Daniel Dennett   What Should Replace Religions

Food for thought:  this isn't the most riveting presentation but it provides a kickoff point for a topic we all need to consider:  where should the unbelievers focus their movement?We've been kicking this around in our tiny local group.  We know we must take 'baby steps' due to our size, but we also know we need a direction.

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I think you meant to link this video:

Daniel C. Dennett on What Should Replace Religions? 


That's right. . .did I mess up?   Seems to me that many people cling to churches out of a sense of community.  Whether that is wrong is difficult to judge, but I have trouble with self delusion.  Can't see it as at all healthy.   Anyway this is something to think about and discuss. 

I know I eased out of church attendance through my stent on active duty with the Navy.  Most people don't have that kind of 'half-way house'.   I really admire people who break loose from the kind of church attendance I grew up with on their own without any 'easing out' mechanism. . .  What I did was traumatic enough. . .only thing I miss is the music, though.  

Certainly is an interesting question! The obvious irony is that religion currently provides non-believers with our own movement/tribe.......do we all need something to push against? Finding a purpose, goal or interest that not only benefits the individual but the community as a whole has to be a worthy thing?!! Happy individuals probably equates to happier communities?


I don't think we can replace religion with a specific thing.....maybe just a sense of openness and happiness!

How to create a healthy society with good social cohesion? Obviously certain church groups provide buildings for social activities/programmes for their benefit and how could we replace/provide an alternative to this?

The reality is that once people leave the school environment, that’s the end of learning for many and also a loss of connectedness to their friends/groups…..whilst we have the kids at school, getting them involved in things/interests in the general community, has to be a key objective, so that when leave school they are already hooked into the community, not just a church group!!

When we look at how we educate ourselves, generally speaking, unless you enter higher education you leave the state school system with a basic level of knowledge, then we tend to specialise in our own work areas either through choice or availability of jobs. So effectively for many after leaving school, there is no stick or incentive to carry on learning. By learning I don't necessarily mean 'dry academic study' leading to an exam. Some people are more inclined to be academic then others....but I wonder whether before our children leave state schooling systems they should be encouraged to join other learning centres and community initiatives. Therefore instilling a sense of ‘getting involved’ in the community from a young age, whether attending a car maintenance course or doing volunteering work. We all know that greater social cohesion leads to benefiting the overall group wellbeing.

I don't know what it is like in the US, but I suspect that with the global recession the irony is that governments around the world are stopping/cutting funding to adult learning/community centres, as they see it as not essential investment.

Also this modern life of moving for work commitments leads to further fragmentation of society………..hence that’s why the church network works so well….new to area, just hook straight into a church to meet people.

So for me firstly I would like to see more community centres/meeting places, running all different types of events, this would need subsidising.....and I for one would be happy to pay a bit more tax for towns/villages to have such facilities.

Secondly getting our kids hooked into activities outside of the school environment before they leave school……something that bridges the gap between school and working life….not saying this is going to be easy…….will take a shift in policy and mind set. Children should be encouraged to find what interests them outside of the state curriculum and then facilities provided to nurture these pursuits.

Anyway no expert….just my ramblings!!



I don't miss church attendance. I just go for a hike instead. It's so nice to be outside.

I don't either [miss church that is]    I guess the point is that for those who do miss church can we offer an alternative?   Maybe Dennett is wrong.  Maybe people who NEED the kind of community that churches offer can't handle non-belief?

Well there are UU churches. The ones in Austin are made up of mostly humanists. There are also Ethical Societies. Also we have the Atheist Community of Austin. There are many different avenues for socialization.

In Awe of Austin. . .talk about a nexus. . .

As funny as this may seem, back in April I became part of an internet-based fandom, the first time I've ever been part of something like this.  About that time was when I finally grew the balls to start getting serious about my unbelief.


Coincidentally, the fandom has a very strong pseudo-religious element to it, to the extent that there are liturgical prayers and Latin hymns written to the fandom's central deities.  It comes with all the trappings of religion, and a whole bucket of salt.  (ie, not just a grain)  People argue back and forth trying to "convert" each other from following one deity to following the other, but we can do so and laugh about it because we realize the whole thing is made up and silly.


I've wondered many times in the past few months if finding this group wasn't part of what helped me find the strength to decide that here and now are the time and place for me to make my escape from religion.  It's like, the fandom is a religious version of Nicorette.  :)

I wonder how many of us use the internet in that very way.  I know I did.  Don't remember any particular group but one of the very best sites I go back to frequently is God is Imaginary.   

One of the things that Dennett doesn't mention is service organizations such as Moose/Elk etc.  [although, I understand that there is a religious component in many of them and some of them are downright racist/sexist] 

The Doubter's comments rang a bell with me.   When my husband and I retired from the Navy and moved to our small town it took forever to get hooked in to a social circle.  We tried attending church, but that was a non-starter for both of us.   We don't have kids so there was no connection through school.  I finally got involved in the local Democratic party and that got my toe in the door to start connecting.  

Really, I think Meetup is a marvelous tool if one can afford it.   Even in a community the size of ours there are over a dozen Meetup groups and more starting all the time.  

A short answer: 

A complete paradigm shift of morals and principles towards the Epicurean principle of not harming and not being harmed.   The avoidance of and protection from pain and suffering should become a much higher priority than it has, instead of suffering being accepted as collateral damage of the normaility of life. 




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