Scott Knightly

Undergraduate Student, St.Francis Xavier University

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In today's technologically run world, what is the new role of religion?

Since the past generation of the baby boomers took control of society, science and technology have risen. In this shift, society went from a religious centered society to a technology centered one. Now this shift was part of a much larger change in the way humans think which has been going on for many tens of hundreds of years. From the polytheist Greeks to the monotheistic Islamic people, the shift in religion has been something that took thousands of years to develop to what it is today. So the question I pose is "What, now, is religion's role?" and/or "Is that the role it is meant to play?" Now I am not saying that Science or Religion are correct, I am only asking what purpose it now serves society after falling as a community creator, and a spiritual binder. Where does it fall today and is it useful to us?

  • Nov 1 2012: It's purpose? Its "responsibility" is to pass away causing as little trouble as possible.
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    Oct 27 2012: Hi Scott.
    All religions are not the same. I guess many of them have more staked in their traditions than in any truth that science might uncover. Others try & accommodate new truths within their existing traditions.
    Personally I have always been interested in the science, & it was scientific evidence that led me, in mid life, to embrace Christianity.
    When I look in the mirror, I see 300 Trillion cells flying in close formation; each as complex as the space shuttle. Others see a natural progression of simple to complex. I reserve the right to my opinion that such complexity is a result of design & as science discovers yet more complexity I think that view will be vindicated.
    Most points of contention are similar. It boils down to opinion, not to hard facts.

    :-)
  • Nov 1 2012: Stan Tenen (of www.meru.org) is one guy whose work I like to look into. I'd suggest watching his video "First Light," &/or listening ot him as a Coast To Coast A.M. guest, where he talked about finding a three-fold self-referencing letter-pattern in the Torah. (I hope I got that right.)
    I think his views touch both science & religion fairly equally.
    And I believe he once mentioned that this sacred-alphabet / geometric language could be the basis of an artificial intelligence. So perhaps the quantum computers of the future could take up the religion as well.

    "What, now, is religion's role?" and/or "Is that the role it is meant to play?"
    I always thought religion's role was to take the focus off of the physical Earth and Earthly cares and onto affairs of deeper significance; to keep us from trying to domineer and strong-arm constantly.
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    Oct 29 2012: I would suggest a few perspectives on Religions.
    Are their claims true.
    Are they useful.

    Science has debunked many religious claims.
    Ultimately science has little to say on the existence of intangible invisible beings.

    A healthy scepticism indicates competing claims can not all be true, and that we should look for evidence to distinguish them. At best one religious belief system is correct and all the others are false. I'm not aware of any religious belief system that has convincing evidence for its supernatural claims.

    I think you may be premature in claiming the end of a religious centred societies.
    Many still have majority believers. But we have come a long way in others and in general.

    Religion still provides consolation for death and loss. It still has communal connections. It is still used as a basis for dogmatic morality. Many are still indoctrinated in religions. Others still find it attractive for various reasons.

    Religion is still an active cultural technology, even if they are mostly false.

    A good life, is not contingent on religion.

    I personally find little value in utility based on falsehoods and speculative unverifiable belief systems
  • Oct 27 2012: I am not sure religion has a new role. I Have always seen religions as various groupings of people that believe some questions about life have faith based answers and take solace in congregating with others of similar beliefs. This congregation forms a faith based community that has a governing structure, set of practices for promulgating the message, and administer to the needs of its members or ministry however they best see fit. There are folks that are given great comfort by this structure. Religious leaders either know how to meet the needs of this group, or their message dies out. To the extent that these people are comforted and helped by religions, they serve a useful purpose. To the extent that religion exploit the weak, use mind control techniques to leverage support from the congregation, or see themselves as duty bound to push their views on other people, they are bad.

    Technology is opening up communications lines, asking people to question everything, offering different science based explanations about things previously accepted on faith. Some people are receptive to these new ideas, some are not and get defensive about the suggestion that their views might be challenged. Technology is also shedding light on religious practices that have taken advantage of the congregation as the public spotlight and scrutiny is levied on religious practices.

    New roles? I think the roles are the same, but the growth in technology has offered more choices to a wider audience than ever before. Religions that use geography as a barrier to protect extreme beliefs are now weakened by messages and thoughts coming in through different communications media. Religions with practices that abuse women, children, or the elderly are now identified as criminal and challenged by world opinion, rather than having the few that dare to challenge shunned from the community.

    Only to the extent religion provides the service of comfort to those looking for faith based answers, it is good
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    Oct 27 2012: Religions are not perfect; just as no human system is perfect; hence the claim that imperfection is a good reason for abolition has no firmness no stand on. Most religions try to answer the questions that science and technology can not answer: like 'what is the purpose of life?', 'Is there life after death?' and 'How should we live our lives?'
    Religions deal with ethical and moral issues and most do teach that 'what is right' and 'what is wrong' are not issues of human opinion. Hence religions are concerned with issues of harmonious relationships between individuals and human relationship with God.
    I am a christian and I have seen drug addicts and ex-convicts turning a new leaf as a result of their faith; and I've seen people who have been able to make a difference in government because of their faith.
    I am an actor and my faith has helped be to keep from sexual immorality and drug addiction which would seem like a norm in the film industry.

    One thing is clear: Technology is not meant to do what religion is doing; and religion can not replace science and Technology.
    There may be lots of fancy gadgets and toys around; but human nature is essentially the same.
  • Oct 27 2012: Well well. I am not atheist, but i rely in technology perform most of my everyday work. To be christian, islamist or buddhist does not mean that knowledge about physics, Chemistry, astrophysics, genetics, anthropology is something to be denied or considered a sin.
    Maybe this conversation is about religious radicals that have boxed minds. Asteroids, Planets, Nebulas are out there. Some made of frozen gases, some made of rocks and metals. And no matter how religious a person is, he/she, must be open to scientific evidence and technology. Because this are tools of our everyday life.
    In some sectors of society, "religion" or faith, has an important roll. Not everyone needs to believe in a supernatural being, but it works for some, and maybe doesn't work for others.

    Throughout history, "religion" or "faith" has been blamed for economical disasters, plagues, etc..
    We should not forget that some major milestones in science were reached by religious guys. Gregor Mendel, austrian Friar (genetics), George Lemaitre belgian priest and professor of physics ( Pioneer of the Big Bang theory) Armand David (Zoology), etc. And the list goes on. And all this guys were full of knowledge and curiosity about the real nature of the phenomena they observed.

