Reem Masri

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Do you think religion should be abolished? Would a world without religion be better than one with it?

So far this topic has been clouded with uncertainty; and it is most certainly controversial. Has religion brought bigotry upon the world? Or has it helped in the ascend from savagery to civilization?
Also what would happen if people stopped following religion? Would sectarianism be abolished along with it? Or would the world be chaotic.
In the end, it all comes down to this: Is it the people who apply religion in corrupted ways who are to blamed rather than the religion itself? Or is the other way around?

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    Jan 7 2014: South Park made an episode relevant to this: http://www.southparkstudios.com/full-episodes/s10e12-go-god-go

    The teacher, Mrs. Garrison, is forced to teach evolution to the class. After failing (she taught them that man was the offspring of five monkeys who had butt-sex with a fish-squirrel), Richard Dawkins is appointed to help her. They end up having an affair and she converts to atheism. There's a scene where they're lying in bed, and Dawkins says dreamfully, "Imagine a world with no religion..."

    It then fast forwards 500 years, where Cartman is being unfrozen by people of the future. (He had himself frozen because he couldn't wait 2 weeks for the Nintendo Wii to come out). He finds that the world has moved on from religion, but he's in the middle of a war between different atheist factions that are fighting over what to call their atheist alliance.

    The episode had some words of wisdom in the end. Cartman ends up finding a phone that he can use to call the past, and calls Mrs. Garrison, asking for "Mr. Garrison, or whatever he calls himself after having his sex change". Richard Dawkins panics and they break up. This causes the future to change, and Cartman finds himself amidst the warring atheist factions, but they're all at peace. He asks "Aren't you guys fighting over atheism?". Then one of them responds with something to the effect of "Oh no, we gave up isms centuries ago. Isms are great in the hands of rational people, but in the hands of irrational people, they only lead to violence."

    I found it to be one of their wiser episodes. Even Dawkins afterwards acknowledged the legitimacy of the warring-atheists point, though he found the episode overall unappealing.
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      Jan 7 2014: I think your comment has been the greatest so far! Thank you for sharing. And of course I thank everyone else who have shared their comments. :)
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    Jan 6 2014: Modern religion is extremely biased. It is so steeped in dogma that it is incapable of recognizing its own faults. But that isn't new. The very religion that prophesied the coming of a Messiah saw to his death. They were incapable of recognizing him. For centuries, religion preached that the earth was the center of the universe. When Galileo challenged this idea, the Catholic church forced him to recant his theory under penalty of death. They also made a decree that no hypothesis could be made that would challenge the scriptures.

    Since then, the word theology has changed definition. The original definition would have included the scientific method; "theology has two branches, natural and revealed. Natural theology is knowledge of God through his works, by way of nature and reason..." Taken from 1904 Noah Webster dictionary. The modern dictionary contains no such reference.
    Also since then, there are over 40,000 variations of Christianity worldwide. Seems they can't agree among themselves.

    But that is only one piece of the puzzle. The number of people who have avoided criminal behavior because they believed in divine retribution is beyond number. The number of people who have been saved from self destructive behaviors through spiritual transformation encouraged by religion is also huge. And the insights that have been gained by those who dwelled deeper into religious mysteries has no shortage of testimonies.

    That religion can bring about evil is not limited to religion. Drug wars, human trafficking, sexual crimes, gang and domestic violence, organized crime syndicates, and so forth, are not committed by God fearing people. And the number of lives lost or destroyed by such people is not a small number.

    Religion needs reformation. Scientific knowledge is bringing about part of that reformation. Exposing religious crimes and learning to question religious dogma will add to it. Keep the faith. Get rid of the blindness.
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      Jan 14 2014: Hi Roy, interesting that the dictionary now doesn't presuppose the natural world is some good creation.

      different religions may be useful in a positive sense, even if based on unproven or false assumptions. Are you suggesting we keep religions because they are useful, just try and weed out some of the negative aspects?
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        Jan 15 2014: Obey,

        According to religious scriptures, Satan (or the devil) is the master of deception and is considered the most dangerous character. Despite this, deception often creeps into religion and people fail to take notice. During the witch hunts, deception was the order of the day. WHAT HAPPENED VALIDATES THE WARNING, yet was completely unrecognized by those in authority. It never would have happened if the truth was known. It was science that brought out the truth on disease and natural disasters, thus ending the belief in witches.

        I presume that the reason the definition of "Theology" changed is because of how the Catholic church responded to scientific data. They rebuked the science of Galileo outright and issued a decree that no hypothesis could be presented that would challenge the scriptures. If that wasn't bad enough, it wasn't the scriptures themselves, but their interpretation of it that was defended. Rightly so, the scientists took offense and thus the gap has grown wider since.

        Yes, I am suggesting that we keep religions because they are useful, but I strongly advocate that we proactively seek and weed out the negative aspects and false assumptions. To keep false assumptions is to invite the devil in your congregation.
        Eastern philosophy doesn't expect you to believe anything without understanding to go with it. From what I have read, if you don't understand what they are teaching you to lead you on the spiritual path, then they haven't taught you anything. Until you understand, you simply don't know.
        The Christians claim to follow Jesus but they disallow his claim that he had no use for blind faith. Any faith that is based primarily on unproven facts is in violation of his teaching.
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    Jan 3 2014: Hello Reem,
    Religion is a belief, and I do not think anyone can abolish a belief, so it seems like a moot point. I do, however, believe our world would be a better place without extremists, fundamentalist and overly enthusiastic people who feel that they need to dominate and control others under the guise of religions.

    Many people use their religious beliefs and practices as a beneficial life guide, and many people use their religious beliefs and practices to intimidate, dominate and control others. In my perception, it is the domination, abuse, and violation of human rights that needs to be abolished, and that can sometimes be accomplished when we consider the laws that are in place and human rights.

    For example:
    Consider the sexual abuse by catholic priests, which was widespread, and covered up by the church. That is a crime and violation of human rights, and yet, the church and priests were absolved BECAUSE they are an organized church, and the cover-up was allowed within that organization (which btw, claims to be a representative of god).

    I believe that our societies need to crack down on these criminal offences that are carried out under the guise of religion, and are often exempt from criminal prosecution because they are a church.
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    Jan 3 2014: of course not.

    religions are not the problem, people are the problem.

    many people claim that religion has only brought strife and war and bigotry, etc but that's more to do with a group of people and their culture of exploiting religious texts for the purpose of stirring up emotions and conflict.

    what these people don't seem to comprehend is that for many people, religion and spiritual philosophies provide peace of mind. they are not about excluding non-believers or advocating violence against other religions, for these people, it's a personal set of beliefs that help them keep an even keel, so to speak.

    this cannot be measured in a lab and does not need to be in order to work for the individual believer.

    i believe there have been many times in history when conquering nations banned religions and religious practice. by most accounts, the best that can be achieved is to absorb the religion and give it a new facade, so i don't think religion can be abolished regardless of how good the intentions may be..
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      Jan 3 2014: Scott,

      Would you agree that there's a difference between Religion and Belief? If so, would you care to define them?
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        Jan 3 2014: i guess religion is a set of rules, dogma, traditions and rituals. all of these have a way of moving a person into a particular state of mind, so i can see it's purpose for some. my grandmother takes great comfort and peace from her religion.

