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Well there's this:
Though honestly I'm not going to stand by that. I guess I think the question is wrong. It's like asking what would have happened if humans hadn't bothered to think of anything ever.
Religion, myths and oral tradition were our first attempts at understanding the world and sharing common ground. 'We're nice because we're nice' isn't exactly a memorable oral tradition, but a flying cat on a flaming chariot who is best friends with the moon who came down and said, 'yo, yo imma the best cat evar be nice to one another!' then ran off ... that's pretty memorable. The cat also has a coconut for a helmet.
We knew these things anyway. Philosophers have had these thoughts and ideas without any belief in the supernatural, but the flaming cat thing is way more interesting. It's why people think Christianity invented the golden rule and just about everything else when no, it just remarketed old ideas in most cases.
I'd explain that more buuuut ... I think it's a thread on its own. >.<
If you really like to discuss non-religious beliefs and use USSR as example, then get facts correct. They did not burn/close churches or persecuted based only on religion. It is true that in the order to get higher position within their political body you had to cut your connection to church, which was wrong, but it is kind a the same here, where in order to succeed or run for any higher function you have to be part of religion establishment. Both doctrines are extreme and both are unfair.
reply to post by SuperFrog
Certainly not am I endorsing militant religion. We already have that in the world. But let's take a second to view which religions we are talking about instead of lumping them together.
Militant atheism as the State Doctrine was destructive and certainly we don't want to go to that. Islam is also a state doctrine, and we don't want to go to that either.
But the issues you are having is not even in our Constitution, there is no separation of church and state that is written anywhere in any legal document to that effect.
What the issue was in Jefferson's day, was the Church of England as the state doctrine. Jefferson was blatant in his proposal that religious rights are fundamental, but not for one particular religion to be the rule of law. That's the point I wish for you to see.
Over time, when so many religious followers made their way to the United States, they brought with them their individual religious expressions. I have ancestry from French Huguenots, which had previously just been victimized in France and forced to flee under the state doctrine of Catholicism. But neither Huguenot Calvinism or Catholicism has the rule of law in the United States. William Penn created Pennsylvania with the sole purpose for religious freedom, no matter the expression. Thomas Jefferson College is now the University of Virginia, and the first non-sectarian higher education institution, in fact, Thomas Jefferson College was the first to admit women.
Thomas Jefferson was keenly aware of the need for freedom of religious expression and the government has no right to limit or prohibit it. The first mandatory public schools were in New Hampshire, but they didn't experience this controversy of whether or not the government had a right to separate religion from the public schools. It was in their curriculum from the beginning. And we know that New England was predominantly Congregationalist, a different expression than Quakers like William Penn.
Do you think that the government should not be funding madrasas in the United States? The government is doing that currently while denying other schools from teaching Intelligent Design. Do you see how it is unbalanced?
If we cannot teach Intelligent Design on that merit alone, then no money should be given to madrasas or Jewish schools that are kosher. But at the same time, madrasas should be allowed to teach students their religious expression, as Jews should be permitted to be kosher in their schools.
We cannot limit or prohibit free exercise of religion expression and the government must keep it in effect. For the government to accomplish that without violating the civil rights of citizens and their children, the government must then be involved. So by people saying religious expression cannot be voiced is a violation of the civil rights of the citizens and their children.
intelligent Design is Constitutional. And as much as I disagree with tenets of Islam, they have the same rights for their children to worship Allah in their schools. They have that Constitutional right to express whether or not their children should be taught to kiss the Black Stone of the Kaaba.
But the difference is this, they do not have the right to express Sharia law, that is designed to supplant the Constitution. As a citizen who agrees to remain in this country under the rule of law, with my rights guaranteed, then I must place the Constitution in high regard. That's why atheism as the state doctrine should not a part of the United States.
State doctrines do not work for any country that desires freedom of thought for any citizen. Christopher Hitchens was not American, therefore his opinion counts for nothing when it comes to my rights to express my religion. He was not my government, he was just a man with an opinion. But his opinion led to people embracing the violation of others fundamental rights.
He's not the only one.
This thread is asking a question, what would civilization be like if there was no religion as state doctrine. In Communist USSR It was a miserable failure. Nazism was absolutely horrific with the Nazi Party as state doctrine. Pol Phot was utterly destructive with his brand of state doctrine. And people still want to free Tibet.
Having no religion does not work, but neither does having the wrong religion. Christianity isn't the rule of law for the United States. The Constitution is.
reply to post by eggman90
Atheism in the USSR was state endorsed doctrine. Your take on that?
The STATE became the god. Your take on that?
I'm asking because it's a question that's been on my mind for a really long time. ............................................... it makes me wonder ....would the world be better off if there was no religion at all?
It seems that here you are describing Islam to a "T." It is well known that science has not done well under that religion, and that their advances a millennium ago came from conquered people and civilizations. But combining Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Voodoo, and Heaven alone knows what else, makes for a subject hopelessly over-broad. There is no way to discuss it.
In any case in general terms if we examine the bad and the good (not only of Christianity but religion or magic thinking in general) we would be generally better off if it was not adopted as a social tool to control populations and even before that it limited scientific and logic thinking a lot. But without that magic thinking we wouldn't be humans nor would we have the level of creativity and ability to think generally on "what if"...
As I pointed out, Universities and many fields of science owe their beginnings to Christianity.