Speaking to religion in the twenty-first century is a near-impossible task. For one, there is the long-standing definitional debate over what exactly is meant by “religion.” Surely there is some validity to the oft-noted adage that academics have done much to invent the term. Even so, acclaimed studies on its history and genealogy, surveys of the variety of definitional debates, awareness of its colonialist and orientalist assumptions, and continued use in academic discourse indicate that, properly contextualized and qualified, the term is both useful and impossible to avoid (see Smith 1998). A similar state of affairs exists with respect to the topic of the present essay, that of being “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR). At first glance the notion of being SBNR seems unproblematic. After all, while the polling data over the years have evinced some variability, multiple recent surveys indicate that at least 18% of the current U.S....

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