        belief is a different creature altogether and i don't think i could put my finger on what exactly it is. it's the kind of thing i wish i had but am glad i don't, if that makes any sense. it would be nice to "know" rather than be always questioning, but i suspect that is taking the easy way out.

        personally, i'm not easily convinced - maybe i just like to hedge my bets. i was brought up anglican but we were pretty lax about it. we went to the church service at easter and christmas and tried to be good and that was it, so i'm not adversely affected by my religious upbringing.

        i'm not sure about the universe and how it all began. i like bits from both the scientific view and the mythical view of existence.

        it certainly doesn't bother me what someone else believes.

        violence in the name of religion, belief, god or revenge is crazy. it's obvious that the people that orchestrate that kind of thing are the real problem rather than the religion they claim to be serving.
        • Jan 7 2014: "I guess religion is a set of rules, dogma, traditions and rituals"

          If you believe this then religion will never make sense to you. It is possible to throw away the dogma, traditions and rituals and go looking for what lies behind them. Then you're a Buddhist.
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        Jan 7 2014: religion makes sense to me but not for me.

        it seems that religion is the set of rules that believers are required to follow in order to make it into the big night club in the sky.

        faith or belief in a higher power or greater perspective doesn't need rules of conduct but if you want to be accepted in the club, then i guess ritual is the common ground.

        there is room for all religions and philosophies on earth simply because they are facets of the same thing.

        observing religious practice is not for me but i don't see the need to put them down or try to disprove them with science or another, slightly different religion.
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      Jan 15 2014: Are you saying all religions are 100% benign?

      I suggest people are the solution if they filter out the barbaric elements of their religious scriptures, doctrines, teachings.
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    Jan 1 2014: I'm an atheist and anti-theist myself, I believe that religion is one of the most damaging things in the world. However I would not wish to abolish it as such. Instead I suggest education as the cure from religion. Now admittingly this does not always work if religion is too deeply rooted in the political and educational system, as is the case with the US.

    There's a Wikipedia article on religiosity and education that is quite interesting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_education

    And one on religiosity and intelligence that is also very interesting. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religiosity_and_intelligence
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    Jan 15 2014: Reem,

    Religions did fill a void in mankind's quest to make sense of the universe. And indeed corruption found its way into religion via the 7 cardinal sins (to name a few). A great tool to control the masses , no doubt.
    Yet there is an awakening, mankind is also asking more and more questions doubting ,probing the dogmas that before were unquestionable-people want answers.

    To abolish religion nah! is too blunt- a top down approach.

    Religion may die off in irrelevancy (like the KKK-slow death) . We may outgrow it like the appendix; or we may clash against it as theists may feel as the endangered species.

    We shall see...


    Cheers!
  • Jan 7 2014: I think people should be abolished, they seem incapable of getting along with any other creature on this planet including themselves. There is a reason intelligent life from other planets do not come here to visit or stay and that reason is "us", we are toxic. When I was forced to listen to the religious non-sense, they told me I was going to Hell if I was not good "in their eyes". Now that I am free to think for myself I have realized that we have both Heaven and Hell right here on this earth. In case you would like to visit one or the other this is how to find them: You can find heaven and the garden of Eden by getting as far away from man as possible and by traveling in the opposite direction you will find Hell.
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    Jan 1 2014: The problem is not religion. The problem is what people make with religious faith.
    Principles given in religious book can be read in different ways, and some people use these principles as a pretext to make crimes and all the horror we see all around the world.
  • Dec 31 2013: I am really really against religions. Yet, I would be adamantly against abolishing them. Why? Because it would violate a very basic right of the individual. If we are to get rid of religions, it will only happen via education and reason. I don't think this will happen though. Making up stuff is quite easy. Learning, studying, verifying facts, requires work. Most people will gravitate towards the easy. That's why snake-oil salespeople are so successful. From those called apologists to those selling lemon-cars.
  • Dec 31 2013: It'll certainly give people less things to kill each other over.
    Unfortunately, oppressing a religion can easily bring forth more violence then leaving it alone.

    The best result will probably come from letting people making up their own minds while making sure they're better educated and more aware of other cultures and religions (the old "tell me all the reasons you don't believe in all the other gods and I'll tell you why I don't believe in yours)--the best way to turn a population non-religious without violent oppression being met back with violent resistance. Its why we see less religious populations in the developed world.

    Use of force to convert a population to or from a religion is best avoided, however.
    • Dec 31 2013: Communist China never ran out of things to kill its own citizens over. Cambodia never ran out of things to kill people over.
      • Dec 31 2013: That's what we call perfect solution fallacy. You're claiming that it because it doesn't solve the problem of its entirety, it shouldn't be implemented at all.

        If I developed an invention tomorrow that would cut deaths from cancer in half, would you argue that there's no point to it because people will just find some other reason to die instead?
        • Dec 31 2013: No, I'm saying that it did no good at all. It didn't provide even a partial "solution". The problem is NOT religion. Blaming religion is as stupid and short-sighted as blaming rocks for violence because some people pick up rocks to throw at other people. The rocks do not cause the violence. Likewise, your analogy is a false equivalency. Death is not a choice for most people. Violence is a choice. Religion is merely an excuse.

          Of course, that basic truth won't stop a narrow-minded dogmatic from demanding that whatever he hates must be abolished.
      • Dec 31 2013: Why would it do no good at all?
        Take the crusades for example. Or the rise of the Caliphate upon the founding of Islam. Or the slaughters of Tamerlane (well, at least some of them). Or the fighting between Catholics and Protestants in pre-industrial Europe. Or the Spanish Inquisition. Religion was a motivation for all of those.

        Granted, saying religion was the only reason for such events is oversimplifying things, and sometimes it was just an excuse. Of course, even in the latter case, giving mass murderers an excuse that can pass off in polite society isn't what I call ideal.

        I have violent Islamic groups just across the border from my country. More then one border, in fact. They use "Allah Akbar" as a rallying cry for anything from rocket attacks to suicide bombings to beheadings. They put up videos of the latter on youtube, if you don't believe me, though I wouldn't recommend you try to authenticate that claim unless you have a very strong stomach.
        They're not all like that, in fact most aren't, but that doesn't change the fact those violent groups are very much real, sometimes on the fringe and sometimes less so. They extremist ones use religion as a combination of legitimization, recruitment tool, and reason to act--both rock and reason to throw the rock, if you would.

        Besides, when did I ever call for abolishing religion? Out of purely practical reasons, I don't think abolishing it would work without turning to oppression by force of arms, and religions oppression usually leads to more violence as opposed to less, thereby creating the problem I'm trying to prevent.
        I'm very much live and let live. My problem is with those religious people that don't feel the same. If you read my strategy above more carefully, you'll note that all I call for is better scientific education and more culturally diverse learning, as the two naturally turn people less religious.
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    Jan 24 2014: Re: "In the end, it all comes down to this: Is it the people who apply religion in corrupted ways who are to blamed rather than the religion itself? Or is the other way around?"

