Every civilization is centered around some kind of religion. It is the glue that produces social and cultural cohesion. The Roman empire was based around Roman paganism. The Arab caliphates and the Ottoman empire were based around Islam. Western civilization is based around Christianity. An ideology can also work, as in the case of the USSR, but it tends not to last as long, since ideologies are less comprehensive and persuasive than religions.
When the Romans gave up Paganism and took up Christianity, the empire was already in decline. The Christian monks preserved and maintained the scientific and cultural knowledge of the Roman empire.
Now the Christian west is in decline, and we see social justice being compared to a religion. The “monks”of social justice live in universities. Social justice has pervaded every level of academia, even the hard sciences. However, the hard sciences are beginning to view the humanities, arts, and softer sciences as bullshit. If you’ve seen people ranking college majors, you’ve already seen this in action. STEM, medicine, and law are seen as admirable goals. Women’s studies and racial grievance studies are seen as a waste of time. I’ve heard biologists refer to sociology as “not science”. We already have people studying “blackness” under the guise of anthropology and sociology. Soon enough, even the harder sciences will be under duress with scientists trying to prove that ancestry DNA tests are racist, and that there are more than two genders. When even hard science is politicized, people will either lose faith in science or create a pseudo-religion around the ideology that politicizes it. Conservatives have already lost faith in science. The replication crisis and publication bias are only additional nails in the coffin.
While the ideology that is coming to replace Christianity, social justice, has an admirable end goal of a world without prejudice and bigotry, I believe that such a goal is naive and will be overcome by Islam or even simple tribalism. We already see liberals embracing Islam, despite its contrary positions on womens’ rights and gay rights.