People often overlook the fact that their religion is usually the religion of their culture. Either family, local or national culture. Probably all. Sure there are people who do venture out and adopt a religion outside of the one they were raised in or surrounded by, but it’s more often the opposite.
This may seem like a simple thing but we can’t disregard it, because it plays a huge role in what people believe. Here in America most people are Christians, same is generally true for most of Europe. In the middle east they are mostly Muslims. In India (a region with over a billion people of its own, more than the USA and EU combined) they are eighty percent Hindu with Muslims being the second highest population at thirteen percent.
So what this means is that your religious perspective is based mostly on geography and not on ultimate truth. You can swear up and down and debate left and right that your religion and holy text is the true religion and true holy text but you have a lot of other people who are going to disagree with you and make the same claims about their beliefs right back at you.
Really what this shows is ego on the part of the believer. It shows that people automatically want to assume that God (or the gods) are on their side and support what they believe. That they are right and everyone else is wrong or at least not as right as they are and probably needs to be converted.
So why do people really want to convert other people?
It’s not about saving souls. While many people may believe that on the surface, undernearth it all it’s more about mitigating fear. If people are more like you are and believe what you believe, you have less reason to fear them and they have less reason to fear you. You’re both on the same page now. It’s really as simple and as worldly as that.
So basically it’s about tribalism, not truth. It’s about making more people part of our tribe so that you can trust them not to harm you. The other tribes that resist are often untrustworthy and potentially enemies. History plays this scenario out over and over again. While often wars and battles are started over various other reasons the heart of them all is a mistrust due to differences between each others. Differences in beliefs, skin color, practices, ownership of certain property, etc.
In the grand scheme of the universe we’re all still just a bunch of monkeys slinging dirt at each other. Tribes going to war with each other. Luckily with words today more than weapons. Most of us have at least evolved that far.
But it really baffles my mind that a lot of religious people can’t see this. They can’t seem to look outside the box without turning back to what is scribbled down in their little tribal holy book and trying to make sense of the world with that as the filter they look through. Of course that little book is going to be right about certain things if its based at all in this universe, rather than some completely foreign universe with different laws and creatures. But being right about some things doesn’t mean it’s right about everything. One has to look outside that filter and see the broader world.