Increasingly, the future is becoming a theme for theological reflection. In the background we can detect a growing concern among many people for the future of faith.
How does the promise of an eternal future affect the present? How does faith, our hope for life in the future, affect the way we live and interact with the world today? In order to answer these questions, Joseph Ratzinger reflects on such questions as the following: What precisely is faith? What does it have to do with knowledge, modern philosophical trends, technology, and our modern world? What is faith's relationship to truth? And finally, what consequences do the answers to these questions have for the future of our world and our Church?
The problem of the future assails not only the believer. In the ever more rapidly advancing process of technological change, man is confronted with enormous opportunities, but also with colossal perils. For him, the future is not only promising but also a possible nightmare. He cannot avoid asking what part faith can play in building tomorrow's world.
Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, approaches the universal concern for the future from a variety of angles, bringing his deep personal faith and theological brilliance to bear on the serious questions facing mankind.
"It is precisely in times of vehement historical upheaval, when all the past seems to dissolve and completely new things seem to emerge, that men need to reflect upon history, which enables them to see the unreal exaggeration of the moment in the right perspective and integrates them again into a happening that never repeats itself but, on the other hand, never loses its unity and its context. . . . I maintain that reflection upon history, properly understood, embraces both looking back into the past and, with that as the starting point, reflecting on the possibilities and tasks of the future, which can only become clear if we survey a fairly long stretch of the road and do not naively shut ourselves up in the present."
— Joseph Ratzinger