A world without religion

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algebe's picture
A world without religion

A claim was made in a recent thread that atheists believe the eradication of all relgions would result in a utopian world. It was also suggested that the destruction of religion would create a vacuum that would be filled by something even worse.

So I'd like to propose a debate on what the world will be like when religion is finally gone (I see that as a certainty), and perhaps how we want it to be.

We could also talk about what the world might have been like if the world had recoiled in horror after the Crusades and rejected religion several hundred years ago.

I think that without religion (and the afterlife fantasy), people will start to place a higher value on this life and this world. In addition, all of the money and minds squandered on religious nonsense could be channeled into more productive enterprises, such as the eradication of poverty. There would certaintly be a big new source of educated minds and talent when the religions that ban education for girls are finally flushed down the sewer of history. I see rapid progress in many fields, including science, technology, medicine, and international relations.

And I hope, perhaps fondly, that once all the priests have gone, we can then turn our attention to the politicians.

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Sir Random's picture
"attention to the politicians

"attention to the politicians."

In a great deal of cases, these two are one and the same, no?

algebe's picture
Who takes your money, tries

Who takes your money, tries to control your life, sells you false hope, and encourages you to hate other people?

Seenyab4's picture
It's funny how much

It's funny how much politicians and priests have in common, since they both do that.

algebe's picture
And sometimes there's an

And sometimes there's an interesting cross-over effect. There's a politician here in Australia called Pauline somebody. She first got elected by playing the race card. She warned that Australia was being taken over by Asians. That scare fizzled out and she lost the next election. Now she's back playing the religion card. Apparently Australia is in danger of being taken over Muslims. That one hit a real chord, because she managed to get enough of her party elected to get a grip on the balance of power. The fact that this hate-peddler got elected at all suggest to me that Australia has already been taken over --- by morons.

CyberLN's picture
I think a lot of it is borne

I think a lot of it is borne of pure laziness. The sheeple are just too damn lazy to think for themselves so they hand their personal power over to the first person who convinces them that s/he will take special care of them

Sir Random's picture
Darvit, people!

Darvit, people!

Quit insulting my Morally Opaque Raisin Opening Non Sequiturs!

Dave Matson's picture
The other great evils are

The other great evils are utopian idealism and empire building. Think Pol Pot, Stalin, Hitler, or Genghis Khan. Getting rid of religion doesn't affect any of them, but a world without religion would be a distinct improvement. What is this terrible evil that is supposed to rush in and fill the vacuum? Conquerors and empire builders, and utopian idealists, were never slowed down by religion. They used it as often as they opposed it. How effective was the Catholic Church in slowing Hitler down? Hence, I don't see any great boogeymen presently being kept out by religion. Some wars, fought in the name of religion, might have still have been fought under another banner. Wars over resources would still be fought.

Since morality has nothing to do with religion, I don't see any wave of personal violence unleashed. Laws would still remove anyone who did as they pleased. Good manners would still be taught and valued. The most religious of states still have their police! Sweden, Norway, and other modern, atheistic countries show that atheism is no obstacle to moral behavior.

Conclusion: An improved world but one still having some of its greatest evils.

chimp3's picture
Putting aside politics and

Putting aside politics and recognizing we are one species living on a small planet would be a huge leap in maturity for humans. We are territorial apes. We are going to have to make earth our territory.

charvakheresy's picture
It is impossible to achieve a

It is impossible to achieve a world devoid of religion. That is reality.
Even if majority of the world is atheistic there will be a small percentage that will cling onto religion and their hold tighter than ever.

Yet even if we assume religion can be irradiated strife shall not end. Either we will find a new reason to divide ourselves or a new religion.

The whole purpose of religion is to control the masses. The best way to control them is to keep them in fear and deprive them of knowledge.

CyberLN's picture
I see two things that might

I see two things that might change:

Medical science might get a boost if religion were no longer throwing road blocks at it.

Second, women would likely get another foot up out of the pit in which so many have been thrown.

mykcob4's picture
I see no seed change in

I see no seed change in society without religion. In nature, if an animal is lost to extinction another species fills that roll and evolve to do so. Ergo If sharks suddenly disappeared possible eels would become much larger and more aggressive.
Human society is no different. There will always be a human created obstacle that will prevent equality. Maybe it would be based on faulty science or some other form of justification, but it will exist and be the prevailing construct of society.
I personally am not against religion because of the evil it does, because I know another evil will just take over if religion goes away. I am against religion because it is a lie.

algebe's picture
The two biggest religious

The two biggest religious jackboots on the throats of humanity today are the catholic church and Islam, especially Wahhabism.

I think the Catholic church is starting to suffer serious financial and reputational damage as a result of abuses by their clergy and legal action arising from those abuses.