    The ones that use religion as a blanket to cover the fears brought on by lack of knowledge are the radicals whose minds are boxed, and they are afraid that knowledge may stumble their faith. A real man of faith, is not afraid of look to the sky at night with a telescope. I do not know if i am a man of faith but, i have pointed telescopes to the stars many times. And i like it and i don't think for a second that i will be sent to hell for doing so.
    A real man of faith will exchange a brotherly handshake with a muslim, an atheist, a buddhist or with a mother ship believer. And will talk with any of them about math, physics, or whatever. This is about harmony among people who are different from each other.
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      Oct 27 2012: I agree with much of what you say Roberto. The idea that science/technology and religion are two diametrically apposed things is a silly, closed-minded concept. The radical mind-set is often only ever attributed to religion when it is all around us. Every sector of society has radicals who are unwilling to open their minds to ideas that are not their own. Think of a devout vegan who berates you every chance they get over your consumption of meat, or a straight person who constantly makes comments about how being homosexual is killing off the human race. These people, too, are extremists of a kind. People are too quick to blame religion as the root of society's faults. Indeed, the true religious man is one of acceptance, the enlightened man.
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    Oct 27 2012: same as it ever was.

    it is not useful to 'us'. the idea that we should all believe/think the same way is a ridiculous notion that people often mistakenly believe is possible because they have the internet. High speed wires do not make a global community. that is a misleading, vague and ultimately un-useful term.

    technology, as it is often termed these days, is only a medium change. instant connection is about convenience and has done very little to improve the messages. in fact it is really only a 100 million opinions being beamed at light speed all over the world and very little else (eg - this post).

    where technology has 'improved' peoples' working lives, again, it comes down to convenience. what price will we pay for the quick and easy path..?
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      Oct 27 2012: I do agree with your point that the idea that we can create a unified thought process is ludicrous in terms of its operation but I disagree with the fact that we can not achieve it. In my personal opinion, science or Atheism is the newest form of religion. Due to this, I believe that technology could, in theory, create a link over mankind. The point is that it is all ready happening. But I completely agree that the price man is willing to pay for instant connection is far too steep. The question on this train of thought then is "Will mankind realize what they are doing before they destroy themselves?"
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    Nov 1 2012: Religion/technology - frameworks within which to exist in a totally unpredictable world. Fear leads to fight or flight. Love leads to play and creativity. Faith, hope, charity and tolerance. Three great treasures of the i-ching Compassion Modesty and Frugality. Yes stlll very useful concepts. Falls today because of idea of a universal truth, everyone's truths unique. A society where this is tolerated and not stamped on very rare indeed.
  • Oct 29 2012: Thanks Scott, a great and timely question.

    From my perspective, humanity has grown up mentally and spiritually over possibly millions of years.
    That development and growth could be portrayed in the growth and development of each individual human being We go from being totally spiritually ignorant, to being wise and loving.

    Humanity seems to have reached the stage of a youth. The trust and belief in the parents is taken over, or pushed aside, by an excitement of discovering things and creating things him/herself.

    The parents (or God) are still there but have taken a back-seat.

    It is my sincere hope that at one point a trend will develop during which people will say: My parents (God) still exist and love me. All by itself science can not tell me what life, or spirituality is all about. There is more to life than matter.

    To discover and learn new things was exiting, but that is not what life is all about. I.e. driving a more sophisticated car does not make me a better person. Science can not make my marriage better.

    Religion (or the interpretation of Revelation) will at some point become important again when that interpretation reaches a level that makes sense and can be understood, spiritually.

    At some point religion will go beyond the sayings of "believe it or else!!" or 'leave your coat and brain at the door and sit down.'

    In both, religion and science, when there exists a mis-interpretation of facts or ideas, there emerges a mystery. It also is totally wrong in both to fully trust a mystery and declare it as the truth. Give it time, keep an open mind, and things will change, level out and start making sense again.

    Thanks again Scott
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      Oct 29 2012: Why superstition, though? Why not plain spirituality, or philosophy?
      I don't think you've answered the question.
      • Oct 29 2012: What, in your view, is the difference between superstition and spirituality. If you do see any difference??

        What I said is that the actual role of religion is not changed by science. Just because science is elbowing itself to the front that does not change the role of religion.
        As I said elsewhere, science can get us to the moon, but only religion can get us to heaven. That is not going to change.
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          Oct 31 2012: Superstition and spirituality have nothing in common. Superstition is a belief system that is irrational, while spirituality is a certain curiosity, or sensitivity or, depending on the definition, a way of life, a philosophy.
          It is my conviction and personnal experience that you really don't need religion to have spirituality.
      • Nov 1 2012: Hi Gerald, it seems your experience with religion has not been that great.

        What convinced you there is no belief system which has a spiritual reality as well? Science?

        Right away I have to also say, I may very well agree with you regarding the lack of spirit in traditional Christianity. There is the saying that 'one has to leave the church to meet God' :)

        So my interpretation of religion is that it can be a spiritual relationship with a higher power. As any relationship, it is not what we wear, it is not about gestures or which chair or pew we sit on. If is all about why we do what we do.

        Would your definition above, of spirituality, require scientific evidence?
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          Nov 1 2012: I'm sure you're a spiritual person, Adriaan. But I'm convinced it has nothing to do with the religion you're into. There are very spiritual atheists, buddhists, muslims, jews, christians... as you know.
          That's my point, nothing more. Spirituality is independant from religion.

          About science. I don't think scientific evidence has anything to do with spirituality, though I think spirituality is at the origin of the curiosity that drives us to wonder what the world is actually like.
      • Nov 1 2012: Yeah, "why not philosophy" - (which leads right-back to science & its philosophy.)

        You mention "Superstition and spirituality." Yes, I guess my spirituality, (and all spirituality) can be labeled a superstition. Everything & everyone is "suspect" from an outside vantage-point. All who would side with Taikai for President are Communists, and Communists are in bed with the Dadaists; they're both selling out to the Repubs. It's a vicious circle.
      • Nov 2 2012: Hi Gerald,
        "But I'm convinced it has nothing to do with the religion you're into."
        Which shows me you either know nothing about spirituality or you know nothing about Swedenborgianism (the New Christian Church). It is very new (about 250 years young) and is as different from the traditional Christian church as that church is from the Jewish religion. Neither of which, you're right, have anything spiritual.
        Swedenborg wrote books for close to 30 years showing that what makes the Bible God's word is not the literal text and history lessons. It is the higher, internal and spiritual meaning of that text.

