Is Religion Outdated in the 21st Century?

Friday 25 January

12:30 - 14:00

While religions are the oldest institutions in the world, they are the slowest to respond to modern issues such as drugs, homosexuality and changing family relationships. As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, it is important to re-examine the place religion holds in the world today.

Dimensions to be addressed:

  • Are we becoming a multi-faith society or one where many have no faith at all?
  • How are religious institutions helping instil tolerance and values in society?
  • How can we reconcile the trends in society’s evolution with religious beliefs?
  • How can we foster freedom of speech and at the same time religious freedom?

Comments

Comment by ERNESTO HERRERA | 21.01.2013

I'm interested in the conference an how the religion is or no useful in this century.

Comment by shani | 21.01.2013

Particularly interested in listening to the responses. would love to be there if only given a chance:)

Comment by Hamid Y. Javanbakht | 25.01.2013

All religions become outdated eventually, due to human evolution, the ever-growing capacity of the mind, and the advancing needs of civilization...every time, place and object has its own problems and remedies.

http://www.commongroundgroup.net/

Comment by Robert Heggie | 25.01.2013

Religion was outdated a long time ago.

"How can we foster freedom of speech and at the same time religious freedom?"

What a staggeringly stupid question. They are not mutually incompatible. I have absolute freedom of expression (as long as I do not incite violence) and I have absolute freedom to believe whatever I want....There is no balancing act to be done

Comment by David | 25.01.2013

Problem is there's far more passion and energy among those resisting social change, the intolerant believers, than among the modernizers. That's how Evangelicalism eclipsed mainline Protestantism -- to take just one big example.

Comment by David | 25.01.2013

Dr. Krauss's opening remarks were excellent, but I expected better speakers than the others at a Davos event. The rest doesn't seem worth listening to.

Comment by Kim | 25.01.2013

Dr. Krauss does an excellent job defending reason, but it such a shame that Christopher Hitchens no longer is with us to tear the religious apologists a new one...

Comment by Terje | 25.01.2013

This just show how outdated religion really is. Krauss nailed it.

Comment by M Evans | 26.01.2013

The reason the question of whether religion is outdated can even be asked is because most if not all religions attempt to explain how the world works based on the shaky foundations bequeathed them by their founders. They succeed in their explanations only in so far as they are prepared to mix humanistic and rational values into their teachings. After all, as Bertrand Russell said: "There can't be a practical reason for believing what isn't true."

Comment by Bart | 26.01.2013

Religions will continue to be here. It is good to be critical towards them, but let's not get hostile. Accept the religious and find ways to live together instead of wanting to end their faith.

And religions have responded to issues of modern families and sexuality. Maybe not in the way some want, but they did respond.

Comment by JB | 26.01.2013

Whether religion is or isn't outdated is a ridiculous debate if you believe in true tolerance of all. Just don't shove Agenda 21 and Communism down our throats because that has no place in the world either!

Comment by Luke | 26.01.2013

I will be interested to hear further discussion on the evolution of spirituality. Personal understanding of our experience being the foremost driver for religious instinct, it would be interesting to hear more emphasis placed on the great neglect of this personal discovery and relationship with the Self and the larger, fundamental experience. It becomes difficult when the actions of religious people and religious texts written by people running agendas, become the centre point of the large majority of these discussions.

Comment by Gregory B. | 26.01.2013

It was depressing to see Prof. Krauss surrounded by such mediocrity. He was the most humble and yet brilliant of all speakers.

