During the heyday of the secular theologies and radical theologians, thoughtful persons wondered when and in what form the public and societal reaction would come. The theology-of-the-month writers and speakers hailed (celebrated was their word) the advent of the technopolitan man. This widely welcomed product of urbanization was projected to be indifferent to all forms of organized religion, tolerant of each, and likely to say to his neighbor, “Stand back: I am more secular than thou.”

The proposal to eliminate the sacred in all of life was taken seriously, overtly by some and by osmosis by masses of others. But the aftermath shows quite clearly that the psyche of a people cannot tolerate total secularization without experiencing trauma. This experience of shock leads people to try varied means of relief, few of which are spiritually or psychologically wholesome.

Reactive movements within society are complex phenomena; one cannot in fairness assign them a simple cause. The escapist trends within today’s culture have multiple roots. I propose, however, that the widely popularized secular theologies must bear a significant share of responsibility for these escapist trends.

The evident personal success of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (the Great Sage Who Exalts Yogi) and his cult of Transcendental Meditation is a case in point. Maharishi International University, established on the campus of what was Parsons College in Iowa, appears to be a flock of followers whose personal motivations would, two decades ago, have been thought to show an abdication of common reason.

But this assemblage bears witness to the existence of a spiritual vacuum, an emptiness that cannot be filled by the blandishments of secularism, particularly ...

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