"The reason theists are tirelessly trying to convert the populace is because they are motivated purely by the desire to save our immortal souls."

 

This proposition strikes me as unlikely - though I might be wrong.

When people engage in large-scale coordinated activities to counter what seems to me to be normal, I get suspicious. So rather than confront THEIR issues directly, I prefer to try to surmise what really motivates these people.  For example:

Why would people, decades after the science was "in", continue to maintain that smoking was harmless. 

Why, when prohibition, "Just Say No!", and the "War on Drugs" have been demonstrated to be abject failures, do people continue to support and pursue these strategies?

Why do people deny climate change science?

In these examples, I could suggest, "follow the money". 

But, back to the point, why do theists care what we believe? What motivates THEM (if not altruism).

 

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Do not look for rational explanations for irrational behavior.

Why not? 

It would seem to be a perfectly worthwhile quest for knowledge. Finding the root of this behaviour would go a long way toward combating it.

Fear
I think you will like this book called Risk
Hmmm. I found a novel,

RISK

By Colin Harrison

176 pp. Picador. Paper, 

but that doesn't seem to be related. Can you give me any more information? Author? Publisher?

Uhm, he did link directly to it.
Thank you. I need all the help I can get. :-)
Thanks for the link. :-)
Yes. I'm sure I'll like it. One of the points made in a couple of the reviews is one I've made here more than once: "If sceptics spent less time moaning about the propensity of their fellows to believe what they want to believe and more time asking why they do so, there might not be such a crisis of reason in the West today." Although I never contended that there was a "crisis of reason", I maintain that trying to understand people's motivations is more valuable in affecting their behaviour than logical constructs.
If you are interested in understanding why people are prone to religious beliefs at all then I would recommend Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained - I'm only half way through it but it hits some very solid points that I think also apply to habitual conspiracy theorists.  Some of those points are covered by Dr. Andy Thomson in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg

With SO much of the "system" lining up behind this irrational behaviour and participating in it, like trying to pass laws to put creationism on the required syllabus, wouldn't it be a good idea to find and publish the "real reason" for this. 

OK people have been caught pushing creationist laws in order to sell creationist books. But this seems to me to be the tip of the iceberg. It's certainly only a small part of the problem.

Some on this board (including myself) have proffered some reasons for a belief in God, because being aware of these reasons will help to reach these people with truth. Calling them all stupid DOESN'T often work!

In the same way discovering the real-world basis for systemic theism (much broader than religion) would seem to be an aid in combating it.

Is it money? Power? How does the system work?

The number regularly attending religious services is in steep decline. Yet the visibility and the power of "religion" seems to be increasing (in the U.S., at least). How can this be?

This, i think, has to do with the rise of religious fundamentalism. Overall it's declined, but they've grown louder and more dangerous.
"Overall it's declined"
Really? In the U.S.? I have some trouble buying that. Any references? They have certainly grown loader and more dangerous.
My original question wasn't well thought out. What I want to find is an overriding tenet which relies on theism - a line in the secret right-wing groomers manual that says, "Make sure they know that God is on OUR side and hide/destroy all information that negates that."

Although my original question was framed around individual believers, the bulk of my curiosity is geared around the "system". How can a government whose founding documents forbids any connection between church and state systematically use and promote religious concepts? What/where is the system behind this?
OK, for the record I'll say it: "They're out to get me."

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