The Rise of the "Nones"
For many of us, the story in this week's Time Magazine won't come as any surprise, but for many it may be a shock. More and more people are opting out of "organized religion." They're not necessarily abandoning God, they just don't feel that places like the church are useful places to engage one's spirituality.
The cover "story" in Time focuses on "10 Ideas that Are Changing Your Life." One of those 10 ideas is that the number of people claiming no religious affiliation is on the rise (about 16% of the population), and it's not likely to stop rising any time soon.
In this article, Amy Sullivan points to Diana Butler Bass's new book Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening -- which sits waiting for me to pick up and read -- where Diana points out that religious institutions large and small have experienced a "participation crash." And yet, as Amy Sullivan writes:
But the hunger for spiritual connection and community hasn't gone away. A 2009 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life asked respondents whether they believed in God, how often they prayed and whether they were affiliated with a particular religion; it found that "40% of the unaffiliated people were fairly religious," says director Luis Lugo. "Many said they were still hoping to eventually find the right religious home."