People should not assume that religion will always be a part of human society just because it has existed for so long, according to theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss. Religion could disappear in the span of a single generation.
“People say, ‘Well, religion has been around since the dawn of man. You’ll never change that.’ But I point out that… this issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you have a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is. It’s gone. One generation is all it takes,” he said at an event called the Victorian Skeptics Cafe 2014.
Video of his comments were uploaded to YouTube by Adam Ford on Monday.
“So, I can tell you a generation ago people said there is no way people would allow gay marriage, and slavery — essentially — [gone in] a generation, we got rid of it,” Krauss continued. “Change is always one generation away… so if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”
Krauss was addressing whether religion should be taught to children in school. Though, as an atheist, he opposes religious education, he said he does support teaching comparative religion classes instead of completely “shying away” from the topic.
“What we need to do is present comparative religion as a bunch of interesting historical anecdotes, and show the silly reasons why they did what they did,” he remarked.
He said educators should force children to confront their own misconceptions.
“But you don’t shy away from religion any more than you shy away from the claim that Earth is the center of the universe. We laugh at that now, and we get kids to realize why that might be wrong… and so we should take other falsifiable facts, which are at the center of our society, which is religious doctrine, and make just as much fun of that.”
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