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How Easy Would It Really Be To
Have a Society Without Religion?

Written by Michael W. Jones

Non-theists generally have a lot to say about how our society and civilization would be improved by being completely secular. The generalizations that result, however, are not inherently intellectually rewarding. It is the specifics of these challenges that require resolution. Religion and all of its institutions are deeply imbedded in human society. The removal of these institutions would leave a vacuum that would be difficult to fill, even if belief faded slowly away over decades, or even centuries.

We could focus on charitable institutions. Yes, of course, there are secular organizations whose purpose is to help others. However, consider those which are basically theistic in nature. Think of Catholic Charities, The Salvation Army, Christian Aid, Habitat for Humanity, and so many more. Certainly, the functions of these organizations could be performed by secular institutions. The point, however, is that they are not. How could we make the transition between religious and secular charitable institutions? What do we have to consider before we can even think about making such a change?

On a more basic level, consider the simple issue of fellowship. A significant percentage of Americans base their social lives around their churches. They depend upon those institutions for help in time of need, for a feeling of kinship with people that believe as they do, for the satisfaction of their need to belong to something, and for a good plate of convivially prepared fried chicken and potato salad on summer Sunday afternoons. What does the secular world have to replace the fellowship of religious activities?

Yes, of course, human strife would be lessened if organized religions were not actively competing for membership. Without religion, the separation of Church and State would not be an issue. The disappearance of organized religion would remove one of the many causes of the wars that plague our civilization. The removal of religious pressures to go forth and multiply would give our race a smaller footprint on the planet, easing the burdens of overpopulation and the subsequent destruction of our ecosystems. Most secularists believe that society would be much improved if organized religion were to disappear. I feel that way myself.

Those beliefs, however, are probably more philosophical than practical. There are too many questions to be answered, too much detail to be considered, and too much to replace to make even the gradual ebb of religion a practical reality.

I do not intend to provide any of the answers. I don’t know what they are. But we do provide a place to discuss this issue in all of its facets. One of the many fora hosted within The Forum at is named The Atheist Society. Within that forum, you will find a lively discussion on this subject, from as many non-theistic viewpoints as we have members. If you’re not already a member, join the forum and the discussion!

The Talk of Lawrence