Beginning in the later part of the Nineteenth Century, and continuing to the present, Progressives (which morphed into liberals, then back again, and include Socialists and Liberal Democrats) have successfully fomented the notion that mankind does not need God, that God is passe. Their efforts to remove God from public life has been singularly successful, as has their effort to sell the populace on the the idea that Mankind can raise itself up and create it's own Utopia...self-governing it to increasingly improve both Mankind and life on this earth.
There is, however, a small problem.
Whether consciously or sub-consciously, mankind knows that it doesn't have all the answers and needs reassurance that it is doing the "right" thing. Other humans cannot meet that need...after all, if you don't have the answer there is no reason to believe that any other human being on the planet, no matter how smart and gifted they claim to be, has the requisite authoritarian position. So...what to do.
Having already denigrated and dismissed religion of any sort, that path is now closed, but...perhaps by another name?
Consider that success for the past Century plus has been defined, not by moral happiness, but by acquisition of money and all that it can buy. How automatic has it become for us to gage how well we are doing by the level of our bank account, our savings or our investments...breathing a sigh of relief if the balance looks "healthy." Gone are the days that even if you had little money, you considered yourself successful if you had a house over your head (rented or owned) weren't going hungry, your family was reasonably clothed and MOST IMPORTANTLY, you had a happy family that loved each other. No mention of money in that sentence, right. Money was seen as a necessary evil, not the gauge of happiness.
Then, God out, self-improvement in. No longer is morality or contentment the signal evidence of a good life...now it is "stuff" and "wealth." But...there is that aforementioned doubt and desire for affirmation from a higher source.
Enter the development and standing of "Economics." A "Science", an authoritative statement and means of judging success. And, of course, a new High Priesthood...Economists. Not the same as Priests, to be sure, because they were talking about "Science" and using their authority to protect your ability to "succeed." But their status gave their utterances a higher consideration, a higher authority (like priests, speaking for God?).
Just how, pray tell, is this any different (other than nomenclature) from religion. And there are competing Economic theories, just as there are different Churches. Instead of Churches, there are buildings and Colleges dedicated to the study of Economics. I will admit that, with one exception, there isn't a 100% parallel (but it is very close). The only completely parallel comparison is with Islam. Both Economic Theory and Islamic belief call for taking political power so as to create, protect, and defend the coming Utopia for the people of the world...continued rising wealth for all people in the case of economics, and paradise both here and the hereafter for Muslims.
So that will be the future battle for world domination...Islam versus Secular Economic Wealth as a measure of success. One heck of a choice. I predict a bloody future, whichever wins.