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What would replace current religions if all religions were banned world-wide?

Would any replacement for a current religion become a religion itself, eg: Technolgy or Science or Humanism ?

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      Jul 3 2011: Agreed with what Kate Blake pointed out.
      Force closure didn't and will not work & it's more difficult now in this era of information technology. With the development of science , technology and exchange of ideas more openly day by day more & more people are identifying themselves as either nonreligious/agonist/aethist , so this evolutionary process will go on with out ban. Banning might be counter productive.
    • Jul 3 2011: Wasn't it Stalin who said that 'religion is the opium of the masses', but he never mentioned the Creator.
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        Jul 3 2011: Hi William
        It's a qoute from Karl Marx and that I find right to great extent.
        But banning it didn't work as the case of real opium & it's derivatives.
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        Jul 4 2011: No worry William. You haven't misquoted rather you asked whose quote it was mentioning Stalin's name & I just replied to my best knowledge.
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      Jul 3 2011: romans tried to ban christianity. didn't work out too well.
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    Jul 3 2011: Religions are created by Men to control other Men. There is no earthly reason for any Religion.
    • Jul 3 2011: Yes there is plenty of evidence for that. Corruption of the Truth.
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    Jul 2 2011: You can't really (succeed) in banning a religion. By definition, it's about a belief. You can't "ban" a belief.
    You can ban worship, and association,public meetings etc.
    I wonder if in the era of Twitter, Facebook etc (and the reams that have been written about the power of Social Media in the Arab Spring) it's even harder to force religious worship underground than even it ever was?
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    Jul 5 2011: Our minds use metaphor to help us to understand things that science cannot yet explain. This is what religion has done. Religion acknowledges that there is something out there that is vastly bigger than us, beyond our comprehension, and it uses metaphor to bring it into human consciousness and the beginnings of a process of understanding. What many people find difficult to accept is to ascribe the name "God" to what is essentially "the natural scheme of things".

    Please don't get me wrong - I believe that there is certainly a 'repository' in the human mind for spirituality and reverential regard for things that will forever be infinitely beyond our comprehension. I further believe that to deny stimulus to that part of our mind is very dangerous, and science is in danger of quickly losing its necessary allegiance with it. In other words, science would benefit from the power of speculative philosophies, uncertainty and panoramic, free-ranging hypotheses. Science has for too long become stuck in a stagnant pond of certainty and empiricism, which is why I think it could never become a replacement religion.
  • Jul 5 2011: I find it very sad that there is a vocal portion of community members on TED that have taken it upon themselves to try to rid the world of faith in God.
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    Jul 4 2011: Trouble is, religions probably started out with the best of intentions - to provide a blueprint for moralistic and ethical human behaviour and which satisfied spiritual needs. Religion seems nowadays to be used as nothing more than a lever to achieve goals that are based on economy, politics, acquisition and war. As such, it has become a mere shadow of its former self.

    Firstly, Technology and science can now explain empirically those things that were once revered in some spiritual sense (for instance, the moon is no longer that mysterious luminous body appearing in the night sky - it is now just a lump of dusty rock that man has walked on). Secondly, I believe that the decrease in religious faith runs concurrently with the increased development and prosperity of western civilisations and oil-fuelled economies.

    In terms of psychology, burgeoning economies have no need for religion because of the linear, objectivising nature and stimulation of the left-brain hemisphere that capitalism engenders. In a nutshell, this means that the right-brain has become recessive and 'quiet' - and it is the right-brain hemisphere that is the holistic, wide-ranging one that is capable of spiritual/religious contemplation. (A must-read is "The Master and his Emissary" by Iain McGilchrist - a real eye-opener that explains this much more).

    I think there is an inherent need for spiritual stimulation in people, but I doubt whether any current organised religion will do it, because its motives are now seen to be too ulterior. Acquisition is the new religion in westernised societies. Once our acquisitive nature has died off with the drying up of oil revenues, then that will be the time that religion of some sort will return in some form.
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      Jul 4 2011: eeer, sorry, but we have no proof that religions existed before a few thousand years in the past, maybe ten. we especially have no proof that they will exist even in ten or hundred years from now.
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      Jul 4 2011: Kathy, I'm finished with this. You keep baiting people and then either you or TED deletes your comments leaving a bunch of orphaned conversations hanging with no context. If you'd like to have this conversation with me, feel free to contact me off this forum.

      EDIT: TED really needs to remove the ability for users to delete comments. This isn't a chat room and it's very disrespectful of the time and thought people put into these conversations only to have the rug pulled out from under them when the original poster decides to delete the parent thread. You can't retract statements in real conversations, which encourages people to think before they post.
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        Jul 5 2011: Well conversations in real life are between two individuals who know each other personally and they are not recorded. The comments online are recorded and they are posted for everyone to see. If the user doesn't feel comfortable having the comments up I think it's appropriate to delete them.

