There's one more reason why people hold on to their religion so tightly...
It's because it has been hammered into them as part of their personality since they were kids. From parents, to teachers, to pastors, to the community, they all smother them with the idea that religion is good, and adhering to it is desirable, and going against it is bad. Overtime, this saturation becomes ingrained into their personality, that they cannot distinguish themselves from their beliefs.
To deny their beliefs means to deny themselves. And once you do that, you don't really know who you are anymore. For most people, that is a horrible thing. They rather live complacently without questioning it, instead of thinking about it and risk the realization that what they believe in may not be right, that they may not be good, that their whole life may be based on a lie.
If you bring up the topic of religion with people, they don't see it as a critique against the belief. They see it as a critique to themselves, their person, their life. And they get insulted easily. That's why debating with them about religion (unless they have an open mind and ready to question themselves) would be useless.
And if they see others not adhering to the beliefs they grew up with, they see it as an insult towards themselves. And they take it personally. That's why these fanatics won't just stand idly and let others live.
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