So, I've heard it said from many atheists that religion, particularly mainstream religion, is holding back society from making the next step forward. What do you think?
Would it be better if religion were discarded, embraced by science? Or are there redeemable aspects of religion that would greater benefit societal evolution?
"I think that most religions in modern times have lost touch with their original mission."
Are you kidding me? The original mission of religion was to control the people, catholicism has been made to stop a civil war and keep control of the roman empire. From that point on, it has always been, to this day, a control tool. Of course you have to seperate personal belief, which isn't that bad, from organized religion, but without religion, there wouldn't have been the middle ages, the crusades, the 30-year war (which wiped out 1/3 of europes population at the time!!!). That is religions mission, to be spread by every mean necessary. It is like cancer in that perspective.
Our technology would be over 1000 years more advanced if there had never been catholicism. Of course things are different today, now they just claim that without them there is no purpose to life, that it wouldn't be worth living. It still enslaves minds with the carrot-and-stick method. Do as we say and you will have an omnipotent buddy on your side with infinite knowledge, don't and you will forever be alone without purpose and burn in hell for eternity.
But to get back to the question, because of these things, some people base their views and morals around it and do everything they can to stop and interfere with things like stem-cell research, campaigns against aids, evolutionary biology etc.
Hey, if it worked in the bronze age it should work today, right?
Religion is most definitely holding us back...it stops people from thinking. Imagine if the other 90% of the world were free to ponder the workings of the universe and explore scientific advancement.
Humanity needs to embrace science at a much greater level. This scientific skepticism in our society is troubling to say the least. And I believe all of it, even the irrational thoughts like astrology, spirituality and religion are ALL based on a fear of facing the real universe and death. It`s this fear we need to end. People need to have FAITH (for a lack of a better term) in science. We need to come to terms with death being the end and the soul being the coping mechanism. We need a new coping mechanism... we need to appreciate that all we have is this one life. Our time here becomes more precious. Our goal becomes to care for the planet and humanity. Advancing our technology. Any obstacle holding us back could mean the ultimate demise of humanity. There will come a time where our earth ends. The only way we can prevent human extinction as well is by means of science and technology... whether it is the science to destroy asteroids, the science to live off of this rock, the science to create alternative energy sources, etc...
We all need to be on board.
All of this negativity towards science is all that scares me for our future. Being positive breeds positive outcomes. Being negative breeds negative outcomes.
We need TECHNO-OPTIMISM
I say it absolutely holds us as a species and a civilization back. Gods and religion served their purpose in explaining the unexplainable and bringing communities together. I think that very small local churches serve to help the greater good and the communities they are in, but the large organized religions have been corrupted by power and greed. Which is not to say that doesn't exist on the local level but is far more rampant and destructive otherwise. I think it would be better to break up the large entitys in favor of the smaller churches, and for the teachings to not be taken literally, ever. I think it can be argued that religion has helped us along the way in our evolution in various aspects but that time is done; I just see it as such a primitive concept I guess. If people want to believe in fairy tales that's their business, but the decision making should be left to those who believe facts when they are presented and proven.
Yes, I believe it does. In order for society to advance we need to discard the "supernatural" in favor of logical and scientific reasoning. At their core, no matter how scientific a religious person may claim to be, at some point they are abandoning logic and reason for the supernatural.
The real problem is that the majority of religious people in the world abandon logic long before any 'liberal' religious person. And when they do, they use the answers they get from religion in order to inform their desicions that adversely affect others (i.e. Gay rights, abortion, stem cell research...). I would challenge anyone to pick any historical social issue that secular people were in, what is generally considered to be, the wrong (civil rights, gay rights, women's rights).
Obviously that's not to say there weren't religious people on the right side of those social issues too.