In April 2023, I made a presentation to the Australian Lonergan Workshop (held in Melbourne, Australia) on functional collaboration as futurology – the functional specialties link research and policy and dynamically lean forward into the future.
The future has always had a fascination to us humans; we are oriented to the future, we hope for a better future; we are inspired by utopias and fear dystopias; we do things now in anticipation that they will be of benefit in the future; we like to know what is going to happen so we can adjust or take action to mitigate or alter it or avoid it. Each religious tradition has its own eschatology.
The future of humanity, however, looks grim as we are confronted with an unparalleled number of major world crises – ecological, economic, political, cultural and religious.
How can we hope to deal with these seemingly hopeless and discouraging challenges?
Futurologists such as Richard Slaughter (Slaughter 1998; Slaughter 2008; Slaughter 2021), Sohail Inayatullah (Inayatullah 1998; Inayatullah 2013; Inayatullah 2017) and Wendell Bell (Bell 2002; Bell 2003; Bell 2004) are seeking to develop a method for future studies which is holistic, multidisciplinary, practical and creative. But how successful are they?
In Method in Theology: An Organon for our Time, Fred Crowe (1980) describes Lonergan as a theologian who sought to build the future and the functional specialties as relevant to any human studies that investigates a cultural past to guide its future. But can the functional specialties deal with the complex of issues that challenge the future of humanity and that are raised by futurologists? How is functional collaboration futurology. Does it provide a new global hope? This paper seeks to address these questions.