There is a message board group that I go to from time to time. It is all mothers who have had their babies around the same time as Mary was born, and they are largely all American. Not that it should make a difference, but I really think it does. For every reasonable American on that board (Goody), there seems to be 3 (or more) religious nutters, who delight in quoting the bible during every debate, and justifying their intolerance and closed-mindedness with said quotes. It is really quite amazing, and oftentimes hard to read for someone who considers herself to be a Christian. There has been talks about homosexual marriage, homosexuals adopting children, abortion and eating meat (one non-Christian poster started a thread comparing eating meat to abortion, and that got hot pretty quickly). Anyways, I have from time to time considered posting to one or more of these threads, but I know that either my opinion would be shot down in flames, or ignored altogether.
Aside from the "hot topics" board, there are several other ones, where these mothers ask advice from each other on feeding, medical issues, they compare milestones, they gripe about their husbands, all sorts of things really. The one emotion I get when I read these forums (aside from extreme irritation) is uncertainty. I mean, these forums are there to help, but I generally come away from reading posts feeling like I am doing things wrong with my own baby. Mary doesn't crawl, but all the other babies do, what's wrong with her, or better yet, what's wrong with me? I don't breast feed, I'm poisoning my baby, what's wrong with me? I'm not comfortable watching a woman breastfeed, what's wrong with me? Mary eats solids, oh no, Mary doesn't eat enough solids, we have a bumper in her crib still, I don't stay home for her naps, I do stay home for her naps...So, I don't think I'm going to go back, no matter how train-wreckish the hot topics forum is.
Anyways, the reason I started talking about this is that in the hot topics forum, there is a discussion about religion (go figure). Someone has posed the question "if you woke up tomorrow to a world without religion, could you carry on? I think that it is an odd question to ask. Is she asking about religion, or about God. Now, if she is asking if I woke up in the morning, and the Anglican church, and all the other churches and religions had decided to dissolve...Well, I just don't think that would happen. So long as there is something to believe in and worship, and people already had a common culture, they would organize to discuss and worship their god - and that in my mind is the definition of religion, an organized group of people with the same set of beliefs and faith, who come together to worship their god (which is why the term organized religion drives me bonkers, religion is by definition organized). Sure, it wouldn't have the same structure as our religions do now, but it would be religion.
If we woke up in the morning and there was no God, well, how would you prove it. So long as people live, I think that people will have faith in something. So long as we do not, and cannot know what happens after death, people will have some sort of mythology about it, and mythology is the basis of religion. The majority of people will always have faith that there is something more, I think, even if they don't know exactly what it is. I have a friend who was working toward his doctorate in bio-chemistry, and instead of letting science prove to him that there was no god, he instead wrote a paper on how science proves that there is a god, and that it is the catholic God at that. There will always be people like him out there, and really, I'm okay with that.
Religion has been the justification for some atrocious acts, and continues to be so today, but I really cannot imagine a world without it, because a world without religion would be a world without faith and hope. In it's purest form, that is what religion is all about.