“Be Open to Spiritual Experience. Also, Be Really Careful.”

An elegant expression of the CultPunk/Poetic Faith perspective courtesy of Ross Douthat, writing for The New York Times:

Start with the broad youthful impulse toward what you might call magical thinking, ranging from the vogue for astrology to the TikTok craze for manifesting desired outcomes in your life. In certain ways this is an extension of the self-help spiritualities that have been attached to American religion since forever, but right now the magical dimension is more explicit, the connection to old-time religion weak to nonexistent.

At the same time, it’s unclear to what extent any of this can be called belief. Instead there is a playacting dimension throughout, a range of attitudes from “This isn’t real, but it’s fun” to “Maybe this isn’t real, but it’s cool to play around with” to “This is actually real, but who knows what it means?” Even some people who explicitly identify with witchcraft seem to have this ambiguity in their identification; they are participants in a culture of ritual and exploration, not believers in a specific set of claims.