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2010-03-27

How to get rid of religion - the easy way



Is it possible to get rid of religion? I think so, and here's my take on how we can do that:

FOUR IMPORTANT STEPS
1) Religion is removed completely from everything that has to do with official and public life. In other words complete separation of church and state, no religious content in public service radio and TV stations, and certainly no financial support of any kind for religious activities or organizations. People are of course free to have their beliefs, but will not receive any kind of support for it.

2) Non-religious people must make sure they are not a member of the state church in their country. The more people who remain passive members, the more state churches can use their "but we are a religious country" argument. So contact the state church to see if you are a member, and if you are, make sure you cancel your membership. (Norwegian readers, read this for reasons and "how-to".)

3) Religion as a subject in school is removed, and instead taught in a dry and factual matter under the history subject. "Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists believe that.." etc. Evangelism of any kind will not be allowed, and religious teachers will not be permitted to claim that key events from the religions really happened (since it's not possible to prove it).

4) A new subject called "Moral, ethics and philosophy" will be introduced instead. Children will attend this subject all through-out their school years, maybe even from kindergarten. This subject will probably be based on a kind of "best of" from various philosophers and religions, but without any religious content. In such a subject the students will train their critical thinking in everything related to morality, ethics and philosophy.

The effect of all this? In a few generations there will be fewer religious and superstitious people, and a much bigger part of the population will think differently, more independently and wiser. They will be more tolerant and have more respect for each other's differences. And — there will be fewer differences if religion isn't part of defining identity anymore.

IT'S POSSIBLE
Religious groups might feel these measures are disrespectful to their faith, but that won't be true since they still have complete freedom to believe. The only change is simply that religion is removed from the visible society.

Please note that I'm not talking about communism or socialism here. Totalitarianism in the past has worked ruthlessly to actively forbid and criminalize religion — I'm not suggesting anything like that. No, what I've outlined is a natural part of democracy and very possible to achieve everywhere, especially in secular regions like northern Europe, in particular the Nordic countries.

WHY WE DON'T NEED RELIGION
I'm probably obliged to inform that I think religion — and the illogical and inhumane traditions that accompany it — is one of humanity's major problems and lead to unimaginable amounts of suffering and practical problems for large population groups that are bound by their religious mindset.

Just think how many people would have had a better life without e.g. Catholicism's meaningless ban on contraception, the abuse and murders commited in the name of Protestantism against non-believers, the historical oppressive caste system of Hinduism and the antique and destructive view of women in Islam?

Up until now culture, tradition and religion have always been interweaved and connected. But if humanity aims to become as enlightened and free as possible, we must in the long run minimize the significance of religion. We simply don't need it.