Why Outlawing Religion Divides us More
As a follower of what is happening in Christianity around the world, we have presently seen outlawing religion as a bad move by the government. Efforts by countries like Russia, China, Khmer Rouge and during the time of the Nazis in Germany tried to outlaw religion in an effort to stop it from dividing society or eroding the power of the state. The result: OPPRESSION.
“The 20th century gave rise to one of the greatest and most distressing paradoxes of human history: that the greatest intolerance and violence of that century were practiced by those who believed that religion caused intolerance and violence.”
Alistair McGrath, The Twilight of Atheism.
Tim Keller adds:
Going hand in hand with such efforts was a widespread belief in the late 19th century and early 20th century that religion would weaken and die out as the human race became more technologically advanced. This view saw religion as playing a role in human evolution. We once needed religion to help us cope with a very frightening, incomprehensible world. But as we become more scientifically sophisticated and more able to understand and control our environment, our need for religion would diminish, it was thought.
Taken from A.F.C. Wallace, Religion: An Anthropological View ( Randon House, 1966), p.265
But this has not happened, and this “secularization thesis” is now largely discredited.
note: for some account of how sociologists have backed away from the secularization thesis, see Peter L. Berger, ed., The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Eerdmans, 1999)
We have seen this happen in China and Nigeria and I’m not just talking about Christianity but all major religions who believe that there is a God. With Christianity, the growth has been supernatural. When the Chinese Communists expelled Western Missionaries after WWII, they thought they were killing off Christianity in China. Instead, as of 2014, China has the most number of Christians in the world today. ( considering they have no facebook and twitter).
Religion is not an opium of the masses. Sorry Karl Marx. Rather, it is a permanent and central aspect of the human condition. It’s hard for non religious people, secular people to admit because as what Tim Keller said, ” Everyone wants to think that they are in the mainstream, that they are not extremists. But religious beliefs dominate the world and there is no reason to expect that to change.
Some Ideas taken from Reason for God, Tim Keller, p.6-7