So why don’t Christians see their own invisible characters as ridiculous, even while considering all other invisible characters (like Thor) so silly as to be dismissed without a second thought? I think the answer is the same as why cult beliefs are not considered ridiculous by cult members. The absurdity of cult beliefs (ie Heaven’s Gate) is quickly and easily recognized by an outsider, but extremely difficult (if not impossible) to be recognized by the members inside the cult, for psychological reasons. I believe this same concept applies to all religious followings, big or small: absurdity is extremely difficult to detect from the inside, but easy to detect from the outside.
The absurd beliefs of other massive religions should teach the Christian not to take comfort in numbers; the Christian is individually responsible for his belief in invisible characters. Today, Scientology has over half a million members, but that doesn’t make the Scientologist beliefs any less absurd than they were in the 1950s before there were any followers, when a lone science-fiction author made the beliefs up. A scientologist may take comfort in the number of fellow scientologists, but in reality it doesn’t matter if billions believe or if he is literally the only one, his beliefs remain equally absurd. The same applies to the Christian; his beliefs are just as absurd as if he were the only person in the world who believed in those invisible characters. We take comfort in numbers. The schizoid and the cult member are considered lunatics for their beliefs, because not many people share their belief. But once the cult blossoms into a large organized religion, lunacy masquerades as normalcy. All religions, including Christianity, begin with just one or a handful of people and then grow and mutate radically over time. Christianity began with just a few localized followers as an offshoot of another religion (Judaism), much like cults begin today as an offshoot of Christianity. Christians today enjoy a massive base of affirmation and support for their conformed beliefs in invisible characters, but outsiders are still able to quickly and easily recognize the absurdity, and it’s no less absurd today than it was for the first handful of believers. The number of followers, be it 2 or 2 billion, doesn’t change the level of absurdity of the belief, nor does it change the simple principle that those on the inside have a severely more difficult time recognizing the absurdity than those on the outside.