I had a discussion with a friend the other day about religion - surprise, eh? - and in the wake of that I should probably briefly clarify my views.
I would love religion to vanish, but that's not a reasonable thing to want or strive for. I really don't mind religion as long as it doesn't affect the outside world. My main issue, which I think a few people have misunderstood (probably because I ramble and rant) is that religion isn't open to question and criticism, seemingly because it's been around for a while and lots of people have fought and died under their beliefs. Hence, untouchable.
If you're religious and you believe crazy, bigoted, patently untrue or inflammatory things, that's fine. But the change needs to take place where these beliefs can be questioned much as anything else. Just as what I'm writing now can be questioned, or scientific theories can be questioned, or my lifestyle as I live it can be questioned. If you can get away with things under the name of religion (like Sikh bracelet girl, or the Christian woman who refused to marry a gay couple and somehow kept her job) then I can get away with things under the name of secular beliefs. Which is clearly ridiculous. So it all must stop.
Questioning, that's the ticket. The scales have to fall from everyone's eyes, and the religious need to see that their notions are as valid for challenge as anything else. As I said, only people who know their beliefs can't stand up refuse to allow questioning. I can argue my corner with some level of assurance, so I'm not too worried, especially since most criticism is along the lines of "you can't say that!Just leave them alone and let them live their lives!"
Everything can and should be questioned.
I am such an idealistic tool.