Religion is living on borrowed time.
Lawrence Krauss, a self-described antitheist (or person who actively opposes the existence of religion) and collaborator with atheist scientist Richard Dawkins on The Unbelievers, believes in at least one thing: if you talk about religions in a certain way, children will stop believing within a generation or two.
When asked about the teaching of religion in schools, Krauss had this to say.
“What we need to do is present comparative religion as a bunch of interesting historical anecdotes, and show the silly reasons why they did what they did.”
The comments came at an August 29 dinner presentation on cosmology and education at the Victorian Skeptics Cafe in Melbourne, Australia, Yahoo! reports.
“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that,” he said before adding that it would soon go the way of “slavery and gay marriage opposition.”
“This issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you’re a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is… It’s gone. One generation is all it takes.”
“So, I can tell you a generation ago people said there is no way people would allow gay marriage, and slavery — essentially — [gone in] a generation; we got rid of it… Change is always one generation away. So if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”
Not everyone is convinced that Krauss knows what he’s talking about. In the same report from Yahoo!, Douglas Jacobsen, a professor of church history and theology at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, acknowledges the decline in organized religion over the last few decades but he also points out some things that Krauss has overlooked.
“The idea that you can eradicate religion through an educational program is absurd,” Jacobsen said. “These are the kinds of statements people make when they’re talking about a field of study they don’t understand. He’s a scientist, a good scientist, but he doesn’t seem to understand what religion is.”
Jacobsen also rightly points out that China, Russia, and Eastern Europe had tried to eradicate religion — that in Russia, the Church “was obliterated for generations of people who were forcibly raised to be secular.” Today, close to 80 percent of the Russian people identify as Christians. “After years of explicitly trying to eradicate religion, they failed.”
Do you think Krauss is right — that religion will be gone in a generation?
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