In anticipation of my lecture Tuesday, I thought I’d offer a preview.
This will be a “big-picture” sort of talk. The big picture is this. I think that, given the available evidence, it is reasonable to adopt the view of “scientific naturalism” — namely, that the world is pretty much as science describes, Einstein and Darwin are largely right, and there are no ‘supernatural’ forces at play in the world. (Of course, science can always turn out to be wrong, but right now there’s little reason to think it is.) But that leaves very little room for most ancient religions — including Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism (in some versions) and Islam. So, if you accept scientific naturalism, religion has to change.
One possible change is to go the route of Spinoza, and “water down” religion so it ends up fitting with science. But the changes are severe: you have to give up divine creation, the soul, and providence. The other possible route is Nietzsche’s, and give up on religion altogether. But there is a cost here as well, since I don’t think it is obvious that naturalism provides enough of a foundation for morality. So, it’s a dilemma.
UPDATE: Thanks to those who were able to attend, and offer comments and raise questions. If you weren’t able to make it, but are interested, here are an mp3 recording of the lecture and the accompanying PowerPoint presentation: