Sheaksphere once wrote, "To be or not to be." Maybe he knew, or maybe not, that this one line sums more philosophical arguments than any other single line I have heard to date. In honor of this line I ask, "Is modern religion to be or not to be?" By this I mean is religion to evolve beyond the current ideas of monotheism? Can there be anything else after monotheism? Fortunately I need not work to hard to come up with an answer to these questions. Einstein was kind enough to do this for us in his essays on religion. To summarize one of his essays on religion, he wrote that religion has three major stages in its evolution. First there would be polytheism, second monotheism, and third a cosmological theism. I cannot recall his arguments, if any, for this view and shall endeavor to create my own arguments in defense of this evolution. I shall make one revision to Einstein's essay contending that the third stage of the evolution could be better represented if viewed as a "religion of science."
    Prior to doing any argument in support of the third stage of religion I must obviously define what religion is and give a defense for any part of the definition not normally accepted by society, in this case the norm is taken to be a dictionary definition. To further clarify I will at this time present a definition for religion and try to defend and differences. Religion is the coming together of two or more persons with similar beliefs and desires in an endeavor to further their moral and intellectual beings as prescribed by their beliefs. The only real argument I can present against this definition is that it does not contain some line saying something to the effect, "... as prescribed by the belief set forth by a god or deity." The defense of this intentional omission is simple. The omission cannot be considered an omission if there is no such thing as a god.
    Now you may ask. "Are you to contend that there is no God? If so how?" To this question I ask you if the definition of an idea can be shown to be unjustified, then is not belief in said idea equally unjustified? I think it fair to assume that anyone will grant this. I am using the word justified here as does W.R. Carter when he writes, "[something is] justified if and only if there is good reason to accept it (and no reason to reject it)." Therefore, if the basis for a religion is shown to be unjustified we may conclude that belief in said religion is unjustified. Furthermore, if the religion is based on the existence of a god(s) and the definition of that god(s) is shown to be unjustified we may conclude that belief in such a god, and consequent religion, is unjustified and furthermore that the god does not exist. To prove my point I will first disprove the present notion of God, then supply a proof against past polytheistic gods, and finally I will state how I define all gods and their development.
    "God is generally [defined] as omnipotent, omniscient, infinite in time and space, immanent in the material world but transcendent over it; He is good, loving mankind, and righteous..." This concept of a god is wrong by the very contradiction created in its definition. If God is all knowing our lives are meaningless as He could pass judgment on us without forcing us to live out our lives. This implies one of three things. First, God is bound by certain rules to let us live out our life in which case God is not omnipotent. Second, not knowing exactly how we will turn out (e.g. good or bad) at death, God is bound to let us live out our lives to determine the nature of our being. In either case God is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. There is a third possibility that God is both omniscient and omnipotent and chooses to let us live out our lives filled with anguish, disease and death for some perverse reason or joy of His own. In this case God is clearly neither good nor loving. By now you might realize that my first two arguments do not account for the possibility that God bound Himself with a set of rules. If this is the case then the third argument holds. Or, is God bound by a moral set of rules which He holds higher than Himself, thus reverting us back the first argument? In any case the definition for God is clearly violated, and like the concept of ideal communism, it maybe a beneficial model but it is unattainable in reality and therefore a false belief when put into practice.
    So, if the modern God is false what about the past gods? The practice of polytheism is perhaps most celebrated in the Greek, Roman, and Egyptian cultures. Here we had a god for nearly every virtue and occurrence of natural forces known to man at the time. However, with the development of science many of these gods were dispelled. For instance, the god Ra, which controlled the sun in Egyptian mythos, was bound to die with the birth of plasma, fusion, and Capernican planetary motion. Zeus' control of lightning died forever when man made electricity charged up for the first time. And, such is the case with most of these ancient gods. Thus, there is do defense for a god here.
    If there are no real gods then one will ask how and why the beliefs came into being. These I agree are important questions, because as long as there is no understanding of the development of gods then how can we stop further false gods from being born and incidentally false religions. For this I present that the major cause for the birth and death of any god is fear of the uncontrollably known. I would point out that what you have read is not the same old cliché about having a "fear of the unknown." The word uncontrollably has been added to make a subtle but important difference. Permit me to build a scenario that may help illustrate the difference.
    It is 2:00 in the afternoon when you hear someone knocking at your door. Without much fear or trepidation you will open your door to find out who is knocking. Now take the same situation twelve hours later at 2:00 in the morning. This time one usually has some fear, though not of the unknown, but rather the unusual circumstances. In either case you can ignore the knocking in the hopes that the person on the other side will go away. Or, if you feel threatened call the police. These situation are examples of controllable fears in that you have some control in the situation as to whether or not you choose to answer the door. Death, on the other hand, exemplifies an uncontrollable fear. One cannot, at present, overcome or cheat death. If you accept the differences in the controllable and uncontrollable situations one can see the need for clarification and it becomes apparent the dilemma of modern and old religions. In the polytheistic religions it was fear of the uncontrollable forces of nature that brought forth so many gods. Once science and understanding of nature, such as storms and earthquakes, came into being these uncontrollable fears were demoted to a controllable state of fear. In the process the gods controlling these events died off. This left a small enough class of fears to be placed under the control of one "God". Although, the concept of an evil opponent (for instance Satan) is often needed to maintain a balance of power. This opponent also provides an understanding of how people could be lead astray and not believe in the "God".
    Now you may say, and rightly so, "If there are no true gods and only false ones this does not mean that a religion need not have a god, even a false one. Therefore your definition of a religion is still false by not including a requirement for following a god." If you were to present this as an argument I ask that you follow along with the line of reasoning I am about to present.
(Prove) Alternative definition:

Religion is the coming together of two or more persons with similar beliefs and desires in an endeavor to further their moral and intellectual beings as prescribed by their beliefs which are set forth by a god or set of gods.

(E1) A god, being the creation of uncontrollable fears, is not real except in the minds of a group expressing said fears and thus groups having different fears have different gods.

(E2) Each group can be said to have an individual religion if it shares the same beliefs about its uncontrollable fears, and thus its god(s), and the group endeavors to further its moral and intellectual being.

(E3) If a group believes there is no fear that cannot be controlled, regardless of the fear's current state, then the group would have a Null god. [From (E1)] Furthermore, suppose this group works to develop its moral and intellectual being.

(Contradiction) By definition the group in E3 is a religion; however, a religion with a Null god is one without any god.

(Conclusion) A religion need not have a god; therefore, the alternative definition is false.

If you are prepared to accept this logic and realize that there is no such thing as real god then you will soon realize that this implies all religions accepting and basing their beliefs in a god are unjustifiable religions. This leaves only religion based in a Null god as true. The religion of science is such a religion.
    The proof that the stages of religion exist, which up to this point I have left as an accepted known, is fairly straightforward for the first and second stages. In the third stage I will spend sometime defending its right to be considered a stage.
    To start with the first stage, polytheism. The existence of this stage can present little if any argument. In nearly every culture there exists some history of a religion having at least a god for earth, wind, rain, and fire. This can only be expected out of early societies. Having no knowledge and/or little understanding of natural sciences that underlie such occurrence these societies had little choice but to assume that some supernatural force - a god - was having its way with them. Even easier to imagine there are more than one god. What better way to explain the differences in nature? However, the best proof of this stage still lies in the facts that can be found in history books on cultural theology.
    Following the polytheistic stage of religion came a transitional period into the monotheistic practices. For instance, Ra, described earlier as the Egyptian god of the sun, was also a transitional god. Egyptian, for a short time, tried to hold that Ra was the supreme god. Although this transition failed at the time it does illustrate the desire of man to move towards a monotheistic practice. This makes the ideas of monotheism more than two millenniums old; however, the life span of monotheistic religions as they exist today is dying a slow death. With the advances of science and religious philosophy the idea that gods control nature eventually died down to a small group of traditionalist and remains in some uneducated tribes. Though science answered and solved many problems of the earlier stages it has left many unanswered questions. Man, it its fears, developed new monotheistic religions to answer these questions. Now he could answer questions of life and death, right and wrong. Now once again he had a "valid" reason to start a war and a reason for hope instead of fear.
    The modern monotheist religions have tried valiantly to combat the coming of science. Much like the ancient Greeks tried Socrates for not following religious doctrines modern religions are known for: trying and finding Galileo guilty for preaching that the earth was not the center of the universe, encouraging creationism in opposition to evolutionism, and answering the questions of life after death. However, these modern religions have been forced further back from the front in their crusade each year. The idea that the earth is the center of the universe is long since dead. The belief that man was created magicly from dirt and independant of all other life is ever harder to defend with the on slat of new scientific discoveries in genetics and biology. Religions in the world have little more left to them than the teachings of morals and life after death. Even here science can be found to have influence. The dilemma for the first and second stage religions lies in the elimination of uncontrollable fears, and thus uncontrollable gods.
    As the theory of evolution shows, when the old and the weak die they are often giving way to the stronger and younger. This is the case when we evolve from the second stage of religion to the third, the religion of science. Science accepts everything as something to be solved. Thus the basis of science is that everything can be explained in a reasonable logical manner with enough time. This is why earthquakes are the result of titanic plate movements instead of gods playing football in a desert. You might now ask, "If science perceives no uncontrollable fears, how can it be presented as a religion? Have we not defined a religion as a development of uncontrollable fears?" This is close to what I said earlier and a common misconception of modern man. That religions must have a god or deity is not true. What I presented earlier was that gods are the creation of uncontrollable fears, not religions.
    Reviewing our definition we ask, "Does science have two or more practitioners, does it further the moral and intellectual being of said practitioners, and does it do so within the confines of the religion?" It is obvious by the number of scientist in the world that science is practiced by more than the requisite two. Now an astute person will note the clause in our definition saying that a religion must "further the moral and intellectual beings." The idea of science furthering the intellectual development of anyone is obvious in that through science we as a society have a higher level of education and understanding with respect to our surrounding, our environment. The furthering of moral standards is not truly obvious in science and I shall now try to put it in plain English.
    First one can look to the superficial development of moral standards in such professions as medicine and engineering where many codes of ethics and behavior have been developed. These however are only specific instance and can be argued not as the development of the religion of science but as a development of necessity; thus, these morals fail to exists "with in the confines of the religion." Any true moral code presented by a religion must have influence of all the religion's practitioners in the same way. More over, for a religion of science the morals developed must hold for all of nature and any inhabitant in nature since this code must come from our scientific understanding of our environment. To find such a moral development in science we must look to evolution versus entropy. Entropy is the inevitable chaos of our universe as time passes. For instances, if you knock a deck of cards off a table they fall and scatter. However, a deck of scattered card will not of its own accord stack themselves. This provides a layman's way of viewing the universal increase in disorder, entropy increasing. In theory entropy will increase until the universe dies. But hope exists if Socrates is correct in saying that everything has an opposite provided that it is not a characteristic of something else. Assuming this is true, evolution is the exact opposite of entropy. Evolution takes disorder and produces a higher state of order. For example, evolution took hold of Earth in its lifeless stages and from several disordered microorganism producing homosapiens, a highly ordered collection of atoms. Though I will admit that humans cannot, as yet, escape the forward march of entropy for eventually our bodies become disordered and die.
    "But how does the concept of evolution versus entropy present morals," a valid question that I will try to explain and defend. If we exist, which we must contend we do, then it is due to evolution and an increase in order. Our deaths, on the other hand, are a result of an increase in disorder or entropy. The common characteristic here being order. If we accept life as desirable and death as undesirable then we must recognize that an increase in order is life giving/sustaining and thus desirable. While an increase in disorder is life taking/threatening and thus undesirable. This understanding gives rise to many moral codes and ethics. For instance, murdering someone is life taking thus aiding the cause of entropy and giving rise to disorder. Therefore, we must conclude murder to be undesirable. This can be generally viewed as any actions which increase the order or understanding of the universe are morally good while those which increase the disorder of the universe or limit the understanding of the universe are morally bad.
    This said and accepted we can see why so many monotheistic religions still survive today. Their morals for peace and love are order increasing or evolutionary and thus without knowing it they further the religion of science to some extent. However, when any religion interferes with science they implicitly interfere with the understanding and ordering of the universe, an increase in society's intellectual development, and thus act to increase entropy. If it helps to clarify further the idea of religion of science and rectify it with other religions one can think of the order of the universe as a god. In this sense, we are all part of the order and disorder of the universe; therefore, many of the oldest ideas of brotherly love are carried over to the third stage. One can even continue to believe in Christ, if a Christian, as the son of god since humans and everything else in existence makes and defines the order and thus makes and defines god.
    "This proof may very well show science to be the modern religion but it fails to answer the questions dealing with the uncontrollable fears of life after death and is there a soul," you might ask, "so why would I wish to follow such a religion which cannot provide me any security?" This is by far the hardest point to defend against. Can science prove the existence of an after life or for that matter a soul? I could argue that this is in no way required of science by our definition of religion; however, this would still not answer the questions. Therefore, I shall make a first attempt at answering this question pointing out that this defense is not required in proving science as the next evolutionary step to the third stage of religion.
    First it needs to be pointed that science works by developing hypothesis and testing these hypothesis in experiments which can produce observable data/results. Therefore, the only true way science can assure life after death is to kill someone and revive them within a safe period of time before permenant brain damage occurs. Since this can be extremely hazardous and pushes the limit between researching the order of the universe in comparison with causing discord in society the morality of doing this left in question and best defined by the individuals voluntarily seeking this course of action. However, there is the possibility that we can find another solution through a thought experiment if we trace the life of the body.
    The body starts as two individual parts, egg and sperm. These two parts are in themselves ordered but incapable of creating a body on their own. We can therefore view them as a being in a state of disorder with respect to the body that they can develop. When joined the reproductive cycle starts and we note the two develop into a higher state of order. Continuing until the body's order is high enough to exist outside of the host (mother). At some point in time the body will attain a consciousness or awareness. (Exactly what point it does this is arguable but unimportant in the defense.) The body will grow and eventually die then decompose. The body gains awareness, consciousness of the physical world, in conception and loses it in death. This awareness develops only in the physical senses along with the body. Mentally and morally the consciousness develops with the person on an individual timeline. We must conclude that the conscious part of a person is something separate from the awareness of the body. Consciousness uses the body as a host. Adopting the law of physics which state that neither energy nor matter can be destroyed nor created but merely transformed, we can revise this into a more general statement. "Nothing, in the current universe, that exist can be created from nothing nor can it return to nothing but can be merely transformed into something else." This implies that the consciousness of a person cannot be destroyed but must be conserved or changed into something else. Viewing the consciousness in this way I feel it safe to call this consciousness a soul. As to what the soul becomes after death I cannot say and will not put up the pretense or waste the time defending such a false pretense of knowledge. This last theory already leaves enough room for debate.  It is as I said a start.
    So what has been proven? In short science is the third stage in the evolution of religion for man. While it does not, as yet, answer all the questions of life and death, it does allow attempts to be made in this area.