Losing Our Religion: The Growth Of The ‘ Nones’

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This week, Morning Edition explores the “nones” — Americans who say they don’t identify with any religion. Demographers have given them this name because when asked to identify their religion, that’s their answer: “none.” 

In October, the Pew Research Center released a study, ‘Nones’ on the Rise, that takes a closer look at the 46 million people who answered none to the religion question in 2012. According to Pew, one-fifth of American adults have no religious affiliation, a trend that has for years been on the rise. (A more recent Gallup poll shows the uptick in religious nones slowed a bit from 2011 to 2012.)

In a nutshell, the group:

  • comprises atheists and agnostics as well as those who ally themselves with “nothing in particular”
  • includes many who say they are spiritual or religious in some way and pray every day
  • overwhelmingly says they are not looking to find an organized religion that would be right for them
  • is socially liberal, with three-quarters favoring same-sex marriage and legal abortion

Perhaps most striking is that one-third of Americans under 30 have no religious affiliation. When comparing this with previous generations under 30, there’s a new wrinkle, says Greg Smith, a senior research at Pew.

“Young people today are not only more religiously unaffiliated than their elders; they are also more religiously unaffiliated than previous generations of young people ever have been as far back as we can tell,” Smith tells NPRMorning Edition co-host David Greene. “This really is something new.”

But why?

Written By: Heidi Glenn
continue to source article at npr.org

9 COMMENTS

  1. Looking at the comments it is amazing the number of religious people still having discussions based on reading the bible as if it is the accurate report of what some guy who really lived called Jesus said. Haven’t they read Bart Ehrman ? Don’t they know the difficulties in interpreting the bible ? Sadly not.

    Michael

  2. It’s clear RD ,Sam Harris ,Maher, and the rest are getting through to clear thinking youngsters.
    There’s also a possibility that some of their teachers are steering them away from fairy fantasy.

  3. In reply to #1 by mmurray:

    Looking at the comments it is amazing the number of religious people still having discussions based on reading the bible as if it is the accurate report of what some guy who really lived called Jesus said. Haven’t they read Bart Ehrman ? Don’t they know the difficulties in interpreting the bible ? Sadly not.

    Michael

    Back when I was in my “spiritual” stage, I had a book which talked about aramaic being a language in which one word could have several meanings. It showed several versions of the Lord’s Prayer which had meanings quite different from the one most commonly used today. Also, Genesis starts out talking about the “firmament”. Most people skip right by this word not knowing that it actually means we live under a solid dome – a snowglobe of sorts.

  4. There are far more male non-believers than female, possibly as many as three times more than men, who are susceptible and addicted to a belief in a placebo drug of hocus-pocus woo, which includes all religion. I suppose Richard Dawkins is aware of such a large difference, but a woman would probably take more notice of another woman rather than a man, who would probably be thought of by such women as a male chauvinist. Better to be told by someone like Elizabeth Cornwell or Paula Kirby, but who are probably too busy.
    Although emotional evolution cannot be rushed, it still needs a helping hand. I think it is time to no longer hide the disappointment, and show pity for all the belief afflicted, emotionally unevolved people who cannot live without their placebo drug addiction programme. perhapspeace

  5. Why people get so attached to the comfort blanket offered by religion, i will never know the natural world is astonishing the universe and its contents it blows my mind to try comprehend the vast size of the milky way never mind the rest of the universe. religion is boring at best.

  6. The relegation of religious faith to being held by a minority will take a long time. All of us who want to see it happen should be pleased at this news, and its parallel in the UK’s 2011 census which showed a reduction in the numbers of the religious.

    Pleased, but never complacent. There’s a long way to go.

  7. Since all the great monotheisms regard women as lesser beings than men, the higher percentage of belief in women baffles me. Though it doesn’t baffle me nearly as much as LGBT who want to be allowed to participate in a religion that does nothing but spit on them.

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