PBS’ Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly on the Rise of the Nones, Part 3: Religious Implications

A couple of weeks ago, we learned that the percentage of Secular Americans was higher than ever before. Not only do a third of Millennials (18-29) have no religious affiliation, nearly 20% of all adults are also unaffiliated.

That incredible report was conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life in conjunction with PBS’ Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. Last week and the week before, the show aired part one and part two of a three-part special on our people.

Part three focuses on the religious implications of a rising non-religious populace:

Correspondent Deborah Potter: Chris Stedman found religion on his own and joined an Evangelical church. But soon after, he discovered he was gay and eventually left.

Stedman: The grand irony of the situation is that I became an Evangelical Christian because I was looking for a community, a place to belong and I was looking for a way of making sense of injustice and suffering, of grappling with this idea of suffering. But the irony of it is that becoming an evangelical Christian increased the amount of suffering in my life and also sort of alienated me from others.

Potter: Now a self-described atheist, Stedman discovered he missed the shared values and service opportunities the church provided, something he’s found again with the Humanists.

Stedman: I thought maybe, you know, helping build up non-religious communities would be a way to provide people with opportunities to be civically engaged; to be involved in interfaith dialogue efforts; to do community service; to, you know, be more involved in their communities, be more organized.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.