A large share of well-educated liberal America is post-Protestant — former Methodists, ex-Lutherans, lapsed Presbyterians, the secularized kids of Congregationalists.
.. with the oldest churchgoing population and one of the lowest retention rates of any Christian tradition in the United States.
.. what those congregations offer is already embodied in liberal politics and culture.
.. enjoy a sort of cultural triumph, losing members even as their most distinctive commitments — ecumenical spirituality and a progressive social Gospel — permeate academia, the media, pop culture, the Democratic Party.
.. liberal Protestantism without the Protestantism tends to gradually shed the liberalism as well, transforming into an illiberal cult of victimologies that burns heretics with vigor.
.. as liberalism de-churches it struggles to find a nontransactional organizing principle, a persuasive language of the common good.
.. religious impulses without institutions aren’t enough to bind communities and families, to hold atomization and despair at bay.
.. Mormonism, the most demandingly communitarian of contemporary faiths
.. If pressed, most of you aren’t hard-core atheists: You pursue religious experiences, you have affinities for Unitarianism or Quakerism
.. you associate “religion” with hierarchies and dogmas and strict rules about sex
.. aren’t you being a little ungrateful, a little slothful, a little selfish by leaving these churches empty when they’re trying to be exactly the change you say you wish Christianity would make?
.. Sure, consciousness and free will are illusions, but human rights and gender identities are totally real.