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Futures Journal Focuses on Religion
By staff writer, Oct 15, 2004

FUTURES: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies

Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Editor: Z. Sardar, ISSN: 0016-3287

Futures® is an international, refereed, multidisciplinary journal concerned with medium and long-term futures of cultures and societies, science and technology, economics and politics, environment and the planet and individuals and humanity. Covering methods and practices of futures studies, the journal seeks to examine possible and alternative futures of all human endeavours. Futures® seeks to promote divergent and pluralistic visions, ideas and opinions about the future. The editors do not necessarily agree with the views expressed in the pages of Futures®.

Futures of Religions
Volume 36, Issue 9 , November 2004, Pages 943-1049
Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

1. Introduction: Thinking about religious futures
William Sims Bainbridge, pages 943-946

Abstract: Decades ago, many social and behavioral scientists supposed that religion did not have much of a future. How surprised would these thinkers be to learn that religion thrived at the dawn of the 21st century? Religion has always been one of the engines of history, and it remains a powerful force today, yet it also seeks to escape history to achieve transcendent goals. As the authors of this special issue demonstrate, the tide of faith flows through complex channels, reshaping the landscape in its flood.

2. Quantifying alternate futures of religion and religions
Todd M. Johnson, and David B. Barrett, Pages 947-960

Abstract: Writers on the future of religion are usually drawn to extreme portrayals of decline or revival of religion. However, the world’s religious situation is replete with detailed information, drawn from enormous data collections on religious affiliation and questions about religion in government censuses. Quantitative tools, utilizing this information in the context of demography—births, deaths, conversions, defections, immigration, and emigration, provide a more nuanced view of mankind’s religious future. Alternate futures of religious affiliation can be produced by extrapolating explicit assumptions related to these six areas. Demographic trends coupled with conservative estimates of conversions and defections envision over 80% of the world’s population will continue to be affiliated to religions 200 years into the future.

3. The future of Islam after 9/11
Mansoor Moaddel, pages 961-977

Abstract: This article projects the possible future of Islam in Iran, Egypt, Jordan, and beyond, by analyzing the historical background and extrapolating from survey data collected before and after 11 September 2001. Islamic culture is actively produced, rather than being an inevitable reflection of social arrangements, so it is important to understand how its intellectual leaders and activists perceive and resolve the issues facing their faith. The key concepts are targets, in relation to which ideas are produced, and societal visibility. If these targets are visible and clear, then one may be able to reasonably estimate the kind of religious discourses most likely to develop in the Islamic movement in the future. The future of Islam is most visible in Iran, where there is a move toward reformism and rejection of political Islam. In Jordan, there is a moderate visibility to predict that the country’s Islamic movement will continue its tradition of moderation and conservatism. In Egypt, the future of Islam is least visible. While extremism is on a decline, it is not clear the degree to which a leftist-conservative alliance will dominate the country’s cultural landscape.

4. The future of new religions
Massimo Introvigne, pages 979-990 

The category of "new religions" is somewhat controversial, but fringe minorities remain an interesting starting point in order to assess the future of religion. Contrary to what many expected in the 1970s, interest in religion in general has not declined in the Western world, organized religion has not disappeared, and we have not witnessed an explosion of "cults". Learning from these past sociological prophecies that failed, we may speculate on the future in more realistic terms. New religious movements will not disappear, but they will not meet with an exceptional success either, this paper predicts, because models marginalizing them as based on brainwashing or being a form of religious kitsch, although criticized within the academic community, serve a basic psycho-cultural need of explaining away unpopular choices of our fellow human beings, and will probably not disappear from popular and media prejudice.

5. A green future for religion?
Bron Taylor, pages 991-1008

In recent decades, debates have erupted and intensified about the relationships between religions, cultures, and the earth’s living systems. Some scholars have argued that ritual and religion can play a salutary role in helping humans regulate natural systems in ecologically sustainable ways. Others have blamed one or more religions, or religion in general, for promoting worldviews and cultures that precipitate environmental damage. Religious production in recent years suggests not only that many religions are becoming more environmentally friendly but also that a kind of civic planetary earth religion may be evolving. Examples of such novel, nature-related religious production allow us to ponder whether, and if so in what ways, the future of religion may be green.

