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January 05, 2003

Divine Predictions

1) The 21st century will see the Catholic Church become the de facto Universal Church in western Europe once more as Protestantism declines into relative insignificance. But, as in the late Roman Empire before Constantine's conversion, the Christians will now be just a prominent minority.

2) Indigenous and black Latin America will continue to move toward Protestantism. More European Latin America will remain mostly Catholic, though secularize.

3) Islam will not experience a Reformation-but rather an abrupt Shattering of the old order more akin to the Jewish Haskalah.

4) The American religious landscape will continue to polarize between seculars and believers, with a portion of the populace following the European model, while the majority continue to be devout.

5) Despite the spiritual exhaustion that some predict in the major world faiths, no new religion will give rise to a another civilization (ie; Mormonism)-the age of miracles is over.

6) The Red Sox will win a World Series-the gods are dead. Only a few aging white men in Florida and Arizona will care-the last gasp of the Bambino's Curse.

Posted by razib at 01:17 AM

Razib, regarding American "devoutness", isn't it kinda weird that the most devout US states are the ones w/the highest divorce rates and the highest alcohol & drug abuse? Also blacks are more devout than whites. So what is the use of all this devoutness?

Posted by: Diana at January 5, 2003 07:56 AM

Razib, here are a few miscellaneous thoughts on your divine predictions:

1.) would that de facto Universal Church really be some sort of de facto reunification between Protestantism and Catholicism. I donít mean that Protestantism and Catholicism will unite institutionally (unless that institution is the EU), but that they will come more to resemble each other. This leads to a series of predictions about the Catholic Church: it will allow married and women priest and possibly become more democratic. Theologically it will become more abstract and ecumenical to the point possibly of resembling modern day Unitarians. This may actually fracture world wide Catholicism.
2.) Would this trend lead to a new round in a new place of religious conflict?
3.) This is certainly an optimistic prediction, but I suspect there will be a great deal of conflict with and within the Islamic World for quite some time. If there is an Islamic Haskalah, it will probably go along national lines with some countries able to shuck the old ways and move forward and others unable or unwilling to do so.
4.) This is a bit of a dilemma for us secularists, especially for those on the right who need to compromise with those we feel hold ridiculous beliefs. This is why many conservatives (including Joe Lieberman) often defend religion in general, without much regard to the specifics of the beliefs. This bit of conservative multiculturalism may have the effect of mitigating the influence of fundamentalism by diluting it with other religious traditions. The movement of Jews into the conservative mainstream along with Conservative Catholics may go a long way in modernizing fundamentalist thought. Letís hope.
5.) Though I find it unimaginable how a new religious civilization could be born, grow, compete and flourish, I donít know think itís necessarily true that such ďmiraclesĒ canít happen in the future. If the flourishing of religion in the first place was a miracle, then from our rationalist perspective, a miracle is explicable according to some logic. What the logic is is another question. The missing piece of the logic, I think, is the actual belief in miracles. Luckily, miracles these days are of a more mundane variety.
6.) Razib, knowing that you are a Steelers fan, I, as a lifelong Browns fan, would like to know your divination of this afternoonís (or morningís for those in the wrong time zone) Browns/Steelers match up? Browns 20 Steelers 17.

Posted by: Steve at January 5, 2003 08:13 AM

steelers 21, browns 10.

Posted by: razib at January 5, 2003 12:34 PM

Razib, you ignored my question about devoutness but got into a pointless argument about football. Sexist pig.

Posted by: Diana at January 5, 2003 01:00 PM

Razib, the additions of our scores would have been almost dead-on. We in Cleveland have unfortunately grown quite accustomed to these outcomes.

Posted by: Steve at January 5, 2003 02:14 PM


i've talked about this before :) the religion thing. religious people tend to get mad when i point out that secularism doesn't seem to have caused chaos here in oregon or sweden, or that religion doesn't mean that black areas or africa are panaceas. a religion response would be-well, imagine how bad it would be if not for religion.

Posted by: razib at January 5, 2003 03:32 PM

The southeast US has been the Bible belt for only a century. In the 19th century, New England and the "burned-over" district of New York were the Bible belts. It looks like religion tends to cause moral improvements a century later.

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at January 5, 2003 09:37 PM

Steelers suck?

Posted by: Diana at January 6, 2003 06:10 AM