Does God have a place in 21st century human affairs? For many, the answer is an unapologetic yes. Belief in a higher power, they argue, is the foundation of human consciousness and the soul of all social, political, and scientific progress. Further, some claim, humans are biologically predisposed to embrace religion and require faith to live moral lives. Others are far more skeptical. For them, adherence to faith and religious tradition serves only to fracture communities and prevent humanity from embracing a more enlightened, reasoned, and just social order. As we look to the future in uncertain times, should spirituality and religion play a central role in human evolution, innovation, and discovery? Or has God become obsolete? Arguing for the motion is Heather Berlin, a cognitive neuroscientist with Michael Shermer, founder of The Skeptics Society and best-selling author. Arguing against the motion is Dr. Deepak Chopra, integrative medicine advocate and best-selling author with Dr. Anoop Kumar, physician and author of "Michaelangelo's Medicine." John Donvan moderates. This conversation was taped on March 27, 2018.
· Humans no longer need God to explain the unknown. Rather than turning to faith or religious tradition, modern society should rely on scientific and reasoned inquiry to address today's challenges and questions.
· Morality is independent of God. From the oppression of women and LGBT people to the institution of slavery and genocide, religious groups have used faith to justify society's worst practices.
· Belief in God stifles modernization: studies show that intensely religious countries are less innovative and produce less patents than those that aren't. It is science, rather, that has been at the heart of innovation and discovery.
· According to NASA, only 4 percent of the universe is known matter; the rest remains largely a mystery. Science alone cannot illuminate or explain this large gap.
· Scientific progress requires God. The creators of today's most powerful innovations - from nuclear arms to gene editing technologies - require an awareness of consciousness, and must be guided by a belief in a common good to ensure these technologies don't destroy society as a whole.
The secularization thesis is a myth: a new study by Pew Research Center shows that the world's Christian and Muslim populations are continuing to grow - even if younger generations don't attend church.