Table of Contents
- It Started With Ecumenism
- The New Mind
The world is embracing what is called “open-mindedness” and “liberation theology”. This way of thinking offers us the benefits of religion – the comfort of an purposeful world, a watchful god, an excuse for guilt, etc. – without the legalistic qualities of what one might call “static” religions – those whose doctrines and systems of morals are said to not change. The latter form of religion is ancient, traditional, and dependable (by that I mean you can depend on it being the same). The former is what is known as “spiritualism”. Ironically, it is equally as ancient, though its most recognized equivalent is the broadmindedness that constructed the ideology of Pantheism – where it overlapped with static religion long enough to be recorded in history. This broadmindedness pervades cultures of every century under the guise of being both new (and thus untried) and “reasonable”.
As reasonable as spiritualism may be, it is ridiculously unstable and thus exists predominantly in peaceful, “boiling pot” cultures (those that accept the incorporation of other cultures and their characteristics into its own). Such “boiling pot” cultures are established on the pretext of leading to peace or at least preventing the rise of more civil discord than already exists in that culture. Without question, peace does exist in such cultures, and it is because of the “boiling pot” characteristic. However, the benefits stop there. People then attempt to homogenize culture to obtain more peace than what was established by the culture being a “boiling pot”, and they do this through spiritualism. The resulting spiritualism takes the natural course in reducing itself to nothing, and people are then left with options of “static” religion, none at all, or generous philosophies one or two generations of intellectuals shared for a time.
In war-prone cultures, there is the unconscious desire for an established boundary so much so that it becomes an unspoken necessity of life. You must have a stance. Having a stance may lead to war with your neighbor, but at least you are dependable (in other words, other people know where you stand even if you aren’t on a friendly basis). It is possible to “switch sides” because there are sides/stances that a person can take.
While “static” religions can be the cause of war (some are geared that way), an accepting, “boiling pot” culture will not change them, and it is the latter that, according to history, will inevitably give way to a stable ideology just as anarchy typically gives way to an oligarchy. Whether that be desirable in the minds of the current public is out of the question. People like order, and people who find themselves in chaos will invariably choose something rigid to which they can cling. And thus it was that Rome, upon entering into turmoil, found itself abandoning Pantheism and converting to Christianity.
2. It Started With Ecumenism
As a self-proclaimed prophet (for about five seconds) and therefore completely ignorable by all sane and literate beings, I declare to you that in the future, Protestantism will become nothing more than spiritualism. Actually, this is probably an obvious trend for those of us outside the movement and sticking to our static, thousand-year-old-doctrines, but those caught in the heat of the times may be oblivious of it.
I almost feel sorry for the militant atheist. He may get rid of God and religion entirely, but religious activities will only become worse. Not only will he despise the religious for their philosophical nonsense and their obnoxious personalities, but he won’t have God to put the blame on. In short, the only personable God available will be the one not followed by mainstream religious… at least until persecution drives people back to Him. People are already ignoring Him, and there’s the problem.
While the problem may be in multiple religions, from my perspective, it is most apparent with modern Protestantism in America. (This is because my experience is limited and has nothing to do with any divine revelation concerning global statistics.)
The lackadaisical use of the term “Christian” has caused many to fall under the false premonition that all people are invited into a loose collective – a sort of ecumenism that is neither ecumenical nor permissible for any religion attempting to maintain permanent form throughout the centuries. “You’re religion is as good as mine” is a common thought, even though both parties in question may have profoundly different beliefs. Perhaps this mentality spawned as a countermeasure to the fragmentation within the Christian community, resulting in what are called “denominations”, and continuing such pattern until the particles are so small that they are labelled “independent non-denominational” or, synonymously, “free evangelical”. Their source of unity stems from simple doctrine of believe-based salvation (not faith-based because “faith” requires being “faithful”, which is something these “believers” naturally expect out of themselves whether it be the case or not).
