did to your friend, when all the q’s about Him remain unanswered?
SD: I can only assume that’s the way He wants it. And I think it follows that the assumption that we are all going to join you down there, Devil, unless we believe in Him, are incorrect. He seems too nice a guy to screw all humanity like that.
DA: So the default position should be agnosticism, or maybe even atheism, unless He takes us personally by the hand? Why did He set things up like that?
SD: He baffles me sometimes. In fact, most of the time.
DA: What about Jones here, who is open minded and wants to investigate? Is Jones to just twiddle his thumbs until God shows up in his living room?
SD: Some people say He can be found if one looks with all ones heart and all ones soul.
DA: What does that even mean? How do you play hide and seek with an Invisible Being?
SD: Some say Jones should be alert. Be on the lookout for instances of Happy Coincidence. Others say to open mindedly think about Nature and the Universe. They claim that this whole theory of evolution thing is full of obvious gaping holes.
DA: What about the Great Teachings that have been handed down by the various religions?
SD: You think I’m here to give all the answers?