I think that in our time a new Renaissance might emerge, this time back towards the unseen, back towards God. I mean God in a descriptive sense: that bundle of nature's variables which is so entwined in complexity as to seem deterministic.
First causes and ultimate ends may be beyond the ken of human rationale, but human intuition is very familiar with the concepts of risk and hedging ultimate uncertainty. I recently made a point about Enlightenment empiricism having usurped the frame of the Overton Window: humanism is the new religion and the perfectibility of man is the ultimate end. The idea, once common, that a higher power is at work with unknowable ends, i.e. it is not for man to judge another, is at once dismissed and scorned as not adequately scientific; but, what arranges human affairs and why does order emerge when there is clearly no omniscient control over all the variables that make up human interactions? Is it the laws of man or the laws of nature?
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the self-evident truth that men are created equal, on what did he base this truth? I reckon that TJ, though not a practicing Christian, was a man of God by his abiding sense of intellectual humility. An awe of nature's mystery does not make one a slave to supernatural forces and admitting that human reason may never fully grasp the natural world we inhabit is not a declaration of scientific defeat. Adam Smith is credited with the concept of the Invisible Hand (he may have cribbed a few of his most famous ideas), but as a devout Presbyterian, was he not just injecting a description of uncertainty into his important work on economics?
I claim that humans are primarily economic rather than social. I believe that the phenomena of pricing scarce resources is a like electro-magnetism, the knowledge of which leads to a better quality of life. The first causes of electro-magnetism are poorly understood, as are those of gravity or tectonic movement or any number of ideas which we use to arrange our lives, but which lack a complete, unifying explanation. The benefits of pricing as a result of free interaction is an increase in available capital from which other humans may take the risk of creative endeavors to build even more capital. Like waves crashing against rocks over eons creating a finer grain of sand, the slow movement of free interaction and the intellectual seepage of the NAP into the collective unconscious has created an abundance that outweighs anything in the last 10,000 years.
So is it the laws of man of the laws of nature which have arranged for current state of affairs? Might there be a tangible benefit from admitting that a slow moving, unseen process is responsible for the modernity around us?