Comment by Mohammad Shafiq Khan | 31.01.2013

The physical sciences under which God cannot exist have been shown to be absolutely baseless as the very space-time concept has been mathematically, theoretically & experimentally shown as fundamentally incorrect & baseless in the article " Experimental & Theoretical Evidences of Fallacy of Space-time Concept and Actual State of Existence of the Physical Universe" published by a peer-reviewed Indian Journal of Science & Technology
available on www.indjst.org March 2012 Issue (first article). Thus Special Theory of Relativity, General Theory of Relativity, E=mc^2 & Big Bang Theory being correct is out of question. Now those who believe that these
theories have an iota of truth should first attend to the open challenge which is at
http://www.worldsci.org/php/index.php?tab0=Abstracts&tab1=Display&id=6476&tab=2
and
http://www.gsjournal.net/Science-Journals/Essays/View/4018
I would like to inform that Open challenge to Einstein's Theories of Relativity is now the 'The Science News' on
http://www.facebook.com/TheScienceNews?fref=ts (January 23)
Now main-stream physicists have no alternative but to face this open challenge or leave their jobs, if they have any conscience left with them. Now Stephen Hawking, Lawrence Krauss, Michio Kaku, Neil Tyson & others should face this open challenge before promoting atheism on the name of fundamentally incorrect physics.

Comment by Mohammad Shafiq Khan | 31.01.2013

The book analyses the problems of democratic political system and
discusses, in detail, the impracticability of democratic political system
on simple, basic and fundamental principles. The book proposes the
alternative political system which could be applicable and practicable.
The book has put forward new theories of phenomenon of life and cosmology
on scientific and philosophical basis and substantiated the theories by
understanding the allegories in the Quran. For the first time in the
Islamic history the allegories in the Quran have been unraveled &
understood and the proof that allegories have been unraveled & understood
correctly is that all the philosophical difficulties of the Quran could be
explained. The study and research which is contained in the book would
help a great deal in understanding the Quran and the Islamic thought in
true perspective. The study has been applied so as to ‘Reconstruct the
Islamic Thought’ as envisaged by Allama Iqbal in his lectures delivered
under the subject ‘Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”.
The book suggests the ways and means by which sectarianism in Islam could
be eliminated. Islamic Political System has been conceived for the first
time on the basis of the Quran, past human experience and logic. Last but
not the least the book demolishes the Greek philosophy of creation
scientifically & philosophically and the author has put forward new
concepts of philosophy.

The book is brief & precise and written in a style so that every reader
could understand it.

Comment by Mohammad Shafiq Khan | 31.01.2013

Let someone convey to Lawrence Krauss that the whole physics he knows has been shown to absolutely baseless and openly challenged and before making any statement as a physicist he should attend to the open challenge. Under the alternative paradigm of physics the existence of God is a precondition for existence of universe and existence of God is obvious & evident.

Comment by Mohammad Shafiq Khan | 31.01.2013

The book referred to in my above comment is Natural World Order & The Islamic Thought which is available free at www.islamic-thought.com

Comment by Jarred | 07.02.2013

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Comment by flash flv | 08.02.2013

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Comment by Paul | 18.02.2013

Religion is the highest level of thinking, consequently it cannot be considered outdated as long as people continue thinking.
Only shifhting priorities for lower levels, like economic wellbeing or survival mmight raise questions like that.
People should never give up religion as it ist the last resort if everything goes wrong.

Comment by om nom nomagon | 18.02.2013

Religion is outdated. I read the bible to find out what exactly I subscribed to and it promotes - even mandates slavery, genocide, rape, torture and more. It even talks about unicorns as if they were real and much more. After reading it I was no longer a Christian. The bible is an insult to ones intelligence.

Comment by Jack Blair | 22.03.2013

"Religions are the oldest institutions in the world, they are the slowest to respond to modern issues."

Is there a reason they should be quicker to respond? Why would that be better? Perhaps the reason religions have endured so long is that they respond more slowly, and arguably more thoughtfully and reasonably, to "modern issues."

Did Mos' Def make it to this years Open Forum? His intellectual rigor is surely welcome at Davos, along with Lawrence Krauss.

Comment by Rev. Dr. Norma Johnson-Patterson | 15.05.2013

I feel that if you talk or debate about religion, there seems to be an imbalance as far as discussing religion, and all people related to this question. I do feel that there should have been an African, African/American a part of this discussion. I feel that is a missing link, realizing that there should have been included.

