Why will the important thinkers of the future be religious ones?

Source: Marginal Revolution.

I concur with Tyler Cowen’s explanations, and would add two thoughts.

The great science vs. religion debate — which began as a minority proposition during the Enlightenment and arguably reached its argumentative climax in the 1925 Scopes trial — has played out to the point of public exhaustion. In the resultant vacuum, new approaches to questions about religion are possible, and some people are pursuing them.

I expect that some sort of scientific proof of God will emerge in the near future. When it does, the people who can explain or apply it will become celebrities.

20 thoughts on “Why will the important thinkers of the future be religious ones?

  1. I remember a science fiction contest in which short stories were solicited regarding proof of the existence of God.

    In the very short winner the protagonist wept with joy when confronted by Satan, as if Satan existed then so must God.

    There was also Arthur C Clarke’s much darker “The Star”

    Click to access TheStar.pdf


    1. Good prose that seems to clarify the visions and questions of our inner child. I too was into science fiction and would buy those small pulp magazines. I designed space ships with drafting tools my Dad had. I even tried to write some stories, but my attention span at 8 or 10 was about the same as it is now. That is, laughable. (Lifetime AD that I compensated for with reasonable success.)

      My father was a sea captain before we moved here from Sweden. Often he would take me out on clear days if we were away from the city and we’d look up at the sky. He was describing all the navigable points and constellations. I was gripped by both awe and the very human feeling of insignificance when confronted with the vast universe and its numbers concerning size, distance and age.

      We are proud of our intellect as humans. Yet the fact is we are not even a rounding error in cosmic time and influence. So we seek solace and explanation in various ways. The dark premonition in Clarke’s tale is hard to accept on its face. So, like my AD, we compensate and move on.

      Or not.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Read it at 15 and found it refreshingly thought provoking.

      However, I hope that the “”important thinkers” of the future will have outgrown the need to believe in imaginary beings.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. In Clarke’s excellent story, evidence of humanity on a distant (and destroyed) planet shakes the protagonist’s faith that man on Earth is a special creation of God. But the story also shows that special creation is an insufficient premise for arguments proving the existence of God.

      My own view of the matter is more pedestrian: Because supernatural speculation is common in human experience, I imagine a rigorous accounting for it will eventually be developed. I might even say that Clarke’s story hints at the possibility. When new evidence forces one to abandon old ideas, the positive response is to come up with new ideas, unlike the protagonist who, sadly, lacked the flexibility.


  2. It is happening more lately where “Christian” scientists are working toward the proof issue. And they are doing it using scientific means.

    The dismissal over the years by the “church” of scientific theories is being overcome recently and that is a good thing. Even the Pope is onboard with science and that can go along way with the faithful AND unfaithful.


    1. Sadly, the dismissal by some religions, past and present, has created a rift that is, ironically, everlasting in some quarters.

      Proper perspective for me is that power is at the core. Denial of certain sciences in favor of Divine explanations was rooted in and enforced by political power.

      And it continues today for maybe a billion or more folks around the world.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I don’t believe that religion has to be the basis to consider if a thinker is important or not. In previous generations some thinkers were considered religious. Others, often referred to as heretics, were not. That is what happens when the power rests so heavily in the church, as it did a long time ago,

    I believe the important thing is that we take the thinkers thoughts into account without considering if religion plays a part in it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “I don’t believe that religion has to be the basis to consider if a thinker is important or not.”

      Maybe not, but the question Cowen answers is a little different. Why does he believe the important thinkers of the future will be religious?


      1. Because he drinks too much kool-aid?

        I didn’t read an “answer” in anything he said, rather an opinion based on supposition.

        But, again, that’s just me…

        Liked by 2 people

      2. “Why does he believe the important thinkers of the future will be religious?”

        This appears to be the best answer of the five points he made: ” I have the general impression that religious idea rise in importance during unstable and chaotic times.”

        I believe we can all agree that were are currently in “unstable and chaotic times”. But I disagree with the premise that the important thinkers are going to be religious. Why? Because of a post I made several days ago concerning the religious thinking of, sorry to say, T****ist thinkers. They are not truly thinkers in the classical sense. They show loyalty to their “deity” and because the masses need the opiates of religion, they are believed to be “great thinkers.” – IMO

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And this line is a bit … interesting.

        “I am never quite sure “how intellectually Jewish” are our leading Jewish intellectuals, but somewhat to be sure.” Jewish thinkers do not necessarily rely on their faith to base their thoughts. They tend to have open minds. And Cowen says …”both secular “left progressive” and “libertarian” traditions — both highly secular in their current forms — are not so innovative right now?” That is his opinion, but I disagree with it for the most part. “Libertarian traditional thinkers, if Don is any indication, are not innovative at all. They want to go back and not forward.

        And I don’t think being a secular thinker is a bad thing. However, using religious dogma to completely influence ones thoughts is a dangerous thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. His logic was circular and entirely subjective.
        He personally finds the writings of Ross Douthat and Peter Thiel to be “interesting” and he takes the fact that they are Christians to draw his conclusions about religious thinkers. Nary a thought for the non-believers who find the writings of those two to be not interesting. I personally find the writings of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris to be “interesting.” Can a deduce from that that atheist thinkers will dominate the future of big thoughts?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. RE: “I personally find the writings of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris to be ‘interesting.'”

          So what? Are you an “internet influencer” at the same level as Tyler Cowen? Someone asked the man a question about things he had said in public. He gave an honorable answer. Is your ego so precious that you must compare yourself to him?


  4. The other issue about the importance of religious thinkers is laid out in the letter Adam Kinzinger’s family sent him.


    That type of response to someone who stuck to his principles is what can show us the degree to which allegedly religious thinkers think. Truth is what they want it to be, not the reality.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “The other issue about the importance of religious thinkers is laid out in the letter Adam Kinzinger’s family sent him.”

      The issue isn’t religious thinkers. It is thinkers who are religious.


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