    Materialists teach that the universe has no purpose. All purposes and reasons to exist are made up by humans. Religion is one of the ways to deal with the existential angst and create such made up purposes and reasons. So, religion is used to justify, pretty much, any human passion. The passions exist with or without religion. Without religion, people will find something else to justify their passions. Take Marxist theory of class struggle, for example.

    I think, seeing religion only as harmful is a very narrow-minded view. I do not know of any civilized society that has developed without religion. Apparently, it plays an important role in civilizations and society. It's important to understand its role and the circumstances under which it causes harm before declaring it useless and harmful as a whole. I have a feeling that getting rid of religion would be as wise as getting rid of sparrows because they eat crops (as it was done in China during Cultural Revolution with disastrous consequences). A similar idea would be to suppress immune system for causing incurable autoimmune diseases.
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    • Jan 20 2014: I assume you would be against all political and government conflicts as well? Are you advocating that we abolish all forms of government and political assembly as well? Surely they perform no good, but exist only for those who wish to commit ongoing atrocities in their name.
  • Jan 7 2014: Religion to me means, relationship with a higher power.

    We can use that to better ourselves, or to better the world.

    Anything that exists in this world can be used for good or for bad. That is not only religion but also guns.

    Emanuel Swedenborg said that if people accepted as their priority to love a God and to love their neighbour, all differences would simply be regarded as differences of opinion.

    I'd like to think humanity has improved through the ages. We can each give our own reason for why.
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      Jan 14 2014: Suggest loving our neighbours would suffice. No need to love gods real or imagined.

      being compelled to love Someone, even your creator, is kind of perverse
      • Jan 15 2014: I agree with you Obey. What makes you think you are compelled? You are not doing it now, right? Missing anything??

        Compelling and loving are two opposites, agree?

        You may be talking to traditional Christians.. I don't know, but as Swedenborgians we also oppose the "believe in Me or I'll send you to hell" approach. How can a God who says that, then say: "Love your enemies"??
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          Jan 15 2014: Good to hear.

          just your quote starts with advice or instruction to love a god.

          Suggest we don't need to love any gods to improve the human condition.
  • Jan 5 2014: Yeah, and once we reach the end of what science can observe we must surely come to the conclusion that a creator made it like that, because when a magic talking snake persuaded a woman made out of a bone that she should eat a piece of fruit a man in the sky got cross and ordered them out of the magic garden and then they went out and met lots of other people who shouldn't have existed but they did, and then there was a giant flood, which is impossible, but there was one, and it killed everything but in a nice way because they deserved it, and then the magic flood magically disappeared and then God made someone pregnant although not in the usual way because that would mean he had sex and we don't like to think about that so she was a virgin, although that's not what the bible actually says, because we know it was mistranslated, but we believe it anyway, because we want to and that makes it true, and she gave birth to a little boy who could fly, but that's not the way we want to think about it either, so we ignore those bits of scripture, and then he died but he didn't really, except he did, but then he came back to life again and that means God can forgive our sins, in some strange way, even when we haven't done them yet, and he won't set us on fire anymore, unless we don't say we are sorry. The sooner science realises this is the only rational explanation the better.
    Plagiarized from someone else.....
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      Jan 15 2014: Pretty much sums it up.

      however the power of religious beliefs, the psychology, the social and cultural pressures should not be underestimated.
  • Jan 5 2014: Hell and Heaven , and sins are all the psychological devices to control the human behavior so that harmony can be established and people live in a civilized way.

    Most of the religious scriptures contain many abstract concepts presented through metaphors, allegories,parables and visual symbols.

    And,when people interpret such concepts in a literal sense then the problem is created.

    Like the example of believer and non-believer. Some people take the concept of believer and non believer in the literal sense and interpret it this way that one who follows their religion is the believer and one who does not follows their religion is non-believer.

    This is just the summary. A voluminous book can be written on this.

    Please do not get offended after reading.

    How do I know : Through years of thorough observation,meditation,research and analysis,comparative study,lessons of life .
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      Jan 15 2014: Are you suggesting assuming the different rules in religions are from a god is negative and we should just focus on removing our reducing our ego?
  • Jan 2 2014: The word Religion is grossly misused, misapplied, and misunderstood......in the same manner as Love.

    We first trip when we assume we know what it Is.

    What is your understanding of 'religion' if I may ask in the spirit of Dialogue?
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      Jan 3 2014: That's an interesting take on the issue, Scott. If we don't have the same understanding on what religion is, we're simply talking at the same time using the same word - but not even addressing the same issue.
  • Jan 29 2014: To abolish religion you need a time machine.
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    Jan 28 2014: A very interesting sub-conversation beow between Arkady and Obey and some interesting insights thrown in by Brenden.
    Here are my two cents.
    Trying to abolish religion will be like attempting to step on the head of your shadow. It is futile and great waste.
    Religion is not the substance of life, it is just a container. A great, old and very useful one but a container nonetheless. It is as good or as bad as what is filled in it.
    If we destroy it, another container will come up and take its place. There are several competing for its losing place already. If you really don't need it you can still have a reasonably good life with as much meaning you wish to associate with it.
    I believe a moral alignment is possible even without the 'container' we call religion. We have a choice to use reason.
    The world will be just as it was with or without religion. We may think it is better or worse depending on whether we are drinking the elixir or envenom of life. Hardly matters if we are drinking from a jar or a peg.
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      Jan 29 2014: Hi pm.

      for the record I don't support banning religion.

      I support freedom of religion up to the point it impacts the rights of others, including freedom from religion.

      I think we'd be better off on balance if we grew out of religious beliefs, just like we grew out of slavery, or of many superstitions, alchemy, monarchies, to democracy,human rights, science, reason and evidence increasingly.

      personally I can't find consolation in fairy tales or religious beliefs not reasonably supported by evidence and reason.

      others can and do.

      suggest we would cope just fine withOut religion just as the say 10% or more non religious people already do.

      but tribal power structures like religion put up a good fight against train and evidence.
  • Jan 28 2014: You could never have society without religion. religion is in the founding of any organized society. Religion is found everywhere that humans gathered together and decided to act civilized. It was found in the Americas even though they were separated from the rest of the human population for thousands of years, so either religion was founded in the dawn of our species, or it is the defining characteristic of any society. Any AP world history course will make it abundantly obvious that religion was necessary for the beginning of civilization. The writing system was developed from stamps used on clay tablets recording storage and distribution of goods. Why were these goods stored in the first place? They were offerings to the particular deities of the time, being carefully guarded and recorded by the priest class. If you were a farmer back in the ancient world, would you trust anyone to take your food, store it, and promise you your fair share along with everyone else unless you thought it was an offering to a just god that would reward you? Freeing a priest class and having them store access crops freed people from working the ground and allowed them to do other things. Every defining characteristic of culture owes it's existence to religion.

    Religions do lead to wars, but can you really be unhappy when in the end you have plenty of food, homes, medicines, and art? Some people see religious wars as destroying the beautiful things that humans achieved, but religion is the reason we have those things in the first place.

