Are We Losing Religion? with Special Guest David Zahl

Episode 330 Show Notes 

From the Show

Anytime you’re curating, editing your own personality in order to get love or acceptance from another person, you’re in justification mode. To justify yourself is basically to assert that “I’m valuable; I am worthy; I am loveable for this reason,” and we do it in all sorts of ways. We do it by signaling our political beliefs . We do it by dropping names as a party. We do it by, simply, a sticker on the back of our car. Well most of the time, your religion is seen as a matter of worship and I think that that’s true, and that’s certainly biblical language, but here I would say religion also casts a vision of righteousness or enough-ness, again is my translation of that, and so, what you’re religious about is the place where you are looking to tell you that you’re okay, that you’re enough, that you’re righteous in some respect…your religion is your prefered guilt-management-system, and everyone’s got one. Everyone is dying to hear the question answered, “am I good enough?”

—David Zahl

Questions in this Episode

1. The statistics tell us that it seems like the younger you go in our culture, the less people want to identify with any particular religion, muchless Christianity. Yet, you have written seculosity arguing that actually we’re very religious. What led you to write this book and where do you think these numbers don't tell the whole story?

2. You write, “We want to feel good about ourselves, and so we edit our personalities to maximize the approval of others. Or we exaggerate our hardships to make ourselves seem more heroic or others more villainous.” You call this self-justification. Can you help our audience understand self-justification and how this is connected to a religious impulse?

3. How does a desire to be righteous lead to alienation among people?

4. Tell me how we craving self-justification in parenting?

5. You describe our culture as one where busyness has become a virtue. Can you explain this?

6. You describe performancism as “the assumption, usually unspoken, that there is no distinction between what we do and who we are.” You write, “Your resume isn’t a part of your identify; it is your identity. What makes you lovable, indeed what makes your life worth living, is your performance.” This is a problem you point out. Why is this a problem?


Seculosity: How Career, Parenting, Technology, Food, Politics, and Romance Became Our New Religion and What to Do about It by David Zahl

A Mess of Help: From The Crucified Soul of Rock N' Roll by David Zahl


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