Hmm, yeah, I see what you are saying, and agree to a degree. What I was aiming at, however, was the individual inclination to internalize the common belief and accept it as a truth. In this, one does have some choice, I think. For example, I know many Christians who find the idea of Jesus rising from the dead a bit difficult to swallow. Yet this is a part of the Christian creed, and you will only have these kind of discussions with a Christian person if they trust you enough to confide. I was using the word “creed” with a purpose - we all have our internal creeds, or mantras we are inclined to repeat regardless of the full set of beliefs we are expected to internalize. In this sense, religion is a set of beliefs for you to take internalize, and it is not impossible to make a choice of what you take in, once you learn to view how it affects you and the people around you. Most grown ups have become conditioned to not internalize negative behaviors, such as for example thoughts of committing theft, or acting on thoughts of committing theft.
There are several choices available within any belief system, and other then “agree” and “disagree”, there is most often also a choice of third alternative, which takes some effort to imagine but can often yield much better gain in the end. For example, I could have been stuck for ages contemplating my parents beliefs, instead of finding means to educate myself towards a larger set of beliefs to pick from, and perhaps invent some of my own (or rather re-invent them, because there are few if any original thoughts remaining that no one has already thought of before).
What I’m saying is, a flat-earther is just a person looking for an insane level of conviction to claim. They have a choice in what conviction to go for (hollow earth is a serious contender), but they have no choice in what the exact level of conviction is - they need some extreme bullshit idea to explain their failings, just as @ryan quite accurately pointed out. Misery loves company - it is a different same level company to keep, or rather, same circle of hell to misappropriate Dante for a bit.
Originality in and of itself is an overrated make-belief, other than when it refers to a person originating something (something almost certainly unoriginal) into a discussion (which almost certainly isn’t a completely new context no one ever thought of for that something), i.e originating something in a specific instance of a context. I’d rather see genuine over original any day, though.
I kind of associate the challenge of what you’re saying here with the model that a human mind simply is a record/replay mechanism with some innate combination ability, and little say in what we get to record and replay, outside the fact that we are acting in a complex system, and it is the complexity, and not choice, which makes it unpredictable. I will also point out this is similar to the argument of free will vs the predestination theory in Christianity - just to point out we aren’t inventing anything original here . No doubt other religions (or sets of beliefs) also have similar challenges when it comes to discussing the concepts of good, bad, and free will.
Now, the worms!!!
(This is kind of connected to the previous paragraphs in this post, but can also be taken in independently as a kind of TL;DR)
I am quite keen on the implications of worm simulation mentioned in this episode. If you have read this:
you are quite likely to already have a short list of the implications the worm simulation will have on the perception of life, consciousness, and existence. I will abstain from theorising on a theological level - but this will have impact also on the perception of choice and predestination - if certain assumptions about simulation accuracy, importance/lack of importance of the simulation accuracy, and role of simulated environment, can be proven.
Just saying, the simulated worm may yet prove you right about the “no real choice” argument. Yet, if we have no choice, then how can we be liable for anything? It’s the butterfly that did it, your honour, it flapped it’s wings in 1843, and one thing leading to another, I had to kill my wife with 50 knife stabs, each lethal.
Indeed, there is humor to be had here. We may end up having to live in a less accurate model of truth, just so that we can find a means to coexist with each other in the world the truth implies. Perhaps this has always been the case.