6. Religion and science
William Sims Bainbridge, pages 1009-1023

Employing data from a massive, international web-based survey, and from a variety of other sources, this essay explores three different models of the future: religion without science, religion with science, and science without religion. In so doing, it presents eight different scenarios for the future of religion that citizens of the world currently imagine: revival of conventional faith, proliferation of religious movements, the new age, fanaticism, religious conflict, the millennium, scientism, and secularization. Such social issues as population explosion or collapse and inter-denominational conflict render the future relationship between religion and science crucially important for the world.

7. Faith beyond time: the future of religion in America
Laurence R. Iannaccone, pages 1025-1030

1. Health and longevity
2. Prosperity and equality
3. The welfare state
4. Entertainment and education
5. Evangelicalism
6. Established values and popular culture
7. Science and superstition
8. Movies and magic
8. The future of church–state relations in the United States
Ted G. Jelen, pages 1030-1033 

Outline: Constitutional issues, Structural sources of church–state conflict, Conclusion

9. The future of liberal Islam
Bülent Aras, pages 1034-1037

Abstract: The forerunners of liberal Islam present attitudes similar to liberal currents in other cultures and demonstrate their tendency to benefit from reforms and a freer society. Liberal Islam pays special attention to keeping religion separate from politics, promoting democracy and multi-party politics, providing religious and cultural tolerance, preserving women’s rights, freedom of thought and expression, internalizing human rights and enhancing political participation. Liberal Islam is now silent, but with a likely mainstream development within the Islamic world in the near future, it may become one of the main movements within Islam. What constitutes liberal Islam is the evolution of a number of different factors that combined in a specific context and these factors, among others, are the socio-cultural structure of the regional societies, interpretation of Islamic teachings and daily practices of religious faith. In addition, a number of recent developments contributed to this trend: the rise of secular education, the increasing use of international communication and travel opportunities, and the failure of dogmatic interpretations of Islam.

10. The Pagan revival and its prospects
Christopher McIntosh, pages 1037-1041

In this article, the author surveys the history of Neo-Paganism from the Romantic movement to the 20th-century revival of Witchcraft, Druidism, Asatru and other forms of Pagan religion. He then discusses the future prospects of Paganism, examining various social and cultural factors that work in its favour and others that work against it. He concludes that Paganism will be one of the religions of the future, although probably not the dominant one.

11. Religion, war and the information revolution
Sara Horsfall, pages 1041-1044

Many people blame our history of war on the biases of religion: the Crusades, the Protestant Reformation, fighting in India between the Hindus and the Muslims, Orthodox and Muslim conflicts in Cypress, Jews and Muslims fighting in Palestine, and Catholic and Protestant tensions in Northern Ireland. The collision of two unique worldviews can no doubt be explosive. But although historically the warring parties had different religions, vested interests rather than religious beliefs were often at fault.

12. Religion, futures, and futurism
Bruce Tonn, pages 1045-1048

The main thesis of this piece is that numerous important religious beliefs appear to be inconsistent with futurism and, therefore, may be barriers to future-oriented behavior. Central to my definition of futurism are these two tenets: humans have free will and the future is not pre-determined. Given these thoughts, it appears that futurism may be inconsistent with at least four widely held religious worldviews-- determinism, fatalism, apocalypticism, and belief in life after death. Ironically, these barriers could combine to threaten the very existence of our species. It is argued that religion writ large needs to adapt to become more future-oriented in this reality.

Futures of Religions
Volume 36, Issue 9 , November 2004, Pages 943-1049

FUTURES: The journal of policy, planning and futures studies
Copyright © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

© 1998-2008 by World Network of Religious Futurists.

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