THE FAITH OF THE FUTURE
The idea of - one God, one world - implies an ultimate unification of all religion and all government. From every present-day indication, the future world government will be democratic. But what about the religious structure in times to come? What is the form that the worldwide spiri-tual institution of mankind is likely to take?
Speaking from the standpoint of the reality of social evolution, it may be perceived that all institutions and organizations must inevitably fulfill the law of the survival of the fittest. This has happened with respect to government: democracy has triumphed as the most viable political structure and has proven to be more fit than other outmoded forms such as theocracy, patriarchy, oligar-chy, monarchy, totalitarianism, etc. This singular fact, the success of demo-cracy, has great significance regarding the future form of religion, i.e., it must inevitably be democratic as well. Religious autocracy, hierarchy, and monastic-ism, with dictatorial priestly councils issuing edicts, drafting canon laws, and formulating so-called infallible creeds, are all incompatible with democratic congregationalism and will gradually fade from the religious scene. (In this country, non-democratic religious polity will come to be perceived as “un-American.”)*
As to the Faith itself, which of the major world religions will finally win out still remains to be seen. The present ascendancy of Western civilization - its English language, its culture (style of dress, food, music, entertainment), and its socio-economic structures - seems to be spreading over the entire globe. This phenomenon is a powerful impetus for the eventual ascendancy of Christ-ianity over all other forms of religion.
Hence, the writer sees the likelihood of the future religion’s being:
*Until the world comes to accept it, reactionary resistance to congregationalism is sure to come. In March of 1994, the head of the Episcopal Church spoke out against democracy in his own denomination. Bishop Edmond Browning, the top cleric of the Episcopal Church in America decried “creeping congregationalism” in the American branch of Anglicanism. He said, “We need to hold tightly to the notions of our mutual responsibility, our interdepend-ence and our accountability to one another as members of a eucharistic fellowship.” He re-minded Episcopalians that the Anglican Church was founded on a hierarchical basis built around the institution of bishops, and not around autonomous local churches.
2) exoteric (open, gregarious)
3) voluntary (non-coercive)
4) non-creedal (recognizing diversity)
5) scientific (rational, non-superstitious)
In such an eventuality, the highest form of ethic will be that of the Sermon on the Mount. The “spirit of Christ,” which embodies enlightened, altruistic egalitarianism, will prevail. A great scientist-cleric of recent times, Teilhard de Chardin, stated his belief about the direction of religion as follows:
Indeed, the more I strive, in love and wonder, to measure the huge movements of past Life in the light of palæontology, the more I am convinced that this majestic process, which no-thing can arrest, can achieve its consummation only in becom-ing Christianized...Faith in God and faith in the world: these two springs of energy, each the source of a magnificent spirit-ual impulse, must certainly be capable of effectively uniting in such a way as to produce a resulting upward movement.
The Future Of Man, pp. 79, 80