        So nothing wrong with that and I see why someone would delete their comments you are throwing accusations at Kathy left and right, I don't know what happened or what got you so riled up but some people don't want that kind of negative attention and they don't want their comments up to draw even more attention.
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          Jul 5 2011: Budimir, I see where you're coming from, but these are not conversations between two individuals—this a public forum. I can not think of any other public communication where we can make our public comments disappear after the fact. If you publish a newspaper editorial, letter to the editor, radio commentary, television show, public speech, or a host of other public communications they remain in the public sphere—they are remembered and can be cited later. There is no taking them back, which encourages people to think deeply before they put their name on something and send it out into the world. They have to take responsibility for what they say.

          This kind of reflection, before we submit button, would make this a better place.
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        Jul 5 2011: Ok well that's true, once you publish something academically you take full responsiblity for that and I'm not against it.

        But this is for leisure, we talk on intellectual topics and we throw in there whatever we want. People can start forming groups and ganging up on others so even though it is like an academic debate it can also be very high school depending on where we take the conversation. If everyone is ganging up on Kathy they are putting her in the spotlight and I've seen quite a few people do that to her. To some extent you become whatever people treat you as, no one has nerves of steel right.
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    Jul 4 2011: If we "banned all religion" world wide we would devolve into chaos.

    " Religion" in its broadest sense is an expression of humanity's awareness of other, stewardship for other and for all living things.

    A "religion" that claims to honor and seek God that does not express itself, reveal itself in these terms of "serving life" needs another word to describe its activities.

    The "atheist" who finds time one morning a week to read to residents at the local nursing home or serve at a local soup kitchen is acting from a beautiful religious expression.

    There was an interesting TED conversation) awhile back ( I'll try to findthe link and bring it here) where we explored whether we would actually genetically devolve over time to adapt to the non sustainable conditions we have created for ourselves..in that we explored also the possible devolving of our pre frontal cortex , the seat of "humanity" and "sense of other" back to a more primitive level or perhaps even back to reliance on our reptilian brain ( eat it? run from it? mate with it? way of thinking and seeing the world)

    Whether we choose to be athesist, naturalists, humanists, ethicists, christians, jews, muslims,, buddhists, existensilaists as our "self label" for our wolrd view, we must all choose the fullest possible expression of our humanity by living to serve life and honor one aother, by living to serve and protect our fragile planet, by living to leave something viable for the creatures and peoples who will inherit the earth from us.

    "Religion" in it broadest sense is our moral compass..if we lose that we have nothing.
    • Jul 6 2011: Whether we choose to be athesist, naturalists, humanists, ethicists, christians, jews, muslims,, buddhists, existensilaists as our "self label" for our wolrd view, we must all choose the fullest possible expression of our humanity by living to serve life and honor one aother, by living to serve and protect our fragile planet, by living to leave something viable for the creatures and peoples who will inherit the earth from us.

      "Religion" in it broadest sense is our moral compass..if we lose that we have nothing.


      I accept that "religion" is a moral compass, however I would characterize the word religion then as a biological state of the brain and I would call the "self label" for our world view a philosophy. I do not believe in any higher power. I believe in nature itself and since I am natural, nature is not above or bellow me. Yet I have definitely felt the surge from feeling connected. I have had many "eureka" moments that have inspired me. I love deeply and wound easily. These are not properties of someone watching over us, these are properties of life itself. If we didn't have these properties, we could not survive. This caring for one another comes from the need to reproduce, we forge alliances because in numbers is the best method of survival of species. We may delete our different philosophies based on new information but my definition of religion will always be there because that's what is breaking through every time someone oppresses an idea.
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    Jul 3 2011: again, a conversation with a title in complete disagreement with the opening writing. we could attempt to answer the title question. we could guess what current ideas would be able to take over, if the big ones go.

    however, the content is not only different, but wrong for two major reasons. one is that religions can't be replaced, imposed. they naturally develop in the mind of the masses. certainly you can invent religions, in the sense that you might be the person who comes up with an idea that spreads. but one can not design a religion on demand.