What a unifying thought! – To be merely believing and thus receiving of eternal salvation. Belief in what? – No one can agree. It’s something about God and Jesus and that whole bit. They exist. Who are they? – People disagree. Oh well – no sense in saying the other party isn’t Christian simply because they might believe Jesus isn’t God or even a person. Maybe Jesus was only a spirit of good will. These doctrines are irrelevant! Too stiff! They only slightly differ from each other anyways. There is a gradual slide towards ecumenism, and it usually occurs with the passing of each generation: every successive generation tends to forget or push aside the static, traditional viewpoints of the generation prior to them. Thus, with each new generation, “believers” become increasingly more ecumenical and accepting – both theologically and morally-speaking. Already there is talk among certain Protestant circles of incorporating Mormonism into the definition of “Christian”. The Mormons themselves are already under this deception. At some point, this insatiable ecumenism will annex Catholicism, though the latter, which up until now has accepted Protestants as being among the “faithful”, may undoubtedly grow more exclusionary out of natural preservation.
The trend towards ecumenism has occurred precisely because of lack of static doctrine, the delicate nature of interpretation thereof, and the whimsical tendencies of the human heart with respect to morals and ethics. However, because doctrine and morals compliment each other, even the slightest desire in freer morals can cause a shift in doctrine towards something more accepting. Then, once the doctrines have shifted, the door opens to even more liberal activity. With each cycle, doctrines and moral standards degrade until at some point they either vanish or become so insignificant as to be rendered powerless.
Non-Christians are already finding themselves arguing with individuals who not only do not know their faith but have no religion to know. The best these hapless “believers” can do is read through random theological and moral texts in hope of discovering hints of a logical counterargument to accusations of indifference, ignorance, or, heaven forbid, idiocy, or at the very least invent some rhetoric by which they might weasel their way out of the debate.
What happens to society? With the degrading of doctrine and morals comes the loss of standard for law. But no doubt man with his infallible wisdom will come up with the solution.
3. The New Mind
If man is to be truly ecumenical, then so must his god be. The new god must fit the description as provided by everyone. Anyone logical enough to note that all of these ideas of God are contradictory may be asking, “How is it possible?” Naturally, though, “Where there is a will, there is a way” – rhetorically, we can argue anything we want since logic is directed towards the proof we desire (or proving what we desire to prove). We merely require good wordsmithing (rhetoric), since religious ideas are such pie-in-the-sky so as to be untestable by scientific means (or at least until the real God steps in to prove us wrong).
The solution to the god problem is simple: everyone’s idea of god is simply as they see him. (Technically from a scientific standpoint, this is equatable with atheism without the denial and is thus heresy in religions of static doctrine.) God must be relative – perhaps He appears differently to different individuals. To some, he is the tide of goodness in society (liberal theology), to others, the permeation of goodness throughout the universe (Buddhism), and to others, a being who becomes a personage of salvation for their sanity’s sake. Maybe some forms of god cannot lie about themselves and thus they must not know the other components of god (if they be deemed as such) exist. Maybe god discovers who he is through our own psychological constructs and idealistic fantasies – the reason for his creation of our species and the advancement of both him and us. The point of this is: we are all together, and once we are all together, we need not interact with this “god” – we need only experience “him”/”her” or, more appropriately, “it”.
Now that God is, for all intensive purposes, on the same plane as the morals and doctrines he/it was said to have established, obedience to strict religious traditions is such a moot point. Why not “Go where god leads you?” – Wherever your heart desires, which, note is exactly that and no more. I’m afraid the atheists beat us to that, but without having the pleasant experiences of yoga or the obligation to attend services and listen wholeheartedly to half-baked lies on some dedicated weekday.
The future of social religion looks very much like what Oprah is already asking of the world. One day, you may find yourself in a psychologist’s office, hoping for relieve from guilt of your recent activity either through self justification via rhetoric or by simple confession. Pardon my evangelistic statement, but while your there, do recall that “static” religion down the road – the one with the statue of Holy Mother Mary. Inside is usually a priest – one to whom an honest and confession of sincere repentance can be given, and through whom authentic forgiveness can be obtained. It’s your choice: either you choose the static religion the world rejects or allow your mind to transcend the borders of religion and enter the realm of feelings, of spiritualism, and dissatisfaction. My parting words of advice are: If you’re religious just to get to heaven, you better find out what you need to get there, because spiritualism is a very relaxing, very enticing detour.