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Future of Religion: Series Overview

Introduction

Introduction

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 AslanDiana Butler BassMichael CooganDavid CrummGrace Davie,  Jennifer Michael HechtBrad HirschfieldJeffrey KripalKwok Pui-lanMartin MartyAlister McGrathMark NollMark Silk,Huston SmithJoshua Stanton, and Rodney Stark.

Redefining Community: Religion of the Future

Redefining Community: Religion of the Future

by Reza Aslan (University of California, Riverside)

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.

The Power of Experiential Faith

The Power of Experiential Faith

Diana Butler Bass (Author, speaker, commentator)

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.

Cultural Integration: Beyond Wish Fulfillment

Cultural Integration: Beyond Wish Fulfillment

Michael Coogan (Harvard Divinity School, Stonehill College)

Religions of the future will need to reconsider structures of authority and their relationships with the societies around them.

The Double-Helix of Religion: A Spinning Future

The Double-Helix of Religion: A Spinning Future

David Crumm (Editor, ReadTheSpirit.com)

The once-potent idea that religion must be accepted as an authoritative revelation of the Divine has been replaced by religion as a quest for spiritual solace and moral strength to make it through each stressful day.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 Religious Life of Modern Europe: Understanding Relevant Factors

The Religious Life of Modern Europe: Understanding Relevant Factors

Grace Davie (University of Exeter, UK)

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.

Solace Without the Supernatural

Solace Without the Supernatural

Jennifer Michael Hecht (Author, poet, professor)

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.

The Rise of the Both/Ands: Redefining the Spiritual Project

The Rise of the Both/Ands: Redefining the Spiritual Project

Rabbi Brad Hirschfield (Author, radio host, President of CLAL)

Will we see new and creative uses of ancient traditions that celebrate the ability to use faith in powerful new ways?

Why Limit Ourselves? The Future of Religion

Why Limit Ourselves? The Future of Religion

Jeffrey J. Kripal (Rice University)

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?

A Transnational Approach to Religion

A Transnational Approach to Religion

Kwok Pui-lan (President-Elect, American Academy of Religion; Episcopal Divinity School)

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.

Like the Present, Only Longer: The Future of Religion

Like the Present, Only Longer: The Future of Religion

Martin E. Marty (University of Chicago)

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.

Why God Won't Go Away: Reflections on the

Why God Won't Go Away: Reflections on the "New Atheism"

Alister McGrath (Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education, King's College London)

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.

Protestants, Catholics, and Global Christianity

Protestants, Catholics, and Global Christianity

An Interview with Mark Noll (Notre Dame University)

The revered historian Mark Noll reflects on the changing religious landscape at home and abroad.

Religion by Choice

Religion by Choice

Mark Silk (Professor of Religion in Public Life, Trinity College)

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.

Secular Society but Religious Animals

Secular Society but Religious Animals

Huston Smith (Author, Professor Emeritus Syracuse University)

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.

Cyber Dialogue:  The Future of Inter-Religious Engagement

Cyber Dialogue: The Future of Inter-Religious Engagement

Joshua M. Z. Stanton (Founding Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue)

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.

Not a Time of Slumping Religion

Not a Time of Slumping Religion

An Interview with Rodney Stark (Co-Director, Institute for the Studies of Religion at Baylor University)

An eminent sociologist of religion reflects on Christianity in the United States and religion around the world.

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