I’m ill, and trying to rest. A bit of audience participation is called for, I think.

For a novel I’m planning, set in the future, I want something quite dramatic to have happened. We’re talking World War III, but I’m not content with nuclear bombs going off all over the place. I want it to have been darker, far more sinister than that.

Many people know I vehemently hate religion in all its forms, so I’ve decided I want a future world for my novel that is devoid of religion.

I had an idea: at some point in the past (in our future, obviously, this novel is set a few hundred years in the future) religious intolerance between the western world and religious fanatics such as Al Qaeda and the Taliban, brought rise to a creeping, inevitable civil war on Earth. Every country. Every city. Every street and home and office and school and playground and park. Everywhere, Christians turned on Muslims. Muslims turned on Jews. Hindus and Sikhs also took sides. Sporadic fighting, civil unrest. Street warfare. Nowhere feels safe.

And just as quickly, this fray is joined by all those without religion. The atheist. The scientologists. The humanists. Everyone who classed themselves as having faith and belief, but no religion, turns on everyone who claims to have religion. If you carry a crucifix, you’ll die. If you’re seen coming out of a mosque or church or synagogue, you’re a prime target.

What begin as isolated attacks, soon escalate into full scale world war. Countries become divided, some governments standing by their chosen religious belief, others denouncing religion and fighting for free will.

The result is devastating. Cities everywhere lie in ruins, yet no bombing raids have been carried out. Martial law rules over most countries, yet no military invasions have taken place. And, most noticeable, religion has become a thing of dim memory. Bible, Torah, Koran, all are burned on the same pyres. And so the world begins to rebuild itself from the poverty of war, trying desperately to rebuild society.

Two questions I want you all to answer for me:

1, How do you think this all came about, exactly? What were the events, the catalysts?

And…

2, What is the effect? What is this new, post-war world like without religion in it?

Oh, and any other thoughts you wanna mention would be fantastic.

Comments below, much appreciated. Right, I’m gonna try and sleep again. The only time I’m not coughing is when I’m sleeping. It hurts to breathe. I can’t even walk upstairs to the loo without feeling like I’ve just climbed Everest.

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