"Axial religions have run their course and will eventually mutate into a new type of religious expression. Second axial religion is emerging as the religion of tomorrow, a multiplicity of spiritual paths and rituals that expand consciousness and create wholeness. The Church of the planet will include all those committed to healing and wholeness, that is, all who are committed to shaping their God-lives toward unity, goodness, truth, and beauty. Focal communities will form around shared values and desires. The axial religions will be helpful to the religion of tomorrow by sharing from their wisdom and spiritual treasures, but they can no longer claim finality of revelation in an unfolding universe, where God is open to completion."
Delio, Ilia. The Not-Yet God: Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Relational Whole (p. 341). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.
We have in our midst the infinite potential to create a sustainable world, a world of shared life, a just distribution of resources, a new world connectivity to the whole, a new world soul. The power is within us. The human person is God-in-the-making. This is the religion of tomorrow, not one of finality, but of ongoing revelation of divine light. As Anthony Gittens notes: "There will always be a tendency to reduce revelation to religion rather than to expand our own religion so that it better reflects God’s revelation…. Religion seeks clear, bounded answers; it wants to quantify, reduce, set limits, and control. By contrast revelation is God’s way of opening up for us unbounded possibilities; it expands our horizons and calls us beyond rules and law to love."
Delio, Ilia. The Not-Yet God: Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Relational Whole (p. 317). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.
The religion of tomorrow will be one that encourages the mind to grow by connecting with the collective unconscious and contemplating new truths. Religion awakens the self within, tethers the self to its divine ground, and enkindles the divine self to grow into personhood. Rituals that deepen the energies of love and enhance the divine radiance of matter will be part of the religion of tomorrow. Given the new reality of conscious evolution, it is not unusual that the fastest evolver today is computer technology.
Delio, Ilia. The Not-Yet God: Carl Jung, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Relational Whole (pp. 311-312). Orbis Books. Kindle Edition.
The Ontological Status of the Religion of Tomorrow
The Religion of Tomorrow exists is a potential within the primordial nature of God, the Sacred Whole. While it is not currently actualized, it possesses a genuine reality as a potential guiding force for human life. Its realization hinges on human responses, both collective and individual. Human beings cannot simply will it into existence; instead, they - we- must attentively listen to this possibility with both our hearts and minds.
The Religion of Tomorrow is not merely an abstract concept; it is a Calling, a Presence that beckons humanity. This calling can be sensed in dreams, hopes, and even in the vital energies of our bodies. It is embodied in the material world. The entire universe has been stirred by the loving aspect of this dream, not just its creative aspect. In many ways, various elements of the universe have already responded – from atoms and molecules to galaxies, stars, cells, plants, and other animals. Now, it is humanity's turn to heed the call and participate in this ongoing cosmic response. It is our turn.
- Jay McDaniel
The Religion of Tomorrow
I ask Janet if she belongs to a religion, she says: "Yes, I belong to the Religion of Tomorrow." She is also Catholic, but she has been reading The-Not-Yet-God by Ilia Delio. She feels that Delio's description of The Religion of Tomorrow is the religion she is trying to live into. She is trying to live into the Religion of Tomorrow through her Catholicism.
I ask if Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, Pagans and Spiritual Independents might also live into The Religion of Tomorrow. She says: "Of course. The Religion of Tomorrow is not a jealous religion. It is like a seed that can grow in many different soils, each adding its unique features to flower."
What, then, is this Religion of Tomorrow? In the three quotations above, you get a sense of what Delio means by "The Religion of Tomorrow." Reflecting on the evolving landscape of spirituality and religion, Delio suggests that the Axial religions, which have historically shaped human spirituality, are in the midst of a transformative phase, making way for a fresh form of religious expression she terms the Religion of Tomorrow.
This new spiritual paradigm is characterized by diversity, inclusivity, and a dynamic connection to both the human and natural worlds. Here are some key features of tomorrow's religion, combining insights from Delio and Process Philosophy.
Inclusive "Church of the Planet": Within this new paradigm, individuals who share a commitment to healing, unity, goodness, truth, and beauty come together to form communities. These communities are more inclusive than traditional religions and are founded on shared values. The planet itself, the Earth Community, forms the context for religious self-understanding.
Ongoing Revelation: The religion of tomorrow places a strong emphasis on ongoing revelation. It celebrates the idea that individuals can contribute to creating a sustainable and interconnected world, guided by love rather than rigid dogma.
Intrinsic Inwardness: It recognizes the intrinsic inwardness and subjectivity of all life, seeing spirituality as emerging within matter, not apart from it. It fosters a deep connection between humans and the natural world. All beings, not humans alone, possess some form of interiority. They have reality for themselves and not just for others.
Development of the Human Mind: The religion encourages the development of the human mind through the exploration of the collective unconscious and the contemplation of new truths. The collective unconscious contains energies and intelligences (archetypes) from the past history of human life, life on earth, and the universe as a whole. Every moment of life includes the depths of the past.
Role of Rituals: Rituals are considered essential for deepening the energy of love and enhancing the divine presence in the material world. Religion is not just a matter of believing things, or of doing good in the world, it is a matter of finding God in the palpable activities of bodily life.
Integration of Technology: The religion acknowledges the impact of technology, particularly computer technology, and sees it as a force that can coexist with spirituality and contribute to conscious evolution. We can work with technologies, including generative AI, to help promote the well-being of life.
