Jason Howk’s Skeptics Talk: The Decline of Religion

Jason Howk at skeptics. Photo credits: Mr. Tyson Trish

Last Tuesday, Blair Academy welcomed Jason Howk, the founder of Global Friends of Afghanistan and the publisher of an acclaimed translation of The Quran, to offer an explanation for the slow decline of global religions, especially in the U.S and Europe.

Religion is a system of faith and moral judgements. In the disenchanted modernity, more and more people are rejecting religion; is being non-religious the new trend of faith? While radical religious groups are conducting more and more extreme actions. Religious extremists buy into a sense of centrism, as they believe it is their religion that is the most sensible, legitimate, and superior. Promoting radical beliefs in a religion drives people away from it—the Taliban is an example of this, where “women are beaten for no reason, and education is canceled,” said Mr. Howk. Twitter, Instagram, and similar social media are other outlets for these extremists; allowing the radical words of some religious groups to spread; thus, exposing them to more people and driving people even further from having a faith in God.

During his skeptics talk, Mr. Howk brought up how to stop this trend of binary division. It is crucial to find a balance between keeping the faith and not going too far, as the borderline of radicalists and accepted believers lies in the impact and intention of the behavior. For instance, it is normal for worshippers to assemble and advocate, but it becomes radical when a worshiper tries to force the general public to believe in that doctrine.

The future of the spiritual world is to be decided. Is it going to be more of splitting between the religious groups and the non-religious people, or is it staying in a balanced, mild pace of faith for both? The former is largely related to radical religion groups driving people away. To stop radicalizing the people, “education is of supreme importance.” Senior leaders of religious groups provide the foundation for the education within the group; deciding the trajectory of the religion and ultimately its fate.

Skeptics Feature: Jason Howk

Runxin Li

Kazel Li is a first year sophomore and a new writer at The Oracle. She loves literature, philosophy, economics, and reptiles.

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