SPIRITUALITY & RELIGION

Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World

PublicAffairs. May 2020. 320p. ISBN 9781541762534. $28. REL
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Burton elaborates on her work as a regular contributor to outlets such as Vox and The Atlantic with her unique perspective on the evolving nature of religion in the United States. Burton argues that organized religions, particularly traditional Christian-based faith communities, have fallen out of favor as their social, spiritual, and/or community-building functions are replaced by nonreligious niche groups such as Harry Potter fandoms, SoulCycle devotees, kinksters, political organizations, or any numbers of interests that typically coalesce around a strong internet-based community. This well-researched work begins rather unevenly, but finds its footing and concludes with an especially riveting analysis of the religious aspects of the male-dominated alt-right nationalist movement and its dangerous consequences.
VERDICT For readers with an interest and background in philosophy, theology, and popular culture who enjoy casual academic banter and a unique perspective on the evolving nature of contemporary U.S. society.

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