Daniel Payne writes over at The Federalist of “The New Sins Of ‘Nonjudgmental’ Millennials.”
If you speak to the average 20-something or Millennial about the concept of sin, you may be treated to a kind of quasi-Unitarian dismissal of the concept, a sort of uncomfortable rejection of the notion of ecclesiastical proscription in any sense: “I’m very spiritual,” you’ll hear a lot, “but not religious.” What this looks like in practice is generally a dismissal of accountability towards any higher power, or at least towards any rules He might impose upon His people: It is, after all, 2014.
Yet the Millennials, having sloughed off the religious notions of their parents and grandparents—at least one-third of Generation Yers are more or less without religion—have taken it upon themselves to adopt a new set of mandates and dictates to guide their lives. Call them the “new sins,” a number of commandments by which one might stay on the narrow way. The old interdictions now cast aside, a new series of injunctions must be obeyed: and like most religions and denominations, adherence to these commandments is held sacrosanct, any deviation from them fairly blasphemous. Religion may be out for a large number of Millennials, but its vacuum has been more or less filled.
Payne goes on to list some of these “new sins,” including answering wrong with respect to climate change, homosexuality, and a politicized rendering of social justice. Payne’s identification of the “dismissal of accountability towards any higher power” reminds me of the Kacey Musgraves song, “Follow Your Arrow,” which embodies the tension of legalistically rejecting legalisms.
Musgraves’ song tries to walk the middle path between various forms of hypocrisy and judgmentalism. But the new law set up in place of inherited fundamentalism is the call, not to put off the old self and to follow Jesus, but rather to “follow your arrow wherever it points.”
There is little sense that our arrows might be bent, much less broken. And in this, “Follow Your Arrow” captures the spirit of a broken and bent generation.