Welcome to the 21st century! The age of science, artificial intelligence, renewable energy, sustainability, space exploration, social media – and now guess what – yes, religion.
Christianity: Approximately 2.3 billion adherents
Islam: Approximately 1.9 billion adherents (while the world’s population is projected to grow 32% in the coming decades, the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% – from 1.8 billion in 2015 to nearly 3 billion in 2060)
Hinduism: Approximately 1.2 billion adherents
Buddhism: Approximately 520 million adherents
Sikhism: Approximately 30 million adherents
Judaism: Approximately 14 million adherents
You wouldn’t find a finer example that scientific progress doesn’t go along with societal progress. Not only religious affiliation doesn’t stagnate, but it is increasing. Rather than giving emphasis to rationality and science, people are slaves of their blind faith.
People are evolutionarily programmed to be religious, life expectancy at birth averaged 10 years for most of human history. 105 billion people have lived on earth with such a low expectancy. Where has been God? People use and abuse any cognitive bias to advocate their primitive, immoral, superstitious faith. The New Testament likely became corrupt. Who really cares? There is an immaterial world completely elusive from science which cannot reproduce anything written in the holy scriptures.
Vladimir Putin who started the Russo-Ukrainian war believes that there is a Devil, God, and people go either to heaven or hell so it is pretty logical he doesn’t mind his own soldiers dying in enormous numbers. Everything is given in his world, even his xenophobia (mainly homophobia), a phenomenon described so well by evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology.
If there is something I admire about China, it is their state atheism. But I admire it only in theory (in the Chinese given example). Torture chambers and concentration camps are really not a solution.
However, teaching schoolchildren atheism is not only vital but also necessary. And how to do it? Describing we have cognitive biases, make fallacies, lack critical thinking, and mix emotions into the thinking process.
Before presenting them with a huge set of arguments for atheism, try to dissolve the religious contradicting, lying, illogical, superstitious myths. When they learn how illogical it is, then make the case by presenting the arguments for non-believing.
State atheism deserves its own agency to be able to heavily promote atheism, however, there should be no religious suppression and control, no crackdown on the churches, no surveillance, and no control of religious institutions.
But I make one distinction – a strict ban on any religious education (from kindergarten to elementary school, high school, with an exemption of universities – but the universities teaching theology, philosophical theology, or scriptures should be paid and only commercial). Do you want the study religion? Then pay for it.
And finally the best! The agency for atheism should have paid missionaries who would study how to persuade people on the route to atheism.
So what do we want? Bronze age myths or state atheism?