        To me spirit or spirituality has nothing to do with sophisticated thoughts, deep reflections or some other way of extending the mind 'upward' in some way. I firmly believe our mind is above matter and exists in a spiritual realm and is only 'connected' by an influence which Swedenborg calls "the science of correspondence.

        Human life consists of love and wisdom. Both are aspects of that spiritual realm and one without the other is spiritual death. When both are present, the result is use, or being useful. One well-known quote is "All religion relates to life, and a life of religion is to do good."

        I sincerely hope you have "the curiosity that drives us to wonder what the world is actually like" and use that to do some research. You say you're convinced.. I just hope you're not stuck. I'd like to think there is still a role for religion and that everything on this website makes sense and provides a spiritual direction.
        http://www.newchurch.org/
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          Nov 2 2012: Or one can "find God" writing poetry, or painting a ceiling, or jogging... It really is the homo sapiens thing to do and although some religion encourage people to live in a multi-layer dimension, it's definitely not the only thing to be doing it... and I suppose not the best... and sometimes the worse.
          The worst way to be spiritual is to be religious in a way that you accept scripture as actual explanations about reality, as cosmology. In today's world, for instance, chosing to ignore the theory of evolution is a spiritual mistake. There you have a beautiful idea that a human mind has come up with, with absolutely awesome explanatory power and vertiginous implications. A modern biologist faces a complexity and a mystery that could not have been imagined. The best way to be spiritual is to be open-minded, to enjoy mystery as much as solutions.
          So if you're in a religion that shortcuts creative effort to figure things out, yes, I believe you're missing something important, spiritually-wise. That's when religion stands in the way of the religious.
      • Nov 2 2012: Hi Gerald, "In today's world, for instance, choosing to ignore the theory of evolution is a spiritual mistake."
        I fully agree with you because, as I said earlier, to base our belief system and world view on the literal text of the Bible is old school. There is nothing in the Old Testament that should be taken literally and applied to life. There is a spiritual level that allows us to put it in our personal, individual life, IF we so choose.

        When you say "The best way to be spiritual is to be open-minded," Is that what you are, when you say "you're convinced.."??
        Something as basic and simple as the Creation Story used to tell people God created everything in seven days and in a certain way. If that interpretation makes us a more spiritual person, fine.
        However, humans have become more scientific and things in that story don't make sense any more and so a new Revelation was given. That shows this story has a spiritual meaning that applies to every individual that lives on this planet.
        Can we, by ourselves, figure out what it means to be infinite? or omnipresent? Absolutely not. Do you think we can come up with, and create, information about what happens after our body dies? All that information is now given to us and we can be convinced and ignore it, or we can be open minded and have a look.

        If the Bible did not have Divine Truth hidden in it, it would not be the "Word of God" in fact it would be worse than what Shakespeare wrote. And why it is hidden is a whole new subject.

        This book is about how the organs and systems in a human body are a basis of spiritual reality. How the two interact and why.
        http://highermeaning.org/Authors/Berridge/Prepages.shtml

        And this is about what happens after our body dies,
        http://sites.google.com/site/liveitupspiritually/home/writings/Heaven-and-Hell_Short.pdf?attredirects=0

        I hope you'll have the time to at least have a look at them and then decide to explore or ignore..
        wishing you a great weekend!
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    Oct 28 2012: In my observation, religion may have a very important role.
    There are a few factors that religion seems to take care of.
    Firstly is the general pressure religion applies to the self/community balance.
    This is important because community potential is greater than the sum of the individual potentials.
    Secondly, an individual has behavioural latching potentials - one may become an addict, one may become traumatised, one may become destructively exploitive. By having a notion of a "higher power" a pathway is created to de-latch behaviours that reduce the community potential. One can turn to "god" for the strength to overcome failures in the self. The higher power must be defined as occupying "mystery" (what is not known) in order for it to exert non-causal results (which are, essentially neural pathways).
    Thirdly, religious dogma can serve as a "storage bin" for successful tricks that have been observed but have obscure causality.
    The first aspect (communality) can be replaced by science.
    The third aspect can only be replaced by science as the causality of specific "tricks" is uncovered.
    That leaves the second aspect which can also be progressively replaced by science (Psychology/neural science). However, there will always be "mystery" and there is no reason why the "higher power" effect should be excluded from palliative care.
  • Oct 28 2012: Technology is not particularly in conflict with religion. In fact I could argue technology has served to enhance the role of religion. TV and radio have brought religion right into the home offering a convenient connection especially to the elderly with minimum cost to reach the masses around the world.

    The real problem is that an observation by Charles Darwin of how as a species we came to to be negates the crux of what religion espouses. An observation that transformed biology into a science. That in turn transformed and redirected human efforts from prayer to to new fields of knowledge and applications and it is reflected everywhere including technology, especially in medicine.

    The role of religion has been impacted by this modern era explanation of our natural history. People experience this common sense appeal from the physical evidence. It would also be a mistake to think this altering view of the role of religion is restricted to college educated types. The fact is, life is a learning experience and people generally seek to better understand it.

    I don't deny we have gone to a more technological center society, but our social behavioral adjustments to technology is not the basis for the changing influence of religion. This argument is a false construct IMO.
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      Oct 29 2012: I believe you may be mislead, my friend. I, by no means, am saying that the theory of evolution has not been a huge impact on society and religious society, nor am I saying that only those with a college education can understand this shift. I am merely offering a question. "How has religion's role changed in lieu of the technological boom?" Please don't think that I am asking this question without all ready having thought about it and understood that it is not a false construct. That is slightly insulting. I ask you to look around you when you go to to the mall or a public event and look at the cell-phones, the i-pods/Mp3s, the laptops, the plethora of electronics they sell at your local tech store and tell me that they have created NO impact on society at all. Society is a massive institution and one huge part of it is the religious system. If society has shifted, then so has religion as it has historically (eg the switch of Greek religious ideals after the sacking of Athens, the fall of Rome to the Huns, the protestant reformation, etc) I am only asking if or how religion has changed with this new, technologically centered society.
      • Oct 30 2012: Hi Scott,

        Let me try this another way.

