It's called a chasm for a reason. Its purpose is to separate the wheat from the chaff, to distinguish between the good fruit and the bad, to consecrate an elite and alienate entire communities. It is the most divisive reality of theism. It is the backbone of the belief.
The ancients lived in a world of mystery, where the stars told the story of lights in a sky. Where the oceans spread before them full of creatures of the deep. Where mountains reached the heavens, and where humans wrestled to comprehend their history. Oral tradition began the telling of the stories. Generations of telephone that carried wisdoms and traditions through our species. Borrowed fables and tales. Concepts and ideas and philosophies that would reconcile the wonder and give an answer. And as knowledge grew, so did man's cognitive ability. Along with his unrelenting ease to include imagination and fantasy.
The "God Concept" wasn't too far a reach.
All cultures trace to some sort of belief system that relies on supernatural. A world outside the physical. A world we can not touch, see, or hear. A world we can only feel. A world that exists outside ourselves. It is here, in this world, we find the chasm or the bridge.
Theism has staked its claim on the supernatural and its primary purpose is to travel from here to there.
While it makes sense that a primitive man would rely on this gap driven theory, it is hard to comprehend how a modern man could be deluded so easily. But many in our species still find a need to believe that there is something. The deity still rules in spite of cognitive thinking.
When challenged regarding the appeal to ignorance in their logic, the theist will often times retreat to the empirical truth of personal experience. Certainly, it can not be discounted as a form of evidence. However, it can be discredited as the most highly subjective form of reasoning. It can also be countered with more objective experiments on the human brain. The scientific method can reproduce the feelings associated with any and all personal experiences. Testimony is also cited as evidence for reasoned belief. And while eye witness testimony is considered an accepted method of understanding accounts in a history, it is also the most unreliable method based on the way the brain handles memory.
If the simplest solution is best, the most logical default is to concede that theism is nothing more than wishful thinking.
If this is true, than the chasm is not only illogical, but devastating to progress in our species. For the chasm divides the thinker from the dreamer. It unites the elect in a community where irrational thought process trumps logical discourse. It pits the believer against the non theist with horrifying consequence if the theist owns the masses.
And the theist owns the masses.
The indoctrination into theism begins as early as infancy. The concept of a god is instilled over and over and over again. From pictures in a home to churches lining a country road, theism becomes the reality in the very early stages of learning. Babies are baptized, christened, devoted and entire congregations pledge to teach and train the children. This indoctrination is more powerful than many of our other social institutions. It solidifies in the mind from youth that 1) a god does in fact exist 2) that one should believe it 3) any stray from that system is negative. The mores and norms surrounding the concept are drilled into the conscience mind repeatedly. "God is good."
And all religions have their own versions of the deity(s). In all cultures, all times, the supernatural trumps our species and gets to be arbitrary in varying degrees. Understanding the deity becomes either a fantastic challenge or a concede to mystery.
We know that as our brains develop they are constantly building networks of information that will be interpreted as knowledge. The brain need to navigate through its surroundings, and it will wire itself accordingly. Through time, some of these networks are so deeply solidified that any challenge to the circuitry is interpreted as a threat. In other words: the brain has become dependent on philosophies it has accepted as reality. Given the massive indoctrination of theism during the formation and growth of the brain, it is no wonder that cognitive dissonance would set in. The theist can not escape the delusion without serious risk to their perceived sanity and danger of outcast from their community.
Add to that the inability to answer for mystery without the reliance on supernatural thinking and the believer is bound to reject what is rational in favor of what is comfortable. It is easy for even the wisest, most educated man to maintain belief.
But when we look at theism from an objective lens, there is such an obvious contradiction in the reasoning. Outside of the previously mentioned appeals to ignorance, unreliable evidence and obvious indoctrination into delusion, there is the chasm.
The chasm that causes relationships to sever over only shared belief.
While it makes sense that we form relationships and community with those we share common interests with, and survival of our species deals more with adapting than critical thinking, the chasm negates the bridge that theism attempts to cross. It is a stark contradiction in philosophy. One simply can not burn and build simultaneously.
The theist answers this contradiction with an appeal to supernatural yet again and the mystical power of prayer. They must reconcile the confusion in order to maintain the illusion and relying on a power outside their own belief allows them to engage further in the fantasy without the accountability of their behavior that stems from this very same belief.
Out-casting non theists becomes an excusable action even amidst a call to include them. They leave it "in god's hands" so to speak.
This is problematic for a variety of reasons. Research has shown that prayer and meditation are beneficial to the one engaging in the worship of mystic. We can conclude that the theist likely interprets the rush of hormones and chemistry filling their system with a supernatural experience. It is logical that the theist would continue in the belief that their prayers are heard and that the chasm may not mean defeat. But even if the theist is interpreting the meditation as the spirits intervening, that in no way solves the dilemma the theist creates by alienating the subject of their prayers in the first place.
It won't reconcile the pious platform the theist stands on. It won't change the core of their belief system that strokes their ego with perceived "enlightenment" which causes the chasm to begin with.
It wouldn't be logical to cite the harm done in the name of mystic thinking. Considering that all in our species can be shown to revert to barbaric action, regardless of motivation, the argument would be plagued with bad analogies and appeals to emotion that don't further the debate. But it is worth noting that evidence shows where masses gather we find power. And as theism owns the masses, we can deduce that their power is overwhelming.
By this same token, it would be remiss if it wasn't mentioned that healing has also been done in the name of mystic thinking.
So, it is rather a wash to look at either extreme.
However, it is the chasm in the mindset of the theist that negates both the harm and the healing. For elite communities that outcast based only on belief, again, stifle progress and critical thinking, which in turn slows down the advance of our species. Whether the theist kills in the name of their god, or heals in order to convert another to their god, the basis for all action is the arrogant assumption that the theist has what the non theist needs: insight and knowledge of all mysteries.
Clearly the theist is incorrect.
We know this based on very simple counters to all arguments the theist puts forth. Even the theist must concede they don't have full knowledge of why they believe what they believe. There are multiple fallacies in their reasoning. While cognitive dissonance may blind them from objective concession of this, that in no way changes this reality.
"The God Concept" and reliance on supernatural is a long standing tradition that isn't expected to end anytime soon. While some militant atheists work hard to discredit the delusion, usually they only do more harm to their cause than good. The faithful rely on strong convictions to maintain their religious persuasions. One will not be able to shake their faith without providing an escape from the attachments and influences. The believer in the supernatural can not be swayed by skepticism.
The only way to bridge the chasm is to acknowledge its existence in the mind of the theist. And work to end the indoctrination of infants. It will likely be generations before theism is considered the primitive gap theory it is. Until that time, the non theist must stand on their own pious platform built from critical thinking and continue to explore mystery until answers are not so far from reach and the need for supernatural will cease.