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Getting Rid of Religion
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I saw this written on a bathroom wall yesterday:

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

I'll admit, it made me laugh. I Googled it and it looks like it's attributed to the French philosopher Diderot. I reckon I agree with the sentiment and basic methodology of getting rid of kings. Sometimes they have to be violently overthrown, and the world is better off without despots, even benevolent ones.

But even though I'm not a big fan of religion, and I think overall humanity would be better off without it, the ghoulish prescription above is a bit too much.

No, I think the best way for humanity to improve culturally and intellectually is for democracy and free-market capitalism to keep on the march (and thankfully they are). Representative democracies with something resembling the First Amendment create a marketplace of ideas very similar to the capitalistic economic system they go along with. Let people believe and say whatever they want, with as few restrictions as possible, and let it all be hashed out.

The competition of ideas, not violence, is the way to go. Maybe someday the last priest will be gone, not due to his entrails being plucked out, but by an empty church. I kind of doubt it, though. Religious ideas are obviously incredibly useful and adaptive. And so far atheists haven't organized or done much in the way of marketing the alternative. So I don't see things changing much in that respect in the near future.

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