        Religion communicates a particular belief system and then serves a role for those that subscribe. A basic attraction of technology involves communication as well. I don't see all this technology so much in terms of offering a role, but providing a open and accessible way of allowing individual more liberty and convenience in pursuing what attracts them. Obviously this technology has been incorporated into our lives and have changed our lives due to the value of these electronic devises in the areas of communication, work, entertainment, education, religion, escape, etc.

        Religion continues to play a strong role around the world as evident in polls and other data, but it may be losing some ground in influence. It is a relevant question as whether technology is more harmful, or helpful in serving the interest and role of religion around the world. There is a constant war of ideas and influence that affects everything, religion included.

        I prefer my view of the natural world over what is offered and demanded by religion, but to each is own.

        I don't see technology as a competing role against religion.
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          Oct 30 2012: Very well, Dan. I understand where you are coming from and I understand your stand-point. Thanks for the input and I am pleased with your second last line. "...to each his own'. An interesting point of view. And, of course, you are more than welcome your own view, as we all are. Opinions and the ability to think critically for ourselves is horribly important.

          Thanks for your opinion!
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    Oct 28 2012: I said this recently, and I might write a conversation about it, but I got a kick out of it.

    God = love
    Love = the rational expression of the sex drive
    God = the rational expression of the sex drive, ie... The desire to create productive, healthy, and happy life.

    Religion exists as a tool to remind people to control their sex drive, settle down, and have families... because it will be very likely to make you happy. In our technocratic, and often perverse society we can lose touch with that, so religion, culture, spirituality, and community, still have an important role to play in encouraging the positive creation of life in the human animal. In my humble opinion.
    • Oct 29 2012: Is sex a very important part of your life.? :)
      Love and sex are two very different things. Many times sex is practised without even the slightest aspect of love. Unless it is the love of self.

      God is love indeed, but could not care about your love life any more than about your car.

      Sex is (at least should be) an expression of the love for someone. If we do not love, or even know, the person it has absolutely nothing to do with love.
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        Oct 29 2012: Love = the rational expression of the sex drive... What do I mean by that? The sex drive, without love, would lead to an emotional, irrational, destructive world, without parents. Love, is a human construct designed to rationally express the creative aspect of our sex drive. Religion, uses god, to encourage human beings to rationally express their sex drive in the form of a loving family, rather than succumbing to it as teenagers, and turning into degenerates.

        Is whether or not I choose to create life, and whom I choose to do it with an important part of my life? Yes, it is the most important part of every single human being on the planets life... It, in fact, decides what kind of species we become, and whether or not we survive.

        Sex is, of course, also, the impetus of my life... None of us would be here without sex... Technically, we could still exist without love... but it wouldn't be any fun.
        • Oct 29 2012: In a way, yes. We are forms of love. We are what we love etc. However, love is a whole world more than just sex (even if it means starting and raising a family. It is indeed one of the most important aspects of our existence who we 'decide' to love and go on to eternity with. But it may not be our ruling love, the basic love that governs all else.

          In fact love is the means by which we have, and are able to use, free will. Because we can choose what (and who) to love, in detail, that accumulates to what our ruling love is, what our 'god' is. It is that ruling love which determines our eternity.

          You may appreciate at least the start of this book which deals with love, what we think it is, where it's from and how it works. I hope you'll enjoy it.
          http://webhome.idirect.com/~abraam/documents/DLW.pdf
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    Oct 27 2012: Thank-you for your opinion Peter, I am pleased you brought it up. It would seem that 75-80% of the people on the conversation believe that science and religion need to work together and you have taken up a position which shows this. I must say that this theory is something that I have looked at and I believe is plausible as it is logical (regardless of what some people might say). People are too focused on the idea that the answers lie with EITHER science or religion and it would be impossible for both to hold merit. Indeed, in a topic where facts are sparse, opinions are really all we have to work with.
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    Gail .

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    Oct 27 2012: Technology is indirectly bringing the Abrahamic religions to an end.

    Religions now serve as a blanket to cover the fears brought on by lack of knowledge. But the knowledge that is flooding understanding cannot be held back forever, no matter how powerful the religion.

    When our economic system fails, I expect to see the Abrahamic religions fail. I view them as a hindrance rather than the core of community. The changes in the Christian religion in the past 20 years is a clear example of this. Those fundamentalist churches that are trying to establish a theocracy (laws based on their God's commandments) now serve to break community apart and pit neighbor against neighbor. Unless we want to go back to the dark ages, these religions have to go.

    As these religions are already in precipitous decline, it will happen. As our economic model is unsustainable (thus guaranteed to fail), it will happen. As education is growing and more and more are learning about all of the discoveries in quantum mechanics and study of the "mind", it will happen. As the Internet makes this information available to more and more people around the globe, it will happen.

    Where does it fall today? In the USA - it's still very powerful, but the backlash is increasing. The backlash is useful, but not the Abrahamic religion.

    I know that there are a few here who are feeling very offended by my words, but I was answering THIS question. I hope you will realize that the offense is what YOU feel because you choose to, not because I made you choose it.
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      Oct 27 2012: Indeed, I created this conversation with the knowledge that some people might take offence to what was put forth within it. But we are all intelligent adults who can articulate their opinions and I personally am intrigued by your viewpoint and I wish to challenge it.

      You seem to be saying that the religions of Abraham (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) are now obsolete. That in today's society there is no place for them. I would like to start at the beginning of your comment. You say that religion is a way of escaping the fear that comes from a lack of knowledge. I would like to challenge that. Socrates, of ancient Greece, believed that those who were ignorant were those who were evil. Now aside from fundamentalists (every group has them, even atheists believe you me), I could not say in truth that the religions of the world are populated by evil people, that is simply nonsense. Knowledge is very important, I agree, but can none come from religion?

      What do you think will happen when these religions fall? I am assuming you believe that it would create a better world, yes? I ask you to look at Arkady Grudzinsky's comment as well as my response and tell me you views on that. I would like to see what you think of it. So is religion, to you, useful in any way?
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        Gail .

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        Oct 27 2012: I thought that Socrates said “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” That is VERY different from saying that those who are ignorant are evil. Those who are ignorant are more likely to believe in the existence of evil, and those who fear evil are most likely to behave in ways that they consider evil, but I wouldn't go any farther than that. If you are ignorant (and all of us are to one degree or another), that does not mean that you are evil.

