An Enemy Within: The Bicameral Threat to Institutional Religion in the Twenty-First Century
An Internal Report to the Holy See by The Pontifical Academy of Sciences in conjunction with the John Templeton Foundation, based upon investigations inaugurated July 23—Sep 16 2093
The past century has witnessed what Sujeit describes as “a joyful if weedy renaissance of Faith in the face of the secular … an inevitable reaction to science’s vendetta against the soul”. This has been a source of ongoing consternation to the secular community. Surely, they say, the more science explains, the less we need to invoke the supernatural. Surely the “God of the Gaps” diminishes with each new scientific breakthrough. How then to explain not just the persistence but an actual resurgence of faith in a world where every last vestige of humanity can be “explained” by the invocation of some brain structure or chemical process?
Ironically, it is thanks to the empiricists themselves that we can answer this question. It has been known for generations that Faith flourishes most strongly when people feel threatened and powerless. What could be more threatening — what could make a soul feel more powerless — than an endless litany of scientific “discoveries” hammering home our utter insignificance in a vast and indifferent cosmos, reducing every flicker of the Human soul to chemicals and electricity, telling us that the very notion of free will is logically absurd in a mechanistic universe? Science itself has provoked this return to God — and once again we see His Hand in that precisely-designed mechanism ensuring that our faith is strongest when it is most desperately needed.
While we may thank this divine feedback loop for reversing the last generation’s exodus from the Church of Rome, it has also played a role in a recent proliferation of cults whose elements borrow from a variety of pagan and pantheistic sources, and whose tenets pose a fundamental obstacle to Salvation. Such cults have always been with us, springing to life on stony ground and withering just as quickly. The Abrahamic religions, rooted in richer soil, have outlasted them all and continue to thrive even under the tumultuous conditions of the late twenty-first century.
These are, however, times of uncertainty; and in the face of modern challenges we may find ourselves tempted to turn our backs on the wider world (as have certain Protestant denominations). Such retreat in the face of adversity would not only go against the Scriptural admonition to “go and make disciples of all nations”, but also risks dire consequence in its own right. The Redeemer Gyland offers a stark case in point. It has been almost a year since the alliance between the Southern and Central Baptists broke down, and three months since we have been able to establish contact with anyone from either side of that conflict. (It is no longer practical to board the gyland directly— any craft approaching within two kilometers is fired upon — but remote surveillance has yielded no evidence of human activity since March 28. The UN believes that the weapons fire is automated, and has declared Redeemer off-limits until those defenses exhaust their ammunition.)
In contrast to the failed retreat of the southern Baptists, other faiths have tried “broadening their appeal” to “keep up with changing times”. While this has an undeniable short-term appeal, it too would be ultimately self-defeating. It is certainly easier to join a group which makes no real demands of its adherents — which tolerates sin in the name of “diversity” and “equal rights” — but it is also much easier to leave such a group. The existence of moral codes and constraints, arbitrary though they may appear to outsiders, serve to ensure that only the truly faithful enter the Church. It is no accident that strict religious communities have longer lifespans than secular (or even liberal theistic) ones.
Historically, therefore, the Holy See has never had cause to feel threatened by the transient appeal of the cults forever flowering around our ankles in the morning, only to blow away by nightfall. To date, we have also taken this attitude of benign tolerance regarding the so-called Bicameral Order.
It is the considered opinion of this committee, however, that continuing complacency would be a terrible mistake in this case. We believe the Order represents a threat not only to the Holy Church of Rome, but to all Abrahamic religions.
The Limits of Science
The purview of science is a narrow one: it deals with questions of how the multiverse works. The deeper issues of why the multiverse exists— and of our rightful place therein— are beyond its reach. The Church is not threatened by the procession of discoveries and insights hailing from the scientific method, because worldly matters are not within its domain. As St. Gould famously opined, Science and Faith occupy “non-overlapping magisteria”. It is no more the place of the Church to make testable hypotheses than it is the place of Science to pass judgment on matters of the spirit.
