Posts Tagged ‘religious nones’
In an essay published at the Atlantic online, TIF editor-at-large Steven Barrie-Anthony urges politicians and pundits to pay closer attention to “spiritual but not religious” voters as a potentially influential bloc.
A new survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life found that an increasing number of American adults identify as religiously unaffiliated, and nearly one half of respondents said that the increase in non-religious individuals is a “bad thing” for American society.
Writing in the Christian Century, Philip Jenkins suggests that there are signs of an early stage European style “secularization” at work in parts of Latin America.
Noting that “nearly all of the white Americans who drifted away from organized religion in the last few decades were liberals,” Claude Fischer worries worries that this is problematic for both the left and the right.
But why, first of all, is this subject a significant one? And why does it appear especially pertinent at precisely the present moment? To begin with, growing numbers of “religious nones,” that is, people who have limited or no religious affiliation yet still claim to believe in some kind of divinity, signal an unprecedented shift in the American religious landscape, and many scholars who have sought to understand this phenomenon have indicated that something like “spirituality” might capture an important aspect of their outlook, if not their “identity.” We, for our part, certainly agree that this is a socially significant shift. Yet we also note that much of the interpretation and ensuing discussion about the “religious nones” draws upon and continues to assert uninvestigated understandings of religion and spirituality, where we would argue that the shifts underway should elicit some reconsideration of the terms that are deployed to analyze and interpret this allegedly “new” phenomenon.