Only a minority, somewhere less than 20% need religion. Countries that have left religion behind have shifted towards non-belief fairly quickly, not unlike the overturning of LBGT bias. The US is getting much closer to this tipping point.
Arts, science and wisdom and philosophy are available to replace religion. They can do so very effectively without the religious inculcation of xenophobia, nonsense, hatred and anti-intellectualism. This is especially true when religion is weakened and ineffective in its denunciation or perversion of education. Which is to say that when religion is so weakened, rational and meaningful support can be better developed and disseminated.
Yes, interesting. I like the line: “The solution to religion is to remove the need that created it.”
Is the solution to improve our humanity, to the degree that religion is no longer needed? Can we get to a point where we can rely on each other, with faith in our own strengths, cooperation, reason, compassion, collective wisdom, and trust in our fellow humans, toward a feeling of safety and security in that we are all doing the best we can and we all want better for everyone?
Isn't that is a better goal than reverting back to the false safety net of religion? Perhaps the answer to that is the underlying goal of humanism?
I have realized that while genetics / development may have played a part in my Atheism, it was likely my tough childhood that taught me from a very early age that I could not count on anyone to help me and that I had to take care of myself. Later, the hypocrisy of religion, its lack of conformance to the real world, and inconsistencies only added to my growing skepticism.
finding solace in religion has carried people through the most intolerable social and justices in the history of man. knowing that the next life will be better than this one it's a way to control people both morally and economically. a perfect example of this
in Animal Farm the reference is to" Sugar Candy Mountain" this kept the animals working until it was time for the glue factory
'What would it take us to get beyond that kind of solution to the real needs people have?
That cuts to the heart of the matter. Socialism tried a secular alternative which was disastrous. Sam Harris says socialism wasn't really atheistic; he says it was religious in its psychology. Social democracy is well worth a try. It is a feature of Irish society. Real poverty is controlled well but it doesn't remedy the hole left in the spiritual lives of people. I wonder what it would really take.
I think this is such an important point that Professor Wolff is making. Taking away the drug from an addict without putting in place some support system and providing them with a reason not to go back onto that drug again will fail. The analogy is a good one, if we want to stop people believing in god and using religion as a crutch to lean on ...we can’t just knock away that crutch and expect them to stand on their own two feet without providing them with the mental capacity to deal with life’s problems and enabling them to use community and friendship with other humans instead of feeling the need to pray and go to church because it’s there they think they get the strength to face the vicissitudes of everyday life. They need to believe that we can be in commune with each other as human beings without the need to wrap everything up in religion and tie it with a bow. We can reason and help each other by listening and supporting and encouraging others to seek help and advice. A problem shared is a problem halved is a great adage....it’s one we should try to encourage our religious friends to keep in mind as it’s much more effective than praying to a nonexistent entity. A sense of community and belonging is what keeps a lot of people going to church I’m sure, what we have to do is try to show that all humanity is a community, that we are approachable and non-exclusive, we have to be brothers and sisters to all humanity, only then will the need for gods be eliminated.
Many atheists like to point out that there is a clear correlation between poverty on the one side and religion on the other side: the more religious a society is, the poorer it tends to be on average.
Now the common interpretation of this fact is: religion is the cause of that poverty because it is an obstacle to progress. That might be an aspect of the bigger picture, but Prof Wolff points to the other side of the correlation: that religion is a means to cope with real problems, if you take away this "opium" you are just being cruel.
People in Sweden or Germany can afford to be secular; they no longer need the opium