        Knowledge does not come from religion. Faith does. Too often knowledge and faith are in opposition and the Abrahamic religions (especially Orthodox Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) become anti-intellectual in order to remain strong in faith. This leaves them ignorant - not evil. But ignorant people are most likely the ones who will start wars, not knowing the down-sides of war, or pass laws requiring others to honor their God's commandments, not seeing consequences,

        If the members of the Abrahamic religions were to become informed about what is happening in quantum mechanics and in the new science that is studying "mind", and rigorously pursue understanding in spite of the threat to faith, something very beautiful and very wonderful will happen. What they understand will negate their God and provide another worldview that offers safety, abundance, freedom, and great joy.

        As those who have found the unified / quantum / morphic field, and have become practiced in becoming one with it and using it are all gentle yet powerful people, yes, I earnestly believe that NO good comes out of religion any more - at least the Abrahamic ones. It's only use is visible in the eyes of political and religious leaders who need sheeple to herd and use in ways that suit their desires.

        The world would be a much finer place without them. Those who worry that without God there are no ethical standards are just plain ignorant. In the face of the knowledge available to us, willful ignorance is a danger to us.
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        Gail .

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        Oct 27 2012: I would also say that if there is fear, it is what some call evil. Fear is caused by ignorance.
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          Oct 27 2012: Socrates believed that one who is "Evil" (and maybe you and I give that word different meanings), I will call it "non virtuous", are so because they are ignorant. Therefore; if all religious people are ignorant, they are "non virtuous". But this I do not mean that they run about committing murder or rape, I mean that they do not lead a virtuous or a truthful or a moral life. This does not make sense as many religious people have contributed in positive ways to society and were, indeed, virtuous. Socrates himself was a kind of religious.

          If you want to look at it that way, then I would argue that your definition of ignorance is also unsatisfactory. Ignorance and a lack of knowledge are two separate concepts. Ignorance is knowing something yet refusing to acknowledge it, while lack of knowledge is simply not knowing something is. For example; If I know that cats and dogs are both animals yet I refuse to accept that, it is ignorant of me. But if I do not know that they are both animals and I state that, I am innocent. I suppose the larger point I am trying to make is that Religious people who refuse to acknowledge science are ignorant, and those of science who refuse to acknowledge religion are ignorant.

          Yes, Some refute knowledge to "Protect" their religion which is what I spoke of above. They are extremists, are ignorant. Religion is the oldest institution of knowledge! Since the Mesapotamians who used their deities to explain natural occurrences in an understandable way, to the Jewish who used their faith to describe first things (Murder, betrayal, good, evil, etc). While empirical knowledge may not sprout directly from religion to its full form, I do believe that much knowledge we have today owes its roots to religious faiths.

          NO good comes out of religion any more? That is a bold statement. What if you are right but not for the reason you think, but because we have bound religion, decided it was no good any longer, and tossed it into a river?
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        Gail .

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        Oct 27 2012: When Socrates was alive, religion had benefit. When I was born, religion had benefit. But these are different times.

        I remember looking up in the sky and seeing Sputnik, the first satellite. Now. because of them, everyone knows how hurricanes/typhoons form. We can get out of their way. Before satellites gave us knowledge, the idea of God was a comfort. Today, we know a lot about plate tectonics so earthquakes and volcanoes are understood. We have advance warning of blizzards. tornadoes, and even tsunamis (if the cause is not right on our doorstep). We know more about nutrition and disease. Now we know that if we wash our hands, God will be less likely to strike us down with a disease and call us home. We even have a theory of creation that does not require the existence of an Abrahamic-type God. (This is the short list). We have outgrown the need for the Abrahamic "God".

        It's time for the fearful to face their fears and see the world that exists on the other side. It's quite bright and sunny in the world that knows freedom.

        My problem is not with a god concept. (I even have one - though some wouldn't call it one) My problem is with the Abrahamic Creator God. It now does more harm than good because God requires its members to remain willfully ignorant in order to grow in faith, and for this reason, too many are anti-intellectual and those who are not anti-intellectual are not intellectually curious, which is willful ignorance - which is not much better than anti-intellectual.

        So I stand firm in saying that NO good comes out of the Abrahamic Creator God religions because willful ignorance (lack of intellectual curiosity) is not a good thing. It's a danger to us all.

        We've just outgrown "God". Any intellectually curious person is at least an agnostic if he/she is young. But the young intellectually curious will outgrow agnosticism. I do wish that everyone would.
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          Oct 28 2012: The notion that believers are not intellectually curious does not seem to be true. Newton was a believer, genetics was started by a monk, Gregor Mendel, and the big bang theory invented by a Catholic priest, Georges Lemaitre.

          I agree that a lot of religious folks feel uncomfortable with scientific discoveries, because they contradict their dogma. That attitude should go. But I disagree with the view that science is a competitor of religion. It's a silly concept, like trying to figure out if an elephant would win a fight with a whale :-)
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        Gail .

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        Oct 28 2012: @Arkady

        You missed my point. I said that when I was born, God had a purpose, but given all that we have learned in the last 5-40 years, that purpose has gone.
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          Oct 29 2012: I understand your point, TED Lover, but I feel like it is a little naive to be honest. I do not mean to sound like I am telling you your position is incorrect as I think that, with work, it could hold water. The point that I can`t seem to get my head around is your statement, ``God had a purpose, but....that purpose has gone.`` If you look back in history, over centuries, you can see religion as a towering beacon, a method of understanding our world. Now if you look at today, what has changed? To be honest, not much. Humans are still humans, war is still war, we still do not know where we came from or what our purpose is. Science has existed for just as long as religion. The ancient Egyptians were masters of ancient medicine and the Greeks had theories about atoms and molecules that were unprecedented. But in those days they used Religion to explain Science. Today we use science to explain religion. Both are ineffective and the only way we can make any progress in learning the Real question, "Why?" is by melding them into one concept. I do not mean create a monstrosity, only that it is very hard to learn all you can about a pig simply by performing a dissection and it is equally hard when all you have are ideas about how it lives and why. In order to understand something you need both the physical and philosophical. Science will never be able to answer the "Whys". Why are we? Where did it all start? Why can I think? Why am I self-aware? Why do I have a mind? Why do I have a personality and why is it unique?

