At the height of twenty-first-century humanism–that is the prioritization of self-agency over the divine–the idea of “keeping a faith” seems burdensome on our path to enlightenment. “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual,” is a common platitude, suggesting we haven’t completely left but we’re not expected to return any time soon. Talismans left in the suburban towns we grew up in, from the crucifix, mezuzah, to the prayer rug, once served as moral anchorage before exploring the vast terrain of self-identity in our new cities.
What distances oneself more is the stigmatization of faiths stemming from major cultural events: Islamophobia brought on by September 11th, racism and the promotion of capitalism under the guise of evangelism since the 1950s, child abuse in the Catholic Church, and picket waving Calvinists pontificating homophobia under their first amendment right. For most millennials, this shared trauma has left us juggling our need to believe and our desire to know. The irreversible damage brought on by historic events has inspired resignation, radicalization, and has fully compromised our ability to observe religion in the way it’s meant to: out of love for ourselves and one another.