I like to dream up future scenarios with just one or two set conditions in the proposition and see where they might go as kind of thought experiments. It’s a game that any number can play, and the fun is in seeing how each person’s logic, imagination and present view of the world lead them to different conclusions. The great part is unless you live long enough to reach the future you envision, no one can prove you wrong. Though we don’t learn much about the future, we can discover quite a lot about the various ways we see things:
Imagine the world a few or several generations from now. Our civilization has somehow survived (after some serious casualties) the climate crisis, the oil crisis, the food supply crisis, the radical Islam crisis, the emergent diseases crisis, the nuclear proliferation crisis, the overpopulation crisis (partly from big losses caused by those other crises), and a couple of crises we haven’t even seen coming down the tubes yet. It’s far from perfect but the world is basically stable at least for a while.
Imagine that society’s interest in the present major religions has greatly diminished. The U.S., or whatever it is called, is now even more secular than Europe was in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The familiar religions are not an important part of most people’s lives, and the very few who still practice them are viewed as quaint, quirky, or whimsical, similar to the way we presently view Civil War reenactment groups or the Society for Creative Anachronism.
Without the ubiquitous presence of the major religions, what would happen with people’s tendency for magical thinking, superstition or religiosity? Would they diminish and would people become increasingly rational in all their affairs, or not? Would superstitions both old or new fade away, continue to thrive or even increase? Would new religions spring up, based on yet unknown developments in society, science or technology? How would society react to these things? Would freedom of thought and belief continue or would such things be discouraged, suppressed or even outlawed?
What do you imagine?