Comment by Manfred | 12.06.2013

Manfred Beglaryan 02.12.2011
Manfred2010@mail.ru
HISTORY OF THE HUMAN CIVILIZATION
At the beginning of 2008, the world economiccrisis began in the USA and rapidly
spread throughout the world. However, it is not clear what exactly served as a
motivation for the start of financial crisis. It is supposed that it will last two more
years topping out in 2009. Economic crisis, as defined, happens when the capitalist
system becomes inefficient and may collapse. Certainly, the breakup of the world
capitalist system may be prevented at any time with the intervention of the
international financial inspectors. There is an idea that it is necessary to reconsider
and improve the world capitalist system.
The world economy has now stepped into a hard period and at the center of the
global crisis is the American financial system, whose external debt is equal to
14,34 trillion US dollars.The state debt is continuing to grow at $ 3,97 a day at
the average. It may sount strange that the amount of the American debt to
Chinais as much as 1.16 trillion USD, that is equal to 8,0 % of the US overall
debt. More than a quarter of the world’s population is a supporter of socialism and
planned economy which may serve as an example for building a new economic
system in future.
The whole process of development and formation of human society shows that
scientific and technical progress bears a changing social and economic system and
that the amendments in social systems are the result ofscientific and technical
progress. To get to know the future it is necessary to learn the past well. Let us
briefly examine the economic formations which the population faced during in the
period of evolution. Knowing the approximate time of onset in each of these
formations, we may build a graphical plotting and with the help of the method of
interpolation define the approximate timeof the beginning of the next economic
formation.
The Stone Age:
The period of evolution of human consciousness started four million years ago. In
the meantime, the descendants of mankind turned into a group of people who
created аhadron collider for conducting experiments on the level of God. The
peculiarity of human society was the production of tools.
1.Primitive communal system of economic formation: 40 thousand years ago
supremacy of primitive communal system was set in. People started to lead a
sedentary life-style and live in caves and in wooden houses and in future they
learnt also to build houses of stone. Overthe period of millennium, people started
to prepare tools and instruments of labor, to raise cereals and develop cattlebreeding. Single families were formedand communities started to decompose
gradually. This structure existed for 35 centuries, until 3000 BC.
2.Slaveholding system. At the end of the 4
th
century and at the beginning of the 3
rd
century BC, the primitive communal systemstopped to exist as slaveholding
communities and states came into existence. Significant changes were made on the
level of development of productive forces. The most significant change in the field
of material culture of mankind was the developing of metals like gold, copper,
silver, lead, tin, and since the 14
th
century BC iron has been developed. The pace of
development of class societies was incomparably rapid than the pace of
development of primitive society. This system existed till the 6
th
century AD, for
approximately 35 centuries.
3.Feudal System.The 4
th
-6
th
centuries AD are considered the period of
decomposition of slaveholding system as feudal system started to develop in the
world. At the end of the 10
th
century, the period of development of feudalism came
to an end i.e. the whole world was in the hands of the feudal. This system existed
for approximately 14 centuries, till the 19
th
century.
4.Capitalist system: By the seventies of the 19
th
century, capitalism was
established in the majority of European countries, in the USA and in Japan i.e. the
world capitalist system was established. The transition to imperialism was at the
turn of 19
th
and 20
th
centuries. In the main capitalistic countries supremacy of
monopoly was overwhelmed and productive forces rapidly developed as a result of
well-known achievements of science and technology. This formation exists up to
date (for 1.4 century).
5.Socialist system:In the last quarter of the 19
th
century Marxism conquered
harmony in the international labor movement. Socialism is the phase of
establishment and development of socialist system, for the first time conditions are
created for the unlimited progress of mankind on the basis of elimination of social
inequality and rapid development of productive powers. The Communist Party of
China assumed the program of struggle for establishment on all fronts of social
moderation. Reforms were made in the economy, in the administrative structures
as well as in judicial system. The economy of China has so much been developed
that, as I have already mentioned a part of the external debt of the USA though
small, belongs to China. Economic system with non-trade economy has existed
since the first quarter of the 20
th
century, i.e. for 90 years, since the time of
formation modern China and of the USSR, which does not exist now.
