Religion can provide joy through practice, an explanation for existence, and an ethical system. All of those functions can be replaced by a new kind of organization that shares some similarities with religious groups, but that has evolved into something with broad appeal to skeptical, scientific minds. This new kind of institution has no dogma or revelation, no myth or legend, just science and rational analysis. But it does recognize that the kinds of practices developed by religions over thousands of years are incredibly powerful ways to motivate and inspire humankind.
Religious practice can take many forms, among them prayer, meditation, music, yoga, chanting and one-on-one counseling. What all of these practices have in common is that they are powerful methods of using the mind to control the body. Research strongly suggests that religious people live longer, that the placebo effect is a real and effective way to treat disease, and that talk therapy can be an effective way to treat mental illness. What all this research shows us is that religious practice does something very important which can be explained scientifically.
The fact that the practice of Positive Thought has a strong scientific basis may be unknown to the religious people that practice it, but it works nonetheless. Religious people may believe that they are touched by the supernatural, when in fact what they are experiencing is something much more concrete. One way that we seek to replace religion with science is by giving nonbelievers a way to understand and participate in this powerful tool for improving life without the superstitious stories.
Religion also provides an explanation for existence, but as humanity becomes better educated about the cosmos and evolution, we are starting to realize that science has better answers than religion. There is an unneccessary battle being waged between those who understand the importance of religion and those who believe in evolution. It is unnecessary because religion has the potential to evolve into something better: something not founded on myth, but rather on science.
Religious groups have successfully paired techniques for happiness and life satisfaction with a community and a worldview. Churches, synagogues and mosques are extraordinarily successful at bringing people together for social events, advocating for the less fortunative, and motivating people to undertake actions of self-sacrifice for the greater good. Thousands of years of success has proven that the congregation model works well in achieving a stunning array of positive contributions. We, the educated children of the information age, cannot believe in ancient myths any longer. That fact should not prevent us from being a part of a group capable of making an important difference in the world.
The Alliance for Positive Thought seeks to end the divide. We recognize that meditation, communal music-making, and other religious practices, as well as religious communities and infrastructure, are extremely important for ensuring happiness and meaningful community action. We also believe that the religions of the world may eventually go extinct because they are based on myths that cannot survive the scrutiny of the well-educated internet generation. We are simply too smart to believe in the Gods of ancient times. Unless we act by finding a compromise, we will lose the proven benefits that religion has developed over the ages. The Alliance for Positive Thought is that compromise.]]>