Progress is the output of free inquiry. Unless you can inquire things and their nature freely you cannot discover new phenomena or invent new things or develop new technology.
Free inquiry requires the absence of fear. If you are afraid to ask a question or question anything which is being asked then you cannot think freely. Similarly social, religious or political pressures also confine and restrain free thinking. Hence a free environment is necessary to think freely and to explore the nature of life and universe.
Believing is a type of assumption. When theologicians argue that religion open new vistas of thought by "believing" in the things unseen they might be partially correct as there is no harm to assume something and proceed with the assumption. However they are not correct when they say you should not reject the assumption [belief] if it is not verifiable or falsifiable.
The repercussions of refusing to reject non verifiable or falsifiable assumptions have been devastating. Despite the fact that Afghans have been free in the political sense since their political consciousness came into existence, they were always under the influence of clergy and their restrictions and constraints that were not compatible with scientific methodology. The clergy discouraged any free inquiry into the causes of physical phenomena which could have implications on their self conceived dogmas, creeds or vested interests.
How less is it realized that the essence of progress, development and prosperity is not just learning science but creating science. It is not just using technology but also creating technology by which a society can move forward to a more technologically advanced level. It is not just sufficient to earn oneâ€™s living by honest means but also creating new modes of earning which will sustain our society.
We need food to survive biologically but we need creativity to survive technologically. If we just use technology and do not create it then we will just reduce to becoming a consumer society and become a parasite. The basic weapon for the survival of a state is her ability to create techniques, technology, methodologies and sciences to achieve a respectable status in the international community.
In short the first step to progress is to think freely and even if one has to believe in a certain concept of life and universe, it should be by argument and not by birth. That way the society will not only have tolerance on socio-political level but also will encourage free thinking and criticism which will open new vistas of probability for the discovery of new ideas, sciences, techniques and methodologies.
Religion is mainly a private affair based on certain dogmas, creeds, rituals, customs, traditions and morals having some points of intersection with cultures of third world countries in particular and hence should be respected. However it neither can nor should interfere into the collective politico-economic affairs of the state which are more related to the means of capital production and its distribution and hence determine whether a nation is qualified to pass the litmus test for development or not. The whole idea of development is in reference to the collective [politico-economic] aspects of social life and religion being more an individualistic affair has least to do with science of development.
Afghanistan has progressed to a good extent during the past few years though this progress is not sufficient as this is a post war interim period for the war ravaged country. Religion has been exploited for political purposes especially during the US-Russian war fought on Afghan soil. Afghanistan was a power to reckon with before that war which proves that Afghans are an enterprising nation but were used for imperialist designs with the help of religion which has been their weakness. Moreover their monarchs in the past are to blame as they did not give a clear scientific vision to the nation so they could accept the challenges of the modern scientific age. The only way out from the abyss of tribalism for Afghanistan and other third world countries is to promote science and technology and as it will pave the way for a techno-creative culture which in turn will put the under developed countries on the road to progress and prosperity. ,