6.Globalization:This system created cooperation between production of different
countries, and lead to the establishment ofunited world market system and to the
united bank system throughout the world.However, even at the beginning of its
formation, the instability in the world economy started to strengthen and uneven
development was deepened. Although globalization was formed decades ago, a
unique social-economic system was not formed in the world as socialism was
preserved in China; a country which has 1.3 billion of population and also in other
countries which develop rapidly as a result of planned production which is the
basis of socialist system. Globalization under the conditions of capitalism reduced
to the world capitalisms and crisis on the exchange. Currently, unpredictable
financial catastrophes are shaping conditioned with the unsteadiness in the
financial systems and the specialists are unable to explain the ongoing processes.
The absence of prediction by the specialistsmay serve as a proof for it. The system
of globalization has existed for four decades. The giant financial pyramid created
as a result of globalization turned into a soap bubble and collapsed.
7.Armageddon: During the formation of Armageddon the human civilization will
be destroyed and the humans having been left alive will start to build the human
society anew.
Let us look at graphical curved processes of development of human society using
the data mentioned below:
1.Primitive communal system of economic structure – 350 centuries (from
38000 to 3000 BC)
2.Slaveholding system – 35 years (from 3000 BC to 500 BC)
3.Feudal System – 14 centuries (from 500 to 1870 years)
4.Capitalist system – 1,4 years (from 1870 to 2009)
5.Socialist system – 0.9 centuries (from 1917 to 2009)
6.Globalization- 0.4 centuries (from 1970 to 2009)
7.Armageddon - (from 2008- )
For creating a graphic, let us take the time and the scientific and technical progress
as a coordinates. As we may notice, the time is an absolute value and has
dimensions while scientific and technical process has no dimensions and this
allows us to make a quantitative and not a qualitative analysis.
The primary period before the capitalist system. The scientific and technical
progress was developing too slowly by linear law and so we will make up the
graph with an optional angle at the abscissa and we will stop on point d (see figure
1). The last third of the 19
th
century and the beginning of the 20
th
century were
marked by effusive abrupt growth of productive forces, by numerous achievements
in the spheres of science and technology, let alone the nowadays’ achievements.
That is why it is accepted that scientificand technical progress in the capitalistic
society develops in accordance with exponential law
Y=e
X
Let us look at the curved line L of this function, taking as a datum the coordinate
of the point d (see figure 1). On the coordinate curve of the abscissa (figure 1)
erecting perpendiculars from the points D, E, F on the points of intersection d, e, f,
with the classical curve L, we will havethe origins of systems of capitalist,
socialist and globalization formations. Now let us look at the curve from points d,
e, f, to the curves 1, 2, 3 up to the classical curve L i.e. to the year of 2008 when
the unpredictable financial catastrophe happened.
On the other hand we may construct the graph taking the point t’as an abscissa of
the year of the onset of economic system t’as a coordinate of duration of economic
system (see figure 2). On this graph we may view the section where the final three
formations appear as in this case the remaining three ones are of no interest. On
figure 2 it is seen that the formation ofglobalization has closely approximated to
the abscissa. Joining the points 1, 2, 3 witha straight line and continuing to the line
of the abscissa t’ we traverse it to the point of the year 2010 where it is equal to
zero. Wherefrom it may be concluded that the next, one might say, the last system
should theoretically start at present. However, no one thinks of it as everybody
tries to revive the globalization formation together with capitalist system which
will again lead to the financial and economic outbreak. Judge yourselves of the
probability of the aforementioned statement. It is obvious that if we do not come to
our senses and do not assume measures thenthe process of degradation, which has
already begun, will lead to chaos and collapse of the civilization.
Looking at figure 1 we see that before the formation of the capitalist system (up to
the point d) there are no major achievements in the spheres of science and
technology, it does not dominate, like after the point d when the curve line swiftly
rises to the top under the suppressing action of the scientific and technical
progress. When before the point d the politicians ruled the world it was quite
reasonable and justified while during the times of the capitalist system the
politicians became immoral and all their actions were directed to destruction. In the
20
th
century, they started two world wars and a cold war which lasted
approximately to the end of the century. All the efforts of the politicians in the
developed capitalist countries are directedto the manufacturing of weapons and
not merely simple weapons but also weaponsof mass annihilation. I do not wish to
