Genius likes to challenge the impossible. - Arthur C. Clarke
For the past few centuries there has been a spat between religion and science, although the ignorant don't realize that science grew out of Christianity and that Christianity supported science (even supposedly religious fanatics such as Cotton and Increase Mather supported science, although in some rather odd ways - Cotten thought science could be used to prove the existence of the Devil).
For that matter, without Christianity the West wouldn't exist, contrary to the protestions of the silly who delude themselves it would be a better place without Christianity.
Of course, there has been good and bad to both science and religion. But then, that's due to imperfect human nature - what you might more accurately call bottomless human stupidity.
So what's coming in the few few centuries? Murderous religious fanaticism has pretty much had its fangs pulled, except for Islam, and as long as we don't import it into the civilized world it won't be much of a problem for us since they'll be busy slaughtering each other. The deluded think we can transform it, which we why we heard dangerous nonsense about the "Arab Spring" (most people don't know it, but the "Dark Ages" in Europe were caused by Muslim invasions. It probably put us back by 500 years.).
These days, the craziest Christians appeared to be confined to TV, begging for money and praying to Jesus to come back while dealing death and destruction. That's a hallucination.
Science, on the other hand, is fufilling Arthur C. Clarke's prediction that any science advanced enough is indistinguishable from magic. So we're looking at that kind of scientific magic.
Still, human nature is imperfect - awfully so. Its history had been one of murder and destruction. That's most probably not going to change.
So the next few centuries are going to be Magic and Murder.
It's not going to be religion attempting to impose tyranny on people. It's going to be the government, which is always trying to impose a one-world government on everyone (communism tried that in the 20th century, to the tune of perhaps 200 million dead).
These attempts to impose a one-world government always involve force and fraud - and the attempt to make everyone equal, which can only happen by making them identical. Which, obviously, can't be done.
So in the coming few hundred years government are going to use the magic of technology to attempt to impose tyranny on everyone, under the guise of "improving their lives," which is something tyrants always claim. Probably a lot less than a few hundred years.
I wonder if there really might be some sort of Singularity. Having a medical device in your house that would cure all diseases would be close. Being able to edit our genes and remove stupidity and other flaws and increase our intelligence, imagination and emotional stability definitely would fit the definition. Only time will tell.
Even today I met a fair number of people who are stupid and childish. Who needs them? It'd best if such people no longer existed
There is something in people that wants to be enslaved - to be "taken care of." It's why Moses wandered in the desert with his tribe for 40 years - so all the slaves, with their slave mentality - would die off.
Fortunately, some people want to be free - to get away from meddling, murdering governments.
It's not possible to predict the future with any degree of accuracy. But in a general way, yes.
Although human nature has not changed (yet), we have something we've never had before - that advanced technology verging on magic. It will be become more "magical" every day with computers, software, genetic engineering, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, designed drugs. Then we have government, which generally collapses after some 250 years (see John Glubb on this) with its excessive growth, inflation, debt, and destructive meddling in the economy and people's lives.
The coming fight is going to be between those who want to use science and technology to enslave people - and those who want to use the same to free them. Between those who want to use the magic to murder people, and those who wish to liberate them with it.
"Murderous religious fanaticism has pretty much had its fangs pulled..."
The common Western perception that the world is chock-full of "Religious Wars" is actually the result of our extremely unusual history and perspective. Most of what we call "religious" conflicts are really just tribal wars between two different tribes that happen to have different religions. Think of Northern Ireland- most of the guys doing the fighting on both sides were too hung-over to go to church on Sunday morning, if they even cared.
True "religious wars", in the sense of "wars fought between members of the same tribe, explicitly over matters of theological doctrine" are actually fairly rare, historically speaking. We think they're incredibly common because European civilization was relatively unique in being convulsed by a ton of them, most incredibly bloody and protracted, in the period about 1500-1700. These were truly wars over matters of doctrine- German Catholics against German Protestants, French Catholics against French Protestants, English Calvinists against English Anglicans, etc. Only when everybody finally realized neither side could possibly win did they agree to call a de facto truce. "Religious Toleration" is really just another name for "Armistice between Protestants, Catholics, and Dissenters".
Part of our problem is that we're trying to extend the Great European Truce to groups who were never part of the original civil war that spawned the compromise. It doesn't work, because they were never part of the civilization that agreed to disagree.
"Think of Northern Ireland- most of the guys doing the fighting on both sides were too hung-over to go to church on Sunday morning, if they even cared."
I learned Irish Gaelic from a man who'd been a commander in the IRA. He was a devout atheist despite the fact that he belonged to a number of Catholic fraternal organizations. One of the anomalies of Irish culture is that you can be a nationalist and a liberal and an atheist and a Catholic in any combination or all at the same time. The prominent figures in the Easter Rising cover the entire religious and political spectrum.
"True "religious wars", in the sense of "wars fought between members of the same tribe, explicitly over matters of theological doctrine" are actually fairly rare, historically speaking. We think they're incredibly common because European civilization was relatively unique in being convulsed by a ton of them, most incredibly bloody and protracted, in the period about 1500-1700. "
Even in these conflicts, if you look at where the boundaries were once the dust had settled, the Catholic countries ended up being right on the edges of the Roman Empire's boundaries. I tend to think that politics and culture had a much bigger role in the 30 years' war than religion.
Comparing science to religion is like comparing apples to oranges. They are orthogonal to each other. Science describes the physical world and religion, as well as ideology and philosophy, are used for creating intent and purpose. Thus, there really is no "conflict" between science and religion.
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