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Imagine No Religion - What a World it Could be

Updated: Jan 1, 2021



My journey to free thought has been easier than many, as I was not indoctrinated into a "faith" before the age of reason, which is an essential tactic for all major religions to ensure an ever growing base of patrons. My father was a lifelong atheist, and although my parents divorced when I was little, my maternal grandfather had also been an atheist, so my mother was neutral on the topic. She later rather casually joined the Unitarian movement, but never insisted her children be a part of it.


In later years, some of the people I had been close to growing up, who had no religion pressed upon them in their youth, decided as adults to embrace the Jesus Myth after all; in part, perhaps, because it was socially convenient to do so, with a wide range of benefits, personally and even professionally, resulting from "joining the club." One might speculate that these individuals, who had escaped early indoctrination, were attracted as adults at least partly by the notion of a welcoming community where their newly professed religious belief made them instantly popular and accepted.


This is a key point to consider, as atheists, humanists, skeptics, and free thinkers would ideally also effectively build and nurture welcoming communities, not only for non-believers but also for those questioning their religion, built upon the premise that this is the one life we know for certain that we have, so why not make it a positive experience for everyone by working together. Imagine no religion. Nothing to kill or die for...

Of all schools of free thought, secular humanism may be doing the most to help move us along constructively, taking the matter beyond, “We do not believe in a god,” to “Now let’s move forward to improve the human condition together.” I would submit that the very future of life on Earth depends on rational thinkers who accept science and reason working together, as opposed to it being a case of every atheist for him or herself. The divisions we have as non-believers make it easier for those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of religious power and control to continue "business as usual."

So how can we start building strong, free thought communities and more effectively join forces to promote larger social change? Many U.S. cities have done a great job of creating strong atheist social organizations, with Austin, Texas offering one especially good example with the extremely well-organized Atheists Community of Austin (ACA). We need more groups like this all over the world, that actively educate, organize, and foster leadership. Over time, these groups can connect to become larger collective forces resulting in an ever expanding circle, linking us rather than ranking us (Gloria Steinem), as we see in the patriarchal hierarchy of every major religion.

Growing these communities naturally requires that many atheists address their (quite legitimate) fears of “coming out.” Yes, legitimate, since, ludicrous as it is, we can be socially and/or professionally penalized and even ostracized for declaring that "the emperor has no clothes." Again, there is strength in numbers. The more of us who manage to “screw our courage to the sticking point” and speak truth to the power of this grand charade, the more our movement will grow in strength and fortitude, and the greater our chances to educate others, enabling them to create lives free of damaging religious dogma.

I realize that I am fortunate for having had the exposure to multiple world views growing up, and could choose what seemed reasonable and logical to me. Yet, this is something I would argue that we owe all young minds. Is it not an insult to the intelligence of any child to force him or her to accept a manufactured, illogical belief system, with zero verifiable evidence, largely by use of fear, and without informed consent?

And of course, any “faith” children are taught is always the one and only “right” one, and the others all wrong. Religion has ever been the most divisive of social forces. It has been said that to teach children one religion is to indoctrinate them, whereas to teach them about many is to inoculate them. Don’t we owe unspoiled young minds the opportunity to explore ideas without imposing self-serving doctrine upon them, literally hobbling their inclination to think rationally? This is a pernicious practice that has lifelong mental and emotional consequences. It is neither moral nor ethical.

Which leads us back to the question of how to more effectively create social structures based on science, reason, and rational thought, which also celebrate our shared humanity. This is essential to countering the tactics used by religion to insinuate itself into our human experiences and traditions, such as birth, marriage, and death, to such a degree that people assume there is a natural and inevitable connection, that religion has a fundamental place in it all, which is inherently false.


Religion may have gained control over numerous aspects of our collective human culture, but this can change, and we can help that process along by respectfully but firmly calling it out whenever, wherever, and however we can, supporting others who wish to escape the shackles of religion, and most importantly, by teaching and empowering children, our greatest natural resource, to think for themselves. A better world is possible, but only if we fight for it, and continually refute the toxic premises, empty grandiosity, self-endowed authority, and false promises of this utterly self-serving, man-made mythology, each and every day.









































































decided as adults to embrace the Jesus Myth too, perhaps in part because "joining the club" was socially convenient; as many in her close circles are highly religious, so she became ever more a darling among them forMy mother, in her later years, also explored various religious communities, though she still identified as a Unitarian.


I might speculate that these individuals, who had escaped early indoctrination, were largely attracted as adults by the notion of a welcoming community where their professed belief in these notions made them instantly popular and accepted. This is a key point to consider, as atheists, humanists, skeptics and free thinkers would ideally also build and nurture communities where we begin with the premise that this is the one life we know for certain that we have, so why not make it as positive an experience for all as possible by working together? Imagine no religion. Nothing to kill or die for...


Of all schools of free thought, humanists are arguably doing the most to move us in this direction, taking the matter beyond, “We do not believe in a god,” to “Now let’s move forward to improve the human condition together.” I would submit that the very future of life on Earth depends on rational thinkers who accept science and reason find common ground to become a force to be reckoned with, as opposed to it being a case of every atheist for him or herself. The divisions we have as non-believers make it easier for those with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of religious power and control to continue business as usual.


So how can we start building strong, free thought communities and more effectively join forces to promote larger social change? Some cities have done a great job of creating strong atheist communities, with Austin, Texas offering one especially good example with the extremely well-organized Atheists Community of Austin (ACA). We need more groups like this that actively educate and encourage leadership, as these can eventually become larger collective forces.


This of course requires that more atheists address their quite legitimate fears of “coming out.” Yes, legitimate fears, since, ludicrous as it is, we can be socially penalized and even ostracized for declaring that "the emperor has no clothes." Again, there is strength in numbers, and the more of us who manage to “screw our courage to the sticking point” and speak truth to the power of this massive charade, the more our movement will grow in power and fortitude, and the greater our chances to educate others and help them to create lives free of damaging religious dogma.


I realize that I am fortunate for having had the exposure to multiple perspectives so that I could choose what seemed reasonable and logical to me. Indeed, this is something I would argue that we owe all young minds. Is it not an insult to the intelligence of any young person to press a manufactured belief system upon him or her, without their informed consent, which must be accepted without a shred of verifiable evidence and to the exclusion of logic and reason?


And of course, any “faith” children are taught is always the one and only “right” one, and the others all wrong. Religion has ever been the most divisive of all social forces. It has been said that to teach children one religion is to indoctrinate them, whereas to teach them about many is to inoculate them. Don’t we owe unspoiled young minds the opportunity to explore these ideas without imposing self-serving doctrine upon them, essentially hobbling their inclination to think rationally? This is a pernicious practice that has lifelong mental and emotional consequences. It is neither moral nor ethical.


Which leads us back to the question of how to more effectively create social structures based on science, reason, and rational thought, which also celebrate our shared humanity. This is essential to countering the ways that religion has insinuated itself into our human experiences and traditions, such as birth, marriage, and death, to such a degree that many people assume there is a natural and inevitable connection, that religion has a fundamental place in it all, which is inherently false.


Religion may have gained control over numerous aspects of our collective human culture, but this can change, and we can help that process along by building upon and by speaking out about secular options respectfully but firmly, supporting others who are finding their way to reason, and most importantly, teaching and empowering children, our greatest natural resource, to think for themselves. A better world is possible, but only if we fight for it, and continually refute the false promises, self-endowed authority, and toxic premises of this man-made mythology, each and every day.





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