Hey, everyone! I was just wondering what you believe would happen if humans became smart enough to abolish religion? Personally, I believe that wars would come to an all-time low or even an end, and it might induce world peace. Since there would be no religion to argue about, I believe that people would be a lot nicer to each other and have a more diverse range of friends. The only downside is that it would make things like racism and sexism a lot more common, since race, sex, and religion are the most discriminated against groups right now. What do you guys think? Is there anything I missed?
I wasn't trying to say that we would abolish it, I was just asking what you thought would happen if it were abolished. And abolishing violence is a good idea, too, it's just that we would need to fix key problems in societies to help get rid of it. I like that idea, though. Reading through the responses I realize that some people really need religion to get through their lives, and if it weren't there, more bad things could come from it. Thanks for responding!
I really like your point there. Religion has done some good, but has also been a negative force in the world, at least in the western world. But, as far as science and technology are concerned I'm more of the mindset that religion was a set back.
Agreed. Starting over is just starting over. Science stays the same, everything else will find a new form.
Barring every human on Earth having an "AHA!" moment and getting rid of religion and turning to science, it would be a nasty affair. But, I agree, I don't care if people want to believe in purple unicorns that shit leprechauns, as long as they don't infringe on the rights, try to force their beliefs on others and/or use it as justification to harm others.
I heard someone say that violence is committed more in the name of the prince of peace than for any other reason.
You seem to be assuming a few things here.
1) "I was just wondering what you believe would happen if humans became smart enough to abolish religion?"
This assumes that education can lead to a loss of religion, which is not necessarily so. If it was, then are most highest educated members of society would not be religious. While it has been shown that religion is far less important to people the more educated they become, there definitely are still believers among those in who have doctorates. The thing is that many people specialize in only certain branches of knowledge so they don't learn much about the others. So abolish? Probably not, but lessen it's hold certainly.
2) "Personally, I believe that wars would come to an all-time low or even an end, and it might induce world peace."
This assumes that religion is the direct cause of nearly all international and domestic problems that produce violence in the world. Unfortunately, These issues are hardly ever that simple. Many are over resources, land, and policy. Others are simply to further the personal ambitions of group leaders. I've said elsewhere that I think that political power plays far more of a role in many of history's war than religion does. Religion has been incidental and sometimes complementary in starting fights only because religion can so often be a means to control or motivate people. Far fewer battles have strictly been fought over differences in theology and belief vs attempts to control more of a population or territory.
3) "Since there would be no religion to argue about, I believe that people would be a lot nicer to each other and have a more diverse range of friends."
This assumes that religion is the reason for many inter-personal issues as well as isolates those groups from others. While I do agree that religion by being a cultural phenomenon does cause a sort of tribalism where those like mind clump together and those who are different are "outsiders," and I do agree that religion can cause many inter-personal issues, but that doesn't mean that people would suddenly be a lot nicer to each other if they lost religion. People are going to act like they are going to act. Let's face it. If someone's beliefs really made that much of a difference in his or her behavior, then there would be a lot more "saints" in this world then there are. There's also a lot of different aspects to our modern culture for people to group around and create "outsiders." Do they still make you all read the book "Outsiders" by S. E. Hinton in high school? There's an example right there of how people will still form groups and treat each other harshly even if religion plays no part.
4) "The only downside is that it would make things like racism and sexism a lot more common, since race, sex, and religion are the most discriminated against groups right now."
If anything, a more diverse social group makes the discriminatory ills of our society far less common. The more people get to know others outside of their respective groups, the more they realize how alike we all are. It's been noted that the most decisive factor in changing American's minds about homosexuality is knowing someone who is not heterosexual, but just to reiterate, that hinges on having a more diverse range of social members, which does not necessarily having anything to do with being more or less religious.
My personal opinion is that changing people takes time and changing culture takes even longer. The problems that are associated with religion won't instantly disappear if there was no more religious belief, and there are still many reasons why these issues would continue regardless of belief.
You're right in the fact that I was "assuming" things. Those are just my personal opinions and what I believe to be true.
