“Everyone has a religion," writes Andrew Sullivan. "It is, in fact, impossible not to have a religion if you are a human being. It’s in our genes and has expressed itself in every culture, in every age, including our own secularized husk of a society.
We live in a secular culture in which politics is increasingly occupying the meaning-vacuum left by religion. As Sullivan explains, “if your ultimate meaning is derived from religion, you have less need of deriving it from politics or ideology or trusting entirely in a single, secular leader. ... The need for meaning hasn’t gone away, but without Christianity, this yearning looks to politics for satisfaction. And religious impulses, once anchored in and tamed by Christianity, find expression in various political cults.”
In Sullivan’s view, there are two prominent political cults vying for the religious affections of Americans in 2019: the cult of Trump and the cult of social justice. Whether you’re on the left or on the right, these cults “are filling the void that Christianity once owned, without any of the wisdom and culture and restraint that Christianity once provided.”
Read “America’s New Religions” for one of the clearest summations available of the American cultural moment. For Sullivan’s take on the UK situation, check out his recent longform piece on the remarkable similarities between Donald Trump and Jeremy Corbyn.