The Future of Religion | Forum

Topic location: Forum home » Main Forum » Religion
Entropic Oct 14 '17
The topic of life after religion isn't a new idea, but it is becoming ever more relevant in a time when more people are distancing themselves from specific affiliations. One of the main arguments against moving towards a more secular society is the notion that one needs god to be a moral & productive person. Even when Nietzsche said god is dead, he still warned against civilization embracing nihilism.

There's a podcast interview between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson in which they talk at length about the future role of religious archetypes, the value of societal honesty, and free speech. You can watch it at the following link, but it's almost two hours, so I'll sum it up as best as I can to make my points.

Anyway, the discussion boils down to Sam Harris's position that society should just pick all of the good bits from all of religions while tossing out the rest and Jordan Peterson's position that he'd be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Harris's goals largely aim to find spiritual fulfillment without risking people uncritically accepting literal interpretations of stories, which has lead to much suffering.

Peterson believes that Christianity is the richest system for people to learn morality and  that the mythological archetypes just need updating.

The main thing they agree on is that free speech is crucial for allowing the required criticism of dogmatic literalism, which would have several benefits.

I think Peterson might be right about the role stories play in helping people figure out how they want to behave, but I disagree with him that Christianity must be that vehicle. In fact, I agree with Harris that society would be better off by picking the best bits and chucking the rest. Where I disagree with him is that I don't believe society at large can naturally remain in a state of irreligiosity.

So, the narrative Peterson lays out for why & how people behave religiously seems to make sense, but it doesn't follow it is necessarily Christianity that will be it. It also doesn't follow that society will necessarily achieve having no archetypal system at all, since it's something that people do naturally.

Assuming we don't kill ourselves, I think either Islam will eventually supplant Christianity and plunge society into another dark age, or religious archetypes will shift fully onto technology. I think eventually AI will reach a god-like level of sophistication, which is one reason people are so scared of it. But hey, that could just be the early signs of propitiation towards AI in the future.

Internet archetypes already exist with memes, so I really don't think it's too far fetched to think that the existence of a true AI would crystalize any given meme as a religious icon (I'm lookin' at you Pepe).

I don't believe there is a solution to the problem of people achieving pathological dogma.  I think this fact will be compounded further by the fact that the existence of a super powerful AI doesn't require the same religious faith that current religions do, as there is evidence we are actively moving towards that, even if we don't know what it will look like yet. I haven't seen any superstition about it arise yet, but some already believe that the first true AI already exists in hiding. While I don't personally believe that, I don't think it's insignificant that some do already.

AI will be disruptive to all parts of life, and religion will be no exception.I don't think religion is going to be going anywhere, but I think a strange new version of it will emerge.

I just wanted to lay out something I've been thinking about for a while to see if it makes sense to anybody else.
CM Oct 14 '17
You see the trend in the court of public opinion, e.g.  ease at which The Christopher Hitchens of the world can openly criticize things, even 200 years ago they could not.

Crowley's encounter with Aiwass might have been bullshit, but the concept of Aeonic transition was not.  The charting of the electromagnetic spectrum was the "exodus" from theism.  And when the Vatican builds an observatory, and backs off a literal interpretation the religion is relegated to an existence like the Monarchy in the UK.

The trend is "Scientific method" as the go to:  "pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance."

Definition 2 wins again.

This has of course been met with a proliferation of Mega Churches.

These growing in popularity represent the evangelical motivation, fear. They all have this "Take back the world before it's too late." mentality.  

And this is where the future gets unfortunate for people sick of:

This is the battleground on which religion and the invariably linked prejudices will die.

The future of all literal religion is death through abomination. Death by fashionable taboo eradication, and ultimately becoming cherry picked away to another Aesop's fabels... 

And science fills the void for all outstanding unknowns.

It will be around in a few hundred years, in a way not all dissimilar from today's lapsed Catholics.

The Forum post is edited by CM Oct 14 '17
SIN_JONES Oct 15 '17
To reiterate a point made on a different topic, we are already witnessing this now.   I just think people are so submerged, they wouldn't even recognize it if you drew them a diagram.   For me, knowing the territory does not draw the map.  Mostly it's sitting by the river watching your enemies float by.

Issue Reporting

Report any issues to He may, or may not, get back to you in a timely manner.