I don’t think we can extinguish religion any more than we can stamp out the flat earth society or Nazism. Some really bad ideas are with us whether we like it or not, and having such things around are actually a great artifact of freedoms that have been hard-won throughout history.
However, it would be nice to relegate these things to non-influential minorities. And there are societies that have done this. I recently saw Stephen Fry comment that it is odd that the UK is essentially an “ordained” monarchy but simultaneously the statistics say it’s one of the most free and most non-religious societies on earth. Things are not always as they appear.
I actually take more offense to one of the first statements: That our worldview lacks “cheer”, and the heading “Crisis of faith”. It’s not a crisis. But anyway… This article is, in essence, making one of the most tired religious arguments: We cannot, should not, or will never do X because it’s not in our “nature”. We are doomed to suffer our natural proclivities forever. Oh woe! Whether that is driving, flying, walking on the moon, having homosexual relationships, the list goes on… and the claim is as temporary as any of those achievements were before.
What makes us human is our extra-ordinary capacity exactly to overcome our natural instincts, as long as we do it for good reasons.
I don’t know why we in the west always imagine we’re completely alone. China has, rightly or wrongly, basically had an atheistic society for ages, but their “religions” are life philosophies and principles. You can still “believe in something”, even if that something is not supernatural. This point seems entirely lost on pretty much everyone. We in the west already have a rich philosophical tradition that does not require religion, that could serve as a “crutch” and can keep lively debates about the world, our nature, our politics and our societies going deep into the next couple of thousand years. There is SO much to talk about once we get over the mumbo-jumbo bullshit!
What we need to do, is re-calibrate our alleged “natural proclivities” into an alternative avenue, I see no need to shut it down completely. That is the contention only of the religious. It is the Wu Wei: do not be unrelenting like the rock, be like the water that conforms to it as it flows past. We can adapt instead of annihilate.