The secular humanists, darwinians, atheist fanatics and figures like Coyne are obsessed and think they are the real driver of the rise of religious disbelief. We support the latter here, but as an observation about history: if we examine the eonic effect we notice the way ‘religions’ of one era pass away in the next and the beginning of that is visible in the Reformation and now we see from the New Age movement that the same kind of reformation is about to occur there. This perspective is not the same as denouncing religion in toto or promoting atheism, or saying that darwinism is the key to undermining design arguments.
From one set of fanatics we confront another.
We need a true secularism, which ought, at least in my view, to see that christianity, judaism and islam are somehow doomed to pass away. The Reformation foretold that although it wasn’t quite clear at the time. So I look at the harsh statistics of the nones and the disbelievers etc with a sense of the historical aptness, even inevitability of moving past a particular set of religions spawned in the axial.
But that is a different question from rejecting religion, making atheism a new dogma, or preaching against a designed universe using Darwin. Just at the point of liberation from religion we are confronted with a new one, with Darwin/Dawkins as its prophets.
Let’s skip it. The passing of judaism and christianity may or may be the end of religion as such, the design argument doesn’t require god, and the domination of darwinism shows that ‘scientists’ can be as stupid as religious believers in taking things on faith. The problem with religious faith was just that: the issue of god is philosophical or scientific but monotheism became pernicious because faith became an absolute with dangerous results.
Free from faith and the myths of a personal god, the issue of theism simply passes into the clouds, up in the air.
The question of god I can’t answer and the attempt to make those who exit christianity into new atheists is a travesty. The strange thing about the new atheists is the way they wrecked atheism, which is a definite spectrum of philosophical exploration, but it is not a new monopoly of science based on natural selection to undermine design arguments. What a stupid new religion.
The issue of ‘god’ needs a bit of kantian study to grasp the dilemma of metaphysics and here the secular humanists, in classic form, before even the crystallization of the movement, all movements seem to become stupid. But the same can be said of atheism. The question of whether god does or does not exist is simply incoherent, gibberish and to affirm his non-existence can be just as confused as anything in theism.
The new ex-religionists are under no obligation to become atheists in the name of the (pseudo-)science of darwinism as the proof of non-design and thence atheism.
There are many possibilities for the future. The issue of religion is settled in one way: the dogmatic churches enforcing spiritual beliefs are a thing of the past. Whether religion will recur in the future is unclear and the discussion pointless if we are not clear about the meaning of ‘religion’. In fact, potentially secularism is the replacement for religion, but not as a new set of dogmas like the Dawkins cult. In fact we need a new category, the sense of religion like those of Axial Age antiquity is now scrambled and the genre is too constrained by its past to be viable. But the core meanings of religion remain.
And we cannot use science to legislate against the supernatural. The latter may be unknowable, in some kantian sense, but it may be more than real.
Look at the Tibetan book of the dead, a book composed by atheist buddhists, who claimed direct ‘knowledge’ of the ‘bardo’ or death states. Beyond that, and it might have been another religious superstition, though I doubt it is at all that simple, the question of man, the soul, consciousness, the will, reincarnation, etc, remain issues that science has consistently muddled but which are not so easy as christian theology to throw in the waste basket of scientism, and the revolt beginning with the Romantic movement shows that sooner or later people will revolt against scientism, that is pseudo-science. If ‘scientists’ claim darwinism is science, people will throw up their hands and do their own science.
As to ‘evolution’ one can recommend the view of the eonic effect with its warning of the gross fallacy of natural selection and its delusive construction of a confused picture of reality.
As for theism/atheism, it is a classic undecidable question, so far. Atheism has done the good that it can do, but it can’t eliminate the ambiguity of ‘god’ questions which ironically are on their way to a science of their own, perhaps…