Lawrence Krauss is a pretty smart guy. He is to dark matter what Columbus is to America. He has written books about the origins of the Universe. He is well informed on topics both scientific and theological. So, when he speaks, I listen.
But, I think he’s wrong about this. He’s saying that religion will be extinct within one generation. I’m not at all a religious person, I’m probably just about as much an atheist as Krauss or Dawkins. I’m not saying it would be a bad thing if religion disappeared, I’m not saying what I think should happen, I’m just saying what I think WILL happen.
Also, even if it were to happen, I don’t think it would change the world that much. Christian Fundamentalists, if you took their Christian Fundamentalism away, would still be crazy people who want to dictate how other people live their lives, puritanical about sex, and loudly proclaiming something. Islamic fundamentalists, minus Islam, would not necessarily embrace western styles and give equal rights to women. They’d find some other justification, but keep on doing the same old shit.
But I don’t think it will happen. Sure, science will continue to roll back the curtains that hide the inner workings of the universe from us, and we will see farther and clearer than any generation before. At least, those of us who pay attention to those kind of things will. But, there are still more people who go to church than watch the Discovery Channel, and they are not going to be convinced by mere logic.
People like their religion. Church is a place of social networking. Also, having something to believe in, illusory as it might be, can make life seem a bit less complex.
I think it more likely that religion in the future will continue to morph, and liberalize. Nobody’s burned any witches (at least not in the west) for several generations now. Most religious people are not fundamentalist nut cases. I think it far more likely that religion will evolve into something else, but they’ll still call it religion.
If it’s going to go extinct, it will certainly take longer than one generation.