I would definitely agree that some people have "needed" religion in the past in that it was the only way to convince them to turn their lives around and stop destructive behaviors to themselves or others. However, I can't help but feel that this is the right thing done for the wrong reason, and is therefore not something to propagate but something that needs to be corrected much further back in the person's life. If the only reason these individuals have to not act destructively is their faith, then if that reason is removed will they revert to their previous behavior? The reasoning behind the thing being done must be solid and correct if the action or content of the principle is to mean anything. There are so many different things (poverty, racism, bad parenting, etc.) that led up to someone making the decision to act destructively, and adding the band-aid of religion is not a solution, just a treatment of the symptom.
Do You Think Humanity Will Ever Be Completely Free From Religion?
- In most of the world belief in religion is on the rise and Islam is the fastest growing so there is no grounds for believing that reason will triumph over faith any time soon. Because a lot of people on this site have moved from absolute belief in a particular religious doctrine to rationality and atheism, I think there is a tendency to generalise this experience to the world. Alas this is not supported by the evidence.
All humanity may leave, or be forced to leave, organized religion but all humanity will not abandon their belief in a higher power, in God. All humanity will not abandon their hope/belief in life after death. All humanity will not buy into evolution being the sole cause of all life on earth. All humanity will not be convinced that no religion, no belief in God, will bring about a world with no war, no inequality, no prejudice, no crimes against women and children and so on.
Thank you for your thoughtful approach.
500 years ago the unthinkable was achieved: "freedom of religion".
Now once again factors are in play which could deliver the next unthinkable: "freedom from religion".
Yes, humans generally do yearn for spiritual union or connection, but are cheated by religion.
Personally I identify as SBNR (Spiritual But Not Religious) and enjoy a vibrant faith and spirituality, based on the liberating gospel message, and quite apart from any religion/ists.
The younger generation are a lot smarter than we were, and not quite as easily duped by religion as we were.
Greetings and best wishes
I will commit to prophecy here. ;)
Let's say that all organized religion is done away with. Let us also say in the future nuclear war breaks out or world plague similar to Ebola or the Spanish Flu takes hold and scientists are not able to find a solution quickly enough to save most people: Religion comes back.
It is not religion we're actually dealing with, neither is it science. We are dealing with people and people can, like a herd of buffalo, quickly change direction. When fear grips them they turn toward whoever, or whatever, they hope will end the pain and misery and bring them relief. In the scenario above that someone would be God. It is the way it is. There is a great line in the movie Gladiator where Caesar's daughter says to her brother: "The mob is fickle brother, he will be forgotten in a month."
Hope is the anathema of godlessness. Take away the hope that this life is not all there is and godlessness is born. Godlessness must first destroy hope. It's a shell game. Godlessness uses the very thing that cries out for rebirth, the natural world, and uses it to destroy the message it is sending. Giving us string theory and mathematical answers few can understand in place of what our eyes can easily see; fantastic beauty, mathematical, genetic and physical order; an earth whose only problem is mankind not itself.
The "mob" may be fickle but it is not blind.
I don't mind people having a religious belief. It's completely up to them and if that is what they want, let them enjoy it.
What I don't mind is a religious person who feels the need to impose their belief on you and if they don't agree take it a step further. I'm all for religious freedom but when the religion does things to MAKE someone believe it or causes physical or emotional pain, I am not for it. A religion should not force someone to believe what they do and then give consequences if you don't agree.
Religion and a belief in god will always be around. I don't ever see it going away 100%.
Defender of Truth,
A quote from the article you linked to:
If we are lucky—if human health and security continue to rise and spread around the globe—churches might evolve into humanist communities and social clubs, dedicated to good works, with distinctive ceremonies and disappearing doctrine, except for a scattering of reclusive sects marked by something like institutional paranoia.
Mankind will not be lucky on this one. Religion is not the only "demon" among us. Religion did not cause the latest Great Recession. Religion does not cause corporate greed. Religion is not swallowing up African and South American lands disregarding the native peoples and the environment. Religion did not cause WWll nor did it cause the U.S. war in Iraq. Neither did the U.S. enter the Vietnam civil war over religion. Religion is not the cause of all evil. Yes, it has committed great sins and has cruelly and unlawfully killed millions but it is not the only source of such evil. Thus, to think that: "If we are lucky—if human health and security continue to rise and spread around the globe..." (emphasis added) disregards history and imo common sense. Stalin was not a deeply religious man, neither was Hitler nor the Khmer Rouge. The desire for power at all costs will not die just because religion dies.
If we are unlucky and calamity strikes, our anxiety and misery will provide plenty of fuel for revivals and inventions of religions we have happily learned to live without.
I agree. This is a common recognition. I usually do not read links here and did not realize it was posted as a reply to my post otherwise I would have clicked the link.
I must clarify: I do not believe and I am not suggesting that Religion is the only evil, nor that it is the cause of all evil. There are many other evils (war, crime, prejudice, injustice, etc.) that are the main issues humanity faces today. However, I do believe that religion is a warped mirror that distorts the actual cause and nature of the evils in the world, and therefore warps the way we take action against such evils. For instance, the Witnesses. They believe that when something terrible happens (outside of "time and unforseen occurence"), it is a symptom of Satan and his demons causing the world to deteriorate further and further because they have a short time left, and things can only (and must) get worse. They believe there is no way to fight this or improve it, and because of that they do not take the necessary steps to begin solving the problems faced by the world.
Religion blames evil in the world on an outside source (Satan and his demons) and a made up internal force (inherited sin), stopping any possibility of humanity being able to solve its own problems without outside intervention. This belief is self-defeating and breeds an apathetic population of victims. In order to improve our world, Religion must be let go of so that humanity can honestly evaluate our problems and, most critically, take steps toward correcting them. We only get one world, one shot, and no one is coming to save us. It is vital that we have a clear, rational purpose and sense of urgency in these matters.