go deep into the details as you know it yourself, nowadays we may see toy rifles in
the hands of little children and they learn to kill since childhood.
Nowadays we are facing a deepgenetic degradation of human biology in the result
of intrusion of the genetic engineering in the production of food which may lead to
the destruction of the most part of the world.
I have the impression that some apparently believe thatthe artificially made up
viruses being in the position to annihilatethe major part of mankind are the only
solution to the problem of starvation of the one sixth part of the world population.
But the problem may be solved by takingcontrol over the birth rate as it is
practiced in China. It is even worse if the cultivation of mortal viruses is a result
of the economic crisis i.e. stagnation created by the politicians.
Approximately 30 years ago the night sky was a hell of a sight, the stars were
enormously more visible than at present and they sparkled more brightly. We
mercilessly destroy the earth atmosphere and ecological system of protection of
our perfect and unique planet. During the US presidential elections, when the
presidential candidates George Bush and Albert Gore were struggling for the post
of president, the electorate chose the policy of Bush who was well up in weapons
and wars, brewed war in Iraq and fought there for eight years. In the meantime, the
scientist Albert Gore realizing the significance of ecology of environment worked
in that sphere and won a Nobel Prize. Aswe see the incapabilityof dealing with
scientific affairs and short-sightedness ofpoliticians may have catastrophic results.
Melting of icecaps threatens to inundate a part of continents, destroy states which
will lead to wars and chaos. Our civilization at the present stage is developing
exponentially, hence degradation processes also take place so the law, which
means that priority should be given animmediate suspension of degradation
processes.
The pace of development of economy and science are closely tied with each other
and this tie is developing more and more in future. It means that scientists must
administer the economy and the science and not the politicians. It is necessary that
the activities of political parties be ceased who leadthe mankind to inevitable
death.
I have shown on the diagram that the Earth's civilization must be eliminated at a
certain stage of development. This isprobably the universal law and it should
happen to any civilization, fossils of which start to cometo the end. Recently, Pope
Benedict XVI officially recognized that extraterrestrial civilizations do exist, and
this despite the fact that their existence is contrary toHoly Scripture. Obviously
some compelling evidence was submitted tohim showing him hecrashed flying
object, or fragments thereof, and the dead extraterrestrial humanoids. It seems to
me that he could admit their existence only after that. This means that there are
civilizations that have managed to overcome this barrierand develop further. As
we see the graphs may not be considered to be the final verdict of the end of
human civilization. It mean we can still find a way out of this situation and build a
new human society. We simply must do this not only for the sake of all children on
earth, but also the future generations.
All the States were earlier guided by the principle - if you want peace get prepared
for war. What a sad mistake, and, in spiteof this, there always occurred wars. As
you may figure out from the situation weare in, this principle was wrong.
Currently the humanity is in an economic dead end, or rather a trap created by the
capitalist system, with a monster called the World Banking System.
There exists a shadow world government. That was the conclusion drawn by
Zurich University expert scientists that made a detailed mathematical analysis of
the relationships of the leading companies in the world. They came to surprising
conclusions, finding that all processes inthe world related to the economy, are led
by one giant corporation, which includes the world famous companies. The
economic crisis resulted from the irreversible process ofglobalization with which
the system cannot cope and, finding no way out, it furiously rushes from side to
side. Therefore, at present militant political leaders of some countries, led by the
United States that - having briefly escaped from the default and impending chaos -
are going even further. They do not see a way out of this situation and are very
seriously getting prepared for World War, thinking that the way out is found in
that. In this war, they will use all weapons of mass destruction of people, fully
aware that in such war there will be no winners as there were in previous wars.
Especially, after the war it will be impossible to build a states on the human
cadavers, they are doomed tofailure, in best case the fourty-thousand-year old
human history will repeat itself.
Russian armed forces began to vigorously protect their airspace, and the Head of
the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces doesn’t not exclude the possibility
of large-scale war involving nuclear weaponson the Russian border. The head of
the General Staff spoke aboutit before the members of the Public Chamber on
