I understand, intellectually, why people believe in God. I get that it explains creation, the universe, makes people feel like they have a purpose, etc. I get why people believe in an afterlife and the psychological comfort that brings. I even understand why people would believe that God wants us all to be “good.”
What I don’t understand is how people can believe all the stories in religion. Jesus is a prime example. I don’t understand how anyone can believe in the virgin birth, and that Jesus disappeared for about 30 years, then all the sudden he came back into the picture, died for everyone’s sins, and came back to life 3 days later only to ascend to heaven, since he was the son of God all along (or maybe he was God, too, but not really, but yes. You know, the Holy Trinity and whatnot). I don’t understand why people believe that a burning bush spoke to Moses. I don’t understand why people believe that Noah managed to fit two of every living creature on the planet into a boat he built himself and that we’re not all retarded cousins thanks to Adam and Eve (don’t even get me started on the talking snake). If someone came to you today and told you a story similar to any of these, you’d laugh in their face and call them crazy.
How do perfectly sane, and often quite intelligent people believe such irrational stories? I know that a lot of religious people look at the stories in their texts and call them allegorical. Fine, I can buy that. But there are people who literally believe those things as well. Why? If you take away all of those stories, how is that threatening to the existence of God?