          Arkandy, I like your comparison between religion vs science and a whale vs an elephant but I would like to alter it if I could. I think that Science and Religion are one and the same, so talking about which one wins is more like talking about whether you, yourself would win in a fight against yourself. It is a nonsensical question which has no answer other than neither because you can't fight yourself.
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        Gail .

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        Oct 30 2012: .
        1) Religion is a belief-set. As such, it is closed-minded.
        Science is a system of inquiry. As such it is open-minded.
        The two hold ho similarity. Your belief is irrational and no sane person would disagree.

        2) I post that God has become unnecessary in the last 5-40 years and you reply with the value of God as far back as history can be traced. I agree that God WAS helpful in those days, but I have followed the science that now shows that if there is a God, it is nothing like the God that people worship today. It's as if I never even spoke.

        3) You sound like another who used to post here under a bevy of screen names. He has schizophrenia and needs to have his meds adjusted.
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        Gail .

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        Oct 30 2012: .
        1) Religion is a belief-set. As such, it is closed-minded. It already has its answer.
        . Science is a system of inquiry. As such it is open-minded. It looks for answers.
        . The two hold ho similarity. Your belief is irrational.

        2) I post that God has become unnecessary in the last 5-40 years and you reply with the value of God as far back as history can be traced. I agree that God WAS helpful in those days, but I have followed the science that now shows that if there is a God, it is nothing like the God that people worship today. Your reply denies that I never even spoke.

        religion =/= science.
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          Oct 30 2012: I am afraid that you have mistaken my claim. I do not, in any way believe that religion and science are the same thing, merely that they are both looking for the same goal and act in similar manners. Yes, I stated that to try and decided which would is like deciding whether you or yourself would win in combat and I stand by that. I rationalize that by saying that they are NOT the same thing at all but they attempt to answer the same questions.

          Yes, you did and I acknowledged it with a historically based point. But it would seem that you misread it. I was not stating example of how religion/God(s) was useful in the past, but I went into the past to show that not much has changed and that the only major thing is that once, religion attempted to explain science, now science tries to explain religion. Not only that, but the point that science was useful even in the most religious times so why is religion, all of a sudden, worthless? That was my point, I fully understood your point.

          religion =/= science, but Science + Religion= unified understanding. Have you not read a history book on, say, WWII? If you look only at what the allies did, you can only understand so much. But once you take time to understand both concepts, both sides and their usefulness, then it begins to take form.

          I am pleased that you are not calling me a schizophrenic in this reply, it is nice to see that you do have some points and you don't feel the need to insult me by likening me to someone else that you know. Have a nice evening, if it is so where you are, and try to remember that this is a conversation for the mature. What do you think? Do I still sound like I need my "meds adjusted"?

          Sincerely, Scott Knightly
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        Gail .

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        Oct 31 2012: Let me quote you: "I think that Science and Religion are one and the same"

        and as to your last question - yes

        And I didn't say that YOU need a meds adjustment. I said that this conversation reminds me of someone who used to post on here using a bevy of names. He appears to have schizophrenia and he needs a meds adjustment. To say that YOU need a meds adjustment would be a violation of TOS

        Your statement "and try to remember that this is a conversation for the mature" IS a violation of TOS
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    Oct 27 2012: From a scientific materialistic point of view, there is no purpose for existence of anything - universe, life, humans. They just exist. Period. So, what are we supposed to do with our life? Where do we get goals, purposes, noble causes? They seem to come from our desires and passions. We come up with our own goals, purposes, and causes. So, which goals, purposes, and causes are worth pursuing? Science can never answer this question. It can only be answered by some sort of beliefs and follow from a system of values that we create for ourselves. This is the question religions are trying to answer. I don't see this question going away any time soon, so, it's a bit too early to dismiss religion altogether, IMHO.

    The world is not run by technology. The world is run by human passions and desires. Whatever is the object of our passions and desires is our god. Worshiping material things - money or technology is not a good idea.
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      Oct 27 2012: It would seem that the two of us see eye to eye on this entire topic. I agree with your viewpoint as it is much my own. Science has explained away much of the physical world but they are incapable of describing the metaphysical, our minds, thoughts. I love religion of all denominations and also believe that is is an integral part of our society which is why I think the shift it is undergoing is detrimental. And at the end of your comment, I believe you hit the crux of the argument, "Whatever is the object of our passions and desires is our god." That was what I meant by my statement that religion has fallen as a community creator and spiritual binder. I did not mean that I thought that was a good thing, only that it was happening. More people today show up to get their hands on the new i-Phone than to a religious practice. No longer is it expected that everyone goes out and worships. You can see this in everyday life when a person crosses themselves or unrolls a prayer mat in public, look at the faces people make. People today are under the belief that technology will bring them closer than religion and that is, to me, a dangerous ideal.
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        Oct 28 2012: Re: "Science has explained away much of the physical world but they are incapable of describing the metaphysical, our minds, thoughts."

        Well, there is interesting research in neuroscience and psychology. But, as always, it explains how things work, not why or for what purpose. These questions are subjective. There is no scientific answer to them. Any research needs a purpose. Where does that purpose come from? It does not come from science itself. Again, it comes from passions and desires.

        Re: "I love religion of all denominations and also believe that is is an integral part of our society which is why I think the shift it is undergoing is detrimental."

        Unfortunately, those who are against religion, have very good reasons. I think, religion is very powerful. Perhaps, it is the most powerful thing in human society. It's neither good nor bad - it's just extremely powerful. Take nuclear power - it can be a huge source of energy or it can kill millions of people. We need to learn how to use it.

        Re: "More people today show up to get their hands on the new i-Phone than to a religious practice." No worries here yet :-) http://spaceflightnow.com/news/n0101/26ikonos/

        As for the attitudes towards religion, why worry? I'm sure, religion is not the only way to answer the questions of purpose for our life. Religion fascinates me with the wealth of cultural traditions, the sense of rhythm and structure, community building, spiritual guidance. But worshiping religion itself with its rituals and rules instead of God is as bad as worshiping technology.
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          Oct 30 2012: Indeed, the idea that the physical processes and the conceptual, non-physical concepts are one and the same is an amusing idea. People tend to believe that the brain is a mass of matter and it sends electrical pulses out as well as receives them and, in this way, we are conscious. But that idea lacks so much as it fails to explain the mind, rational, imagination, origin, or the question of Why.

