How to Improve Our World: One Stone for Many Birds

We all realize that the world we inhabit is far from perfect, right? Even on a good day, there are some things we'd probably all like to improve.

Consider the following goals for a moment:

  • Reduce costly military conflict
  • Promote LGBT equality
  • Promote atheist civil rights
  • Promote the equitable treatment of women around the world
  • Reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • Improve quality education for all
  • Reduce unwanted pregnancies

Wouldn't it be great if there was something we could do that would lead to simultaneous progress in each of these areas, as well as many other worthy goals? What if I told you that there was indeed something we could do that would have that sort of impact?

We can work toward ending the special status currently enjoyed by religious belief. This is not going to happen overnight, but it is a worthy goal. We do not need to call for the abolition of religion, although I see little wrong in hoping that will eventually occur. We need only end the privileged status currently attached to religious belief.

As AC Grayling wrote in The Guardian,

It is time to demand of believers that they take their personal choices and preferences in these non-rational and too often dangerous matters into the private sphere, like their sexual proclivities. Everyone is free to believe what they want, providing they do not bother (or coerce, or kill) others; but no-one is entitled to claim privileges merely on the grounds that they are votaries of one or another of the world’s many religions.

That's a great point about people being free to believe that they want without pushing their beliefs on others or giving their preferred religion privileged status. Unfortunately, true religious freedom does not seem to be what many religious believers are interested in; they are unwilling to give up the privilege they have been allowed to maintain for far too long.