After reading a book like “The End of Faith”, many people would want to convert to atheism. There could be many compelling reasons for that. After getting the idea that all one has is a short life, with the present moment as its most precious gift, without an otherworldly life and with no God in sight. Indeed, the idea that there is no God and, consequently, no after-life is a source of great relief too. This gives one the possibility of availing the endless opportunities and exploring the endless avenues which would otherwise have been prohibited due to more or less strict religious laws. Indeed, the idea that a personal God is constantly monitoring one’s actions can be a great source of inhibition for pursuing many fantasies.
But the main reason why a person would believe in such a book, or message therein, would depend on that person’s belief in the author, or the messenger. That belief comes from the trustworthiness of the latter. This is to say that if the author of a very nicely written book having compelling reasons for its readers to take its message seriously was himself a complete impostor, nobody would take the book seriously. That veritable traits such as honesty, sincerity, truthfulness, a general predisposition towards innocence and a lack of social crookedness etc. are to be considered more seriously as parameters of credibility as opposed to scientific acumen, wit, eloquence, intelligence quotient etc.
If we look at the spectrum of personalities that inhabit the Western continents, where atheism is flourishing, we find that it is quite easy to find many people that are quite credible. This is what makes atheism quite attractive as an idea for life. In other words, this is the main reason why one would want to develop a disbelief in a super-natural being that controls the lives of people and an after-life.
Personal credibility plays a great role in making people believe in ideas. Consider this person who had lived in a town for around 40 years and he had never cheated, stolen, lied, or had never done anything, what so ever, immoral otherwise. As a matter of fact the person has been found to have immaculate and extraordinary personal character from the point of view of the Western scholars also. A good example of this can be found here
. It is this reputation of him that walks two steps ahead of him and makes people believe that they should consider him as the Prophet of God when he proclaims to be so. It is this reason that when Muhammad (PBUH) made his way to Mount Safa, the most well-known hill in Makkah, to announce the message of Islam to its people and asked the crowds, “O people! Will you believe me if I say there is an army marching behind this mountain which is about to attack you?”.
They all answered, ‘Of course we would, we have not heard a lie from you throughout your life’.
Muhammad, The Last Prophet (saw) said, ‘O people of the Quraish! I warn you to fear God’s punishment. Save yourself from the fire. My position is the same as that of the sentry who sees the enemy from afar and warns his people of the danger of their enemies. Does such a person ever lie to his people?’
It is this message, that was delivered by one of the most credible persons of history, that makes one think that he might as well be right on his account of existence of God and the prospect of an afterlife.