The biggest supporter of Wahhabism is Saudi Arabia, specifically the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has suffered a major economic setback because of the oil price. I doubt that the price will ever return to its previous heights because of shale oil, new oil discoveries, and progress on renewable energy technologies. Without oil revenues, Saudi Arabia is likely to become irrelevant and impotent. Islam itself won't disappear, but without its more virulent forms, I think it will be a spent force associated with economically backward societies, like Catholicism.

I've been struck by the linkage between religious freedom and economic success. Britain, where the industrial revolution started, and the US, which is still the world's economic powerhouse, both have religious freedom. So does Japan. In Europe, the most economically successful countries are those with religious freedom, such as Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Britain. The economic basket cases in Europe are the Catholic countries with a history of religious conservatism and church involvement in politics--Italy, Spain. In the Americas, too, there is a pattern of economic and political chaos in Catholic countries. As far as Islam is concerned, the only moderately successful non-oil Islamic country I can think of is Malaysia. With the exception of economies pumped up artificially with oil, Islamic countries also tend to be economically backward. It seems that the more religion we have, the less we earn. India has religions by the sackful. Money no so much.

So I think economics, specifically people's desire for prosperity, will be the force that brings down religion, and that global prosperity will be the dividend from its collapse.

Harry33Truman's picture
Getting rid of religion won't

Getting rid of religion won't solve anything, atheistic states are capable of committing just as many atrocities as religious ones, just look at China.

Sir Random's picture
You may be right, but the

You may be right, but the difference lies in the fact that religion (and hence, religious states) commit atrocities for purely religious reasons. No one has ever committed an atrocity while calling out "Reason!". But plenty have while calling out the name of their god.

algebe's picture
So because there are other

So because there are other evils in the world, there would be no benefits from the demise of religion? The eradication of smallpox was a waste of time because we still have malaria?

In any case, what does atheism have to do with China's alleged atrocities? I hope you're not going to dig up that tired old line about Stalin-Hitler-Pol Pot, etc., slaughtering millions in the name of atheism.

Dave Matson's picture


An absence of religion would get rid of one major evil, but utopian freaks and empire builders (the other great evils) would indeed remain.

mykcob4's picture
You are confusing tyranny for

You are confusing tyranny for idealism. Religion is a tyrannical organization. Atheism is just the non-belief in a god. So-called atheist states don't exist. China's official state is NOT atheism, it's secularism. China doesn't recognize any religion. Although that have had a war with Buddhism, but that is merely a territorial issue. All religions even Scientology are allowed in China. I know because I have been there several times. Russia NEVER and I mean NEVER outlawed religion.

algebe's picture
Here's an example of an

Here's an example of an atrocity committed by a Christian country, apparently in the name of god.

"We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes."
--Harry Truman

watchman's picture
My hope for a world liberated

My hope for a world liberated from religious dogmas is for great strides forward in education....... the removal of religious educational establishments.......and the time wasted with theistic indoctrinations .

Consider...no more unfettered population explosion .....no more "compulsory" poverty due to the lack of birth control..... far fewer rampant sexually transmitted diseases .... health agencies allowed to complete inoculation programmes for malaria ,tuberculosis ,polio ,etc. Aid convoys no longer held up at the whim of petty religious zealots.

True enough the lack of religion will not suddenly make all mankind into brothers...true too ,there will be no Damscene conversion into philanthropic altruists.........

but it will remove many of the excuses currently utilised to justify the drive to hold back progress. Also it will remove a camouflaged hiding place for the recidivists. for the power hungry theocratics of all stripes.

jdrose's picture
So long as a world without

So long as a world without religion doesn't mean a world without a short list of basic laws that keep people civilized and punish the bad ones. These worked pretty well for thousands of years before Abraham or Pharoah

2 You shall not murder.
3 You shall not steal.
4 You shall not commit adultery, incest or bestiality.
6 Do not eat flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive.
7 Set up a governing body of just laws.

Sir Random's picture
Sure. Just take out 1, 5, and

Sure. Just take out 1, 5, and modify 4.

watchman's picture
@BS .... (how very

@BS .... (how very appropriate..)

I assume you believe you are quoting from the so called Hebrew Mosaic Laws.......

I wonder how you would respond if I pointed out the Law Code of Ur-Nammu.......(Created c. 2100 BC-2050 BC) some several centuries before the first appearance of anything even remotely similar to the Hebrew tribes....


or perhaps you would prefer the Law Code of Hammurabi .... (Created c 1750 BC) pre dating the said hebrew by a mere 3 or 4 centuries....


It would appear that Moses was not quite so innovative as some would have you believe...nor ,indeed was their supposed deity... or for that matter their hotch-potch of looted mythological tales ,hammered together into a rough and ready construct of a religion.

It would appear that Law codes are ubiquitous and appear spontaneously in many human civilisations (or attempts) indicating ,of course that Law Codes are not divine nor divinely inspired...but a product of human endeavour.

The odd thing that strikes me is that although these varying codes come from differing civilisations at different points in time ....the laws themselves are remarkably similar....pointing to a set of "universal" human concerns....

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