Linne: The Near-Future of the Bible – Scenarios, Methods and Structures of Futures Studies

FutureS with an ‘s’: we don’t know what will happen, but we can imagine a range of possibilities within the cone of plausibility. The farther out you go, the broader the range of possibilities. Kevin Kelly (Wired magazine): the problem with Christianity is that every generation has expected Jesus to return, so they don’t look beyond their generation to think about what Christianity will look like in 1000 years (see

Method: The S-Curve – early adoption, followed by loss of interest, then mass adoption.

Method: Framing – set scope and focus, adjust attitudes, set objectives.

Method: Scanning. Map the system.

Method: Forecasting. Look at drivers and uncertainties. Generate and prioritize ideas.

Method: STEEP. Look at what’s happening in Social, Technological, Economic, Environmental, and Political arenas.

Method: Visioning. What are the implications of our forecasts? Challenge assumptions. Think big.

Method: Planning. Think strategically about what future you want, and develop options for it.

Method: Acting. Communicate results, create an action agenda, and develop strategic thinking.

Some possible future scenarios:

  • the Digitally Illuminated Bible. A convergence of factors: Kindle/iPhone, BibleTech conference, Green Movement. What if paper is outlawed: what happens to Bible publication?
  • the Bible as Service Oriented Architecture. Can we make our meta-aids and interpretations so good that the text itself effectively disappears?
  • the Bible as a Digitally Sacred Cow. What if the Great Firewall of China makes the Bible unavailable online?

Some baseline scenarios for building our own scenarios:

  • in 2040: Human population will hit 8B, and then decline for the first time ever. Average age will be 50/60 years old. 80% of humans will live in cities. China will overtake the US economy. 90% of humanity connected via the internet. True AI will be achieved. Seat of Christianity is NOT the US (today, half of S. Korea is Christian). Read Jesus in Beijing.

Other resources:

One thought on “Linne: The Near-Future of the Bible – Scenarios, Methods and Structures of Futures Studies”

  1. I thought this segment (16:30) of his talk was very relevant to Open Scriptures, although perhaps controversial:

    The digitally illuminated Bible. When I was doing my article for Collide magazine, I spoke with Leonard Sweet about what he thought the future would be and this is what he came up with: The Bible must resonate with Googlers, but publishers are still in the print business instead of the Scripture business. It is the churches, individuals and small organizations that are bringing the Bible into the digital age. If you’ve ever heard of YouVersion, you know that to be true. The most anti-social invention was the book, which helped create the very idea of an “I”, a power which Luther used to state his own opinions. A Google world is connectional. It leaves you ravenous for relationships. The very nature of a book, created an anti-social environment. And we’re having a reeling-back of that now with connective points like Facebook and MySpace and the Internets. Because they are social and they do reconnect you. Perhaps there’s chances and opportunities for us to become connected through the book while we’re reading books and literature instead of it being anti-social.

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