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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Not harming others is only one part of a good code of conduct. If you think of the code of your own behaviour, you will find that this is only one factor of your code. A society is too complex a thing to be guided by only one principle. We have evolve a new code by universal consensus.


One can build a whole moral code of tit-for-tat and golden rule morality on the central principle of not harming and being entitled to also not be harmed.  

Religion as we see it today is completely unacceptable to us but all religions were created by different people in different regions of earth as a means of creating a social order. I have studied the Bhavad Geeta, a very respected religious scripture of hinduism, and it only confirmed my this thinking. We may condemn the religion today, but it was a necessity of the ancient times.

Religion as it was thought then, provided a code of conduct. If a religion is to replaced by some thing now, it must be a code of conduct that guides man to be a good human being, following good morals. Atheism has to be only one part of that code.



"earth as a means of creating a social order"    Maybe. . .but it seems to me that people created religion/mythologies to explain the unexplainable  [God of the Gaps]. . .they may have evolved into some sort of conduct code. . but I would say that was NOT the primary reason for their origin. . .

Peggy Henderson

Man is an animal that misuses almost everything. Man misused religion when it went in to his hands. If this was not done and the religious authorities had updated religion evry now and then, we might have had much lesss to complain about religion, but man cared much for his own vested interests.


We already have this. It is called Humanism.

Hi, I'm new to this.  It seems to me that the reason so many will continue (forever as far as I can see) to trail into church on a Sunday morning is that they are too afraid to challenge their belief.  Its far easier, and less time consuming to pop into church for an hour a week then to to wrestle with big existential pondering over the purpose of life, and what happens when you die.  It appears, on the surface, quite convenient to accept philosophy by-proxy.

Church also has a fantastic USP, eternal life, for many it is worth the surrender of the critical faculties.

Now I know that was not exactly the point, however it seems clear to me that theistic belief does, and will decrease with rising prosperity, female equality and education. 

From then on, its plain sailing, there is no replacement needed, as the prime reason for attending church is to confirm and habituate the beliefs of that particular sect, in a public forum.  This is necessary for religion due to the nonsensical doctrine preached by ALL of the world's religions. 

As an atheist there is no need to publicly declare your beliefs, because they are based on rationality.  I have never heard someone say, "oh I don't believe in that, I'm an anti-theist"  I wish the corollary were true.

We do not need, nor should we strive for, a replacement to this disgustingly sycophantic piece of public ritualised self-indoctrination.



I feel that this is actually not a religious question, but a question of mythology. (mythologies are just the stories and collections of world-views that define a culture - they don't necessarily have to be fictional)

All cultures and time periods have mythologies. They're a standard against which a culture measures and defines itself. Joseph Campbell believed that when a culture loses its mythology it loses its identity and ultimately collapses.

Religions are cultural mythologies of nations and smaller groups. We need to develop a more universal human mythology; one that unifies on a wider scale.

This might mean the unification of supernatural and rational aspects ie, finding rational explanations for phenomena previously thought of as 'supernatural'.

Mythologies require many criteria to function. For example, they require a land or realm outside of our human reach - I see this in modern cosmology, astronomy, and quantum physics. Science and the universe are more than capable of stimulating awe. Awe of the unknown, the 'other'. As Hitchens says 'the event horizon of a black hole offers more profundity than some tawdry burning bush'.

They also require a personification of the struggle of the culture. This is most commonly called 'the hero'. We need to redefine what this ancient protagonist means to us now.

But of course, you don't just sit down and write a mythology; they develop in their own way - organically, like a language.

Apologies. Wrote this when tipsy.

Society will always require a code of morals and ethics for good conduct of individuasl and people. Science may help to some extent, but it will not be enough.  For example, it can not tell us what is ugly or indecent. Ultimately, human conscious, individually and collectively, decides what constitues good morals and ethics.  "we also know we need a direction."  Yes, when there is no religion, every society will need to establish a code, as I have said, based on collective conscious.


"For example, it can not tell us what is ugly or indecent."

The way you are using these concepts seems rooted in religious thinking.

What do you define as indecent? Is the naked body indecent? Is kissing indecent? Is a gay or lesbian couple holding hands indecent? Is two people having sex indecent?

What do you define as ugly? Is an over-weight person ugly? Is a person with only one arm ugly? Is using a word commonly defined as profanity ugly?

Is watching profanity involving two consenting adults indecent or is it ugly?

The reason that science does not address such things as indecency and ugliness is that they are purely subjective terms without any objective reality. The things which people find indecent varies from culture to culture and time to time. For example, most of the time I don't find any of the things I mentioned ugly or indecent. I can consider some of them inappropriate at certain times, but certainly not ugly or indecent.

Based on past history, we will probably replace it with something just as ridiculous. Humans have always looked for something unrealistic to explain things we can't explain (go figure!). Remember when we used to praise Ra the sun god, oh those were the days.

Human emotions won't allow us to accept reality for just what it is. Can you imagine a whole world full of atheists? ah we can only dream.

As long as we have sheeple, we will have delusion.

What should replace religions?   Intelligence. Education. It is about time humans accept reality as we see it here and now.

I don't think morality or code of conduct have much to do with it as there are the laws of the land to take care of that and besides, we are not really such a moral race so why place so much importance on it?

We don need religion. We have Disney.




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