Religions of the future

Religion provides much value to society. It offers a community for discussion, friendship, sharing and love. It also offers helpful teachings that benefit both ourselves and society in everyday life. However, the central tenet of a religion such as Christianity is the belief in God, in Jesus Christ, in the Resurrection. What if somebody wants to participate in the religious community without necessarily believing in all of these things?

We live in an age where a plethora of religious ideas are accessible and many different religions are practised. Unfortunately, most of the so-called Western religions are presented as package deals. To be a member, you must accept all. It is hard to be a Christian without believing in the Resurrection of Christ. You can believe in God, love thy neighbour, practise forgiveness, and believe the Teachings of Jesus, but if you are even a little skeptical about the Resurrection, you are not a Christian. Thus we have the problem of a package deal. What if we want to believe some things, but not others?

Despite their common ideas, religions have irreconcilable differences. It is impossible to conclude that all religions are 100% correct. We could either conclude that one religion is right and the others wrong, or we could conclude that they all contain some aspect of Truth. The former viewpoint is foolish and arrogant. No matter how convinced you are that you are right, there are at least a billion others who are convinced that you are wrong, and thus we should stay open-minded. This means abandoning the idea of a package deal. We should not have to choose one religion and blindly accept all of its aspects. We should be able to participate in a religion, believing what rings true for us, but reserving our right to skepticism. The focus must be towards inquiry.

This inquiry can come about through existing religions becoming more open-minded, or through new spiritual groups forming. Both of these things are already happening. The future of religion lies in groups that discuss and affirm their commitment to follow their ideals, but that do not require any fixed beliefs as part of their membership. Just as close-mindedness is so despised in science (albeit still common), the same must also become true of religion. No-one has a monopoly on Truth. We must be open to new ideas, aspire to become better people, and inquire about spirituality together.

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