    It is obvious religion was necessary in the ancient world, but is it still so? If religion wasn't necessary anymore, then it would have done away with itself. Religion was formed over thousands of years side by side with us. There is physical human evolution and there is mental and societal evolution. Religion has a lot of factors that ensure only the best ones survive. As long as people are unhappy or in a bad situation, they will seek religion.
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    Jan 24 2014: Re: "Has religion brought bigotry upon the world?"

    I grew up in the Soviet Union where there was plenty of bigotry in an officially atheistic society. So, the *facts* seem to show that bigotry exists in the absence of religion as well.

    "Or has it helped in the ascend from savagery to civilization?"

    I think, yes. It takes religious belief to rally thousands and millions of people around an idea, to act together to achieve a goal, and to impose moral rules on millions of people. It's a different question how and why these rules originate. But religion seems to be very instrumental for aligning values for society.

    "Also what would happen if people stopped following religion?"

    I think, people need to come up with something to live and die for. Unfortunately, any earthly goals vanish or prove themselves vain. Dennett in his talk http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_dangerous_memes.html mentions a few things. Then he concludes

    "The secret of happiness is: Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it."

    Well, the idea of God seems to be an archetype of "importance". By definition, nothing can be more important. Anything less fades in comparison. So, why make idols of "earthly things" subject to corruption and decay? If people stopped following religion, I think, they would, eventually, come up with an idea to replace it. There is a Russian saying "Holy place is never empty".

    "Would sectarianism be abolished along with it?"
    No. Tribalism, like bigotry, exists in absence of religion.

    "Or would the world be chaotic."

    It would be more difficult to align values for society. I think, eventually, someone (government, corporations, or someone else) will come up with something similar to religion.
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      Jan 28 2014: Wouldn't it be better to commit to some cause or purpose that wasn't based on one of thousands of contradictory religious beliefs?

      Perhaps something based on what is reasonably demonstrated to be true? Like most of us have the ability to suffer and feel joy and there are ways to minimise the former and increase the latter.
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        Jan 28 2014: Re: "Wouldn't it be better to commit to some cause or purpose that wasn't based on one of thousands of contradictory religious beliefs? Perhaps something based on what is reasonably demonstrated to be true?"

        Like what, for example? People rarely dedicate their lives to something that already exists or is known to be true. Usually, lives are dedicated (and with most spectacular results) to some wild fantasies like conquering space, climbing mountains, or curing cancer. Cure for cancer isn't "reality" yet and contradicts thousands of years of human experience, doesn't it? World peace as well. I think, "God" is a prototype for such aspirations, in most abstract sense.
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          Jan 29 2014: Seems a bit lazy intellectually if people can't figure out something meaningful not based on conflicting unverifiable supernatural stories.

          helping your family and loved ones. Helping your community. Helping the poor. extending our scientific understanding. Improving medicine, technology etc.
          Creating art and music.

          I suggest non religious drivers can rally prior people too, like marches supporting gay marriage, racial equality, against war, for the 99% against wealth concentration and corruption. etc

          if you find some god concept more satisfactory, that's fine by me. Just saying there are other options.

          even a combination of the above and many other things that enrich our lives.

          I doubt I'm the only one that has no need for god or goddess concepts, try to bad my life on what is reasonable and still find meaning and purpose.
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        Jan 29 2014: I don't see why you call religion "intellectually lazy". Most of what you mentioned was inspired by religion long before the word "atheism" even existed. These things are so obvious to you *today* that you don't understand how it can be otherwise and why people need belief in God to do these things. But I do not know if these ideas would be so obvious if not for thousands of years of civilization development dominated by religion. Who knows what the world would look like if it were not written in a "holy book" thousands of years ago "love your neighbor as yourself", "look after orphans and widows in their distress", etc. Unfortunately, there were no atheists around to teach people these things, so the priests had to do the work.

        "What is reasonable" is very unclear. Helping other people doesn't seem reasonable at all. I can find a lot of reasons why I should not do that.

        Regarding racial inequality, here is a sentence from Wikipedia article about MLK: "He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs." People do not do anything because of "lack of belief".
        • Jan 29 2014: Most of what you mentioned was inspired by religion long before the word "atheism" even existed.

          Religion came into being with its opposite, ' atheism'. Nothing can exist without its opposite. People didn't put that way, but they experienced it that way. It's two sides of the same coin.
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      Jan 28 2014: I would add this one as well

      http://www.ted.com/talks/kathryn_schulz_on_being_wrong.html
    • Jan 29 2014: "If people stopped following religion, they would, eventually, come up with an idea to replace it. "
      Whatever the replacement it doesn't eliminate the essence of religion.
      ' re-ligare' means to unite, to unite people around a belief, no matter what belief is.
      Soviet Union on a deep root level was a religious state , where God was replaced by Lenin ; paradise by communism, hell by capitalism....after life by bright future...and so on , you know the litany.
      I would say, that Religion and God are not unrelated but they are not identical either.
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        Jan 30 2014: Re: "Whatever the replacement it doesn't eliminate the essence of religion."

        Yes, that's what I meant.

        Re: "I would say, that Religion and God are not unrelated but they are not identical either."

        I agree with this as well. Getting rid of supernatural beliefs does not mean getting rid of religion.
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      Jan 30 2014: "I think, yes. It takes religious belief to rally thousands and millions of people around an idea, to act together to achieve a goal, and to impose moral rules on millions of people."

      I don't agree, this has been accomplished in the past through war. Not that I'm advocating that.

      I agree on the higher purpose perhaps enlightened self interest? In my experience the mason dixon line on this subject is the willingness to communicate.

      A trite statement but being interested instead of interesting. Interest by the way is at the core of happiness

      But this is very easy to say from a comfortable first world environment, but one of the prerequisites to this type of environment is the rule of law. In other words it is easier to have this perspective in a safe environment.

      Also a trite statement is the idea of having the opportunity to improve your standard of living through innovation. It is a defining characteristic of countries who have a safer more productive culture.
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        Jan 30 2014: Re: "I don't agree, this has been accomplished in the past through war. Not that I'm advocating that."

        You may have seen this

        http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_humanity_s_stairway_to_self_transcendence.html

        where Jonathan Haidt mentions that war experience and religious experience have a common element of "self-transcendence". Perhaps, it is true that wars tend to unite millions of people and give them a sense of national/cultural identity and a sense of a "noble cause" - similar to religion.
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          Jan 30 2014: Yea I find him to be obnoxious and don't put any credence in his theories.

          Either way it still is a motivator?

          To me man is a spiritual being.to address him as an animal is ignorant.

