Believers Think We Need Religion to Behave Like Good, Moral People -- Here's Why They're Wrong
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Imagine a world where the sun rises on olive trees and vineyards growing where once there was barbed wire and checkpoints; a world where religious terrorism is unknown and the holy books that preach war and vengeance on the infidels peacefully gather dust on shelves. In this world, the churches, mosques and temples, institutions which teach doctrines that divide people from each other, will have become libraries and museums, institutions that teach wisdom and advance the common good; and human beings care about each other's happiness in the present, rather than looking wistfully to an afterlife where evil will be eradicated.
I freely admit this is a utopian vision. But even if it's unattainable, it still has value as a guide, a best-possible outcome that we should try to approach as closely as we can. If every person was willing to work together, it wouldn't take much effort at all to create a better world. All I'm suggesting is that we each do the small part that would be required of us in that ideal scenario. As the great orator and freethinker Robert Ingersoll said, we can all help "toward covering this world with the mantle of joy." What higher purpose, what deeper meaning, could you ask for in a human lifetime, regardless of what you do or don't believe?