November 17.
In the near future the U.S. will be able to hit any target in less than an hour no
matter wherever it is. The bill of law S.510 was filed to the U.S. Senate, which will
make the cultivation, use, distribution, purchase or sale offood grown at home
illicit! It is assured that privately grown foods often do not meet sanitary standards,
and therefore threaten the health of consumers, which should be understood – eat
up all we give you and shut up (excuse me, please, for crude expression). And they
give us Genetically modified products. And the scientists know very well as to
what such food presents itself who havewarned since 1999 about the dangers of
Genetically modified products (GMO). Currently 828 scientists from different
countries presented "the Open Letter of the world scientists to all governments
about genetically modified organisms."This project with the help of the world
banking system and the World Trade Organization will be applied in all countries
of the world and may be the beginning of the destruction of the humanity by
peaceful means, using, at first glance,innocuous food, which presents itself a
genetically-modified organisms. However, unofficially, GMO food is grown and
spread in many countries without warning the population, and consumers have no
idea about what they eat. Shadow world government is acting secretly and
cautiously, because as far as I understood their power is in money alone, that they
use to bribe people occupying high positionsin the governments of different states.
The number of people on the planet today is seven billion, and in the beginning of
last century it was only a halfof it, but it does not mean that some atheists will in
their own way solve the problem of rapid population growth on earth. This issue
has civilized solutions, such as the oneapplied in China orthe more commonly
used abortion despite the fact that the Pope condemns the decision of the question
this way. I dealt with this matter and can with the help ofthe Holy Scriptures easily
prove that from the standpoint of the Bible abortion is quite acceptable. That article
is found on my website www.tracts.com/MB.html.
I think that the time has arrived to very seriously refer to the issue of removal of
the politicians and political parties from powerin all countries that have already
openly and cynically threatened to destroy human civilization together with the
overwhelming majority of people on earth. In the twentieth century they have
killed more than a hundred million people. All politicians are potential killers, and
we needn’t leave those atheists in power anymore. I have no idea how we can do it,
but it's the only way to save billions ofcompletely innocent people from death.
Instead of the United Nations we’ll haveto establish the World Academy of
Sciences, composed of scientists from all countries, and the clergy of all faiths. I
think that along with scientists the clergy will have to occupy their rightful place in
the government. Science and religion shouldbe combined. The most direct proof
of the compatibility of science and religion, as Max Planckwrote, is the historical
fact that the greatest scientists of all times, some people such as Kepler, Newton,
Leibniz, were imbued with a deep religiosity. This bipolar management should first
and foremost completely destroy all fourtypes of weapons and determine what
social system we need to create, how to manage the world economy and which
way to develop human civilization. I offered this version of the solution to the
question as an example, and I do not think it’s the only one. We have no choice
and no time, chaos and world war or a new humanity with a great future.

www.tracts.com/MB.html

Comment by CR7 | 16.08.2013

Ruddy Well

Comment by NR7 | 16.08.2013

Followers are nutters who drive me crazy

Comment by JungleJargon | 16.11.2013

The belief in naturalism ("evolution") is outdated. No one really thinks objects made them, without having direction.

Comment by jasa seo | 02.01.2014

All religions become outdated eventually, due to human evolution, the ever-growing capacity of the mind, and the advancing needs of civilization

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Comment by Pat | 13.03.2014

It's relatively easy to look backward in history to ascertain the purpose and value of religion during the last 2000 years, or at least the first 1,000, but what purpose it serves except to divide people in the 21st century is very debatable. Having no purpose, it becomes a costly tradition maintained for its luxury, and economic advantage that isn't necessarily based upon truth or fact, but ignorance to prevail. A very expensive ignorance it is too.

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Comment by produk kecantikan | 28.03.2014

Are we becoming a multi-faith society or one where many have no faith at all? Religious institutions and people serve the most vulnerable throughout the world and their efforts have inspired many social reform movements. We feel religious organisations and people have a key role to play in the public debate on values in secular societies. They can inform and inspire leadership and relations that foster human dignity and social justice for all.

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