The year 2041: Seeking your predictions about where this issue is going

If I live till 2041, I will be seventy-one. My teaching career will be long over, my health declining.

If the peak years of one’s working life are between 25 and 70, it is interesting to note that the three titans of the ID movement will all be over 80 in 20 years. Stephen Meyer, William Dembski, and Michael Behe.

Also the New Atheist titans too.
Bill Nye, Richard Dawkins (he will be 100), Lawrence Krauss, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson (I don’t know if he is a New Atheist though).

If they all live.

Henry Morris as the founding father of organized young-earth creationism has been dead some time, and I am not sure about the state of his sons.

Staring death in the face regularly I have discovered is a great way to make daily decisions about what is really important. Rick Warren says the average life is 25,000 days. That’s age 68. I am at 18,000 days at age 51.

I wrote last time I spent 20 years in dogged pursuit of the science-faith question. 7,300 days. Now my books have been put away until some stunning reason comes along to look at them ever again. My Millenial pastor Bill has not yet given me a reason, but the Gen X Christian professors I meet might.

Now what about 20 years from now?

If all the major famous Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier titans are dead or in the retirement home, then what?

The history of the controversy in my experience as a minority male is extremely white and male. It is just an observation. Plus it is very Protestant versus atheist.

This nation in 20 years I think will be made up mostly of minorities. And 38% of the Millenial generation has no religious affiliation I seem to remember.

What will our legacy be to the Millenial generation which will be at the height of career life in 20 years, when they are over 40?

I have a feeling the Institute for Creation Research will be as peripheral to and disconnected from Millenial church life…at least in the cities as opposed to small towns…as the Amish are to the life of urban Pennsylvanians today.

I already cannot find a campus ministry of any affiliation or denomination which is pushing young-earth creationism. It just has no visibility in the typical university.

The Discovery Institute is different because it has a political and economic focus not just a science-oriented one. Given its visibility on Fox News and its status as a major think tank in American life, Discovery has enough young blood to keep a national profile. But will it even be known in circles that are not white and Protestant?

What is our call as Christians toward the young before we find out through death if the invisible world the Bible speaks of actually exists? Is Dawkins right, that our brains shut off like light bulbs and we cease to be forever?

We are teaching these young people to organize their private lives based on a 2000-year old faith which claims its Founder to be resurrected from death. A faith that has had to confront the rise of modern science after the year 1800. Science which some read to mean its rise has shown the invisible world of divine agents to be the product of premodern ignorance.

Bill Nye confronted Ken Ham and walked away baffled. All of my students knew Nye from PBS.

Something tells me that both creation science and intelligent design as movements will be seen as quaint by future generations of Americans. But evolutionary creationism may be as well.

Somehow we have to both love young people and give them confidence supernaturalism is a viable idea in a scientific world.

The Baby Boom, it seems to me as a Gen Xer, is today’s core of support for the work of ICR and Discovery. Once that generation is gone, it is hard to say whether the ideas behind those two organizations will find new ground in which to plant.

A final anecdote

Tonight I went to one of the only Saturday night services in Dallas I know of, at a megachurch called Lakepointe. They are using themes from movie clips to talk about the faith. The church had maybe 1,000-1500 people show up tonight.
There is a class afterward I attend. 20 years ago after 9/11 the class had 100 people in it.
Now it is about 12 people. People died, quit, or moved away.
The church can still turn out a lot of people for the service but how many stay an extra hour to meet face-to-face in a class?

It took a national catastrophe to turn people out in droves at church in 2001. But then people settled back into their comfort zone at home.

One thing I have noticed is that a lot of alienation occurred between Christians and atheists during the creationism court cases between 1981 and 2005. The evolutionists won in the public schools, but the creationists continued homeschooling and Christian education at the high school level.

I see cultures drifting apart from one another into echo chambers. Waging culture war against nonbelievers in court because of fears about children has come at a terrible price.

I am glad BioLogos exists to answer the question, “Are science and religion at war?”

But my deeper concern now at day 18,000 in my life is when will we, given the uncertain number of days we have left, be able to answer the question, “Has science made all religion irrelevant and unnecessary to the daily life of people?”

Where do you think the science-faith issue will be for most people in 20 years?

Here are my thoughts gleaned over the last 20.


I agree that the context of discussion may evolve to more of morality than historicity. I don’t think religion will become irrelevant. Good question. I don’t know. Do you have insights in this way, based on your research? Thanks

Wrong! The conflict was not between atheists and Christians, but between science and the abusers of religion. The majority of Christianity has always accepted the findings of science and sought to learn and adapt to it. There will always, of course, be alienation between the extremists of both theism and atheism. But that will be dominated by two single facts: the theists are more numerous and the theists are more diverse with even more conflict among them than there is with the atheists.

It will be the same as it has for the last few centuries. Science follows the objective evidence which does not change (it only accumulates), and most of Christianity/religion will adapt to this, while the nutters insisting on reading scriptures contrary to the scientific findings of today will become more and more rare – with possibly new groups fighting on new issues of contention. No doubt there will be extremists like Jim Jones and the ayatollah causing destruction in their blind refusals. But they will only be signposts of bad religion which need to be avoided.

Our call is to find in Jesus’ words and the Bible that which continues to be relevant to human life to today, for obviously there are many things which are no longer relevant, because life changes and it has been changing faster and faster.

Of course that is right. Our brains do shut off and the life of our physical body ceases forever. But that doesn’t settle the question of whether anything of a person survives this event to continue outside the space-time mathematical structure of the physical universe.

It was not so in the time of C. S. Lewis, it is not so for myself today, and see no reason why it will be so in the future. The children of the atheists, like myself will apply the skepticism they have been taught to atheism, and find value in Christianity (with a few changes perhaps). And in this way Christianity will revive and find new life as it lets go of old wineskins.

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The Confederacy is at war with the Union.

I wouldn’t call it a major think tank, and I wouldn’t even call it science-oriented. It is another form of creationism, and bills itself as a “big tent” can can accommodate YECs and others.

“I myself am convinced that the theory of evolution, especially to the extent to which it has been applied, will be one of the greatest jokes in the history books of the future. Posterity will marvel that so very flimsy and dubious an hypothesis could be accepted with the incredible credulity it has.” Malcolm Muggeridge one of the great thinkers of the 20th century.

Jesus will count, no matter what. What we can’t come to terms with about how the heck we got here, we can more than make up for if we could actually love like He did for 30 minutes a year. Regardless, we can find love in the One who left us here and will return one day for us at last.
In 20 years my friend you will go online to a virtual custom grown orthopedic clinic and, on sale mind you, find 2 right ankles for the price of one, ready to be laser fitted at cost as long as you purchase them by Fri the 12th. Your DNA spun esophagus and both lungs go on sale next week, so be sure to check your invisible communications 3D platform to remind you. Or, we can instantaneously update the microprocessor in your right frontal lobe tonight as you sleep if you prefer. We will be downloading your day’s thoughts for the space lab to examine to see if you are still dreaming about swimming across atlantic ocean for your 80th birthday. We may have work left to do to remove your sodium chanels if you don’t quit that.

Why has the science-faith issue been a significant bone of contention between people?

My interpretation of the situation is that one group of christians have been more active in the marketing of their views than others. They have managed to convince many that have been influential persons within congregations. Those that are uncertain or think differently have not been actively questioning the loud opinions of the most active and influential persons. When the most active and visible persons have noted that scientific research has not supported their interpretations, they have attacked against science-based teaching. This has irritated many scientists, leading to overreactions and almost allergic attitudes among those scientists that bend towards atheism.

As knowledge of scientific facts increases, the most radical ‘young earth’ -type groups are likely to shrink but not disappear. So, there will be science-faith debates after 20-30 years, although the proportion of christians accepting evolution as a way of creation is likely to increase.

Otherwise, my guess is that the gap between conservative christians and liberals is going to widen. The reason for this is that there are limits in the possibilities to interpret the Bible. So far, many of those trying to incorporate the prevailing opinions of the surrounding society to Christian teaching have managed to do so by changing their interpretation of certain chapters in the Bible. As the society is sliding away from traditional opinions, those trying to reconcile Christian teachings with the prevailing opinions in the surrounding society are forced to make a decision between sticking to the guidelines written in the Bible or adjusting the teachings to the prevailing opinions of what is right and wrong.

Especially in cities and large towns, conservative christians will become a minority and are forced to adapt their culture and demands to the prevailing situation. You can’t demand that the laws must be based on the teachings in the Bible if the great majority of the population does not think that 2000-year old teachings are relevant today.
Also the proportion of people that have not heard teaching about the gospel and the Bible will increase. This will stress the fact that the people in need to hear the gospel have come closer to us.

Well, I guess that went beyond the original question. Yet, the big picture is likely to affect the science-faith debates and is relevant in that sense.

btw, you sound very down. Hope everything is okay.

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