Imagine creating a list of all the gods and goddesses worshipped over the centuries, in Greece and Rome, in India and in China, on the two American continents, in Africa, and elsewhere. The list would include the following names:
Mat ZemlyaOlorunPanguQuetzalcoatlRaTengri
ThorTociVenusViracochaXi WangmuZeus
And more. Thousands more. Unless we believe all those gods and goddesses genuinely exist, we must regard at least some of them as fictions.

Such a prolific invention of gods and goddesses might cause us to wonder if we should regard the various gods and goddesses worshipped today as fictions, too. But it might also lead us to wonder if an obscure intuition of some reality motivates those inventions.

How might we construct an accurate (or, at least, more accurate) picture of that reality? We should start with what we know, with solid fact; we should begin with the knowledge we've collected, refined and repeatedly verified over the centuries. In other words, we should attempt to dispassionately infer the theological consequences, if any, of science.

But certain factors hinder a dispassionate consideration of the evidence. To name but two, the theists' attachment to the emotional comfort and security of their religion, and the atheists' feeling of aversion to religion because of the harm they feel it has done to them or the world. Such factors make an attempt such as ours difficult. Further, we see many theologians and apologists try to deduce the theological implications of science only to conclude science supports their religion but not other religions. Last, science's ongoing quest for more and better knowledge sometimes overthrows old theories, as when Einstein's theory of gravitation succeeded Newton's. So any conclusions we reach today may eventually suffer the same fate as Newton's ideas.

Undoubtedly, various perils threaten the success of our project.

We begin.