Futurologists are paying new attention to religion — a departure from previous times when they consigned faith to having a minor and fading role in a technological future.
In the Futurist magazine (January/February), respected futurologist, Ronald Sellers identifies nine major trends among religions of the world.
01: Despite critics’ predictions that secularization would overcome religious faith, we find increasing interest in religious commitment on the increase in countries long denied the opportunity of free religious expression, especially in Russia, Afghanistan, China and Cuba.
02: In areas of major moral decision making, scientists and religionists will remain in serious dispute over such matters as human cloning and fetal-tissue research.
03: On the other hand, science and religion will come closer to harmony with each other in such human activities as the practice of medicine, psychology and social welfare.
04: A continuing expansion fom Middle and Far Eastern religions into the Western world. In terms of numbers, Islamic and Hindu communities will continue their energetic expansion into hitherto unsettled nations, creating new scenarios for inter-religoius strife.
05: In some areas, one will find increased governmental activities in regulating the freedom of dissenters in their nations to have full religious expression.
06: Despite this, religious minority groups will flourish, often underground, through communications via the Internet with similar groups globally.
07: In North America especially, the current trend towards greater blending of faiths in marriages and families will continue, as will the move towards establishing full communion among mainline Protestant bodies.
08: At the same time, the appeal of an evangelical, individualist religious faith will grow even more than today. This embraces individual conversion, personal spirituality, and local autonomy of the congregations.
09: Sellers finds, despite the negative public reaction to them, various cults and religious scams will continue to flourish. As the pressures of living in a highly complex, physically dangerous and religiously confusing society grow, so too will the appeal of messiahs and various forms of escapist movements for seekers.
(The Futurist, 4916 St. Elmo Avenue, Bathesda, MD 20814-5089)
— By Erling Jorstad