If this wasn't enough, Jesus traded his life for his father forgiveness of all our sins.
This is what gets me every time: this entire thing doesn't make any sense. Even if we granted that God can't simply remove evil (which I don't), why does his son, who is also himself, need to be brutally tortured and killed? Why can't he just forgive? He is God, right? It's not like he's one of the cruel Aztec gods who demand a human sacrifice. Or is he?
To Catholics, this sacrifice is like the greatest thing ever. This is so ingrained into you that you don't even pause for one second to realize who grossly illogical and immoral it is.
Omniscient god creates man, but surprise: man misbehaves. Boom, loving god decides that all innocent babies are destined for eternal torture. Then he creates a loophole for his own rules and sends his son to be tortured. It's just laughably absurd.
Remove god from the equation, and suddenly everything makes perfect sense. Hippie creates cult, commits blasphemy, gets crucified, end of story. Followers blow the entire thing way out of proportion, and centuries later, people die by the millions. Way to go.
One absolutely can choose what to believe in.
No, you absolutely can't. But I'll clarify, in case we're talking past each other.
By "believe", I mean "accept as true". Either you're convinced, or you aren't. You cannot choose whether you find a claim convincing. Granted, there are people who keep telling themselves something they initially know isn't true, and if they keep at it, they'll believe it eventually ("I'm no addict", etc.).
But when it comes to religious belief of any kind, I didn't choose to not believe. I simply don't, and couldn't, even if I wanted to. It's not a matter of choice. I remain unconvinced.
You can choose how to deal with your (un)belief, but that's something else entirely.