After thousands of years of living under the thumbs of various religions, the purveyors of religious dogma would have us believe that if we were just a little more devout or had a bit more faith, all of the world's problems could be quickly and justly solved.  According to the theologians, if the teachings of their particular religion were universally applied, we would quickly find ourselves living in Utopia.  And we would have their particular god to thank for the transformation.

If what the deists tell us is true, it begs the question; Why are we still plagued by war, hunger and disease? Surely greed, mayhem and avarice would be as rare as the carrier pigeon if religion were the answer. It seems obvious that if one follows the same recipe under the same or similar conditions, one can expect to achieve the same results. History has shown this to be the case.

Perhaps it's time for a new paradigm. Instead of continuing to bump our heads against the window and never finding the exit, we need a new strategy. Part of the problem is the attitude many deists love to tout, the attitude that this life is nothing more than a temporary trial and should not be taken too seriously. Instead we should devote most of our energy to preparing for  the next life.

The new paradigm will teach us to live in the here and now. It will teach us to care for one another regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. No one is left behind. The concept of us and them would cease to exist.

It's time to tell the cultists to shut the hell up and get out of the way. It's time for the rest of us to take the reins and work to make the world more progressive and more humane. It's time to relegate the fairy tale believers to there prayer closets where they can commune with their invisible friends until they are content.

Religion is not the answer to the plagues of mankind. It never was.

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Comment by K J on April 8, 2014 at 10:07am

I definitely agree - we do indeed need a new paradigm - everywhere. What I find most disturbing is that ALL of the religions "proclaim" they are about peace and loving/treating one another as we would like to be treated. HAH!  Religions have been the CAUSE of war, violence, abuse, and oppression since their inceptions - not peace. At the same time, the "religious" and "pious" certainly do not seem to love themselves or want to be treated as people. Yes, we certainly are in need of a complete overhaul in paradigm.

Comment by Loren Miller on April 5, 2014 at 4:58pm

The paradigm we need is one which recognizes reality and disposes of counterproductive fantasy, one which acknowledges that problems are complex and will not yield to simplistic solutions.  Prayer, faithfulness and belief in an unseen deity have repeatedly demonstrated their impotence as regards their supposed ability to solve the world's woes.  Still, we are repeatedly told, "keep praying, be patient, our time is coming, our savior will put everything to rights."  Meanwhile, the most successful and least violent societies are those which have left behind irrational belief in favor of secularism, while the most religious are represented by places which are last on the list of locales I would care to visit, let alone live.

Getting shut of religion and its influence will not, in and of itself, solve the problems of this planet.  It DOES represent several steps in the right direction.

Comment by Daniel W on April 5, 2014 at 4:07pm

Nicely said.  I agree with you.

Comment by Ted Foureagles on April 3, 2014 at 8:13pm

Allen:

Part of what you're advocating is an end to tribalism, and I'd like to see that too.  I just don't expect it anywhere close to my lifetime.  It's an old impulse -- older than humans, and this civilization experiment in which we're engaged, off and on, is very young.  And of course it isn't guaranteed to work (since there's no warrantor) -- there are historic cases of it having failed locally.  But I do think that it's our best hope, and worthy of some great effort to promote.

And I agree that a good start would be ditching the notion that there's a better life awaitin' in the sky Lawd by and by.  This is a pernicious idea that leads too many to devalue what we know is real in favor of what we hope to find.  I would re-direct them (is that the same as proselytizing?) to think of this "next life" as the lives of their progeny, and to act accordingly.

As Professor Dawkins put it, our bodies are survival machines crafted by our genes.  We don't have a "purpose driven life", but can be said to have a life-driven "purpose", which is simply to propagate our version of life.

The current paradigm within which we've been working has turned out to be remarkably effective, but it's fraying at the edges now.  We have been so successful so far that we are altering out environment in ways that our little gene packets may not survive for much longer.

Comment by Napoleon Bonaparte on April 3, 2014 at 5:19pm

Fair enough ! Let's have a new paradigm.

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