Human Rights over Religion for Millennials

By Watts, Galen | Winnipeg Free Press, February 17, 2018 | Go to article overview

Human Rights over Religion for Millennials


Watts, Galen, Winnipeg Free Press


A sea of change in the religious landscape of Canada is underway. Led by millennials, Canada is increasingly moving towards a secular culture. “Spiritual, but not religious” has become our new normal.

A 2015 Angus Reid poll found 39 per cent of Canadians identify as “spiritual, but not religious.” Another 27 per cent identify as “neither religious nor spiritual;” 24 per cent as “religious and spiritual;” and 10 per cent as “religious, but not spiritual.”

What sparked this dramatic change in beliefs and self-identification? And what does it mean for the future of Canadian society?

The rise of “spiritual, but not religious” (SBNR) is bound up with the civil rights revolutions of the 20th century. The movement away from religion toward “spirituality” reflects a desire to leave behind hierarchical understandings of religion towards a more socially liberal one. This idea has attracted critics: conservative commentators have generally denounced SBNRs, seeing them as narcissistic, lazy and without a clear sense of morality.

Yet, this characterization is distorted and leaves out many attributes of SBNRs who display a robust sense of ethics: mutual respect and acceptance of difference. In fact, I believe the ethical core of SBNR spirituality holds human rights as sacred.

In 2015, I began conducting qualitative research with Canadian millennials (born from 1980 to 2000) who self-identify as “spiritual, but not religious.” I have interviewed more than 40 millennials about their spiritual lives in order to better understand their beliefs, practices and values.

SBNRs look to the self for guidance, above all. When my interviewees make decisions about what to do, they do not appeal to a sacred text, but rather look within for guidance. What their gut tells them, or what their intuition reveals, is what orients them. For this reason, a number of scholars have deemed it “self-spirituality.”

It has become commonplace in Canadian society to be told to follow your heart, be true to yourself or stand out from the crowd; and conversely, both rare and undesirable to be told to stick to your role, abide by tradition or work hard to fit in.

My interviewees’ rejection of religion often derived from their assumption that religious people are not respectful of others’ rights to exist as they are.

Few of my interviewees had any interest in joining a religious institution — they are often deeply suspicious of them and see them as ultimately hotbeds of corruption, greed and fear-mongering — entirely at odds with and corrupting of an authentic spirituality.

It is perhaps for this reason conservative commentators have generally denounced self-spirituality, arguing that its rejection of religious institutions is antithetical to a moral life. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Human Rights over Religion for Millennials
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.