    and the second major problem is that neither technology, nor science are religion-like mental frames. that is, they are not at all "replacements" for religions. technology is simply a collective name of applied sciences. science is the method that actively rejects the idea of believing.
    • Jul 3 2011: I think the knowledge that science has endowed current generations would lead many to doubt/reject religion but not a Creator; and this train of thought to my thinking is not at odds with the theory of evolution Or is this just filling a vacuum that in the human mind that even the theory of evolution can not ultimately answer? Ultimately we must remember religon is man made not God made. Believing is a matter of inner truth and faith.
      Everything scientists have created has been by using what already exist, the basic fundamental matter - nothing new has been created out of nothing by scientists.
      To my knowledge only 4 of the 20 amino acids needed to produce life have been created experimentaly - again the hydrogen, methane, ammonia and water vapour and not forgetting electricity already existed.
      So, I think that religion in whatever guise will exist even if banned. It is an innate need of the human mind or soul.
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    Jul 7 2011: There are 2 different things involved:
    1) religions: which are just institutions spreading a doctrine and
    2) the underlying believe in the supernatural
    Even if one would ban religions, it would do little to people's beliefs.
    So, the more important question is how to replace beliefs. I think that beliefs will become obsolete over time with our ever increasing understanding of reality.
    In an ideal world, we eventually would reach 100 % understanding of our reality, which would extinguish all need and justification for beliefs, superstition, etc.
    Will be ever reach this point ? I don't know, but the need for beliefs continuously decreases as our knowledge grows.
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        Jul 8 2011: Hi Kathy,
        no, science does not believe that the brain is the generator of thoughts and the storage for memories. Science considers those as facts. You kill the brain and there are no thoughts generated anymore and all the memories stored in this brain are gone. But, if you doubt this scientific view, then it would be interesting to hear an alternative.
        Nevertheless, I'm glad that at last we do agree upon something, namely that beliefs eventually will become obsolete ;-)
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        Jul 8 2011: Kathy, that's your speculation. Where is the proof ?
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        Jul 8 2011: Kathy, I never ever saw any scientific proof for anything but the brain as the source for our thoughts and memories. There might be some pseudoscience out there trying to tell us otherwise (there is also "science" out there telling us of alien visitors of some sorts or others) but that doesn't really count.
        But we both know, from past conversations, that our world views differ quiet a bit. For me science is the source of answers to my questions, for you, it's something else.
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        Jul 8 2011: Kathy, in order to make any sense out of what you say, you'll need to provide links to scientific studies, proofing that memory and thoughts are not located in the brain.
        You only offer your general opinion without providing anything tangible to support it.
        So, please point me to studies, A, B,C,.... that support your views.
        At the end, everything comes down to chemical processes in our body. There is nothing supernatural involved, even if many people don't like that. We are a biological machine and once this machine is kaputt, it's over. It's real that simple. There are no judgement days, no hell, no heaven or paradise. There is no place where good people go after their death nor is there any different place for the bad guys.
        The destiny for all of us is the same. We are made of dust and will return to dust. That's the endless circle of life, true for humans as well as any other life form.
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        Jul 9 2011: Exactly Jim. Also, people most of the time believe that death is something that happens from one moment to another, but that's not the case. Biological processes still continue for quiet some time after you flat line.
        In those NDEs the body obviously is completely out of its biological balance and that very well might be the reason for such strange experiences.
      • Jul 9 2011: Hi Kathy

        I don't quite understand here. There are plenty of examples of head injuries that lead to a change in personality, memory loss, motor skill loss and things of that nature. When someone has head trauma, that's what doctors are looking for to see the extent of damage. I thought it was self evident by now that thinking and memory were associated with the brain. NDE doesn't count because it has not been verified, nor has OOB, by any empirical data.

        I have been programmed to believe the Earth is round. I have not seen it for myself, only pictures, only word of mouth. It used to be flat.

        There are no sciences proving consciousness, the mind or the psyche, as a physical thing that can leave.(I might have to retract that statement because I have seen a few brain dead people) I've seen a brain in a jar though.

        It seems to me that everyone has what is called consciousness so by what you are saying, blind people should be able to see. Further more, there would be no need for the adaptation of eyes.
    • Jul 8 2011: ...the need for beliefs continuously decreases as our knowledge grows.

      Actually, we observe the opposite
      Science stepped into the realm of belief, It's a new Age Religion now, it has it's own priests even,
      like Sean Carroll, or historians like David Christian
      With all my due respect to these people, listen to them, is it Science ?
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        Jul 8 2011: Natasha, science doesn't act in the realm of belief. Science comes up with an hypotheses based on observations and measurements of our environment. This hypotheses might at some point be discarded or develop into a theory if the evidence justifies it. The more observation and measurements we can do to support this theory, the stronger it becomes. At some point, a theory can be so much in line that we can use it as a functioning tool to explain certain parts of our reality (e.g. relativity theory, quantum theory). Still, there is little that is engraved in stone. What explains reality today, may turn out wrong tomorrow. Science is not static, but improves upon itself. Deciphering reality is a work in progress and, although I hope we will, we never might be able to fully figure it out.
        When it comes to people like Carroll and Christian. Both are renowned in their particular fields. If there is something in their views that you disagree with, we can certainly discuss. Otherwise it's just too generic to simply call them "priests of a new age religion". Especially, because I don't really understand what you mean with that.
        • Jul 8 2011: This hypotheses might at some point be discarded or develop into a theory if the evidence justifies it.