          The OP is saying the solution may be to get rid of religion, I have found it to do more good than harm. This from an existential perspective.
  • Jan 22 2014: It would be as criminal as murder to deny a system of belief in a effort to do away with chaos. And if you truly believe that this is what should be done you should understand that you in doing so would be not only creating more chaos but doing so because the majority would understand that you are only proving scripture right not wrong. You must understand that freedoms are not in place for the one but the meany and that chaos can not be done away with without doing away with freedom and then what kind of world would you rather have.
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    • Jan 21 2014: I respect your view and to that extent I'm trying to understand it. "Religion" is most universally and commonly defined as " a system of belief". To this extent most forms of government and political assemblies are just that, systems of belief, to which you could apply your same "cost/benefit analysis" with little effort and find very similar results to those you have espoused below. So please help me understand why are we advocating to abolish certain systems of belief and not others? What is the distinguishing or determinate factor? Help me understand your rationale.
      • Jan 21 2014: Actually no. Religion is not commonly defined that broadly. I doubt that such definition was in Reem's mind. It would not make sense. Think about those bestiaries involving gods and devils, and you'll get a better picture of what was meant.
  • Jan 17 2014: Perhaps a definition of terms is appropriate. By "religion" I assume you mean "a system of belief". I would assert that all of us as individuals have "a system of belief". So are we advocating an abolishment of all personal systems of belief? Or just a particular kind of belief system?
  • Jan 16 2014: Yeah, religion is notorious for giving itself a bad image. I doubt the religions of the past will continue into the future. Religions seem to evolve (ironic) just like any other social construct that we create. People will always want to explain things that we don't understand. As new religions form, we will be inspired and disgusted at the same time.
  • Jan 15 2014: We CAN do everything without religion however one must include motivation in this equation. For some people a divine motivation is the key component in their action. This works in both the positive and negative forms. Look at many works of the art that came out of the Renaissance. Call me a sentimentalist but I think our world would be lesser without it. If we could somehow erase all the bad and keep all the good that would be great but I don't believe that notion lives in the realm of reality.
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      Jan 16 2014: Fair enough Steven.

      we are stuck with religion in the past, and good and the bad it inspired.

      some religions actually prohibit graven images. Very sad when Taliban blew up the Buddha statues

      I'm not sure if there will be less great art looking forward if the influence of religion reduces.
  • Jan 15 2014: It is just a suggestion that if we all regard ourselves as god, would that make the relationship among people easier or more difficult?
    Do we as kids have a tendency to love others? I don't think so, that is something we have to be taught or even be 'forced' into.

    It would also seem easier in a marriage relationship to see the relationship as more important, and maybe as 'above' the two lovers.
    Just a thought.
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    Jan 14 2014: I find all the conflicting religious beliefs an affront to reason and evidence.

    so many conflicting and mutually exclusive beliefs and most believers ignoring how unlikely it is they have the right one. In fact I'm not aware of any for which there is a good reason to believe if based on unreliable revelation, not evidence and reason.

    however I support freedom of and from religion as long as they don't impact the rights of others. Believe the bible, talking c
    donkeys, zombie invasion, water walking etc if you want, but don't kill adulterers, naughty children, homosexuals, and people who work on Saturdays. Don't keep slaves, even if your bible or Koran endorses slavery, genocide, etc.

    I hope irrational beliefs die out including the cultural construct of religion. I think we would be better addressing problems and life using reason and evidence. Assuming to reduce suffering and improve the human condition, not stick with the nasty stuff in religions and the negative consequences of religious belief.

    I expect there will still be conflicts once we leave religion and superstition behind. But at least it won't be driven or reinforced by religious beliefs, it won't be because people believe they are carrying out the will of some divine dictator, that a God gave them some land. There will be oobe less thing to divide us.
  • Jan 13 2014: I guess this question only makes sense if you are an atheist. If religion didn't exist God still would. And why such a paternalistic attitude? Shall people of faith stand quietly in the corner while you decide what to do with them?
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      Jan 14 2014: religions still exists even though no gods and goddesses are proven to exist

      in fact most religions are mutually exclusive, and all k but one most be false, yet so many different religions have been followed.
      • Jan 15 2014: The existence of God is not conditional on human effort or understanding. The only conditions necessary for God to exist are that he exist that he be God.
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          Jan 15 2014: I agree.

          Gods, goddesses, fairies, nature spirits, and any thing you can imagine and things being human imagining could exist.

          all the different religions are human constructs whether any gods exist or not.

          I actually support freedom of religion and from religion. But have no issue fighting against the aspects of religion., that are harmful, and highlighting faith and revelation are flawed approaches with inherent issues.
  • Jan 11 2014: Religion has always been with mankind. Remove it and it will be replaced by something else which will become similar. Like anything else, it can be used for good or evil. If you look at the middle ages, the church was used by the government to control the population and the church became very rich. Yet there were pockets doing good under the church.
  • Jan 9 2014: religion despite different atrocities committed under its guise still serves as a sort of harness that brings sanity in this chaotic era.
  • Jan 9 2014: Religion is a side affect of the human condition. Removing a part of it removes not just the bad stuff, but the good stuff too. We could ask the same about the condition of humanity if we removed the sense of ownership or some war technology. Removing the atom bomb and we remove nuclear power. Combustion and you remove heat. Faith, technology, and science are all tools of our collective existence. How we use these tools is the issue, not the tool themselves.
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      Jan 15 2014: What good stuff couldn't we do without religion?
  • Jan 5 2014: Similarly, the Shia and Sunni Muslims fight for different reasons which are related to rituals not to the core values.

    Although psychology is considered as the invention of the modern world , but psychology is as old as the civilization is.

    The spiritually enlightened people of ancient times were aware of the human psychology.And they are also aware of the human EGO.

    The way the God is perceived by many followers of each religion , such type of God does not exists.

    The God is the invention of the Spiritually Enlightened Wise ancient people to deal with the ego of the people so that harmony can be established and people will live in a civilized way.

    If you say to your friend that smoking is bad for health , then he will argue with you . And his argument springs up from his ego , that how come you perceive me as inferior on the basis of merely smoking .

    And if the same thing is said by a person that , I went to an XYZ Mountain , and there a group of Angels came from the sky and they revealed me that God has a message for you that smoking is bad for health.

    Now, the ego of the person will not come into action, because now he perceives his friend at the same level as he his.

    There are many religions where tobacco,smoking and drugs is prohibited and people don’t even tough these drugs.

    When a person become spiritually enlightened then his EGO dissolves. Then his kindness becomes his inherent nature , and he professes kindness not for his ulterior and external motives.

    Where as religious people are motivated by ulterior and external motive. So, whatever ever they do , they do either to reduce their sins or wish to go to the heaven after death.

    Continued . . .3
  • Jan 5 2014: And when that happens then we start calling that person as AVATAR.Then we say Buddha was an AVATAR of God.But, Avatar is nothing but it is the transformation of the person into a person who has achieved Bhuddhatva means Bodh.

    Spirituality is universal as love is universal.It has no variations. If ever all the ancient spiritually enlightened people come together around whom most of the religions are created then they will not fight with each other for truth, because they all will see the same truth but not differently.

    Spirituality has no variations whereas the religion has variations. This variation is due the inherent nature of the religions. Because the religion is made up of two basic component.

    1. Core Values
    2. Laws,Rules , Conventions and practice, rituals built around values.

    The core values of all the religions are same , there is no variation. The core message of every religion is love,affection,compassion,mercy,harmony,justice etc.

    But, every religion has different set of laws,rules,conventions and practices , rituals that govern the religion and religious activities.

    Some people focus on the core values of religion, and some focus on the laws,rules,conventions and practices and rituals.

    The world over people belonging to one religion fight with the people belonging to the other religion. They don’t fight for the core values, because they know that core values are same , and fight cannot executed in the name of core values.

    Most of the fight is in the name of the 2nd component ie. Laws,Rules,conventions and practices and rituals.

