What if  religion never existed and there were no religions of any kind that ever started upon the face of the earth. How far advanced do you believe scientist would be now? Do you think we would already have a cure for most diseases? Do you think over population would not exist or unwanted and homeless children would exist? Do you think we would have had less wars? Would the Spanish have conquored North America? Do you think Hitler would have killed all of those millions of Jews? Do you think we would already had bases on Mars? Do you think nations would be better off and richer than they are now? Would history be better than it has been? What if everyone were atheist? How much better off do you think our entire civilization would be if there never were any religions and everyone from the dawn of time to the present were atheist? I have oftened wonder what kind of advances in science there would now be were there were no religions to influence and stop the progress of mankind or how much better off the world would have been had there never been any religions. Would people trust one another more? Would there be as much crime or war or suffering? Would the leadership of countries be better and would less people have more food, shelter and strife? How would history have been different? I believe religion is the root of most of the ills of the world. What do you think? Do you believe religion and the belief in gods, goddesses and imaginary beings are the root cause of the world's troubles and why we aren't as scientifically advanced as we should be?

Tags: atheism, religion

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The world would be very much the same, I have no doubt. I just think it would be better off without religion.
"The destruction of that library, by the Christians, resulted in arguably the largest loss of knowledge in human history. It took more than 1000 years for scientists to rediscover things known at that time, proving your point.'

The library of Alexandria was burnt down at least 3 times,once Julius Caesar was blamed..


There has never been a time in the last 2000 years that there has never been an ongoing increase in human.knowledge.

The term "the Dark Ages' has not been used by historians for over a generation as it essentailly meaningless in describing European history.

'Civilisation' also includes: India, China SE Asia and Mesoamerica.


To address the OP:Like all human behaviour, religion exists because it meets some human need(s). If these needs are not met by religion,they are met some other way.EG by say political personality cult such as in Nazi Germany, China under Mao, Russia under Stalin,and North Korea . No religion would make no noticeable difference: Religision are human inventions which reflect the values and needs of the people who invented them.


The Abrahamic faiths make sense if one keep in mind the original inventors; a minor tribe of bronze age goat herders:insular, paranoid,petty, vindictive, jealous, vicious and cruel, which also describes their nasty little god. .--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The Library of Alexandria

"Generally thought to have been founded at the beginning of the third century BC, the library was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter or during the reign of his son Ptolemy II. Plutarch (AD 46–120) wrote that during his visit to Alexandria in 48 BC, Julius Caesar might have accidentally burned the library when he set fire to his own ships to frustrate Achillas' attempt to limit his ability to communicate by sea.[1] According to Plutarch's account, this fire spread to the docks and then to the library."


"Destruction of the Library

Ancient and modern sources identify four possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria:

1. Julius Caesar's Fire in The Alexandrian War, in 48 BC
2. The attack of Aurelian in the third century AD;
3. The decree of Theophilus in AD 391;
4. The Muslim conquest in AD 642 or thereafter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria


However, this version of events is not confirmed in contemporary accounts of Caesar's visit. In fact, it has been reasonably established that segments of its collection were partially destroyed on several occasions before and after the first century BC. A modern conflation (no older than the late eighteenth century) attributes the destruction to Coptic Christian Archbishop Theophilus of Alexandria in 391, who called for the destruction of the Serapeum -- the Daughter library and a temple to the god Serapis.


"The Dark Ages is a term referring to the perceived period of cultural and economic decline and disruption that took place in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.[1][2] The label employs traditional light-versus-darkness imagery to contrast the "darkness" of the period with earlier and later periods of "light". Originally, the term characterized the bulk of the Middle Ages as a period of intellectual darkness between the extinguishing of the light of Rome, and the Renaissance or rebirth from the 14th century onwards.[3] This definition is still found in popular usage,[1][2][4] but increased recognition of the accomplishments of the Middle Ages since the 19th century has led to the label being restricted in application. Today it is frequently applied only to the earlier part of the era, the Early Middle Ages. However, modern scholars who study the era tend to avoid the term altogether for its negative connotations, finding it misleading and inaccurate for any part of the Middle Ages.[5][6]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages
"There has never been a time in the last 2000 years that there has never been an ongoing increase in human.knowledge."

Of course this is true but actual possession of knowledge at that time was regional. The loss of this library would have represented a loss of knowledge though we will never know how great.

One example is the theory of heliocentrism put forward by Aristarchus of Samos. His written work has been lost and is only referred to elsewhere. It could conceivably have been among the works hosted in the great library. That theory was not seriously considered until nearly 1800 years later according to the wikipedia article.

