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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Destroy Religion?

During the American Atheists Conference this past weekend I repeatedly heard speakers and attendees discuss how we can destroy religion. One speaker, Dr. Jack David Eller, said that we need to destroy religion and replace it with atheist holidays, books, and culture lest we leave a vacuum where religion once was- and he got a standing ovation.

This is seriously messed up! Yes, I agree a world without religion would be a wonderful place, however, America's first amendment - that we United States atheists quote so often - allows for the the freedom from jerks who want to annihilate another group. The hypocrisy is nearly unbearable.

And how would replacing religion with atheistic holidays, books, and culture not just be another religion? Sure it may start with good secular intentions but if we simple removed religion and replaced it with "atheist" equivalents it would quickly become dogmatic and essentially a new religion.

The frustrating part is that we don't need to have a "war" with religion. Atheism isn't even on the same wavelength. Religion is an antiquated coping mechanism for people who have a hard lot in life and for those who are incapable or too apathetic to critically think.

So if, as atheists, we focus on reducing suffering and increasing education we will be eliminating the need for religion. Just look at the demographics of atheists; we are wealthier, more educated, and happier than the average human - our demographics have freed us from religion.

This is even more the reason that atheists need to engage in supporting other civil rights movements. The happier, smarter, and more satisfied people are the more they are enabled to leave the crutch of religion behind.

11 Comments:

Blogger the chaplain said...

Good post. Rather than engaging religion in hand-to-hand combat, atheists should starve religion to death (and extinction).

23 March, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

Thanks!

Yes, make the world a better place so we don't need religion rather than get rid of religion so the world is a better place.

The whole treat the cause not the symptom deal.

23 March, 2008  
Blogger Tommy said...

I agree. This "destroy religion" talk is counter-productive, not to mention out of touch with reality. What is important to me is preserving and strengthening a pluralistic and tolerant society for both atheists and believers and keeping the nutcases in check.

25 March, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

Well said

25 March, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure that he means it in the way you are taking it. But it really doesn't matter in the end of things.

27 October, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

Does anyone know what the above comment means?

27 October, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was about the 'destroy relgion' part.

04 November, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

I still don't totally understand.

Did your comment mean that I interpreted the conference speaker's comments wrong and that he wasn't saying we (meaning atheists) should try to destroy religion? (because I think it was pretty darn clear that was what he was saying)

or

Do you mean that I misinterpreted Tommy's above comment somehow?

And what do you mean that "it doesn't matter in the end of things?" Is that a reference to the end of times and god's judgment or something else

04 November, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, on Eller's comment of destroying religion.

05 November, 2008  
Blogger Zeolite said...

OK, that helps clarify

I walked away from that talk with a pretty clear understanding that I was just encouraged to attempt to destroy religion by substituting secular things (holidays, songs, art, etc.) for religious things.

However, it has been a while since the conference and communication is a fallible art form so I'm willing to concede that I could have walked away with a different message than the speaker intended. Only he can clarity that I think. That said, I still feel confident that my interpretation of his talk was a reasonable one. And of course my post is a response to my interpretation of his talk.

05 November, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I would disagree with your take on it partly. I'd think that he would agree with the part about destroying the influece of religious influence in your life if you do not practice that religion.

But I doubt that he would say or even advocate the destruction of religion completly. In fact almost positive that he would be very much against that.

Anyways for my comment about it not mattering. Just that in the end of all things what you take from the talk or not won't really matter in the grande scheme of things. Not much matters at all really, life goes on no matter what.

05 November, 2008  

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