This is in response to Don Severs’ point that religion should not be abolished, but rather should be freed from its own corruption. He contends that religion in and of itself should not be abolished and that it is night impossible. I agree with him to an extent, but this is a response I have to his position, perhaps a bit more pointed than what he initially said here.
The only issue, if you could even call it that, with Don’s position is that of saving religion from itself. I think what Don is proposing is a very noble and even good endeavor-to rescue religion from the corruption that it suffers from. However, I have a very hard time separating that corruption from religion. To me at least, it seems that any attempt to transform “religion” is a futile endeavor because it necesserily involves changing the people that adhere to it. Now, this can be done and has been done many times over, but the seed of corruption is always there. That seed is Faith [in the supernatural sense]. Unless you abolish faith and remove it completely from any personal philosophy or religion you will never be completely free. You will always be forced to concede that things are the way they are because [insert Faith based reason here], which I think we would all agree is not a good philosophy to adhere to when making tough decisions concerning morality and ethics.
This is why I advocate a trimming, if not abolition, of religion. I am a realist, I know religion would never be abolished, nor do I think it really should be completely. And of course, we mean religion in its broadest terms, there are certain specifics of theist religions that I think we agree SHOULD be abolished. However, we are at a point, I believe, where any concession to religious ideology or zealotry has long reaching and far flunt negative effects. Our civilization at this point literally has the power to change the world as we know it, to cure diseases, to feed everyone, and to leave our atmosphere. We can do so many amazing things and there are still people attempting to hobble our attempts at a more peaceful and just world. Not because they are explicitly evil or wish ill upon others (though some are and do). But because of certain religious beliefs we see more harm coming to our fellow humans, for example, that two same gendered people don’t deserve legal protection. That women don’t have a right to their own body. That scientific progress is inherently bad and should be discouraged. That their plot of land is better than any other plot of land simply by virtue of it being their plot of land. The only answer to these kinds of harmful beliefs is first reasoned disapproval and then abolition of the foundation of such beliefs. So perhaps it is not the abolition of religion proper but rather the abolition of dogma and faith that is my focus, but it is abolition none the less. Giving any quarter to these beliefs legitimizes them and gives rise to even further ridiculousness.
Now, when it comes to respecting religion as an means to good ends as Don references in disaster releif and charity, those are all great! Great things can come from religious groups and ideologies and we should not stand in the way of these efforts. What we should do is show how these efforts are not dependent on faith or religious ideology and can be had without any sort of dogma. They are separate and at times [i]despite[/i] their religious convictions that such good is done in our world. The more we separate goodness and morality from religion by both example and activism the more we chip away at the idea that religion is inherently good or moral. Furthermore, it lays bare the fact that we can and do have goodness and morality without religion and we can show that much of the progression made in our civilization has been in spite of religion, not due to it.