I recently discovered the One Day, No Religion organisation. The group were curious to discover what it would be like if religion wasn’t around.
This prompted me to interview religious, atheist and secularist people to enquire about their views on the role of religion in society –
Meet The Interviewees
The One Day, No Religion organisation suggested that on February 20th, people should join together around the globe by making a pledge to not partake in any kind of religious activity for the whole day. They suggested that religion and religious differences should be set aside, and everyone should come together only as people.
In order to accomplish this, the organisation suggested that people shouldn’t go to church, shouldn’t eat kosher, shouldn’t pray, shouldn’t read religious literature, shouldn’t debate religious issues…instead, everyone should show equal care and respect, even with those of a different (or no) religion. They aimed to show the world that religion is actually not necessary for people to join together and live full, good, and meaningful lives, even if for only one day! The group emphasised that their project wasn’t about intolerance or violence. Just one day. No religion.
Aside from the rather strange idea that people can disregard their faith at a whim for 24 hours, was there really a need for this event? Does religion really need to be cast aside in order for people to join together and live full, good, and meaningful lives?
Take a look at what this group of people had to say about the role of religion in society.
Who Aims To Generate A Safe Environment To Live In?
Is the aim of religious people, atheists and secularists to generate a safe environment to live in?
A Means To An End
If the aims of these separate groups are the same, then is it really important as to how this aim is achieved?
Dealing With The Unknown
Are depictions of ghosts, angels, gods, reincarnation and karma to be a way of describing human emotions? Are there any situations in which a person should not be optimistic? That a person should avoid wishing for the best outcome? Do the interviewees believe that they could be visited by an angel or be reincarnated?
The Role Of Faith
Does faith play any role in the interviewees’ life? How would the interviewees make a decision on whether to give money to a person begging on the street?
Relaxation, Prayer And Meditation
Do the interviewees feel as if they have enough time to relax? Would they consider prayer or meditation to be a form of organised relaxing?
Should A Leader Completely Control Their Community?
To what extent should a leader, speaker or lecturer attempt to influence an audience’s opinion? Is a society more functional when everyone believes in one way of living or has many different ways of living?
Is Voting Worthwhile?
Do the interviewees vote in political elections? If they vote, how do they make the decision on which group to vote for?
Do Models Of Faith Change Over Time?
Do the interviewees believe faith to be a static model of belief, or can a person’s model of faith change over time? Do they believe that leaders should change their model of faith should there be pressure from the audience?
Education And Religion
What is an appropriate age to make a lifelong commitment? Would the interviewees want to make sure a child always has a support network in place, should anything happen to their parents? How would the interviewees make a decision on which school to send a child? Is attending a school different to belonging to a religious congregation?
The Ethics Of Science
Is there a limit to which science should be allowed to probe? If the interviewees were ill and needed to take a medicine that would save their life, would they take it?
Many thanks to Mike Burden, Emma Chung, Chris Williams, Ken Macleod, David Ray, Caroline Moles, Harry Perry, George Ballentyne and Manzoor Moghal for making this project possible.