          That quote may be misunderstood. To clarify, I meant that the fall of religion as a useful tool and more to a anti-knowledge being is detrimental to our understanding. I agree that religion is a huge and powerful piece of our world and it can be wielded in both good and evil. I also agree that those who stand to mark religion as a foe are in possession of rational and very intelligent arguments. I did not mean that religion should "win" only that the refusal to accept and understand the two is detrimental.

          I am very pleased to see that I was very wrong in my statement and I thank-you for the link to an intriguing article! One of my favourite things is being disproved as it teaches much more than being right, :)

          As above, I am definitely not a believer that religion is the only method of understanding the Big Questions, on the contrary. I am the same way, religion is a constant fascination of mine. And yes, very much so. To worship the rituals and not the God(s) is one of the worst things an individual could do themselves and it is just like technology worship, ie the worship of the technology itself and not the greater ideas and purposes behind it.
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    Oct 27 2012: Why do you think that religion has fallen as a community creator and a spiritual binder?
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    Oct 27 2012: Scott, Please explain why you think that the role of religion has changed and why you pose this question?
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      Oct 27 2012: Religion is a fascination of mine and it, in my experience, has changed roles drastically over the past number of years. What started as a means of connecting one's self to "The Creator(s)" as well as to the community as a whole has shifted in the social sphere. Today, attendance at churches is drastically lower than it was in years past and those who do attend (for the biggest part) are the "Baby Boomers". Today's generation would rather stream Netflix on their computer than attend a religious practice of any kind. I am posing this question because I love discussion and I love having my concepts and ideas proved incorrect, if at all possible, as we can learn so much more from stating an opinion and being proven incorrect by an intelligent person than posing a question and having everyone agree. Thanks for asking, but now I must ask you for your opinion.
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        Oct 27 2012: Fair enough. Scott I do not have a easy answer ... Religion took some serious hits in people like Jim and Tammy Baker and the whole TV evanglist movement. ... Sunday was a day of reflection and rest and now it is fire up the grill, hoist a few brews, and watch the game. .... for years the church was a means of networking now we have many means available .... people tend to view religion differently the closer they come to the end of the line ..... generations X, Y, Z, etc were raised in a latch key environment with money thrown at them in real money and electronics to entertain them without real parental guidence or interface. They make their own decisions and mostly reject anything their parents believe in or espouse ... religion is cyclic just like everything else ..... The power of the Catholic church has dimioshed greatly ... movies/media/TV and other influences have dimished the appeal .... the fight between good and evil is not a plain as it once was cowboys in white hats beat cowboys in black hats ... drugs ... gay movements ... the rapid move to the socialism point of view .. thus the rise of athiests .... bad science that wants to challenge religion instead of embracing it and allow two differing views everything has become in your face ... and much, much more ....

        Scott I do not see any one thing as a major contributor but the collection of many influences. Think of us in a 100 year cycle .. we are again in the roaring 20's mindset where money. booze, partying are important variables in their life.

        Perhaps it would be advisable to look at the early life influences that prevailed in the great years of christianity and the parental influences of the last two generations. I see the relationship of the social, family, economics as being factors and influences.

        These are expressed opinions as I am no expert just a observer of the species.

        All the best. Bob.
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          Oct 27 2012: Very intriguing. So are you saying that the shift is more importantly in the family unit and that is what has caused the dramatic changes we see today?

          I agree that the world has become much more complicated now, but I believe that is an important change in the human mind. This problem, as I see it, is that we are ruining this new and much more powerful mind by not recognizing that science and religion are bound together and do not appose one-and-other but compliment.

          That is an interesting point, that we are, psychologically, on a loop. So do you think that we will ever achieve a sense of balance between the two? Or will they tear each other to ribbons before that can be actualized?

          Thank-you for the opinion, everyone has one and no two are ever the same but each is marvelously interesting!

          Enjoy your day,
          Scott.
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        Oct 27 2012: Scott, families were once within a 25 - 50 miles radus. Today we are scatter throught the world. I recall going to a family members house every weekend and all the family joined. Now we (sometimes) text. Yes there is a radical change in the family unit.

        Science and religion can and should be partners ... there are always those who seek to dominate on both sides and will keep the fight going.

        Yes I think we are in loops in most things .... hair styles ... clothing ..... music ... norms

        When the economy is good and the kids make their own money and leave the farm for the big city, they want to sample all the wares. When the economy is bad and they move home they re-affilate with the local culture.

        When I was a kid if a divorced woman moved into town the husbands were put on a short leash and the "hussy" was watched 24/7. If a unmarried girl become pregnate she was "a tramp". All of these things have vanished and society is much kinder than they were. However, behind closed doors the stigmas still exist.

        As you say there is a change in the human mind .... is that not a cultural thing. We are a product of our environment and associations within our circle.

        This is a enjoyable exchange. Thank you. Bob.
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          Oct 29 2012: Indeed, ideals have shifted on a huge scale and the way we think has shifted in way that were un-foreseen. I ask you the question, "Do you think that, in the loss of the family unit, people turn to technology more readily as a means of creating the ties that have been lost in the shift?"

          The world has become, in a way, kinder, that I have seen in my lifetime. But you say that the stigmas still exist they have simply moved behind closed doors. I think that I agree with this but I propose a slightly different approach which draws technology back in. Would you say that, in the shift from a town community to an online/interconnected community, the stigmas have simply made this jump as well? In other words, a woman found to be pregnant is no longer mocked or dishonoured so much in public but on the internet, etc?

          That is exactly what I meant. The change in the way we live has created a new, "Hyper-mind" which is connected us to much of the world in second. I mean look at the conversation I made in a little, sometimes forgotten, province in Canada and anyone with access to the internet can read it and have an opinion. This is a beautiful creation that has yet to be understood. But yes, the change in the human mind owes almost everything to culture. Products of our environment we are indeed.

          I too am enjoying our exchange. This conversation is much more successful than I had predicted it would be. You are most welcome, and thank-you. Scott.
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        Oct 29 2012: Q1: Not really. Technology is a substitute for the support group or the interaction that we human have a need for. Come from farm to city. You would find a church ... a bar ... a gym ... or some group to interact with and form a new support group not family.