In sentence 1, I think that with a priority being set on education, we might make more discoveries to disprove a deity, but I also know that no matter how much proof is given, some people will still choose to believe. I am perfectly fine with that, since everyone has the right to choose what they believe, I just thought that prioritizing education would help.
In sentence 2, I know that wars are caused by many other things, it's just that with less religion, we wouldn't be starting wars to mass convert smaller countries (which is wrong, anyway).
In sentence 3, the reason I stated this is because, at least where I live, the kids have little cliques. When you don't fit the "criteria", be it race, religion, gender, or looks, they will make fun of you. I know everyone says, "You won't see these people ever again," but bullying can still leave a pretty big scar that is hard to forget about, especially if they bully you for your beliefs.
In sentence 4, I looked at having no religion as a leeway to making fun of other things. Although the way you look at it makes a lot of sense, too. If people really got to know each other, they may just accept one another for who they are.
Thanks a lot for your response. Also, thanks for pointing those things out, I'll have to look into them a little more.
I think that religions will die the "death of a thousand cuts". In general, religions rely on the control of information, and the internet and modern communications remove that as a long term option.
Websites like TA, and many others have made it so that the religious have to protect themselves and their families from facts and information. Over time, perhaps really long periods of time and even generations of families, this protection from facts becomes impossible to maintain. The information will out.
Each person that joins TA, or any science website, or engages in any philosophical interchange with someone who has this type of information, IMO, starts down the path to become an advocate for atheism.
What is known is difficult to become unknown, so as we cite facts and evidence, we win. Each of the tiny little battles we win, collects as a whole. This to me is why the number of non-religious people is growing in the U.S.
Abolishing religion is out of bounds, counterproductive really. But religious thought will die a slow death naturally, and future peoples will remember these times as barbarous and even silly.
The day we're smart enough to rid the world of religion, there won't be any down sides as you describe them. When we're smart enough to rid religion, it's safe to say, we'd be smart enough to say it's stupid the discriminate each other and wage war.
Don't be silly. There are lots of reasons for discrimination and waging war that have nothing to do with religion.
Abolishing such a strong belief system is nearly impossible, it may continue to grow in the shadows. But if it were to happen someday, maybe things would turn to be a little better than before. Women in SA would have equal rights, LGBT rights may be granted, cheating people in the name of religion may be reduced - which is a major problem in the superstitious parts of India.. but we can't guarantee 100% peace. Violence and war-like nature is in human beings innately, it is in inevitable. Maybe there won't be any wars on whose imaginary friend is better but wars for land, resources etc. are certain to transpire.
Maybe people will begin to think more logically in general, one less puppetmaster involved, more freedoms for everyone, but it will still be difficult to stop the influence of the control freaks and war mongers who are looking to profit at everyone else's expense. Some still won't be able to step into the light.
Good comments, but I must point out what no one yet has--which is that a society that would "abolish" (meaning through some kind of legislation) religion would be just as oppressive and tyrannical as the religion many atheists and non-religious people indict. An Orwellian society is no more desireable than a theocratic one. Religion needs to slip away--if it does at all, and I've to agree with a couple of commenters that that isn't necessarily a good thing either--through consentual practices: discussion, debate, all in civil and respectful forums.
As far as religion slipping away, I was once at a collection of Indian booths at a town sponsored public thing in Hempstead town. All kind of Indian stuff for sale. At one booth there was some crystals for sale. As I was looking around, the guy that was running the booth who seemed okay to me came across this woman that he offered a crystal for sale and I heard him throw such a line of crap about it that PT Barnum would be proud, and she was going for it hook line and sinker. I was amazed, I wanted to ask him about it (the BS) but he was busy. Some people will always get sucked in, religion or otherwise, now and in the future.
It's been done in China, in the former Soviet Union, in the former Eastern Block.
The result is secular dictatorship and oppression, every time.
People will look for some other organizing principle. Cult of personality of a leader. Ethnic identity. Nationalism. All of these are far more toxic and responsible for far more violence and oppression than religion.