The problem with religious faith is that it stifles freethinking and has distorted humanities relationship with nature by instilling in many a false sense of divinely sanctioned arrogance and entitlement along with the groundless idea that a supernatural being is in control of or influences what happens on and to this planet. It has also further divided us as a species, however unlike a division seen as sanctioned by a mortal and fallible leader this one is seen as sanctioned by an immortal and infallible God and is therefore more easily used to rationalize and justify irrational thoughts and unjustifiable actions. That isn’t to say horrible things haven’t been done under the banners of other types of dogma, however it’s much easier to get people to kill others and die themselves when they think it’s sanctioned by a God, and that by doing so they’re ensured a one way ticket into a posthumous paradise where their deceased loved ones are said to be waiting.
While religious faith may be necessary to get otherwise good people to temporarily suspend morality and do hideous things it’s not necessary to get ordinary people to do good things. So although religion has done some good during it’s reign over the minds of much of humanity such good could have been and often is done without it, and without any of its faith based side effects, e.g., sectarian conflicts and holy wars. The fact is that most people do good things not because they hope to score points with a God, but because they were led to do so by their innate sense of empathy which evolved via natural selection in our highly social species as well as in our chimpanzee cousins as a survival strategy, and because making a positive difference in the world made them feel good and added meaning to their life. Since this is the case why not leave religion as the all or none believe or burn proposition it exists as today behind and replace it with something more conducive to creating a better world.
If we’re to see religion retreat back to the knowledge deserts from which it emerged it must go there voluntarily and without any of the force or coercion that got it to where it is today. Therefore there must be a viable alternative that makes it irrelevant to those who still consider it to be relevant. Something that provides people with grounding derived from an understanding of where they came from, where they’re going, and what’s expected of them in the meantime, and helps provide meaning, purpose, and a moral compass in their life. However rather than provide another doctrine for people to fully accept without question and create exclusive collectives around I think it’s best to get people thinking for themselves and creating their own life/world view as a part of their own individual culture. I hope this book invokes some thoughts on the subject and if anyone’s looking for a term to loosely describe their own self-made system of values and beliefs to those who may still be using an off-the-shelf one from the last millennium I recommend Healthcentric Freethought.
With much of the world still knee deep in dogma the task of shifting from our money-centric unfree-thinking society towards a healthcentric freethinking society rooted in the recognition that we’re all living on a little rock that’s surrounded by inhospitable space and the only thing keeping us alive is the biosphere, and in the realization of the oneness of our species along with our interconnectedness to all things anytime soon may seem unlikely. However if religious texts give contemporary society anything it’s hope, hope by reminding us just how far we’ve morally, socially, and scientifically progressed since those texts were written. They serve as a testament to how we can breakout of old mindsets and change our ways of living and looking at the world. With this in mind lets make personal, social, and environmental health our primary objectives while working to improve the populations freethinking skills by encouraging others, and ourselves, to think and question more because doing so will inevitably lead society in the right direction.