Posted by: lecubiste | June 21, 2015

The Coming Prophet

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The world is laboring under the weight of old civilizations, old Empires, and old religions. The Old Age presumptions were that war is a basic part of tribalism and tribalism is a basic part of human society. In an era of superstition, aggression, and impulse war was indeed a part of everyday and every year life.  The 20th century was dominated by wars that emerged from a globalizing culture thanks to globalizing new technology that initially was turned to the problem of war.  Chemical bombs, laser guided missiles, nuclear weapons, and more were the critical applications of new technology under which all other purposes were subjugated.

The clash of empires was what we saw, and the clash of religions is what we now see.  These religions are the fundament of civilization, complete with value systems, kindred partners and deadly enemies, and a limited vision of the possible, a failure of the imagination. Each religion takes a personal and limited view of all other religions, each competitive coming out of the Old Age paradigm of us against the world.

If you assume that religion is in and of itself a valid exercise, the idea of different religions emerging from the different cradles of civilization is perfectly predictable.  The accidents of history and geography determine cultural values, each unique, but each addressing universal societal concerns, birth, marriage, and death for example. But as technology in transportation and communication, water and power, medicine and information, and commerce and security interconnect the world’s cultures,  old religions seem less relevant to the whole world.  It is interesting to see now some great religious leaders are speaking to the whole world on global issues.  Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama are but two who speak to masses beyond their own membership.

In all religions a prophetic leader can be found at its birth.  Jesus, Mohammed, Gautama, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao-Tse and others are considered prophets with an inner connection to a world beyond this surface one.  Each leader is long since passed and the followers attempt to maintain the status of their leader and the organization that formed around him. But in this modern clash of civilizations and their value systems, it is so much of a surprise if a modern prophet comes, one who foresees the direction that humanity must go in in order to secure the future of coming generations?

Yet at this time there is no such person evident amongst humanity. The problems of the past were much simpler. Today’s complex scientific technical world, our complex relationship to the biological world, and humanity’s burgeoning population present challenges that daunt the imagination. In the past, in such challenging circumstances, a single individual could arise to lead society along a path toward solutions. Pope Francis is doing just that in his latest encyclical on the environment.

But is Francis a prophet?  One doesn’t get that feeling about the man, at least yet. Prophets channel knowledge from the Infinite. They are attuned to the ultimate source of knowledge and power and the rest of humanity listens to them as a means of finding direction. Will a prophet arise in this time of crisis? We’ll see.

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