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Many scholars, including philosopher Charles Taylor in A Secular Age, have documented the emergence of a new vision of western societies in the wake of the Protestant Reformation and the growth of modern nation states. Societies were no longer seen by most of their citizens as kingdoms under God but as societies of mutual benefit in which citizens use their rational minds to cooperate and improve their lives. When religions stood in the way of this by denying individual liberty and pleasure and by asserting that the purpose of life should be transcendent rather than earthly well-being, religions themselves became anti-social and even immoral.
thinkahol on 2011-03-29Why are some people religious and others atheists? Do we really know what we mean by atheism? Here is a very paradoxical clue