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Book Preview: Temples of Tomorrow
by staff writer, Jun 30, 1993
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"Here's the first major textbook to arise from the interaction of the futures studies movement and the field of comparative religion."

"Sensitively and imaginatively, they distil the entire thrust of futuristic thinking on the part of the world's religions."

"A blueprint for a spiritual civilization which contains the best elements of the scientific outlook as well as the legacy of religion..."

| Inside Cover | Preface | Excerpt | Bibliography |

Temples of Tomorrow: World religions and the future
Authors: Richard Kirby and Earl D.C. Brewer
Publisher: London: Grey Seal Books, 1993, 211 pp.
ISBN: 1-85640-017-4
This book is presently out of print in the U.S.A. and is scheduled to undergo a second edition.

The authors of this international, interfaith book set out to answer: What place have religions in the arts, in science and technology, in global governments, in communication, in personal and corporate wealth, in today's and tomorrow's worlds? Sensitively and imaginatively, they distil the entire thrust of futuristic thinking on the part of the world's religions. They analyse imminent civilization as they sum up the historic achievement of world religions and look to the needs which the 'temples' of the future must serve.

The authors set down clear and systematic principles by which religions can present their message and create 'temples of tomorrow' in such unlikely holy places as shopping malls and on television. This book is, therefore, a blueprint for a spiritual civilization which will contain thc best elements of the scientific outlook as well as the legacy of religion in the first two millennia of the current era. It is not solely for religious professionals, but is intended to help all--planners, architects, ministers, religionists, broadcasters, writers, scholars, students and government officials, among others--who are interested in the near future to discern its sacred dimensions and religious possibilities.

The Temples of Tomorrow is the first major book to arise from the interaction of the futures studies movement and the fields of comparative religion, theology, philosophy of religion and the study of spirituality and mysticism. Its authors move 'comparative religion' towards 'collaborative religion' as we join hands to enter the twenty-first century.

The Shape of Things to Come is the intriguing title of H.G. Wells's futurist view of the world into the twenty-second century. In view of the 1991 Gulf War and the resumption of bombing late in 1992, it is interesting that Wells envisioned two decisive world conferences as being located in Basra, Iraq. Later, he proposed, would come the Declaration of Megeve (Negev). He placed future world authority in the hands of a Sea and Airways Control. Wells, the founder of futurist thinking, was in many ways remarkably prophetic.

Wells predicted the demise of world religions by the year 2020. This would take place under the control of life by scientific planners of the modern World State. Yet he also faced the possibility of the decay and decline of the world government movement. In his closing words, he called for world reconstruction to be undertaken by an aggressive group of 'religiously devoted' human beings. Compared with his starting point, this would imply a different and more hopeful view of religion and of humanity living in the Third Millennium. After all, the scientific planning of the world state would not be enough.

John Naisbitt amd Patricia Aburdene see a bright future for religion itself. They see a religious revival coming in the Third Millennium. Alvin Toffler (1990) also sees a growth in the future of religions as major league players on the stage of world power, but he expresses concern that such power may be used for evil purposes. Where does the truth lie?

Where in the world are religions going? What kinds of temples are being designed? Who will go to them, or live in them, and what will happen there? That is what this book is about. It is a story of the future of faith. It is a story which concerns all of us on planet Earth. The temples of tomorrow are coming with the future, and we will be living in them. They will be places where we do religion, practice faith, worship God--and do many other things. Tomorrow's temples will be both familiar and strange. They will be familiar to us as churches and mosques and synagogues. Scriptures and stained-glass windows will still be there.

Tomorrow's temples will be strange, too. Computerized tele-temples will merge with shopping malls and exercise centres. Scientific laboratories will sometimes be indistinguishable from church halls. Faith and finance will appear mixed up as banking and spirituality converge in the search for new economies of justice. The architecture of tomorrow's temples will be strange to us, for it will be kinetic and experimental. The very walls may move with pity, as churches organize the building around the theme of outreaching compassion.

In this book we are presenting the news of what we call TempleTrends--pictures of where religions are going, and what this means in each case. Where religions are going is where we all are going, and where the world is going. The world is going towards God, and the religions are leading the way, sometimes as wagon scouts, sometimes as prophets, sometimes as teachers and healers.

The word 'temple', as employed in this book, does not refer solely to buildings designated as such by religious groups. Temple, as used here, designates any place of prayer, meditation, worship or where religious work goes on. These may vary from sacred groves and waterholes to great mosques, cathedrals or synagogues. More generally, temples are places where ultimate concern is sought out or expressed. As we shall see, this may sometimes be a shopping mall or even an automobile.

This is a book about world religions and the future. Apart from the general public, and all who are interested in the spirituality of the future, we envisage three main kinds of reader. Students may use the book as a textbook in courses on the future, in the context of social studies, futures studies, religious studies, science studies or science fction studies. We would also like to see the book used in ministry education. Clergy training should be emiched by the awareness of the future as a necessary topic for theological education. We have aimed to provide enough materials for a complete course.

The second kind of reader is the religious professional: clergy, professors of religious studies and the personnel in para-church organizations. Lastly, we have written for the smaller community of futurists including, of course, religious futurists. This book is specifically suited to the international groups of religious futurists, but is intended to be usable by all kinds of futures studies participants, academic and governmental, planners and forecasters, and media professionals in the futurist world.

URL: http://www.wnrf.org/cms/totbk.shtml

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