Where is the grave-yard of dead gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds?”

H.L. Mencken, Memorial Service

Battered by declining attendance and great, expensive age, churches throughout Europe are going on the auction block reports the current, European edition of Newsweek. Some are being transformed into, even, Mosques.

Well … ho-hum. Though such as Albert Mohler carry-on as though there’s something remarkable afoot, there is not. Ten-thousand religions have arisen and, as the falsity of their teachings became self-evident over the course of time, failed, their places of worship to become abandoned curiosities. So, too, inevitably, the present generation of Eternal Truths.

Read Gore Vidal’s Julian for a look at a world between faiths. Humanity has been, before, where it is today.

The really interesting question is: What will the next generation of Eternal Truths look like? Presumably, it will rely less upon mystical revelation than the current crop, because that is what is undoing them. Nobody except the most perfervid fundamentalists believe any more than an old man with a long beard thrust his head out the underside of a cloud and bellowed things like “Stone the adulterers, and the fairies.”

But, will adultery and homosexuality be officially proscribed by the next Eternal Truth? My guess is … probably so. After all, the female half of the human race fiercely despises adultery, and practically all of the male half of the human race recoils from homosexuality. The question that interests me is: Absent divine revelation, what explanation will be made for those official proscriptions?

Some argument from Utilitarianism? An assertion that adultery and homosexuality conduce toward public injury rather than “the greatest good for the greatest number?”

The Chinese had laws against murder and theft 1000-years before the revelation to the jews at Sinai — which makes you wonder why they thought it was such a Big Deal Revelation, but might explain why they were so unpopular and had to live by themselves in the desert. Will the next Eternal Truth proscribe murder and theft? Probably so but, once again, how will it be explained?

Will there be a philosopher-figurehead, a Confucius- or Buddha-like character, who promotes a system of, ultimately, self-serving ethics (“I and my family benefit if we all agree not to kill each other.”) rather than cosmic reward and punishment? Probably.

There’s only one certainty: There will be self-appointed nuisances who bother the independent-minded and milk the doltish.

Bob Felton

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