Monday, 13 September 2010

Religion Subsides: An Observation

I think it’s a mistake to see a straightforward relationship between the recent retreat of religious faith and the concomitant advance of scientific knowledge. After all, a relatively small minority of the increasing number of disbelievers has any acquaintance with modern science at all. And then on the other hand there are a significant number of extremely accomplished and knowledgeable scientists who retain a strong religious belief notwithstanding. All the same I do suspect that the widespread, albeit patchily distributed disbelief in the modern world has something to do with science. But perhaps it’s more to do with what science has provided in the way of security, convenience, and comfort. And with the fact that although the general public is largely unacquainted with the theoretical basis of the amenities which they now so carelessly enjoy, the environment which science has created is so comfortable and so unthreatening that supernatural considerations have understandably weakened and faded. The consolations and assurances that were once provided by the church now seem strangely anachronistic and unnecessary. 

Jonathan Miller

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