If I told you - with great exuberance - about my new friend who was very real and who "turned my life around" but whom no one else could see or hear ... you'd (rightly) think I was going nuts. No way would you actually believe my not-visible, ghost-like friend was physically real as opposed to something ginned up by my over-active imagination. Right? Is there anyone who disagrees?

Yet when people do exactly the same thing but under the auspices of a major religion, most people do take it seriously - as if a hallucination or mental problem somehow gets validated when it's agreed upon by a large enough number of people. (This is what separates a "cult" from a "religion.")

Why is this?

How come the same rules of evidence and objectivity we'd expect (even demand) in almost any other circumstance get tossed when it comes to religion? (Provided it's an established one, with enough believers.)

I don't get it - and wish someone would explain it.

Logically, is there any more reason for taking seriously someone who "professes Jesus" over someone who worships Ra? Or believes he can channel spirits? Or that Napoleon whispers advice in his ear?

How? Why?