2/17/2011 | Share this article:By Carl S ~
Suppose you woke up tomorrow morning and there was no more religion. Would the world be a better or worse place to live in? Maybe societies would crumble without a God or gods to invoke and look up to for moral examples?Image by epha via FlickrOr, on the other hand, would the world be better off? Maybe we ought to think about this more clearly and humanely; there's a lot at stake. What if?
Start with the simple things, like pork. Those who have not enjoyed a hot dog or ham sandwich will find out what they've been missing. Those who live and starve because they haven't eaten cows that are "sacred" will be able to do so. (Any “lower” carnivore, like a lioness, would look at that cow and say, "My children are hungry, and I'm going for it.” But no - here we have Homo sapiens saying, "No, my faith is smarter than the lioness's smarts." Duh!) Those who have been forbidden to taste wine, beer, coffee, may do so and enjoy. Those forced to fast would not have to do so, fasting only for health reasons. Those who once arose on their holy days and dressed up for worship services would be free to take the time for their families, and lovers for their partners, go on picnics or tour art galleries, etc. They would not have to turn their children over to religious teachers to indoctrinate them into beliefs that they themselves don't take seriously. In short, one would not go to a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple, at all, to praise a deity that the faithful insist they will continue praising for a trillion billion years after they are dead! Why waste the time now? Instead of prayer, the efforts and monies would be spent in making life good and rewarding for those whose poverty and sickness and malnutrition now make their lives miserable.
You would not go to a place out of duty, to listen to a man talk who doesn't know what happens, if anything, to you after you die, nor the "meaning of life," any more than the homeless person in the public park. Your children would not be put in a situation where they could become terrified by "hell," which is child endangerment. And, there would no longer be young people strapping bombs to themselves for some imagined, otherworldly ideal.
What would it be like to live in a world in which people were not forced to be hypocrites, in order not to "offend" the superstitions of others? In which one didn’t have to be involved with boring, tasteless, immoral, "out-of-it" individuals, just because they happened to be fellow believers?
Look around you. Are believers any better, or better off, than non-believers? Have they ever been? Has the doctrine of universal birth in sin done anything positive for human relationships - or, has self-flagellation, physical or psychological? Has the unending practice of making excuses for a god's immoral behavior benefited or ruined the consciences of humans? What would it be like to wake up tomorrow morning to a world without religion? To a world where one was free to love any adult of one's own choosing, without harassment or execution; where celibate or harem-possessing men didn’t dictate what the sex lives of others must be? A world where ALL women would be respected and accepted as human beings, not possessions, with rights fully equal to a man's, and free to display their bodies, not smother them as if they are ashamed of them? A world in which they could be proud to be women, perhaps enjoying that men lusted in their hearts for them. This freedom would free men, also. (For example, those formerly Islamic men would be free to spend the Fridays they used to be with other men, bowing down, in bed with their wives, instead, to whom they would give extra pleasure because they had not been altered by female circumcision.) And with women as equals, society could prosper everywhere.
In such a world you would be free of the craziness, the unmitigated gall, of the god experts; free of contributions to them, to the support of a system that covers up child rape in order to stay in business; free of contributions to religious terrorism, even in democracies; free of those in religious power who tell you how to live your life, even as they can't keep their own in order; free of fear of the unknowable that is based on ignorance; free of the molestation of government by religious hardliners.
There would be no more women and children murdered as "witches." There would be no clinging to patterns that are birthed in paranoia and ignorance, propped up by those who say, "If it doesn't work, cling to it all the more, even as you starve for understanding and rationality. Believe and starve; tradition will be your salvation." (Notice that those who urge those beliefs aren't hungry.)
What if? Look around you. Are believers any better, or better off, than non-believers? Have they ever been? Has the doctrine of universal birth in sin done anything positive for human relationships - or, has self-flagellation, physical or psychological? Has the unending practice of making excuses for a god's immoral behavior benefited or ruined the consciences of humans?
Why not give the tithe money to the needy, and use those “houses of worship” to house the homeless, and finally get a tangible and worthwhile return on the investment? Imagine all that would be possible . . . without religion.