“Nones” growing

Andrew Sullivan comments on the report that the demographic of religious preference continues to see growth in the “none” category:

In 1990, 8 percent of Americans reported that they had no religious beliefs. Twenty years later, that’s 15 percent. But when you look at younger Americans, you see that the proportion of “nones” is reaching 22 percent. The 1990s were the boom years for the Nones; and a huge 35 percent of the new Nones are ex-Catholics. No doubt, some of this is a reflection of the sex abuse crisis. But the intellectual collapse of Christianity under the leadership of Protestant fundamentalists and Catholic theocons is surely relevant.

61 percent of Nones find evolution convincing, compared with 38 percent of all Americans. And yet they do not dismiss the possibility of a God they do not understand; and refuse to call themselves atheists. This is the fertile ground on which a new Christianity will at some point grow. In the end, the intellectual bankruptcy of the theocon right and Christianist movement counts. Very few people with brains are listening to these people any more. They have discredited Christianity as much as they have tarnished conservatism.

Sullivan is commenting on the findings of the latest installment of the American Religious Identification Survey.

Category : The Lead

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3 Comments
  1. John B. Chilton

    Sullivan may be right the relevance of “the intellectual collapse of Christianity under the leadership of Protestant fundamentalists and Catholic theocons.” But I suspect the results would be much the same without the collapse. Or to put it another way, why not set the date of the decline with the Monkey Trial?

    What’s happened in recent decades is that those who drop out of conservative religious backgrounds far fewer end up in mainstream denominations. They are becoming more like the young in the mainstream denominations a generation back: they leave organized religion altogether and become “nones.”

    They are the mission field of the mainstream denominations. Whether they are “fertile ground on which a new Christianity will at some point grow” is, I think, a statement that points to us as it does to them. What can we do that will make them into switchers instead of leavers?

  2. When I first saw the headline, I thought this was about a revival in people saying the Lesser Hours. Compline has made a bit of a comeback in recent years, but Tierce and Nones not so much. Of course, everyone knows Episcopalians never tire of discussing Sext. ;-)

  3. tgflux

    Father Tobias, kindly depart the stage! :-X

    [@JohnC: better coffee couldn’t hurt. ;-/]

    JC Fisher

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