    In Jain religion there are two sects , one worships their founder Mahavira of idol having open eyes , and the other sect worships the idol having closed eyes.

    Continued . . .2
  • Jan 5 2014: Before I present my view on the religion, I would like to let you know that whenever we reduce anything (idea,concept,feelings, emotions , visual imagination) through written or spoken form then much of the information is lost.

    While we reduce anything into written or spoken form then a lossy compression,encryption and encoding takes place and in that process some vital information is lost.

    Suppose I say that I have seen a beautiful woman , and when the other person reads this statement then the image of a beautiful man is created in the mind of the person , but that image created in his mind will not be the same which I have seen.

    When an (idea,concept,feelings,emotions or visual imagination) is transmitted in the form of message, then for that person to reproduce the same effect as intended by the transmitter the person must have the necessary vital information, and in the absence of that information the reproduction of the message will be different.

    Same thing happens in the realm of spirituality and religion. Spirituality and Religion are two separate things. They are as separate as the oxygen and water is separate, and as separate is love and sex.

    Spirituality is the inner awaking, inner journey, self awareness, enlightment.

    Let us take the example of the Buddha.

    For most people Buddha is the name of the person who founded Bhuddhism . But , it is not so , the word Buddha has been derived from the word Bodh. And the meaning of Bodh is one who has attained the state of enlightenment,state of bliss.

    This enlightenment is achieved when knowledge gets developed inside and the person gets developed from inside through the process of meditation.

    Continued. . .
  • Jan 5 2014: I believe that most of the discussion here concern the "abolishing" of the organized religion. There have been plenty of damage and violence caused by religious beliefs when the organized religion tried to impose their will to the others. However, there have been other violence and atrocities carried out against a particular religion, or by atheist regime on all religions such as the Mao's Communist China. Thus, the real problem is the narrow-mindedness of people with certain beliefs acting against any one with different beliefs. Moreover, this conflict of beliefs also could be reflected by different people or parties with differing "views" ; such as different ethnic groups or different nations, and in ancient times, even between neighboring villages. So how can we "abolish" the offending parties under this situation? Because this essentially involves all of us. If we do want to make a try, then we should PROBABLY PREVENT THE THE RISE OF CERTAIN LEADERS (RELIGIOUS OR NON-RELIGIOUS), OF SUCH VIOLENT ACTIVITIES INFLICTED ON INNOCENT MEN AND WOMEN, TO COMMIT SUCH ATROCITIES. In order to do that, merely education in the rational behavior is not enough. We should perhaps make universal laws which have even more stringent separation of power, such that a dictator or an authoritarian government should never be allowed to violate the human rights of not only of its own citizens, but also on the citizens of other nations; either across the border or immigrants withing its border.
    The current "democratic" FORM OF GOVERNMENT SYSTEM OR THE CONSTITUTION IS NOT VERY EFFECTIVE IN PROHIBITING THE POWER OF A DICTATOR OR AN AUTHORITATIVE GOVERNMENT. When a dictator can revise the length of his/her job by revising the constitutions based on certain gimmicks, either by twisting the rules to limitless reelection of the same candidate. or some other run-around. And other useful stipulation should be established under the supervision of a worldwide administrative political body.
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    Jan 5 2014: Reem Masri,
    Religion is and has been responsible for things like:The Crusades,Spanish Inquisition,Salem Witch Trials,Abortion Clinics Bombings,Repressing Women Rights,Promote Slavery,Sectarianism,Homosexual Bigotry,Terrorism and so on, the list is quite long .., And also religion has lead to more paid holidays such as Christmas and Easter & bad movie reviews. Let's not talk about "Missionaries"...
    However religion should not be "abolished" as a top-down maneuver, if we were to do so we will be engaging in the same thing which the religious do. The prosecution, and persecution, of those who commit "thought crimes." While I would like to see religion go away, I really don't want to live in a society where simply thinking about something is considered an offense against the social order. Take a look at medieval Europe, or the current state of medieval society in the Islamic world. Does anyone really want that, on behalf of atheists, or any other world view?
    The best vaccination against religion is education & sincerity, the individual must emancipate him/herself from that form of mental slavery, force is such a blunt instrument, the best way is to expose religion wide in the open and let natural selection take its course, it will. For now is a "necessary evil" of sorts, a real nasty mindtool.

    “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.”
    -N Bonaparte

    Cheers!
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    Jan 4 2014: Re-education in the religious realm would perhaps destroy fear, misunderstanding...................
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    Jan 3 2014: @Jimmy, thanks for leaving it.
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    Jan 3 2014: Religions can't be abolished in any sense. It is religion that actually defines the basic principles of life and from there the constitutions were made. Religion actually teaches us peace, love and brotherhood. No religion is violent. It is the followers of that religion who misrepresent their religion by committing inhuman acts such as terrorism, homicide etc. Also there exist morons that preach propagandas against religions but they are all crazy and have nothing to do in life.
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      Jan 3 2014: I'm one of those "crazy" people, I have so much to do in life. Debating religion is one of the things that I do because I think that it's one of the most damaging things in the world.

      Would you agree that there's a big difference between Religion and Belief?
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        Jan 3 2014: Well, if you think so, then you are really crazy and highly deluded with this dilemma of religion. Remember there is no treatment for the dilemma. Good luck to you with your dilemma. Hope you recover from it.

        Yes, there is a difference i.e. religion is a set of beliefs.
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          Jan 3 2014: Don't you see how condescending you are when you call me crazy and that you think that my beliefs is something that I should recover from?

          To me this is a perfect example of when religious belief is harmful to society... And you think that I should either be put to death or that I shall suffer great torment in the afterlife...

          I do good in this world, I help the needing, I work for peace. And you judge me!
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        Jan 3 2014: OMG, a little moments ago you yourself admitted that you are a crazy. So if you don't call a crazy person by the name crazy, then what else name will you assign him despite of hs claiming it? Remember judging one is always wrong. I don't judge someone & also expect others not to judge me. Also, I am also a peace promoter just as you are. But you might not admit that. Anyway, it doesn't matter too. In your view, religion will always be harmful despite of a thousand times people prove that religion isn't harmful. So good luck with your notions and thoughts.
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          Jan 3 2014: You said

          "Also there exist morons that preach propagandas against religions but they are all crazy and have nothing to do in life."

          meaning that you think that I'm crazy and a moron.

          I used quote ("") marks when I said that I was one of those people, I was using your word not mine.

          How about the thousands of times when people have proven that religion is harmful? Or was that not religion, simply people? But when it's good it's religion?

          Thanks for the good luck wishes.
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          Jan 15 2014: Abdul, I suggest a key point I'd that religion results in both good and bad outcomes.

          furthermore, as far as we can tell religion is man made. There is no compelling proof that any religion it's correct in all it's claims.

          suggest it would be better bashing out decisions on evidence and train not faith in speculative god concepts and associated dogma s.
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        Jan 3 2014: Let me ask you that how would you feel when someone tries to ruin your family honor or abuses it? The same way who criticise or abuse or say wrong about my religion or any religion is definitely condemnable. Anyway, leave it, you won't agree with me, nor I will agree with you.
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          Jan 3 2014: My family is far from perfect, I criticize their behavior from time to time. You should try to do the same with your religion.

