How Will Religion Evolve?

The stereotypical Sci-Fi writer is either an atheist or an agnostic.  I’ve read more than a few science fiction novels that glowingly predicted the day when humanity “outgrows” religion.  Somehow, I doubt that day will ever come.  For better or worse, religion is here to stay, and I would find it far more interesting to read a science fiction novel about how religion might evolve and adapt to the science, technology, and cultural values of a futuristic society.

Today, I want to share a few links that relate somewhat to the future of religion.  First, we have an interview with an anonymous woman who is in what she calls a “polyamorous” marriage, meaning a marriage of more than two people.  Now, I’m a pretty open-minded guy, but even I am struggling to accept some of the things this woman has to say.  It’s easy to imagine a future where our religious leaders come into conflict with the polyamorous community.  Click here to read “A Love Bigger Than Two” by John Shore.

Next, we have an article on free will courtesy of Self Aware Patterns.  The author takes a look at whether or not we human beings can be held morally responsible for our actions.  From a scientific perspective, maybe it’s all a matter of genes and environment.  Even the non-deterministic physics of quantum mechanics, often sighted as proof that free will exists, might not prove anything of the sort.  Click here to read “Free Will?  Free of What?” by Michael Smith.

Finally, in a surprisingly candid interview with the atheist editor of an Italian newspaper, Pope Francis discusses his vision for the future of the Roman Catholic Church.  In Pope Francis’s typically enigmatic fashion, it’s hard to tell what exactly he plans to do, but it sounds like big changes are coming.  Click here to read “The Pope: How the Church will Change” by Eugenio Scalfari.

Please note that I do not necessarily agree with or endorse the views presented in any of these articles.  I offer them merely as food for thought and hopefully as a springboard for further conversation on how religious beliefs might evolve in the future.

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5 Responses to How Will Religion Evolve?

  1. Thanks for the link!

    While I’m not a believer, I’m open to the possibility that religion will still be around in the future. If the old religions fall, there may be new ones to arise in their place, which may consider themselves to be post-religious but fulfill many of the same functions.

    If the old ones do survive, they will evolve into something a modern day religious person may find shocking, much as a religious person from 1500 would probably find today’s religions shocking.

    • James Pailly says:

      I take issue with anyone who tries to claim that their religion has remained unchanged for hundreds or thousands of years. Religion has to adapt to the changes in society. At its best, religion will challenge a society’s faults; at its worst, religion will participate in those faults, assuming it didn’t cause those faults in the first place. In any case, the history of religion is about change.

      As for having all the old religions fall, it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. Who still worships Zeus or Athena? At one time, monotheism was considered just as radical and subversive as atheism is today—perhaps more so.

      • Good points. I think mainstream religion is largely a reflection of the society it’s operating in. When society is divided (as in the US in the mid 19th century), religion tends to be divided as well.

        On old pagan gods, it’s worth remembering that the early Christians were called atheists because they denied every god but their own.

  2. Lobo7922 says:

    The Singularity will become a religion, or maybe it’s already, just look to all the similarities, eternal life, super powers, glorious future, etc.

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