Friday, January 14, 2011

In search of a new god

The percentage of population in European countries who
responded in a 2005 census that they "believe there is a God
(Artem Karimov, based on Eurobarometer data)

In the Economist's 25-year special edition 'The World in 2011', Paul Saffo of Discern Analytics draws parallels between today and Karl Jasper's 'Axial Age'--the period between 800 and 200 BC, when Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Greek philosophy were born. Coincidentally, this was also the time during which the First Temple stood in Jerusalem, a time when according to Jewish tradition the divine presence had a dwelling-place in the physical world.

Saffo suggests that contemporary developments in air travel and cyberspace, coupled with wars, revolutions and natural disasters, creates a "petri dish from which a new god could spring,"in which:
Populations around the world are struggling to find security and identity in this strange new future-shock world. The rise of fundamentalism is a sure indicator of dissatisfaction with the current religious order. Unhappy believers first look back to their roots for comfort, but origins rarely comfort and thus they will inevitably search for a new god.
Indeed, natural disasters in past weeks have left many looking for answers, and what is out there is not always satisfying.

הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים, נְאֻם אֲדֹנָי יְהוִה, וְהִשְׁלַחְתִּי רָעָב, בָּאָרֶץ:  לֹא-רָעָב לַלֶּחֶם, וְלֹא-צָמָא לַמַּיִם--כִּי אִם-לִשְׁמֹעַ, אֵת דִּבְרֵי יְהוָה

Days are coming, the word of God, when I will send a famine in the land - 
Not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of God

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