This priestly class has its own debates over theological specifics. The long-dominant faction within the priestly class holds to the doctrine of salvation through "unlimited growth through free markets and technology." Different subfactions propose different paths for how this exactly works.
In the dominant view today, as I understand it, salvation comes through the noble efforts of that chosen few who "work in the field of ideas." It is this special group that increases economic growth forever and delivers us from the evil of Malthus' imagination. Economists propose that a society can (through policy) allocate workers into one of two fields: "creation of objects" ('doers') versus "creation of ideas" ('thinkers'). The "ideas people" actually do not create any wealth/output at all for the time being, but spend their time thinking of new ideas. Their continual thinking of ideas constitutes, in effect, a spiritual exercise akin to monks praying on a mountaintop. The ideas people produce a certain small number of good ideas which take hold. These lay the groundwork for growth in the future, years or decades later. The fewer people "working in ideas," the lower the long-term growth. Thus society needs to encourage more people to work in the field of ideas.
Another faction, out of fashion among the high priestly class, rejects the tenet of maximization of growth as the animating civilizational goal in the first place. They say that economies tending towards a "steady state" may be inevitable, and may not even be a bad thing.
I can't help but think economics (as I have known it, September 2016 to Present) amounts to the learning of a little code language that one will never use again (i.e., inevitably forgotten soon after the final exam), something like learning a foreign or dead language to read one's religion's holy scriptures (to touch back on the allegory). The kind of equation-manipulations I mean look like this:
As for unlimited growth forever: It does seem to be the way we see the world. It does seem to inform everything else we think, we 'modern' (and 'postmodern') people. It seems to have been so for generations, even centuries. Since when? I suppose since the Industrial Revolution in earnest, maybe with origins in the Enlightenment. It is tempting to believe it, too, for one thing because it seems true from empirical data for more than two centuries now in the West.
I perceive that more have been questioning this model in recent decades, for various reasons: Unlimited growth forever? What does that mean? Are we sure it's true? Is it not folly to assume that trends in the age of cheap fossil-fuel energy will hold true forever? Are we sure we even want unlimited growth forever?
But this "dissident faction" still remains on the margins (really it is several factions united by some kind of opposition to, or skepticism of, the long-reigning Unlimited Growth Forever idea). The dissident voices are just more conspicuous than before. A quip from the 1970s, "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell," captures a main current of this dissident view.