James defined religion as the “feelings, acts and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to what they consider the divine.” The words “solitude” and “individual” are crucial here, since this is the unvarying condition of the mind, no matter the web of culture and language by which it is enabled, sustained, and limited. The thing lost in this kind of thinking, the kind that proposes a “moment” in which religion is freed by “hermeneuticization,” is the self, the solitary, perceiving, and interpreting locus of anything that can be called experience. It may have been perverse of destiny to array perception across billions of subjectivities, but the act is central to human life and language and culture, and no philosophy or cognitive science should be allowed to evade it.

Marilynne Robinson, Absence of Mind