This New “Religion” is Empty (And Making Us Worse?)

There are three stabilizing institutions in society: the family, the church, and the state. The first two are struggling. In their struggles, the third has grown. Welcome to our polarized and anxious society. And we are not getting better as a culture. Gen Zers fear they are growing worse.

Back in 2019, when we knew life before a pandemic, I wrote and travelled teaching about this thought of our new Religion of Enoughness. This is what was replacing church attendance. Family was one of the new religions. People were receptive to this message because our souls were so exhausted.

Our very DNA wants us to have a religion. This is something innate inside of us. So while we bash the religion word, our body is doing whatever our body does to keep us in religion. This new religion is very popular and exhausting us—as every religion of works is.

While the pandemic has changed us (even those of you who want to forget it ever happened), so little has changed.

This influencer writer whom I can’t stop quoting wrote this:

“These days it seems like everything is described as a new religion. Social justice is a new religion. So is climate activism. Trumpism, too. I saw a funny tweet recently about how girlboss feminism has now reinvented the Sabbath, with the shocking news that we might benefit from “one lazy day” a week. Even AI seems to be replacing religion, from giving spiritual guidance to reinventing arranged marriages.

“I think this point can be a bit laboured sometimes—but religious faith has collapsed, and many trends and movements have moved in to fill the void. The one that most resembles a religion to me, though, is rise of therapy culture. I think it’s an exaggeration to say all of Gen Z are following the cult of social justice or climate activism—but I really don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that a significant majority of young people now interpret their lives and emotions and relationships through a therapeutic lens.

“…We refract our relationships through therapy-speak. We define ourselves by our diagnoses. And we mimic religion, all the time. We don’t pray at night; we repeat positive affirmations. We don’t confess; we trauma dump. We don’t seek salvation; we go on healing journeys. We don’t resist temptation from the devil; we reframe intrusive thoughts. We don’t exorcise evil spirits; we release trauma. And of course we don’t talk to God, c’mon—we give a ‘specific request to the universe’ that ‘has a greater plan’ for us.” –Freya India,

So little has changed. Our brain needs us to have a religion to order our worlds and so many are still fighting against the possibility of Jesus, a Savior who isn’t you. We are choosing to be our own savior.

All of these dupes of religious behavior seem like wise and aware things to do but it is no surprise that us as our own savior is not enough.

“I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things. I’m not against therapy (unless it’s an app; unless it’s obsessive texting). Meditation isn’t a problem. And of course there’s nothing wrong with getting help if you’re struggling, and becoming a better partner or parent for it. But my worry is with this tendency to obsess over our mental health, to orient ourselves with wellness and self-actualisation as our highest aim—even at the expense of others. My worry with this new faith is that it wrenches aspects of religion from the inconvenient parts; the parts we need most.

“Because where is God, in all this? Who is God? Some say therapy culture has no God. I think, more accurately, it’s us. God is who all this revolves around. All these apps and platforms serve us. AI chatbots are “all about you and your mental health journey”! Our online therapist is here to serve our every need, whenever we have one, any time of day. We are the divine; we are the deity. We have become the omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent beings in our lives. There’s a reason, I think, that one of the most popular therapeutic phrases at the moment is is this serving me?” –Freya India,

Freya’s good rant here goes deep into this religion of me. This Religion of Enoughness—that is producing the most anxious generation.

We used to meet pharisees one day a week in church. Church has been opted out of many of our lives now. In its place we have a pharisee living inside our head. This is the one who is justifying—or self-justifying—everything about our existence. This is an inner accountant who takes extensive notes on our failures. This pharisee is speaking every hour. Even in our sleep.

This pharisee also loves shame. Every hour.

This new religion is empty.

“It’s hard to put this into words but I think, in some ways, what we actually want is to be humbled. People say Gen Z follow these new faiths because we crave belonging and connection, but what if we also crave commandments? What if we are desperate to be delivered from something? To be at the mercy of something?” –Freya India,

What if this answer is a savior who isn’t you? The Savior who is Jesus. The one who’s commandments we may actually crave. The one who can deliver us from something, like the sin that entraps us. The one who gives us mercy.

That is a dependent statement. I hate being dependent. But I’m so tired. I’m so tired of trying to be enough.

May your exhaustion of the pharisee of enoughness make you curious to consider Jesus. 

Faith in a savior who isn’t me invites me into a much larger story. A story that actually awakens my soul. This awakening feeling is so opposite of the feeling of being so tired from trying to be enough. My awakened soul sings that this is who I have always been.

I’ve listened to several podcast interviews from Tammy Peterson, wife of Jordan Peterson, renowned renowned psychologist, author, and in-demand speaker. As a recent convert to the Christian faith she keeps repeating this mantra in her story:

“We need surrender in this world right now.”

–Tammy Peterson, Maybe God Podcast, E94, How Tammy Peterson’s Extraordinary Healing Sparked a Life-Changing Conversion

From one lost and wise soul to another, ponder that thought of surrender. Is this what your soul needs?


New Bible Study:  Trust Issues with God With Video

Life is unfair. When the unfair thing happens, we look for a reason, a solution, a purpose, justice. These are all things we expect from God. When God doesn’t deliver when we expect or need him to, there is a gap in our understanding of who God is. This Bible study is to help you fill in that gap with trust over suspicion by exploring the truths of the Bible, both individually and in a group setting.

Order here: