I very much like this insightful post; it points out that the big theological question of the ancient world was “where does the sun go at night?“, and that it was answered only relatively recently in human history — and answered with such resounding certainty that the question seems trivial to everyone now.
And how was it answered?
I think it’s an awkward fact for theology that, as far as I can see, a lot of theological issues have been conclusively solved, but all of them were solved outside the field. I don’t see this changing – one of the vibrant issues across a number of academic disciplines, including theology, is the very broad area of ‘consciousness’. I very strongly suspect we’ll see key breakthroughs in my lifetime, a real shift of understanding about what constitutes awareness, consciousness, intelligence, how these things can originate, how to define them and so on – but these breakthroughs will almost certainly come from the computer science departments, from the evolutionary biologists. It’s hard to see how they might even come from a theology department.
We’re just waiting for the theological corpse to rot away now. I don’t expect to see religion go away in my lifetime, but I don’t think it’s too much to hope that theology will get the disrespect and contempt it deserves.