Future of Religion: Series Overview
For centuries, Western thinkers assumed that religion would decline throughout the world as scientific ideas spread and replace "superstition" with modern, rational, secular ways of life. In recent decades, however, that assumption has faded. Across the globe, religion remains an influential force, one that impacts how we view ourselves, each other, and the world around us. As new forms of worship and belief continue to evolve in the 21st century, we have asked thought leaders from a variety of religious traditions to talk about the future of religion. What trends will influence how people across the spectrum of faiths worship and practice? What are the challenges and opportunities that will confront faith leaders? What are the controversial issues? Will cooperation or conflict between religions be dominant in the years ahead? What reform movements will shape the future of belief?
Contributors include: Reza Aslan, Diana Butler Bass, Michael Coogan, David Crumm, Grace Davie, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Brad Hirschfield, Jeffrey Kripal, Kwok Pui-lan, Martin Marty, Alister McGrath, Mark Noll, Mark Silk,Huston Smith, Joshua Stanton, and Rodney Stark.
With apologies to Friedrich Nietzsche, God is most definitely not dead. Indeed, God is a stronger, more global force in the world today than he has been in generations.
Religion's future depends on its ability to renew itself in ways that enrich human flourishing and our capacity to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Religions of the future will need to reconsider structures of authority and their relationships with the societies around them.
The once-potent idea that religion must be accepted as an authoritative revelation of the Divine has been replaced by religion as a quest for spiritual solace and moral strength to make it through each stressful day.
The current state of religion in Europe is paradoxical. Religion has re-entered the public square and demands a response, but a largely unchurched population has difficulty dealing with these issues.
There have been many religions that gave people solace, helped them bear their lives, and led them to celebrate without any supernaturalism. I think this may be where we are headed.
Will we see new and creative uses of ancient traditions that celebrate the ability to use faith in powerful new ways?
Why not write ourselves anew, so that we can begin to resolve our pressing global problems and crises, so many of which are aided and abetted by our present religious beliefs and practices?
It is myopic and colonial to use a Eurocentric lens to gauge the diverse religious phenomena of humankind and to project the future of religion. . . . We must adopt a contextual, multiaxial, and transnational approach.
Traditional forces, by adapting, will survive. They speak to the souls of people everywhere. They offer constantly changing forms of community in a world of extreme individualism.
The evidence indicates that belief in God is surviving the ridicule and derision directed against it by the New Atheism. God just hasn't gone away.
The revered historian Mark Noll reflects on the changing religious landscape at home and abroad.
Where once we considered religious identity as something given to us in childhood and retained unless and until we change it, now we are more inclined to see it as a description of what we do and believe in the present.
When our condition is dire, we cry out for as much help as we can get. Logically, the maximum help would derive from God who is omnipotent.
What is most remarkable about the age of social media and online tools is the extent to which practitioners of different religions interact with one another.
An eminent sociologist of religion reflects on Christianity in the United States and religion around the world.