when somebody says "I believe in god", it means nothing. It might mean something if you knew that person, so you might have an idea of what they mean when they say "god", like if someone in your family said, "I believe in god", you might know what they mean by that because you know them to be a good person by their actions..
but on the other hand, saying you believe in god, especially to a non-believer, could very well mean a lot of *unintended* things to many different people..
so while it might mean something "good" to the believer, this belief in god they are talking about, can be vastly different to what other people have as an idea for "believing in god".
this is the very basis of why you should keep your religion/god to yourself, because by just saying that you believe, you aren't showing us what you've learned from your religion, you are just saying something that you think will somehow affirm that "you are" what this belief of yours says "you are"... eg. saying that you christian, is supposedly an admission that you follow the teachings of Jesus, and the implication there, is that you are a good person.
but how does a stranger actually know what this belief of yours means? just saying that you are a good person means nothing, so if you don't show by example what your religion means, just saying you believe, means nothing.
This is the very reason why people scoff at claims of "peaceful" religions, because history has shown that religion has been anything but peaceful.
If it's a religion of peace, then the violent actions of religious extremists speak much louder than the silence of the "peaceful" majority, who do nothing about their extremists, except to say that they aren't true believers, of course.
BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
If, for example, someone were to confess that they believe in Jesus, they would probably be given the benefit of the doubt and people would think that that was a good thing, because regardless if he was real or not, Jesus had some good stuff to teach. But by confessing a belief Jesus, the believer is asking us to judge their actions with *Jesus* as a frame of reference.
But, *Very* few believers are up to the task of being compared to Jesus.
so believe in Jesus if you want, but if you want to brag that you believe in JC, then you're going to be judged in relation to the things he taught, so unless you really do believe in Jesus and his teachings and know them and follow them, it's probably best to keep your belief to yourself, because people will just see you as being full of shit if you confess a belief in Christ, but then you turn out to be a hypocrite.
so just saying you believe without backing up your words with actions to match what is meant by those words, well, it makes you akin to a parrot, you are just repeating phrases that make you feel more loved.
and yes you *really* may feel uplifted by believing in something, but even if you do feel something good by believing, you are still going to be seen as repeating mere phrases by just saying that you believe.
BELIEF IS IRRELEVANT ANYWAY
but beliefs are irrelevant anyway, because if a non-believer and a believer actually talked to each other, they would find that they share many of the same values in life *anyway*, it's just that there are these idolatrous believers who insist on bringing their beliefs into it, when their beliefs don't really mean anything to the other person...
and guess what ... that's idolatry, it doesn't *matter* what you say, it's what you do.
the non-believer might also consider whether people saying that they believe in god, are merely not just saying that to *themselves*. In other words, it's irrelevant that you see/hear them confess to their believing in god, they only make such affirmations to remind *themselves* that they believe.
And even if you only tell yourself that you believe in god/Jesus/allah and you don't back up your beliefs with actions that would honour what your religion has taught you, then you still commit idolatry, you just aren't bragging about it to everyone else.
if I see that you are a good person by the actions you take, then you can believe whatever you want... what you believe in means nothing to me, I don't care what you believe, it's your actions that will earn you my respect, or indeed, my contempt.
SO FUCKING WHAT?
when you say you believe... well? ahem, so fucking what?
who cares if you believe in Jesus? what difference does that even make if you believe in god? what do I care if you praise Allah?
that's like saying that you have a science degree, well, so what? What have you *done* with that degree? got a job? got a nice house? discovered some fancy science thing that will benefit all humanity? well?
Just saying you believe is also like making up things on your resume, you've said all this fancy stuff about yourself, but if you don't live up to the image that you have painted, you're just full of shit, are you not? just saying you believe is like saying you are a cop, but then you go break the law every chance you get.
a person can say they have read the bible, or they can tell another person to read the bible, but reading the bible isn't the point of the bible is it? so just saying "read the bible" means nothing, you are making it out to be some sort of proof to justify your beliefs, it is *not* proof.
*YOU* are the proof of the message in the bible/torah/koran. *YOU* and your actions which you supposedly base on your beliefs are the only supporting evidence you have to show that you "believe in god", at least, the only evidence that actually matters.