We can debate how much knowledge was lost there but there is little reason to debate the fact that the destruction of the library was motivated by religion at least 2 times, if not more.
"How far advanced do you believe scientist would be now?"

Fact:
Hmmmm… Lets see… Given the estimated manufacture date/age of the Antikythera Mechanism(roughly 100 BCE), and the fact that models(computer, and physical) based on x-rays taken of it inner working(gears, dials) accurately track the movements of the sun, moon and other planets in relation to earth in solar system, and including a 365 day calendar.


Speculation:
If the use of "Baghdad Batteries" is ever conclusively determined to be for electroplating then that discovery/realization would mean that man has had a working knowledge of electricity before the previously thought sixteenth century which included the invention of the Leyden jar and later the Galvanic Cell. And to give perspective; the Parthian culture existed between 247 BCE - 224 CE…

A layman’s conclusion:
So, given these to discoveries alone, I would estimate/guess that we(man) have been scientifically held back by religion for about 1800 years(give or take a century)


"Do you think we would already have a cure for most diseases?"

No, not most diseases, but probably more than we do now.


"Do you think over population would not exist or unwanted and homeless children would exist?"

I do not know, as not all of that is due to religion.


"Do you think we would have had less wars?"

Yes.


"Would the Spanish have conquored North America?"

I do not know.


"Do you think Hitler would have killed all of those millions of Jews?"

No, I do not think that Hitler would have killed all the Jews if it were not partially due to religion(christianity in particular). You see after reading Mein Kampf("My Struggle") I think that without religion he would not have had paranoid thought about the Jews. :O/ And Hitler`s later public speeches demonstrate how his belief system has (in part) guided his actions as they related to the Jews.

Here are just three examples(if you need more just ask):

"I say: my feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to the fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as sufferer but as fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and of adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before - the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice. And as a man I have the duty to see to it that human society does not suffer the same catastrophic collapse as did the civilization of the ancient world some two thousand years ago - a civilization which was driven to its ruin through this same Jewish people." - Adolf Hitler, Munich speech of April 12, 1922

-and-

"If the Jew, with the help of his Marxian creed, conquers the nations of this world, his crown will be the funeral wreath of the human race, and the planet will drive through the ether once again empty of mankind as it did millions of years ago. Eternal nature takes inexorable revenge on any usurpation of her realm. Thus did I now believe that I must act in the same sense of the Almighty Creator: By defending myself against the Jews I am doing the Lord’s work." - Mein Kampf(Chapter 2 - Pg. 35-36)

-and-

"The greatness of Christendom lay not in any attempts to reconcile itself with the philosophical opinions of the ancients, which had some similarity with its own, but in unrelenting and fanatical proclamation and defence of its own doctrines.

The members of the Movement must not be frightened by the hatred of the enemy of our nation and by his theories of government or by his words: they must look for all this. Lies and calumny are essentially bound up in that hatred.

Any man who is not attacked, slandered and calumniated in the Jewish Press is no true German, no true National Socialist. The best standard for the value of his sentiment, the reality of his conviction and the strength of his will-power is the ferocity shown towards him by the enemies of our nation." - Mein Kampf(Chapter 12 - Pg. 138-139)


"Do you think we would already had bases on Mars?"

Maybe. :O)


"Do you think nations would be better off and richer than they are now?"

Better off yes… Richer? I do not know…


"Would history be better than it has been?"

Unknown


"What if everyone were atheist? How much better off do you think our entire civilization would be if there never were any religions and everyone from the dawn of time to the present were atheist?"

Given that there would possibly/probably still be a few people with [crazy] political agendas, and delusions of grandeur I would still say that the world would still be 96% better off if everybody did not believe in (by definition) imaginary/fictional characters as if they were real. ;O)


Cited sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism (over 100 related links and references)
http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026861.600 (Article and video of the Antikythera Mechanism)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baghdad_Battery
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leyden_jar
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galvanic_cell
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity#History
http://www.archive.org/details/MyStruggle
http://humanitas-international.org/showcase/chronography/speeches/1922-04-12.html (For whole speech)

Katalyzt
I really, really hate to rain on your parade here but what I'm going to say will sound like I am.

"Do you think we would have had less wars? Yes."

Religion isn't the only vice of humankind and knowledge is not a silver bullet. The discovery of electricity and even computers much earlier in our history does not imply an equal increase in social responsibility or morality. It is just as likely, if not more so, that technology would have been used for warfare applications back in our ancient past, just as now. It is impossible to estimate how cultures would have matured in the absence of all religion but I see no reason to assume that other equally harmful ideologies would not have arisen in its place.

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