          What hypotheses? What evidence ?
          Even all our imaginative powers fail us at the Genesis point itself. It is not just that science cannot explain
          what happens at this time of mystery because it lack the right tools .
          Rather," the laws of physics themselves break down at a singularity."

          You must admit, Harald, you simply, believe in Science
          and I respect your belief as any other beliefs that people have.
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        Jul 8 2011: Not sure what you are saying. What Genesis point ? The biblical genesis ?
        Science is not something you believe in or not. Science is a process of how to get answers to questions.
        Here a definition of science: "systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.". Where do you think does belief fit into this definition ?

        About the singularity: 1) we don't know what happens at the singularity because nobody ever went there and 2) Maybe the laws of nature as we know them TODAY, don't apply at the singularity (just speculation), but that doesn't mean that there aren't laws that cover the special circumstances at the singularity.
        Science doesn't answer all our questions (yet). That's why we still need scientists searching for the missing answers.
        Personally, it doesn't really matter to me what people believe. Everybody is free to believe in anything he/she wants, however, I wouldn't want to build my life on a foundation of beliefs that eventually might turn out wrong. But that's a choice everybody has to make on his own.
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    Jul 5 2011: When you really get down to it most people have a pretty strong irrational streak in them. If we did not we would have no use for evidence based science because all it would prove would be common sense. What is religion but an organization of all our quirks. Some religions do it well, some poor but if by sliver of a chance you found a way to successfully ban religion people would just be more defuse in their less logical thoughts.
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      Jul 4 2011: "who believes in something for which there is no tangible evidence as defined by 'science' must therefore be intellectually inferior, therefore it is upon the atheist to judge, mock and condemn the mumbo-jumbo-believing theists"

      pretty much yes, with the correction of "misguided" instead of "inferior".
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          Jul 5 2011: Kathy I think you are trying to reconcile scripture with science, which is impossible. Scripture is poetic and metaphorical rather than scientific, that doesn't make scripture inferior or irrelevant necessarily.

          I am not religious but I will admit many religious organizations have used their influence combined with scientific technology to bring well being to others. Religion can give people a positive goal to work for and I think that's where the distinction is made between the two.
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          Jul 5 2011: Science is not metaphorical or metaphysical. It is physical, dry and straight forward. It attempts to minimize interpretation because that is where bias stems from.

          When scriptures talk about God creating the Earth in seven days, that kind of stuff is taken literally in science, you can't publish that in a journal for instance.
  • Jul 4 2011: My experience is, that everything can be a religion, if you look for your "SENSE OF SELF" in it.
    If you think, IT WILL COMPLETE YOU, MAKE YOU FEEL WHOLE, you will make it your religion.
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        Jul 4 2011: What did Kathy say here exactly? I talk to her online every once in a while and she seems pretty cool and down to earth. We also disagree a lot but she was never rude to me or anything.

        I can't imagine her being someone that would attempt to derail the thread intentionally.
  • Jul 3 2011: religion or spirituality as it should be known is solely to answer that which is or once was unanswerable. Example, when Copernicus discovered and published the Motion of the "heavenly" bodies he stopped his discoveries because he had already figured it out. He stopped thinking critically because he found a problem with no solution in sight. Either for his era, or the lack or tech, ect. In this problem he did find a temporary solution which was god or religion. He pretty much said this is to awesome hence must be a higher power. The masses of people still do not see that religion is a poison, religion halts critical thinking of the world around us because it provides a simple an easy solution that we don't really have to think about to much. 90% of the world believe in a Deity or higher power, While only 40% of Scientists do as well. This is Fact. This World cannot push forward with the chains of old ways, old teachings, old books, and old "Gods" holding our mortal souls back. We do not need religion, we need each other.
    • Jul 3 2011: Justin: Members of religious orders are not the only ones that have have held back advancement in material and spiritual endeavours, scientists, politicians and big business are guilty of that too.Chairman Mao let 100million of his people starve in oder to exhange grain for weapons from the Soviets.
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      Jul 4 2011: Richard I think you may be on to something. The use of money does require a belief system. It has a list of rules we must obey and if not punishment is dealt out. The IMF does as much evangelizing as any religion (although I suppose many religions don't try to convert people). The invisible hand certainly makes for a legit deity. Banker would qualify for being a priestly caste, while the leaders at the IMF would be the vatican. Instead of worrying about ones karma or soul one now is judged on their credit score, and stock portfolio.

      Yes I would love to see a modern economics class taught as part of a world religion course.
  • Jul 3 2011: When the worst educated people in the planed have the level of today TED talkers religions will have expired.
    Maybe in 200 years?
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    Jul 2 2011: What would replace region if it was banned? Riots.