If you don't demonstrate what you have learnt, then you are not doing anything but making the torah/bible/koran out to be some sort of thing that will magically make me believe.
that's bullshit, just read and believe? if the person asking you to read the bible isn't committing idolatry, then they are asking you to commit it instead.
by that same notion, the "scientific fields" of creationism/intelligent design, are incredibly elaborate examples of idolatry.
Creationism is a form of confirming your faith, ie. if creationism is true, then that validates the supporting ideology, but, creationism is a "thing", if you need a thing to validate your beliefs, you commit idolatry.
you say your beliefs give you good moral guidance? well how can they if you just focus on "things" that symbolise your religion, and not on what you have supposedly learnt from it?
the message that your religion taught you, and how you behave in accordance with those teachings, is what actually matters.
JUST SAYING YOU BELIEVE, THAT'S BRAGGING
The boy who cried wolf, comes to my mind at this point when I think of people who "believe in" something but don't back up their bragging by demonstrating what they have learnt. And it *is* bragging if you don't back up your words with actions, as you must earn the right to brag, do you not?
when a believer speaks to non-believers and they just say that they are a believer in god, or that they Praise Jesus, or that they read the bible, or whatever praisy thing it is they have to say about their beliefs, that does *not* convey anything meaningful and useful to the non-believer... it does not demonstrate that the believer has learnt anything whatsoever from their religion, so their bragging means nothing to me, at least, nothing that they *want* it to mean.
this is the case because there is no common point of reference, a believer bases their beliefs on their feelings (eg "I feel that the bible/torah/qur'an is the word of god and that it has good things to teach"), and a non-believer also bases their very *lack* of belief in god/Jesus/allah upon their feelings as well (eg. "I feel that the bible/torah/qur'an is full of shit because too much 'bad' has been done in the name of what little 'good' that can be found in it")...
we are humans, humans feel, beliefs are based on feelings, anything solely involving feelings, is bound to be unable to be easily communicated between a believer and a non-believer because there is no common point of reference in any meaningful conversation because belief in god is completely based upon *feelings*... (unless, of course, the parameters are explicitly established about what sort of 'god' is being spoken about, which can be a *very* painful process in itself)
so this idea of god, that a believer has, is just that.. it's *their* personal *idea* of god, it's *their* personal feelings on the matter, because if it wasn't, you'd be able to show me some evidence that would instantly validate your faith, and if you have proof of your "god", you don't need faith, do you?
JUST SAYING THAT YOU BELIEVE DOESN'T MEAN A THING
so by just saying that you are a believer, as soon as someone hears/reads that, that notion you have described means nothing, because if that's supposed to mean something, it doesn't ... how can it? there is no context, so the meaning is open to interpretation.
so in that regard, it does mean *one* thing.
it does mean that *you* are now speaking on behalf of this thing you have just confessed to having a belief in, *you* are now the personal representative of what ever it is you're trying to 'sell', so it is *you* that will be judged by your actions and by those actions, your behaviour will then become part of the definition of whatever it is you're trying to tell us about.
eg. just say the pope tried to cover up child rape, from that point on, whenever someone says something about "christianity", I think of pope's that try to cover up the fact that priests fuck little children
and the same could be said from a believer's point of view as well, if someone purporting to be an atheist acted like a prick to them, their definition of atheism would then expand to include the idea that atheists are pricks.
which is fair enough, but.... non-believers do not go around boasting that they believe in anything that supposedly inspires them to be "good" people, which is the implication of saying that "you believe in god/Jesus/allah", right?
so the choice is yours in how to act, if by your actions you are judged to be a good person, you will then be putting in a good word for whatever it is you say that you believe in.
however, if you are a prick, then that attitude will be added to the essence of what it means to be whatever it is you're purporting to be.. ie. like it or not, you speak for your faith, if you do not want to speak for your faith, then it's best not to advertise it.
eg. if you go around saying you're a christian, and then you threaten people by saying you are going to snap their necks, you *will* be held as the *shiniest* example of your faith... the *Very* *very* *Shiniest* example
In other words, if you want to praise Jesus/allah/god, then good for you, I'm not stopping you, but it's your actions that you are judged by, your words of praise and other various adulations are nothing but idolatrous noise to the non-believer.
You say you are a believer? well we fucking heard you the first zillion times, so now it's time to show us what you have learnt, because thus far, for every one christian actually apparently conforming to the christian ideas that I was taught (Jesus said to love everybody), I have seen at least a hundred that do not "Do unto others as they would have others do unto them"....