success stories

Book: Religion in the Year 2000
Author: Andrew M. Greeley
Sheen and Ward: New York, 1969, pp.175

Excerpt from Jacket:

There have been many projections (some dire, some dizzying) about what the dawn of the 21st century might hold for the human race. Technologists, scientists and geneticists have taken turns gazing into the crystal ball and seem to have seen rather firm outlines of the future.

Ironically, the future of religion has been the subject of far less speculation than has been almost any other area of human experience. Many, perhaps, have already concluded that religion has, at best, but a very short future; others, having read God’s obituary written by various hands, may have decided that the religious situation has become too “iffy” to warrant serious speculation about what it might be three long decades from now.

Andrew Greeley rejects the implicit premises of both these camps. As a sociologist, he questions the fashionable hypothesis that secularization is rendering religion irrelevant. As a religionist, he questions the assumption that man is any less “religious” today than he has ever been. If this is the case, what reason is there to ring once again the passing bells for homo religiousus?

It is this search for hard evidence that makes Andrew Greeley’s study important, for many broad and glib generalizations have been made recently about the future of religion. Greeley’s own speculations about that future, based on the data at hand, make his study fascinating as well as important.

The future of the liturgy, of the clergy, of the churches, of religion itself: to each of these futures the author addresses himself with an authoritative audacity. What he sees as the shape of religion in the year 2000 will surprise many. What will not surprise readers familiar with his earlier works is that he dodges no question, no matter how difficult, and brings to each issue a fresh and often brilliant analysis.

Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
2. The Secularization Model
3. The Data
4. The Theories
5. The Future of Theology
6. The Liturgy of the Future
7. The Clergy of the Future
8. The Future of the Churches
9. The Future of Religion

Excerpt from contents:

.... “The holy man, it is to be presumed, has certain ambivalences with regard to his own role. He is conscious that he is a man apart, a man with special powers, privileges and prerogatives. He rather enjoys his holiness, the respect he is owed, and the power he possesses. Nevertheless the power is a burden, and a number of holy men have reacted to their vocation much the way he Prophet Jonah did ---- they try to get the hell out of Nineveh.”

“Being a man apart has its advantages and its disadvantages. One is respected but perhaps not exactly trusted. One is turned to in time of trouble, but not always welcome in time of merriment. One is expected to provide answers in situations where there are no readily available answers, but one’s advice is not particularly welcome in other situations. One is viewed sometimes as a superman, but at other times as being something less than a man, and occasionally even as pertaining more to the world of women and children. One is supported because one is necessary, but supported grudgingly because on’s supporters rather wish that one did not have to be supported. Indeed, one has certain powers and prerogatives that are never quite secure because it is an inconvenience to one’s fellow people to concede these powers and prerogatives and an affront to the radicals in the tribe who think that one is a bit of a charlatan. One is assumed to be God’s man and expected to live a life certainly apart from other men, yet if one fails to provide the particular form of revelation that the tribe expects from God, one will be in very deep trouble with the other members of the tribe.”

“The tribe, of course, can be a university religious foundation, a parish i the west of Ireland, a horde of Mongolian warriors, or the Senate and people of Rome — it makes little difference. If he goes too much in one direction or the other, he is certain to be criticized and given the varying opinions and values of members of his tribe, he is almost certain, in the eyes of some, to have gone too far in one way or another.”