Religionens återkomst?

Tidskriften Axess har religionens återkomst som tema i sitt nya nummer. För en ateist låter detta onekligen obehagligt, men låt mig citera Pippa Norris och Ronald Inglehart i Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide (Cambridge University Press, 2004, s 216–217):

Societies where people’s daily lives are shaped by the threat of poverty, disease and premature death, remain as religious today as centuries earlier. These same societies are also experiencing rapid population growth. In rich nations, by contrast, the evidence demonstrates that secularization has been proceeding since at least the mid-twentieth century (and probably earlier) – but at the same time fertility rates have fallen sharply, so that in recent years population growth has stagnated and their total population is starting to shrink. The result of these combined trends is that rich societies are becoming more secular but the world as a whole is becoming more religious.

Dvs. det finns blandade tecken på religionens återkomst i världen. I fattiga länder är religionen fortsatt stark, men i rika länder fortsätter i allmänhet sekulariseringen. När skribenterna i Axess talar om religionens återkomst i vår del av världen talar de därför snarast om förhoppningar än om en beskrivning av verkligheten.

Själv motsätter jag mig religionens återkomst av två huvudsakliga skäl, väl formulerade av Lord Russell:

The objections to religion are of two sorts – intellectual and moral. The intellectual objection is that there is no reason to suppose any religion true; the moral objection is that religious precepts date from a time when men were more cruel than they are and therefore tend to perpetuate inhumanities which the moral conscience of the age would otherwise outgrow.