Click the title to read how a hundred plus geniuses/thinkers/intellectual scientists (from string theorist Brian Greene to ex-Monkee Mike Nesmith, by way of folks like Esther Dyson ) answered this very crucial question for the church in these amazing days (where God is speaking wake-up calls to the church through "secular" people and technologies)....
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT INVENTION IN THE PAST TWO THOUSAND YEARS?
Interesting they chose the last 2,ooo years as the time frame, recognizing (at least) the Christian era...I wonder if anyone gave "Chrisianity" as the answer...
Actually, one of my favorite answers is by one of my favorite thinkers, Stephen Johnson who said, winkingly:
Given the amount of self-reference in the answers so far, I'm tempted to nominate
this very discussion list as the greatest invention of the past two thousand
years, and hopefully out-meta all the other contenders
..before giving his intriguing nomination:
I think part of the problem here is the fact that inventions by nature are
cumulative, and so when asked to pick out the single most important one, you're
inevitably faced with a kind of infinite regress: if the automobile is the most
important invention, then why not the combustible engine? (And so onŠ) In that
spirit — and in the spirit of nominating things you happen to be working on
professionally — I'd nominate the ultimate cumulative invention: the city. Or at
least the modern city's role as an information storage and retrieval device.
Before there were webs and telegraphs making information faster, there were
cities bringing information physically closer together, and organizing it in
intelligible ways. ...
The printing press came up more than once...very telling...especially since that's what catapulted and vehichled the Reformation. What will do it for this current reformation? Obviusly the Internet is part of that answer, maybe Google (or Google Image...recognizing that the last Reformation was Word; this one is Image) in partcular; but I am sure it will eb more multiplex this time...
Re: the "next" printing press (one appropriate for a "new orality culture," as Walter Ong would coin it or "EPIC culture" as Len Sweet would have it), see this article, and it's sequel linked at bottom; especially references to Leonard Shlain, who said in the seminal " The Alphabet Versus the Goddess: the Conflict Between Word and Image":
The Protestant Reformation was clearly not a return to the CENTER of the New Testament; but, I submit, a wrenching sociological shift wrought by a new information technology dependent on users being alpha-literate. This, in turn, changed the collective perception of culture. The printing press made the Reformation's rigid and repressive self-discipline posible.(349)
The religious wars that wracked Europe...occurred ONLY in those lands impacted by the printing press..(361)