Religion is based on several things but the two most important are consolation and the idea of another world. Consolation is a many-sided thing and in religion, it is reinforced by hope. The hope is of another life. Heaven is the prize of most religion. It is the consolation for a life of hardship, pain, and suffering. As time elapses this hope has faded in the face of science and reason and religion is in terminal trouble.

Eastern religions have been less heaven-centric than their Western counterparts. But notions of nirvana have proved a similar alternative to the rat-races of life on Earth.

The binary bind

Martin Luther in the 1500s firmly believed in the binary view of things.

He saw the earth as a vale of tears where no justice was needed because it was unobtainable. This is why he sided with princes against peasants. He was a reformer of the church, but his efforts did not extend very far.

Before there was Luther there was St. Augustine who enshrined the binary in his classic work “The City of God”. This work gave Christianity a lock on other-worldly salvation and saw the world as lost – the city of man.

The gradual collapse

The alternative to binary thinking is a rejection of an either-or mentality. Science has been instrumental in undermining the premises of binary culture. Solutions are wherever they lead. They are not in some unproved holy text or in some outmoded theory of how things work.

Religion too has suffered a slow but definite descent which is moving faster now than ever before.

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The most conspicuous religions these days are the most binary in their nature. The rest are moving in the direction of worldly spirituality.

Why then Trump?

Death throes of an impossible past are what we are witnessing in practically every news headline today. If we strip away the racist claptrap that envelops the Trump-Obama conflict, we arrive at an almost exact image of the binary versus the triadic.

It is a relativistic, triadic, scientific perspective that holds the keys to our future. To achieve this requires the completion of religion’s eclipse and the rise of spiritual awakening to the possibilities of transcendence here and now.

What is missing?

What is absent from this discussion is the underpinning of a world that no longer cotton to religion and a world that begins to sense that everything is not entirely lost. That underpinning consists in what has existed forever. It has ever been the key to progress. It is values that are universal and that involve the future of every person on earth.

What kind of progress do we want? The answer is: We want a future based on the very values that have always served us. True progress is learning to live true to them. That will be the subject of the next article in this series.