If there is one thing that I have learned in my short journey through this life so far it's that traditions; especially those linked to a society, are very powerful motivators towards believing the unbelievable. Most people are very tentative to question their societies traditions, especially in some of the more underdeveloped countries where tradition is the life blood of a society as a whole. No matter how ridiculous the belief systems that accompany those societies may be nor how nonsensical they may seem to the rest of us, in those closed and ignorant societies they are as real as life itself. People in a society tend to live, work and play as a collective and are always seeking a sense of belonging. It is because of this that they generally try not to question their societies traditions and beliefs.
It takes a person of character and boldness to step back from tradition and analyze and question everything around him regardless of what others think; when it comes to religious matters that is why I am an atheist. I am proud to have broken free from the shackles or religion and to reclaim my independence as an individual and not just another mindless face in the crowd. People don't realize it but if you were honestly to stop, step back, and analyze your beliefs from a rational perspective you would quickly come to realize the insanity of those beliefs. Some Christians who are not really thinkers have asked me that if their religion wasn't true and if Jesus did not exist, then why would so many people have died martyrs for these beliefs? I have replied in the best way I know how. I tell them that tradition is a strong motivator and that just because people are willing to die for a tradition does not make it true.
In fact there have been martyrs in almost every religion involving a deity that you can think of, so that in and of itself negates the argument. There have been many martyrs who have died horrible deaths at the hands of the inquisitors of the christian faith and the Muslim faiths simply for not succumbing to the inanity that is superstition. There have been quiet atheist, agnostics etc throughout history that have had to endure the agony of worshiping a god they did not believe in and fostering a belief system in order to fit in with their society rather than to be imprisoned, murdered, or as they do today ostracized by their communities and their neighbors. To this day atheist continue to be persecuted for their lack of belief in the nonsense that is christian ideals and God.
There is an old saying that states: 'old habits die hard.' This is so true and so relative to traditions and superstitions as is evident even in today's modern world where people insists on clinging to the ridiculous superstitions of long ago. Traditions don't tend to go away,instead, they morph and change and become something else. They are followed like religion, as if your very life depended on them. Our society is rife with age old superstitions such as omens, bad luck, beliefs in the power of witch craft and spells, if it were not for all these scientific discoveries happening daily around us you would think that you are still living in the dark ages!
I am of Hispanic descent and the Latin community in particular is still overrun by primitive superstitious beliefs, many still believe that if you put a glass of water in some corner of your house it will capture all the negative influences in the air that may enter your home. Others are devout Catholics who have shrines in their homes to their favorite saints and deities. One thing Hispanic Catholics tend to do is to mix Catholicism with Santeria which is a religion of West African and Caribbean origins. Even in today's world there are those that still revere and even seek guidance from their long dead relatives. Ancestor worship is alive and well even in today more enlightened world. This just goes to show that the need to believe in something is nothing more than a belief in traditions with no foundation of truth whatsoever.Your indoctrination will eventually dictate your experience, and make it as real to you in a subjective manner.
For a Christian, Muslim, or Jew no amount of talking or displaying of truths and evidences to the contrary of their beliefs will change their minds, becoming a skeptic and eventually an atheist or agnostic is something that comes from within you. It takes a bold person to step back and ask;" what is the history of these beliefs, where did they come from, what proof that they are real and correct is there?" It takes an individual to pull away from the herd and remove himself from the collective, not caring what others may think of him/her. Atheism is an open display of your individuality as a person, your unwillingness to bow down to imaginary gods but also to not become a slave to tradition. To take control of your own life and make your own future on your own terms unashamed of who you are and of what you can accomplish.