Statistics have shown an encouraging trend that the world is slowly becoming more secular. In Canada, 34.6 percent of the population is non-theistic. There is hope that this will mitigate the conflicts that arise because of religious intolerance. Strict separation between church and state is, hopefully, a goal of many future policymakers.
Growth in secularism is a consequence of the increasing literacy of the world’s population. It is a slow process, but we must realize that literacy is a very, very recent phenomenon. A couple of hundred years ago, no one but a very small percentage of the population could read or write, people relied on their religious leaders and they had to judge whether what their leaders told them was the truth. Even now, we lack the education needed to judge the decisions made by our leaders but it is slowly improving. In the recent past, there were only a few individual thinkers or philosophers and they were often in danger if they did not agree with the ruling class.
Today, even if literacy has become widespread, the great majority of the population does not read or study enough to understand our physical reality, with the result that people are influenced by their leaders without using critical mental abilities to make sound judgments. Belief in superstition and the supernatural is still rampant. Critical thinking is the missing link with most people. We must make that a big part of our education system so that people can judge the value of the things they are told.
Science is the only way to discover reality, but it is an ongoing process, which we use to make progress in real knowledge. Philosophy is not science, but it often points us in the direction we should explore. The enemy of real science is pseudoscience, which is used by people who are trying to distort real science to suit their preconceived ideas, using scientific jargon to deceive people who do not have the background to judge the veracity of claims. Trying to ‘prove’ the supernatural exists is a favourite ploy used, especially, by those with a religious agenda. I hope that, soon, but perhaps in the next generation or two, this ploy will be understood for what it is.
At the present, the natural material world represents reality. Attempts by religious adherents to prove the existence of an alternate supernatural world have failed miserably. For more than a hundred years, researchers have been trying to prove the existence of a supernatural realm by means provided via telepathy, astrology, alchemy, occultism, ufology, creationism and many more, but real verifiable proof of the existence of the supernatural has not been established. Time after time science has contradicted and corrected many supernatural speculations. The earth is not the center of the universe anymore. What was considered magic is now known to be tricks of very clever people who know how to deceive the gullible public.
Hopefully, with more literacy and the application of critical thinking, we will advance to a level where most people can see through all the pseudoscience to face our physical reality. It will be a better world. I hope you will forgive my rambling and get some idea why I think the future might not be as bleak as many are anticipating.