More from that Pew study of Americans who are unaffiliated with any religion. It turns out that the 20% of Americans who check “none” when asked their religion are not necessarily complete secularist materialists. Only 6% of Americans are atheists. Most of the “nones” seem to be simply people who have religious beliefs that are highly privatized.
The beliefs of the unaffiliated aren’t easy to characterize, as the Pew poll shows. The nones are far less likely to attend worship services or to say religion is important in their lives. But 68 percent say they believe in God or a universal spirit, one-fifth say they pray every day and 5 percent report attending weekly services of some kind.
Many American Christians have little use for church authority and focus instead on “me and Jesus.” Many American churches do little with collective doctrines or corporate identity, emphasizing their member’s individual religious experience. Aren’t these “nones” just the next step, going from the individual’s right to interpret the Bible for himself to the individual’s right to believe anything he wants, leaving the Bible out of it? Though the Pew study says that Protestantism has declined to a mere 48% of the American public, aren’t the “nones” really just hyper-Protestants?