Just a thought after signing on new here and not having the courtesy to read all the earlier posts.
In the matter of what would happen if belief in god(s) somehow went away: We'd get along just fine. Civilized societies are a phenomenon of cultural and biological evolution. Importantly included in these tandem evolutions is the "golden rule." The golden rule was not invented by christianity. It was not invented at all. It is a natural phenomenon. If this were not the case, our species would have died-out long before god or gods were invented -especially the bible gods.
I hope you are right!
The 'true believers' are the ones to watch out for, however. These are the people that identify so strongly with their religious label that they are not 'reasonable' about other people's beliefs/non-beliefs. There is very little tolerance for 'outsiders' and this is common behavior in our species (xenophobia), as well.
I guess it's possible that if "true believers" continued to exist that they could be of the Amish kind. The kind who would live under the belief that they've managed to shut themselves away from the world of the ne'er do wells, and didn't resent us enough to violently attack.
I think that a large part of the belief in god is a perverse form of the belief in good. Though the words "god" and "good" do not have a common derivation, the most positive interpretation of belief I can come up with is that believers just don't understand that good exists independent of god or the belief in god.
Good exists because it feels ....well... good, and it helps us get along with one another. Bad exists because evolution isn't perfect. Belief in god has failed to transcend this imperfection. Though, sometimes, despite it all, I'm almost willing to see the good in Den.
atheism will never be enough, as long as there are ppl who seek solace from the harsh realities of life, and others willing to profit from man's inherent frailty.
THE GREAT GOD OF NONSENSE HAS SPOKEN!
So true, so true.
I am currently reading about the history of the Puritans that came to the Massachusetts Bay area to colonize the area for British King Charles I and how they weren't of the same stripe as the Pilgrims that settled as Separatists. I have to admit that I always lumped those groups together: Puritans, Quakers, Pilgrims. It's interesting to read up on the history of the separation of Church and State.
The second wave of Protestants were divided from the first wave because they supported the Church of England as their 'mother-figure' and the economy of Britain as their 'father-figure'...at least for a few years until the Boston Tea Party...etc etc.... so even the people leaving England in the 1600's to find freedom from religious persecution were finding ways to divide loyalties and splinter off. It wasn't all nicey, nicey in the founding of our so-called "Christian Nation", that's for sure! And I won't even START bringing up the way Christians treated native populations because the Bible completely supported their ideology of 'building a city on the hill' to glorify their god, no matter who was already living on that HILL! Sometimes it really does come down to property values unfortunately. It's economic decision-making hiding underneath.