The demise of organized religion:

a Pyrrhic victory for science

Last night I watched a program on British television about “life after God.” The central question was whether we need to regain a sense of the sacred in our scientific world or can society function if it dispenses with the notion of God altogether? Three 'hard' science types took on a sweet but helpless theologian and a witty more spiritually oriented person. At times it was painful to see how the hardliners rejoiced like little kids in the advances towards a godless world while remaining completely oblivious to the fact that their antagonistic position against organized religion and traditional god concepts would have them dragged down together with the primitive world views they had so vehemently fought and defeated.

These brands of science and religion are the products of a worldview that is fundamentally dualistic. Both also see man as separate from his environment. In science this sometimes goes so far as to deny the very existence of subjective experience. In religion, God is seen as a being outside of our physical world, who can interfere pretty much at will. Science has successfully stripped away much of the dogmatic notions of religion, replacing them with its own rigid statement of fact that everything that exists is physical or material.

The only phenomenon within their experience that they have not been able to explain is consciousness.

In my view, the most significant development of the 20th century has been the rediscovery of the mind. There is an unmistakable tendency to give back to human consciousness the central place it has always had, even if it wasn't acknowledged. We see this in the trend towards individualism in society, the importance of the 'observer effect' in quantum physics, and in religious dogma losing its grip on the individual.

The information age has taken root in the last decades of the second millennium with unprecedented speed. With it's coming, the fate of physicalist science has been sealed. Soon, not the elementary particles of physics but information will be universally accepted as the primary constituents of the Kosmos. This will be accompanied by the recognition of the role of consciousness in organizing this information. Physical reality will be seen as only one of infinitely many systems of organization. This, in turn, will lead to a tremendous expansion of the range of human consciousness. Physical reality will resemble an online chat room: a virtual meeting place where people come together to talk about their experiences in the real world.

Hard-line scientists will be looked at as sweet but helpless people who hang on to old, archaic ideas.