        Q2: Sure stigmas make the jump because they are a basic part of us. I think that it brings a whole new set of issues into play. Look at all of the cyber bulling and issues that have come from the internet. Things that people kept behind closed doors or only spoke about secretly are now broadcasted over the web. These same people may have never done it face to face. A girl who becomes PG in your towm means nothing to me ... never met her ... but I can call her names from thousands of miles away and make her feel really bad. The only real difference is that one is local and one is now world wide. My friends have turned against me ... the world hates me. How about a recording or nude photos. Once you could move and try to start over ... with the web it is forever and always with you. Happened when you were 16 ... your now 28 and a teacher ... it will find you.

        As in everything the internet is a blessing and a curse depending on the user and his intentions. That is why we should all act honorably. We can not stop it all but we can opt to not be a part of it by passing it on or sponsoring it by being quiet or ignoring it.

        I too enjoyed the exchange. Thank you.

        All the best. Bob
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          Oct 30 2012: Ah, that is very clarifying, thanks. I see what you mean in your definition of Family. I agree as far as these groups not being a family and I see where you are coming from. Is it safe to say the you are stating that you can't create some form of those family bonds through technology? If so then I agree and it seems that, for you, the reason for is is the fundamental change in the family unit itself is technology?

          I also agree with your stigma point. In fact, I am willing to go so far as to say that it has become a part of the human. Indeed the rise of cyber-bullying, a practice that had not existed even in my time, illustrates this point. And I have seen what you have described come to fruition and it can be devastating.

          So, in conclusion, so you think that it is not the technology, but the individual which has created the shifting that this conversation brings up? That technology is useful more so in theory than in practice?

          Thank-you, I appreciate the conversation with an intellectual such as yourself.
          Scott.
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        Oct 30 2012: No one factor ever creats the change we are experiencing. Variables such as transportation that have allowed us to leave the farm, communications that allows us to see and hear other cultures and match them against our cultures and norms, etc .... It really is a socio-economic world and we need to keep a constant guard to be aware of these shifts.

        Technology is neither good or bad unless we make it so.

        People are tied to their electronics to the extent that they have become the dominate factors in their lives. Anything in excess cannot be a good thing. Everything in moderation. I often say we mature when we can differentiate between our WANTS and our NEEDS.

        Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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          Nov 1 2012: I agree that no single factor could create this massive change we are undergoing but I think that combination of many, all going through the individual, and His/Her decisions based upon these factors, is the change. We are living in a socio-political world indeed, a place where the group mentality has shifted drastically.

          I concur.

          You say, "Anything in excess cannot be a good thing." This is a statement that I agree with but would like to ask if you also believe that, as "worshipping" technology without understanding it brings only negitive outcomes, do you also believe that religious practices without a greater understanding of whatever God(s) can also only be negitive? If so, then has technology created this worship of the physical and not the conceptual or is it a poor operation of religion that has just been transfered by the human mind?

          The difference between Wants and Needs is something that many people fail to, and refuse to understand. We, as a society, have become inexoralably linked to our technology and physical possessions and some have forgotten what is really important: this, again, comes back to the family/love/virtue.

          Don't mention it. This is intriguing. Thanks.
          Scott.
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        Nov 1 2012: Scott, As to your question religion is neither posative or negative without you making it so. In fact religion is basically social. There are approximately 4200 religions and they are designed to provide the meaning of life, explain the orgins of life or the universe. There is a vast difference between religion and personal belief or faith. Scott prayer is often used to win the lottery, make a girl like me, get a hit in the big game, pass a test, etc ... I suggest that those attent to our worldly wants. Those should be seperated from our SPIRITUAL needs. When we attend to the needs of others we have fulfilled faith, hope, and charity. A selfless act is indeed a christian modeling the leadership of the Father.

        So is it in the "worshiping" of technology. That is keeping up with the Jones'. Much of this is pressure from your peer groups. I have a cell phone that sends and recieves calls ... my grandkids have cell phones that do everything but give birth. Our reasons for having a cell phone ar totally different. I socalize face to face with handshakes and hugs ... they text and send photos.

        Perhaps we should embrace the change and allow them to also have a glance of our lives. My parents "knew" that rock and roll would be the end of the world. Perhaps if we spent time with them and we came to enjoy the company of each other that there would be room for technology and religion. My e-book contains the scripture and background materials. Thats already a step in the marriage of the two. If I mess up on something electronic I call a 12 year old to help me. LOL

        Time is the biggest cure for these problems. To force a decision is almost always wrong. Love and patience rules the day.

        All the best. Bob.
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    Oct 27 2012: Same role as always, to perpetuate its own existence.
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    Oct 26 2012: Technology doesn't change the role of religion, which is very simple : to cause people to protect it from rationnal ideas, hence to survive this way.
    Technology, however, affects the way ideas spread.
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      Oct 27 2012: Interesting concept. Is it fair to say that, by your logic, technology has no impact on religion socially?
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        Oct 27 2012: I'm not sure I understand your question. Would you please rephrase?
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          Oct 27 2012: Certainly! You said that "Technology doesn't change the role of religion..." My question is whether, by that logic, you believe that technology has had no impact on religion as a social institution at all.
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        Oct 27 2012: Thanks.
        I'm sure there's been an impact, since I think technology has changed the way ideas spread, and since I think the social institution of religion is mostly about how it spreads.
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          Oct 27 2012: So would so say that technology could become a channel for religion? (Obviously beyond Tv evangelists and mass for shut ins).
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        Oct 27 2012: Technology enhances the spread of ideas more than it contains it. In addition to that, it seems that rationnal ideas are better suited for surviving this enhanced spread : indeed they are rationnal because they've already survived some criticism. Irrationnal ideas do better in remote, isolated places with no other, or few other ideas around.
        So this and that put together, I think that although technology can be expected to benefit religion at first (see what the printing press has done for christianism), it seems probable that technology ends up doing more harm than good to belief systems and traditions.
  • Oct 26 2012: I heard it said today that the one thing that religion or rather religious practices provides is a sense of identity.
    That may be its greatest achievement if you exclude the fundamentalists who feel so threatened that they require a literal belief in their particular set of scriptures.
    If that is infact the case, then in todays environment of ever isolating technology, religion will probably play an ever increasing role as the actual face to face social contact.
    I don't believe that we evolved with the enviornment of isolation and remote, identity-less frends in mind and we will subconciously turn to things that provide actual human contact.
  • Oct 26 2012: What about the role of disappearing?