It is perhaps too-infrequently noted, however, that science can claim no better understanding than the Church even in the matter of how the universe works.
This is a surprisingly uncontroversial view even among scientists, most of whom admit not only that science cannot claim to accurately describe reality, but that it cannot even claim to approach greater accuracy as it progresses. Yes, Einstein’s physics produce more accurate predictions than Newton’s— but a model in which celestial bodies are affixed to a series of concentric crystal spheres produces more accurate predictions of planetary motion than one which posits only a single sphere. Is it more “realistic”?
So while Science may produce ever-more-accurate predictions about how reality behaves under known conditions, it can never claim to understand what lies within that black box (a century after its introduction, Smolin’s “Breeder Multiverse” remains untested and untestable even in principle— a mathematical construct to be taken on faith no less than the existence of God Himself). Ultimately, all science is mere correlation. For that matter, there was a time before science even existed when people turned to religion to understand the physical universe; and while the thought of deities hurling lightning bolts may seem fanciful to modern minds, it was then (as science claims to be now) the best explanation available to limited human understanding.
The fundamental difference between Science and Scripture is not, therefore, that scientific insights are necessarily more realistic than those based upon Faith. The difference is no more and no less than predictive power. Scientific insights have proven to be better predictors than Spiritual ones, at least in worldly matters; they prevail not because they are true, but simply because they work.
The Bicameral Threat
The Bicamerals represent a stark anomaly in this otherwise consistent landscape. We have exhaustively reviewed their publications and the predictions contained therein. Their methodologies appear to be explicitly faith-based, and they venture unapologetically into metaphysical realms which defy empirical analysis— yet they yield results with consistently more predictive power than conventional science. (How they do this is not known; our best evidence suggests some kind of rewiring of the temporal lobe in a way that amplifies their connection to the Divine.)
It would be dangerously naïve to regard this as a victory for traditional religion. It is not. It is a victory for a radical sect barely half a century old, and the cost of that victory has been to demolish the wall between science and faith. The Church’s concession of the physical realm informed the historic armistice which has allowed faith and reason to coexist in separate and inviolable domains to this day. One may find it heartening to see faith ascendant once again across the Human spectrum; but it is not our faith. Its hand still guides lost sheep away from the soulless empiricism of secular science, but the days in which it guided them into the loving arms of Our Savior are waning.
The Bicameral Order does not proselytize, preferring to stay out of the public eye (a suspicious sign in and of itself). Nonetheless, its ability to work miracles on demand cannot help but draw notice. While the ultimate consequences of their arrogance will be evident to anyone familiar with Genesis’s metaphor of the forbidden fruit, the inevitable near-term impact is to put more venerable institutions at a significant disadvantage.
Under current circumstances, therefore, we foresee the collapse of the Abrahamic religions — possibly even of the Dharmic and Taoist faiths to which the Bicamerals claim at least tenuous kinship — within as little as a single generation.
Having exhaustively considered and prayed upon the alternatives, we implore His Holiness to pursue a clandestine alliance of the Abrahamic religions, pursuant to meeting this common threat to our existence. The conflicts and internecine squabbles that have historically occurred between our respective faiths pale into insignificance next to the crisis currently brewing. The task before us will be daunting enough even in the company of powerful allies; standing alone, it would likely prove impossible.
God help us, we see no recourse but drastic action.
 Of course, those who can see beyond the nihilistic proclamations of the secular press know that science tells us no such thing. Science vindicates Christianity, by casting light on the tools God uses to shape His creation: the Darwinian processes that built the shells we inhabit, the temporal lobe’s “divinity transceiver” connecting us with the Almighty— even the way in which rituals such as the Eucharist enhance oxytocin levels amongst our parishioners, inspiring them to greater heights of generosity and giving.
 It must also be acknowledged that the clergy’s recent acceptance of therapeutic neuroediting has spared it the unfortunate — and often inflammatory — “journalistic coverage” of past decades.