, Salem, MA


July 4, 2013

Watson: It's time to rethink our religions


If there is a god, and if all the varying holy texts are indeed his word, why would he object to us using our highest intellectual and spiritual faculties to take steps to improve our chances that we could actually live together on the planet in a way that would embody his central message?

If there is a god, why would he ever want any of the features of religious faith to induce any degree of passivity or fatalism while we live our earthly lives?

If we amend and update religion, there would still be people who do good or bad. We could still be atheists or worshipers. We could still learn the best ethics, values and morals through either religious practice or secular humanism, or both.

The choice of what to believe would always be ours. But if we can learn that hope and faith within each of us can partner comfortably with tolerance, reason and questioning, then we’ll make it much harder for anybody to disrespect or harm others.

Across the planet, intolerance would have no religious, intellectual, or theoretical foundation whatsoever, and slowly — over generations — perhaps we could make fundamentalism itself simply unthinkable.


Brian T. Watson is a Salem News columnist. Contact him at

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