Wow. A spectacularly interesting article by David Brooks on two issues upon which I am largely uninformed: religion and neuroscience. In his article “Neural Buddhists”, Brooks posits that the arguments between scientists and the religious will not be the current spat over the existence of God. The argument will pit advocates claiming scientific proof of the universal tendency of man toward a generalized spirituality and orthodox religious folks still claiming the need for their particular brand of religious worship. Brooks states that in the future the holy writings and practices of all major world religions may just be defined as “cultural artifacts built on top of universal human traits.”
Science is increasingly able to study and identify the physical evidence of moral and ethical transcendence in humans, which in its distilled essence looks more like the ethical underpinnings of Buddhism than anything else. Brooks predicts a future where science actually argues on behalf of the mysticism of universal love, leaving current believers of orthodox religious practices to argue that they aren’t some sort of Model T Ford and have value as a way to experience the infinite.
I guess. As a lapsed Episcopalian who took history and sociology of of science courses to get out of my college science requirement, I’m guessing this is what Brooks means. So break out the prayer flags and chant om, we’re all Buddhists now (or not.)