          Yeah, let's leave it!
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          Jan 15 2014: Perhaps a cultural difference here.

          jimmy and I might come from societies where you can express opinions about religions. There is still some pretence that they are off limits, it's a bit taboo, but much more open to debate and discussion than other countries.

          in fact some religious beliefs are not compatible with a civil society. people who think it is okay to threaten and kill because their religious sensibilities have been insulted don't belong in a civil society.
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      Jan 15 2014: Some sweeping statements in your comment Abdul.

      I know of plenty of people who critique religion, religious institutions, and religiously inspire or justified behavior and still find time to work and raise families.

      I don't know how you conclude all religions are non violent. Some involved human sacrifice. Have you read the old testament. The Abrahamic god is described as a violent, cruel divine dictator, ordering genocide, death to adulterers, naughty children,, homosexuals, people who work on the Sabbath. Destroys cities, endorses slavery,,, floods the world in global genocide. In the new testament god sends people to he'll to be tortured eternally.

      Even the foundational texts of Islam, Christianity and Judaism contain barbaric ideals, not just peace and love.

      you must be cherry picking.

      not sure why you need religion for constitutions. Religion appears to be a type of cultural technology, a construct of humans. We don't need it. If we use our minds, reason, and empathy.

      modern enlightenment human rights are fast superior to iron age and medieval biblical or quranic based morality imo. Unless you prefer slavery, sexism, barbaric penalties to equal rights, freedom of religion., freedom of speech.

      do you agree that all the conflicting religious beliefs can not be correct. if the Mormons are correct than all the others are running around based on false pretence. What if there are no gods, or they have not revealed themselves.
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    Jan 3 2014: Of course not.

    I guess some people misunderstand about religions...perhaps the images...
    It is good to have it as a purpose of spending everyday lives happily,and keep their mind good.
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      Jan 3 2014: I see people "misunderstanding" religions all the time, but from my point of view it is the religious who misunderstand religion the most. The vast majority of religious people have not studied other religions intensely, if at all. It's mostly a dogmatic way of thinking.

      I have other purposes in life, standing up for human rights, educating and being educated, finding inner peace. I have never had religion and I think that my mind is "good" and I feel good most days.
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        Jan 4 2014: Yeah I said "some people" misunderstand about religious, but perhaps religious people also do.

        One of the reasons that religious conflict causes is "not understanding other religions".It is natural to find out different ideas in the other ones, but in fact, there are some people who do not (or not want to) admit it...
  • Jan 2 2014: Could the same question be asked about science and technology? Think of the advancements that have given the world nerve gas, land mines, and nuclear weapons. I don't want to revert to the stone age just because meglomaniacs and tyrants have misused technology and the advancement of science to commit atrocities.
    • Jan 2 2014: Science has given us weapons of mass destruction, but its also doubled our life expectancy and raised our quality of life to levels that just a hundred years ago would have been incomprehensible.

      Religion can't make the same claims on the positive side--at least nothing quite so grandiose. The negatives on the other hand, include wars whose tolls are in the millions. Though admittedly, its had a lot longer to cause trouble then science.
      Though it should be noted that while science has been used as a tool to wage war, its never been the cause of it. Religion has been both.
      • Jan 2 2014: A fair point about the benefits of science to the quality of life and length of it as well. I should say that I'm not for the abolishment of either science or religion. I rather like the access to modern medical technology, safe foods, and clean drinking water. Not to mention the fancy phone I get to use in having this discussion. But I feel the need to play the devil's advocate for God. Sorry bad joke. I understand the aversion to blind adherence to dogmatic thinking, but to me there are undeniable benefits to religion. For the millions, if not billions of lives taken in the name of God, how many individuals have found peace in thia life in the belief of God. How many trillions of humans have walked on this planet (real question, I have no idea of the number of people that have lived and died) that have adhered to the positive tenets of whichever religion they were a part of? How much pain, suffering, and murder has been avoided because of religious belief? It seems a fair question to consider. Thanks forthe response!
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          Jan 3 2014: Jacob,

          Why do you make the conclusion that pain, suffering and murder has been avoided because of religion?

          I have found it to be the opposite...

          I'm guessing that you lean towards Christianity, and therefore use one of the bibles as the holy word, let me just give you some quotes.

          Firstly I don't know which bible I should pick so I'll just grab some from the NLT and NAB.

          " Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel." (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

          " You should not let a sorceress live." (Exodus 22:17 NAB)

          "All who curse their father or mother must be put to death. They are guilty of a capital offense." (Leviticus 20:9 NLT)

          I'm not kidding when I say that I could go on for hundreds of pages, and the ones that I have picked aren't the worst ones.

          This is among worst:

          "Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

          Religion is not that good.
      • Jan 3 2014: Wasnt forming a conclusion, just proposing a question. I guess it seems, maybe inaccurately as I have no evidence, that the vast majority of adherents to religious beliefs are non-violent. All religions have had violent pasts in my understandin but, again with no stats (why I was asking instead of stating) it seems in the face of the number of total humans that were considered or considered themselves religious the number that have been murderous would be fractional. I just don't know. You would be guessing wrong as to my leaning. I can understand your guess in the very least from where I'm from. I was in fact raised in the church of christ from a very young age but "lost my faith" in the church (or the bible to be more accurate) due to inconsistancies and hypochrasies of which you have listed only a few of many.I since ha ve sought understanding of this life through armchair studies of philosophy, science and all the major religions. I no longer believe the bible or any religious text to be the divine word from a God on high, and personally find the anthromorphication of "God" to be misleading but that is a personal belief and not one I would seekto force on others. I should say though that the "evolution" of scientific thought through the centuries gives me pause and cant come to except it as ultimate truth. We are constently revising our view of the nature of reality and I think thats healthy. Its strict adhrerence to any belief that leads to conflict.
  • Jan 2 2014: I think this has been tried before, Communism of the USSR, China, Vietnam, E. Germany all held the state as supreme to god. Basically atheism lost in our time. No one wants to be on the outside of the here after because they refused to bend a knew or acknowledge their status. A world that keeps religion in the perspective of the super natural is more tolerable than a religion driven by acknowledging its social status as supreme to the human condition. Political hierarchies dependent on religion's mass appeal like Iran and Egypt, cannot move forward as the religion prevents it from differentiating between the common good and common religions good. Simple solutions become heavy thoughts and difficult to implement. Qualified professionals move and the state is left with a mediocre political and business class. Islam like atheism finds it difficult to include independent successful individuals into their realm of good behavior.
  • Jan 2 2014: It may be a naive statement, but I think that if education is made more easily accessible to everyone we would see less bigotry and savageness in the world and people could maintain their religious beliefs. This is not to say there are no educated bigots that act savagely, but on the whole i would think education would serve to increase thoughtfulness.
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    Jan 2 2014: how on earth thoughts could be abolished?
    • Jan 2 2014: Certain dictatorships like the former USSR had a knack for it, so one can only assume its possible, at least to an extent. Religious groups could be forced underground, and over the generations, wane to a point of irrelevance--simply being unable to operate freely or in the open is quite the handicap.

      Granted, this doesn't mean its a good idea, but that's a different matter I've already addressed bellow.
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        Jan 2 2014: i kind of hope nobody advocates such measures anymore
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          Jan 2 2014: There will always be people advocating just about anything...However I have not heard any single outcry for "holy" war by any atheist or anti-theist, they (we) mostly seems focused on educating people in the arts of reason.
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    Jan 2 2014: To the bigotry of religion I say leave God alone.
    To the bigotry of anti-religion I say leave people alone.

    Peace
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      Jan 2 2014: Yeah, lets just leave each other alone, no need in talking and debating what might or might not be true and right... Oh and let's also leave all the wars alone, and all the gangs and all the unhappy people in the world, the best thing is to just leave it all alone... And don't forget about leaving government alone and the banks, they really need to left alone.

      Let's not confront or question anything, ever!

      Peace
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        Jan 3 2014: woah..Don't get that far. Jimmy.My fault that I didn't elaborate.To clarify,the key word here is "bigotry" and what i meant by saying leave people alone is for "bigots" to stop imposing ideas on people without the implication that they don't talk or debate or make changes to improve both parties.
        Dogmatic behaviours can come from the religious or the non-religious so does self-rightousness.The solution-to abolish religions does not stop bigotry. I would go for looking inside yourself ,examing your own beliefs and thoughts ,parting with learning and a open mind.
  • Jan 2 2014: Yes it should be given its proper place in primitive practices from the dawn of man before we understood weather, Germs,viruses. bacteria. We were scared of everything and held tremendous guilt. people believed we were the cause of weather.earthquakes, floods all sorts of natural phenomenon that we now understand . We thought we offended gods or deities. its all non sense and the sooner we realize it and use this one life we have the better off we will be. no more suicide bombings. honor killing to save our daughters from ruining their eternal life. no more virgins given to these men for their deeds while alive. Face it it is bull shit and should be treated as such.
    • Jan 2 2014: What about people like Louis Pasteur, Michael Faraday, Georges Lemaitre, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, and countless others? Some of the greatest scientists to ever live and they all maintained religious beliefs.
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        Jan 2 2014: Just because you are right on one thing doesn't mean that you're always right...

        We have some pretty whack Nobel laureates in today's age also...
        • Jan 3 2014: You are right about that for sure big guy. One thing I'm absolutely sure of is that I'm absolutely right about nothing. I don't claim or presume to know everything. I'm just looking for open minded dialog. I'm a little surprised to hear you call people like Planck and Pasteur whack. They were both better minds and contributed more to the well-being of humanity than I can ever hope for. Is this a place fir group think, or a place fir discourse?

          Edit: I'm not here to change anyone's mi nd about anything, I'm here to clarify my own thoughts through dialog. I didn't raise the question about religion and I don't really consider myself a religious person iam just trying to contribute tothe conversation. There is no denying the attrocities committed in the name of religion, but I am not ready to condemn or belittle those who seek peace through religion. I believe that there are more questions unanswered about the nature of the universe than there are answered and though the rational approach of the scientific method surely brings us answers every day we have a long way to go.
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    Jan 2 2014: And another question is who dare to abolish it? Who can have the power to implement the abolishment in different countries with so many people? And in our country, religion is also kinda business for people to run. If it's abolished, how many people would lose their jobs and be wandering on the streets?
  • Jan 2 2014: To me religion is just another form of slavery, if slavery is good, then so is religion. I think we can do a lot better with very little effort. The problem is religion is also a business, Big Business, Tax-free Big business and like any Big business (corporations, government, organized crime, terrorism) they are so intertwined into the communities that weeding them out is a near impossible task. They all resort to violence and force to exercise their power over the people.
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    Jan 2 2014: I know your well-meaning standpoint. But instead of abolishing all the religions, why not call on people to be acceptive enough of all the harmless religions? I don't understand why people regard their god narrow-minded so as not to accept other people's gods? Gods are much kinder than human beings so they should have been willing to unite to do more good things to people. Why should people only accept one religion? I can accept atheists,Christians,buddhists...... Religions can bring people some relief from pains sometimes. If you didn't succeed in getting relief from this god, you can turn to another god, or you can just trust yourself sometimes. It's choices of diversity. I don't think there's no democracy and freedom in the God's world. I think religions should also go with the ever-changing world to be globalized. Thus people's life will be more colorful and harmonious.
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    Jan 2 2014: I believe! There you have it. For the religious that is all that is necessary, namely to believe. Of course some will suggest that they "believe" without question but I find that difficult to accept since human beings are so often hindered by doubts. In fact I would be very wary of anyone who suggested that their belief was the Right or Best belief. However, since belief is a self motivated experience I would opine that it would be impossible to eradicate religion.

    I also suggest that it t would be more valuable to distinguish and target "organized" religion as opposed to any personally derived set of religious beliefs. All the terrible things that have been done in the name of religion were the result of the organized part whereby "leaders" directed and/or encouraged the atrocities, the pettiness, the mean-spiritedness, and the denigration of others deemed "less". But then again, people love to congregate and to seek out the like minded so trying to inhibit organizing would most certainly be futile. I like the idea of separating religion form government. I hope someone succeeds in that endeavour some day.

    That said, I have no problem with an individual's strong held beliefs, even if I, personally, think all religious beliefs are simply an attempt to rationalize superstitions and fears away. I know a couple of people who practice a kind of evangelical christian belief, but they also feel no need to preach it or share it or decry any others beliefs, they simply live it in their day to day life and that I like a lot.
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    Even though I have my own beliefs about the Universe and the Natural world I find myself in, I prefer to keep them to myself for no other reason than they are mine and do not need or even welcome any other reinforcements or scrutiny. .
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      Jan 2 2014: Here in Sweden we have taken that step that you so long for. Since 1999/2000 Church and state are no longer intertwined, and in the next election it looks like our christian party is not going to make our 4% limit to be in the government.

      However they continue to influence politics from down-up, something that made many frown upon me when I suggested that we should not let them do this, that we should not partake, when I was a politician in the Swedish Social Democratic Party...
  • Jan 1 2014: I think it is undeniable that the people that seek power and control through organized religion have caused more pain and suffering in the course of human history than I personally can wrap my head around. Having said that, I don't believe the people that choose that path are following the doctrines in whichever religion they are warping to meet their personal desires. Huston Smith's "The World's Religions" has been one of the most influential books I have read in my life. It helped me to see (maybe inaccurately, I am no scholar) that at the core of every religion has been an attempt at understanding our place in this world and how we can navigate through it. I can't fully understand all the beliefs of every religion probably because I wasnt raised in the context of the culture they came from but if looked at as moral maps, they all seem to say one thing in common, though in different languages and metaphors. That is simply the surest way to be a "good" person is to treat others as you would be treated. I may be mistaken, but I think the "golden rule" shows up in one form or another in every religion. All that being said, I will end with the discomforting thought that the people who seek power and control through organized religions would be no less ready to share their pain and spread their hatred if they only had nonreligious channels to do it in. Thanks for the conversation, I look forward to checking out the links you added.
  • Dec 31 2013: How well has that worked in individual countries? China under the Gang of Four? North Korea?