Originally Posted by czgibson
But you say that as an athiest. If you ask a Muslim, Christian, or any person of religion, they will tell you that they don't just believe 'on a hunch' like many people assume they do, they believe there is absolute proof, we are completely sure of all that we believe in. At least, this is what a Muslim should be like, it may be different for people of other faiths. So although you regard most of our belief as resting on purely 'faith', that is merely your opinion, we believe otherwise.
I don't believe it's religion that hinders us, on the contrary, it provides the ideal system of life. It's our own human nature that causes a perfect world to be an impossibility. Humans can be greedy, lazy, stupid, etc., and most of the time, it's much easier to be those things instead of compassionate, generous, energetic. If Christians were to apply the teachings of Christianity in every aspect of their lives, be 'ideal' Christians, if Muslims were 'ideal' muslims, etc., do you not believe the world would be a better place? No murder, theft, rape, greed, jealousy, hatred, etc. Most world religions embody the 'ideal' characteristics of what it is that makes a perfect human being, it is we who can not fully apply these in our life.
But your last sentence implies that only the poor and undereducated are religious, which is not the case. People from all walks of life embrace all kinds of religion. Countless millionaires, PhD holders, entrepreneurs, celebrities, the working class, etc. believe in a certain religion.
I think religion is, and always has been, an essential part of the human identity. I guess muslims could call it 'fitra', but it can also be understood as something else. People have always believed in some sort of higher power, or deity, if for nothing else than to explain life and natural occurences, and I don't think it will ever stop, as long as humans remain humans. I've heard of some people who think 'as soon as science solves everything and reveals everything, people will stop believing in religion", which frankly, I think is ridiculous. Science can never and will never explain everything.