Category Archives: the age of faith

The Future of Faith

This is an review of a book called “The Future of Faith”:

There is an essential change taking place in what it means to be “religious” today. Religious people are more interested in ethical guidelines and spiritual disciplines than in doctrines. The result is a universal trend away from hierarchical, regional, patriarchal, and institutional religion. As these changes gain momentum, they evoke an almost point-for-point fundamentalist reaction. Fundamentalism, Cox argues, is on graphic display around the globe because it is dying.

Once suffocated by creeds, hierarchies, and the disastrous merger of the church with the Roman Empire, faith—rather than belief—is once again becoming Christianity’s defining quality. This recent move away from dogmatic religion is best explained against the backdrop of three distinct periods of church history:

The Age of Faith: the first three centuries of Christianity, when the early church was more concerned with following Jesus’s teachings than enforcing what to believe about Jesus

The Age of Belief: marking a significant shift between the fourth and twentieth centuries when the church focused on orthodoxy and “correct doctrine”

The Age of the Spirit: a trend that began fifty years ago and is increasingly directing the church of tomorrow whereby Christians are ignoring dogma and breaking down barriers between different religions—spirituality is replacing formal religion

The Future of Faith is a major statement and a hopeful look at a movement that is surfacing within Christianity and other religious traditions by one of the most revered theologians today.

One point of contention I have with this review is that the “Age of Faith” probably never existed; the first three centuries of Christianity were all about the correct belief about who or what Jesus was (Christology). Probably moreso than the so-called “Age of Belief”.

I see a lot of people still stuck in the “Age of Belief”. Caught up in dogmaticism and “correct belief” and not “correct action“. People who aren’t being spiritual. While I dislike religion period, people who are “spiritual” do a lot less harm to humanity than the religious. But then again, is a “spiritual” Christianity even Christianity any more? Can someone be a Christian while not believing in the incarnation or the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus? Those are dogmas – correct beliefs. Without those dogmas can someone legitimately consider themselves a Christian? That’s a question I posed in one of my previous posts.

I would very much like to see more people embrace the “Age of the Spirit”, but in my opinion these people would no longer be Christians.

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Posted by on October 14, 2009 in dogmaticism, religious, spirituality, the age of faith

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