Open and Dynamic Societies
- In a closed society, people know their place. Custom, morality, law reinforce this sensibility. There is an instinctual nature to religion.
- In an open society, tradition and custom have lost some of their force. The human drive for change fuels life. Women, for instance, have greater opportunities and latitudes. (pp. 192-193)
- Static religion is "the call of instinct, is the force that holds the member of a closed society fast to its precepts and traditions. Socrates was executed for subverting religion; organized religion frequently led the ideological and political resistance to capitalism and democracy in modern European history. In much of the world we can still see static religion seeking to enforce conformity on societies increasingly stirred by capitalist influence" (p. 195).
- Dynamic religion is that force that calls people forward to embrace change and open society. It involves "a feeling of restlessness and unease, a yearning for new experiences, a voice in the head shouting warnings or commands, visions, dreams, or ideas." Expressions of dynamic religion include mysticism and tends to be visionary. It can even carry people beyond traditional religious structures. (pp. 195-198)
An enlightened modernity did not overcome entrenched customary religion in the Anglophone world. Rather dynamic religion infiltrated and supplemented static religion in the religious life of the Anglophones. Goldilocks was able to follow her westward path through dark and threatening woods because, like the Magi before her, she was following a star." (p. 199)