Sensitivity to the Cosmic Context of Terrestrial Life: It situates its ethos within a larger cosmic community, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life forms and the endless possibilities inherent in this interconnectedness. It recognizes that we are small but included in a larger cosmic context containing many forms of life.
Just, Compassionate, Sustainable Communities: The religion of tomorrow emphasizes the importance of creating local communities that embody principles of justice, compassion, and sustainability. These communities strive to ensure a just distribution of resources, promote humane treatment of all beings, and actively engage in environmental stewardship, reflecting the values of the broader ecological civilization.
Openness to Novelty: A fundamental characteristic of the religion of tomorrow is an inherent openness to novelty and a spirit of spiritual adventure. It encourages individuals to explore new horizons, contemplate fresh truths, and embark on a spiritual journey marked by curiosity and a willingness to embrace the unknown. This sense of openness fosters personal growth and allows for the continual evolution of spiritual understanding.
Mindfulness in the Present Moment: The Religion of Tomorrow emphasizes mindfulness in the present moment as a fundamental practice. It recognizes that the present moment is an incarnation of the universe in the here and now, inviting individuals to connect deeply with the present and experience the divine love in the unfolding moment.
Trust in the Possibility of a Continuing Journey After Death: The Religion of Tomorrow also embraces the belief in the potential for a continuing journey after death. It holds that in this journey, reconciliation and peace can be experienced, offering individuals the hope and assurance of an ongoing spiritual exploration beyond earthly existence.
Trust in Beauty: Trust in beauty is seen as synonymous with trust in love. Beauty encompasses moral beauty, natural beauty, soul beauty, artistic beauty, and tragic beauty. It recognizes that beauty, in its various forms, serves as a manifestation of love, capturing and inspiring the hearts of individuals, connecting them to the deeper truths of existence.
Appreciation of Tenderness and the Poignancies of Life: The Religion of Tomorrow appreciates tenderness and recognizes the poignancies of life. It values the moments of sensitivity, vulnerability, and deep emotion that illuminate the human experience, fostering a profound connection with the essence of existence.
Appreciation of the Wisdom of the Past: The Religion of Tomorrow values the wisdom of the past, recognizing that it holds valuable insights and lessons that can guide individuals on their spiritual journey. It acknowledges the importance of drawing from the accumulated knowledge and experiences of previous generations.
Openness to Possibilities in the Future: It encourages openness to the possibilities of the future. The Religion of Tomorrow understands that the choices and actions of the present have a direct impact on the future. It inspires individuals to actively shape a future guided by love, wisdom, and the values of the spiritual paradigm.
Trust in the Sacred and Evolving Whole: The religion of tomorrow places profound trust in God as the sacred and evolving whole of the universe. This divine essence is characterized by boundless love and functions as an inwardly felt lure toward wholeness within each and every being. It recognizes that the universe itself is a manifestation of this divine love, and through trust and connection, individuals can align themselves with this transcendent force to foster personal and collective wholeness.
Love as the Ultimate Reality: The Religion of Tomorrow recognizes that love is not just an aspect of existence but the very essence of existence itself. Love is seen as the creative energy that underlies all life, driving the evolution of the cosmos toward greater complexity and unity.
Love as the Source of Connection: Trust in love acknowledges that we are all interconnected through this universal love. It invites individuals to cultivate a deep sense of connection with one another, with the natural world, and with the divine, recognizing that love is the bridge that unites us all.
Love as the Guiding Principle: The religion of tomorrow places love at the center of its ethical and moral framework. Love becomes the guiding principle for how individuals interact with one another, how they care for the planet, and how they seek truth and goodness.
Love as a Transformative Force: It believes in the transformative power of love to heal wounds, reconcile differences, and bring about positive change in both individuals and society as a whole. Trust in love inspires acts of compassion, forgiveness, and kindness.
Love as the Path to Wholeness: This spiritual paradigm encourages individuals to trust in love as the path to personal and collective wholeness. By aligning with the boundless love at the core of the universe, people can find purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in their lives.
In short, the Religion of Tomorrow places trust in love as the ultimate truth and meaning of life. It invites individuals to recognize that they are co-creators in a universe guided by love, fostering a deep sense of purpose, connection, and spiritual growth through their trust in this divine force of boundless love.
I have said that Janet is a Catholic Christian. She believes that the Love described above is the cosmic Christ revealed in, but not exhausted by, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. She speaks of love as Christ. She believes that it is found, even tasted, in holy communion. And it is expressed in a love of other people, other animals, love of new ideas, love of life. But she also knows that other people will have different names for it and some will have no name. The names are less important than the love. She knows that Jews and Muslims, too, have their ways of tasting love.
Janet also knows that some people will think that she has abandoned her Catholicism in being so open to the Religion of Tomorrow. But she disagrees. She believes that she has found its true meaning. The true meaning of Catholicism, and of all religions, is that they grow into the Religion of Tomorrow. And, interestingly, the Religion of Tomorrow grows in them, too. This religion is not a static substance or a set of solidified ideas. It is a process, an act of becoming. In the Religion of Tomorrow, the Sacred Whole, God, is becoming complete. I ask her if God exists. She says "In many ways, yes, but not completely, Not yet."