I'm always curious about social trends and the shape of things to come. It is through this fascination, I've gathered some information and patterns to suggest where the future of spirituality is going and what is after postmodernism. I believe postmodernism is already dead. Unfortunately, it will take years (and even decades in some pockets of culture) to unfold the new era of where things are going. I believe Christians need to be prepared for the challenges ahead as we desire to understand our culture and communicate the gospel to a dying world.
Here are the shifts that I believe will radically alter the spiritual landscape of the west:
1. The Science of Faith – Science has, in the past steered away from non-empirical areas of faith. But under increased pressure to explain the unexplainable, scientists are moving quickly to provide a framework of reducing faith to 'scientific' components. Science must do this to restore the lost power from the rise of postmodernism and rejection of a naturalistic modern progression. The day will come where issues of faith, belief and spirituality will be considered 0's & 1's that came from evolution. Science will tell us why we have faith or beliefs and attempt to strip validity of all religion. [Eg. One such area of study is memetics, an approach to evolutionary models of information transfer based on the concept of the meme. 'Meme ' is a term often used in blogging about the viral transfer of information through blogs but it actually was coined in the biological field prior by Richard Dawkins in his book "The Selfish Gene".]
2. Christianity as a Psychiatric Diagnosis and social ill – Under the 'new' science of the mind, people who are of faith will be considered in need of treatment. As science enters into the faith equation all religions will be seen as 'Viruses of the Mind' or Faith Suffers as Richard Dawkins writes. To deal with man's true problems will require treatment to remove the guilt, dogma and false belief structures imposed by religion. True therapeutic healing can only begin after the Christian rejects the superstition of faith. Dawkins argues that religion may be "natural" but like a viral infection Christianity is still a disease that must be eradicated for the good of humanity.
3. The death of Pluralism & Postmodernism – Religions will be blamed for the wars, prejudices and intolerance in our world. There will no longer be a tolerance to religious differences. As all religions are lumped into one malady, no religion will be considered right, except the faith in science & naturalism. Pluralism and the relativity of postmodernism will be rejected as frameworks that are naive and unworkable.
4. The Rise of the New Atheist – All of these shifts will be aggressively pursued by thinkers who are no longer tolerant of any religious faith. As described by Wired: "The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there's no excuse for shirking." (Source: Wired, The Crusade Against Religion Oct 23rd 2006) Wired claims the three leading atheists are Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett. Also see the Bright's Net , a collective of this new atheist. (Logo from their website) These atheists will not stop until all religion is labeled evil.
"We certainly have been placed in an interesting time. In fact it is not much different than what Machen was experiencing in the early 1900's. We have a rise of liberalism within the church labeled as Emergent. And we have the rise of scientism outside the church labeled as Progess. Both are trying to regain ground. One attempts to gain ground they lost to the evangelicals, and the other ground they lost to the postmoderns. The New Liberalism and the New Science which are not really new at all are they?," Tom Moller, an elder at Kaleo Church .