"I don't think I've got the God gene, Monsignor. I don't know if I can believe. Maybe I'm a nonester. Maybe I don't need a religion, or maybe I need them all." -- Ellen Shea, p.244


Ellen is like many in her millenial generation, unfulfilled by the faith of her parents and in search of another path to spirituality. She's read about the hypothetical "God gene,"  one that may have given evolutionary advantage to early humans who believed, and wonders if she carries such a gene. She worries about being a "nonester," someone without faith who checks the "none" box for religion, and that no single religion can satisfy her spiritual needs.

The portion of young people who follow their inherited religion is steadily decreasing, with a growing fraction of unbelievers in each generation, many like Ellen frustrated in their search for a new path. By mid century, Americans are likely to follow their European counterparts, with less than half belonging to an organized faith.