Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss said earlier this year that religion could be largely removed or even completely eliminated from society in as little as one generation, if atheists continue to teach children otherwise.
Krauss made this comment while delivering a lecture at the Victorian Skeptics Café in Australia about how children should not be taught about religion at school because organized religion is not all sacred. Instead, he said, children should be taught about religion from a critical perspective, something that has started to gain traction only recently.
“What we need to do is present comparative religion as a bunch of interesting historical anecdotes and show the silly reasons why they each did what they did,” he said. “Instead of shying away from it, we have to explicitly educate people to confront their own misconceptions.”
Talking about the future of religion, Krauss cited slavery and gay marriage to explain how it cannot possibly take more than one generation’s time to eradicate religion from society.
“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that’. … This issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you’re a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is. It’s gone,” he said. “One generation is all it takes.”
Like slavery was eradicated in the span of one generation and gay marriage ratified in the same amount of time, Krauss asserted that the same dynamic will apply to religious adherence, if atheists were to continue teaching children the importance of questioning.
“Change is always one generation away,” the scientist said. “So if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away — and that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”
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