The same people who believe these things, of course, will vehemently defend themselves against religious stereotypes people have made about them. They will be galled that anyone might think of them as ignorant or delusional, and perhaps bigoted, hateful, or narrow-minded. All of these things speak, I guess, to basic human nature. It's an innate characteristic that forces us to put groups of people into easily sorted categories. It's a time-saving thing. It's hard work to evaluate folks on an individual basis. I know a lot of Christians and consider them friends, and I think it's very unfair to brand all of them with the same iron. That is not to say that I haven't done so from time to time, mostly out of frustration and a desire to make them pay for all the times other Christians made me feel freakish or wrong for being the way I am. Other times, I just want to highlight the grave injustices that have been done (or are currently being done) in the name of religion in the hope that we could expand our horizons as a species, but that turns out to be only so much mental masturbation as well. But stereotyping is a dangerous game to play at. Unchecked, it can lead to some very nasty things, like hate groups, segregation laws, and genocide. It also breeds resentment and anger, and that's never fun.
But there was always the doubt. The questions were always there, and no one I asked in church gave me answers that satisfied me. When I was seven or so, I asked my dad why there weren't any dinosaurs in the Bible. I asked him a bunch of other questions too, but my dad, who is also not a religious type, just said that some people have this thing called "faith." They believe something, even if it might not be true or provable. And even then at such a young age, I found a flaw in this reasoning. I demanded logic. It's a trait I see in my own kids, and I could swear that I never implanted it. It's just an inborn skepticism, an ability to ferret out fact from fantasy that I hope they retain, regardless of whether or not they turn to religion.
The truth is, my spirituality is a very long and winding path that will stretch on for the duration of my life. I've passed by a lot of different ideas and notions, taking pieces of them as souvenirs before moving on, and I'm confident that I will continue to make new discoveries the older I get. I do know that I don't much appreciate the idea of an omniscient being who jealously demands my attention and allegiance. I don't much care for a god who would stand idly by as innocents die every day from hunger and earthquakes and floods and disease while some athlete proudly proclaims that this same being helped his team win the game. To me, that's just vulgar.
It's the ultimate egotistical folly to assume that humans are the best this universe has to offer. Obviously we are not. I don't think we humans have yet gained the capability to conceptualize what put us, and the vastness that surrounds us, here. I think the ideas we've had so far are too small. They demonstrate the current limits of our species. Not only that, I think it's arrogant to go with absolutes over doubt. Doubt leaves me so much room for wonderment. It keeps me curious. It keeps me walking that spiritual path. It makes me hopeful that whatever is out there is so much better than the patriarchal overbearing sky lords that we've dreamed up here. If I have to choose between forcing myself to swallow these fables as truths, or putting my chips on doubt at the risk of eternal damnation, I will always choose doubt.
Despite what we see on TV, we're still evolving, and eventually we will come to a place of understanding about our real origins that will (hopefully) content us all. I was born too early to witness such a miracle, but I wish it for those who come after me. In the meantime, I hope they will live to treat people as they'd like to be treated, and to be comfortable in their capacity for mistakes and failure, to be human without the fear of burning for all eternity when they die, because to do otherwise would make for a pretty miserable existence. At least it did in my brief experience with it.
I choose to believe in something more positive and beautiful. I would rather see God as a flighty but brilliant artist gallivanting through the universe with a really big paintbrush, too damn busy to know or even care what we're doing here on this spinning rock. To this being, we're just one of many experiments in form and color, added to an infinite gallery stretching on for trillions and trillions of miles in every direction.
Those who can do any of those things are the ones who truly understand what it means to believe in "God," with or without religion, with or without a deity or a scripture, because they know that all it boils down to is getting through life without being an insufferable asshole. And in the end, I think that's good enough.