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We need to employ a secular approach to ethics, secular in the Indian sense of respecting all religious traditions and even the views of non-believers in an unbiased way. Secular ethics rooted in scientific findings, common experience and common sense can easily be introduced into the secular education system. If we can do that there is a real prospect of making this 21st century an era of peace and compassion.
We brought the religious leaders and the secular development workers together in one room. We asked the religious leaders what are your reservations about development workers? And we asked the development workers, what are your reservations about religious leaders? It turns out that most of the problems are not really problems at all, but rather misunderstandings, misconceptions, and mis-communications.
Environmentalists and secular humanists insist that humans will destroy the planet. Corporate capitalists and many religious fundamentalists have no regard for wildlife and nature. Ultimately, this dualistic battle is based on false premises. In fact, this planet is more powerful than the human species.
I’d like everybody to be secular. I suppose I have to say politically I would like religion to become gentler and nicer and to stop interfering with other people’s lives, stop repressing women, stop indoctrinating children, all that sort of thing. But I really, really would like to see religion go away altogether.