An essay in last week’s NYTimes written by Paul Elie grabbed my attention, prodded me in the gut, and provoked some mixed reactions on my behalf. Written with a sensitivity to the oft-referenced ‘post-Christian society,’ Elie surmises that contemporary American fiction lacks the believer: “In American fiction, belief is like that. Belief as upbringing, belief as social fact, belief as a species of American weirdness: our literary fiction has all of these things. All that is missing is the believer.”

His argument and epistolatory tone largely stem from an understanding that a large swath of American literature has been overtly rooted in…

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