I have repeatedly said that we must stand up for freedom of religion, and respect all religions.
At the same time, my own personal belief ( and I am not trying to impose this on anyone ) is that there is no such thing as God or soul or angels or ghosts or fairies or witches or resurrection or transmigration. These are all figments of the imagination, and have no real existence. The only reality is matter, which is in motion according to certain laws which can be discovered by scientific research ( see my article ' Religion and Science' on fb and on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in )
To those who ask : who created matter ? the answer is no one created it. Matter came from matter.
I believe that all religions are superstititions, and the truth lies in science, though it is still developing.
Now many people may find this contradictory. On the one hand I say that all religions are superstitions, and on the other hand I say that we must respect all religions and insist on religious freedom.
However there is no contradiction.
Although I am an atheist, I also know that 99% or more people believe in God. Why do they believe in God ? It is for two reasons :
1.Poor people believe in God because their lives are so miserable that they find temporary solace in religion. Without religion to give them some comfort and psychological support they would go mad
2. Even people who are not so poor, e.g. businessmen, need religion because the chance factor is so powerful in our lives that we can never be sure of the future, and cannot control our lives.. We often plan something, but something else happens. The cause for this is the low development of science till today, as compared to what it will be 100 or 200 years hence. So we start believing in some supernatural forces which control our destiny.
Religion cannot be abolished by decree. In fact religious persecution makes people more bigoted.
The need for religion and God will disappear when the social and economic factors which give rise to religion disappear. And this will only happen when science is so highly developed that we are able to control our lives. Then there will be no need of God or religion.
Till that happens, and that will take a very long time ( maybe 100 or 200 years from now ), we must insist on religious freedom, tolerance and secularism.
So when I say that we must respect all religions, I do not mean that I believe in the metaphysical truth of religions. I mean that since most people are religious we must not hurt their religious feelings, and insist on freedom to profess or practise any religion, but with the
proviso that the state will have no religion.