Will God Survive the 21st Century

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* Special issue of What Is Enligthenment magazine, #23. Will God Survive the 21st Century ?

Article 1: Jeremy Rifkin

After first re-iterating his conviction that the era of mass labor is ending, he focuses on a new 'industrial revolution', no longer defined by physics and chemistry, but by biology.

He distinguishes between a hard path, where humanity redraws evolution and uses the whole of creation as an utility, or a soft path, where we use our intelligence to better integrate ourselves into the existing evolution. This means working, rather than against, the rest of nature.

He describes three major crisis:

   - 1) global warming, which will bring climatic changes of unprecedented magnitued, and come at enormous human and financial costs
   - 2) the debt crisis, showing a never seen divide in access to resources, never seen before in history. This is, as the factor before, definitely connected to the rise of oil prices, which forces these countries to borrow in the first place. In one or two decades, the oil be be used up for half; after that, prices will go up, and with two-thirds of the reserves being in the Middle East, that prepares a third crisis
   - 3) conflict in the Middle East. The important conclusion: we are facing the end of the petrochemical energy regime.

Article 2: Elisabeth Sathouris

As an evolution biologist she notes that our move to human globalisation is completely natural and a recurrent pattern of life forms. Indeed, bacteria were equally hostile and competitive to one another until they 'decided' to cooperate in higher unity, the cells. The same happened again when those nucleated cells formed multi-cellular organisms. She thinks humans will similarly end their juvenile competitive phase and form a species superorganism that will forge a new alliance with nature.

The most urgent task she sees is to replace our mechanistic view of nature, which gave rise to what she sees as the disastrous generic engineering, with a living-systems perspective concerning the whole planet.

Article 3: Conversation with Don Beck and Brian Swinnen

BS distinguishes microphase mindset, appropriate when we were one species amongst many, which only considers the dynamics of the past , from the macrophase, which considers the whole. However, our institutions are a product of the former.

Dr. Nasr stresses the importance of ritual as a means of getting outside time and purifying the ego, practices which are strong in Judaism and Islam.

Article 4: Huston Smith

Traditional religions were conceived in an era where cultures were more alike an in an era where cultures had less contact; and thus, social institutions were conceived as eternal and as a result of natural law. Thus, if they advocated love and compassion, it was always personal, they did not envisage changing social structures. But this changed in the 16th-17th cy. when cultures started colliding and discovered they were a human construct. Thus religions had to adapt to a new social imperative.

Article 5: Wilber-Cohen Dialogue

KW: There are 3 definitions of the spiritual

   - 1) Peak experiences, which everyone can have
   - 2) the highest levels of any developmental line (cognitive, moral, etc..
   - 3) the development of the spiritual line itself

He also insists that all great teachers distinguished the manifest world of the born, and the unmanisfested life of the unborn, as well as the union of both. But most religions err on one side or the other.

Article 6: End Times

The last article in WIE 23 deals with "end time saviours", across religions and concludes with divergent claims for the mantle of global messiah. i.e. the Maitreya Avatar. The first attempt by Annie Besant to grow J. Krishnamurti into the role, failed because of the latter's refusal to take on the mantle.

Today the most well known attempt is that by Benjamin Creme, a student of the teachings of Alice Bailey. This Maitreya who is said to live in London, will one day appear on demand in the whole world's televisions, and will only speak telepathically on this day of declaration.

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