Losing Our Religion: The Growth Of The ‘Nones’

NPR has a piece about the “growth of the nones” — which is us, I guess.

From the article:

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.”

Clever, no?

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.)

Read the whole article and/or listen to the program.

  • http://themikewrites.blogspot.com JohnMWhite

    I know where you’ll find me on that chart.

    Wait for it….

    That’s me in the corner.

    • blotonthelandscape

      Get your coat.

    • FO

      LOL. ^_^

  • blotonthelandscape

    Why do I never see a follow-up question “Do you affirm the statement ‘Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour’?” in these sorts of polls?

    I want to know how many believers tick the “none” box in the spirit of “it’s a relationship, not a religion”. I want to know if these people, in spite of their proclamations, still tick “Christian” when asked for their religion. I want to know whether “Nones” really are comprised solely of non-believers and non-church-going believers, and think there’s a chance that a significant proportion of “nones” are what we non-believers would traditionally consider to be religious christians.

    • UrsaMinor

      Good question. “Unaffiliated” does not automatically equate to “nonreligious”.

    • Bart Mitchell

      The obverse question is also pertinent. How many people tick ‘Christian’ just because they live in a community where Christianity is the norm? They don’t buy into all the nonsense, but they do love the community.

      That’s always the trick of polling, you need to count on statistics to get real meaning from them.

      • blotonthelandscape

        That research has been done, courtesy of the RDF, for the UK at least; http://richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2012/12/12/richard-dawkins-census-shows-that-christianity-in-britain-is-on-the-way-out#

        The answer is “surprisingly many”. The most common response was because “they wanted to be good people.” Only 32% knew the first book of the New Testament; similar numbers believed in the resurrection of christ, which is astonishing really. Which is interesting, but IMO not entirely good news… when I mentioned the statistics to my dad, he was quick to say it was because the “old guard” was leaving in droves, but the “real christians” (i.e. his brand of conservative evangelical) was growing stronger and more vocal. Which in our language means increasing pressure from a shrinking and ever-more-polemic minority on political discourse. I have a tendency to agree with him.

  • http://www.agnostic-library.com/ma/ PsiCop

    The whole category of “Nones” seems to me to be too wide to be meaningful. It includes non-believers and unaffiliated believers. The latter might, in turn, include people who are part of “non-denominational” churches who don’t consider themselves a part of any sect or denomination, but who are devout in their belief, and even of the fundamentalist sort.

    Because it’s such a varied demographic, it makes no sense that so much stock is being placed in “the Nones.” Don’t tell me about “the Nones.” Tell me about the religiously-unaffiliated. Tell me about non-believers. Tell me about the “independent” Christian fundamentalists. But don’t throw all 3 of those into a giant heap and tell me about them; it tells me nothing useful.

  • vasaroti

    Perhaps the poll-takers went with “none” instead of agnostic/atheist because a surprising number of people feel squicky about applying the term atheist to themselves, even though they don’t believe in any gods.

    I’ve seen a number of polls that confused me; I wasn’t sure if the researchers were trying to get at whether or not I believed anything, or whether I took any actions due to my beliefs. Perhaps before posting a poll on religion, they ought to have a poll on each question, to find out what poll respondents thought they were being asked. I do not envy them their job.


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