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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 12:13PM

“When Americans are asked to check a box indicating their religious affiliation, 28% now check 'none.'

A new study from Pew Research finds that the religiously unaffiliated – a group comprised of atheists, agnostic and those who say their religion is "nothing in particular" – is now the largest cohort in the U.S. They're more prevalent among American adults than Catholics (23%) or evangelical Protestants (24%).

Back in 2007, Nones made up just 16% of Americans, but Pew's new survey of more than 3,300 U.S. adults shows that number has now risen dramatically.”


“ Nones could prove to be an important political group

Gregory Smith at Pew was the lead researcher on the study, titled "Religious 'Nones' in America: Who They Are and What They Believe."

He says the growth of Nones could affect American public life.

"We know politically for example," Smith says, "that religious Nones are very distinctive. They are among the most strongly and consistently liberal and Democratic constituencies in the United States."

And that could change electoral politics in the coming decades.

The political power of white Evangelicals has been well-reported in recent decades, but their numbers are shrinking while the number of the more liberal Nones is on the rise.”

Is this a positive direction for society?

I think so, but less civic involvement amongst this very large and growing demographic probably means a tyrannical religious minority can gain and maintain control.

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Posted by: anybody ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 01:13PM

I've been thinking about this for some time.

There's going to be a profound shift in American life in within the next ten to fifteen years, maybe sooner.

Almost all of the current "fault lines" in American society have been driven by religious fundamentalists who want to stop secularism and tolerance.

Think back twenty years. Did you ever think the USA would see mass torchlight Nazi parades, book bans and burnings, school board meetings devolving into Jerry Springer-esque fights, demands to make the Bible "the law of the land" (whatever that really means)?

Now imagine looking back twenty years from now. Kids born in the next few years won't believe things like this. About trying to live back in the 1920s or 1940s. About people so driven by hatred and exclusion they wanted to destroy everything and everyone who was not like them.

They'd think you were talking about the 1930s rather than the 2010s and 2020s.

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Posted by: slskipper ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 04:49PM

Only in America (for western countries, anyway) would anybody even think to conduct such a poll. America is unique in the way it requires you to have an opinion about religion. Maybe someday that will change.

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Posted by: kentish ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 06:06PM

At face value the 46% of Britons claiming to be Christians sounds encouraging to me but the reality us far dufferent. Perhaps the question shouykd have been: If you were serious about following a relgion what would you be? The largest claimed church in England, for instance, would almost certainly be Church of England. In 2022 their average weekly attendance was 654,000. There are (last figure I could find) 55.98 million people in England a massive number of wehom would identify as CofE if asked. This is certainly true of my own extended camily there and of myself in the past. Likely Britain, but certainy England, is a post Christian country.

Unlike in the United States committed Christians in the UK can count themseves as Conservative while also being supportive of things like a nationa heath service, Many Christians in America see their faith and conservative Americanism as synonymous.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 06:50PM

I can see a lot of people who identify as Christian who seldom or never attend church. I was that way myself for many years. So was my mom. It can take a while to drop the last vestiges of religion.

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Posted by: Nightingale ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 07:26PM

kentish Wrote:
> Likely Britain, but certainly England,
> is a post Christian country.

> Many Christians in America
> see their faith and conservative Americanism as
> synonymous.

Below is a link to an article about how "rural, religious and other identities" impact voters in Alberta (a prairie province in Canada). (I'm thinking that because it's Canada the political references are OK here (an apolitical site!) as it's not too partisan or extreme).

The writer says "Woven together, religion, identity and politics have an interlaced history in Alberta."

He writes that major realities in certain time periods, such as the drought and the Depression in Alberta, impact people's political choices more so perhaps than their religious affiliations or usual principles and opinions.

He states "We know that religion plays a part in how people vote — but how it plays that role is complicated. It's not as simple as people of a particular faith voting a particular way. Nor is it just that if your religion holds a belief, you will vote based on that belief.

It's about how you see yourself within your community. It's about identity."

He mentions "the many religious settler communities — Mormons, Mennonites, Hutterites — that came to the prairie province..."

It's interesting that we had settlers from these different groups. I've been to the Mormon Church, of course, and attended a Mennonite church for a while (not an extreme one). My best friend's husband came from a Mennonite family and so that's why they selected that church to attend - again, not extreme. Of course I went with them which is a bad habit I used to have - going to church with anybody who asked me and look at all the trouble I caused myself. I haven't tried Hutterite yet and will very likely give it a miss at this point. :)

I always find it interesting and often surprising to see the characteristics certain groups likely have in common. This often but not always helps to predict how people will vote. For instance, the writer states about Alberta: "If you have a Master's degree, belong to a union and are irreligious, you probably have an NDP sign in your yard. There is a stacking of identities — and when multiple identities pile on top of each other it strengthens the partisan effect."

That little synopsis about voters' characteristics makes me laugh because it puts people into neat little buttonholes and it sounds so funny - Master's degree, union member, irreligious = NDP (a political party in Canada). So does it follow that no degree, no union and being a churchgoer would define a voter for a different political party?! And plenty of people, I'd think, hope?, don't vote in lockstep or the same way every time but more so according to issues. At least, I think that's more how it often works here compared to some other countries.

He says "People's identities tend to be stable and they will change their values based on what the elites of the social groups with which they identify say those values ought to be."

He concludes: "So, ideas — even religious ones — don't matter as much as we once thought."

In short, I think it's more complicated than some may think. I don't like being defined or judged or categorized by how I vote or which church I attend. But I guess it's a human characteristic that that's what we do with one another.

Canada is officially declared to be not a Christian country as it wasn't founded on religion and church and state are separate but some stats indicate that over 53% of Canadians identify as Christian.

We're just fortunate, I guess, that politics and religion are largely separate entities here and it seems to work out OK.

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Posted by: Finding Freedom ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 08:09PM

The nones are no more united than their schismatic religious brethren.

What does "none" mean?

Everything from a diehard atheist like Dave, to the tea leaf reader and reiki master who is profoundly religious but hates what s/he calls "organized religion". There are also a number of people who aren't militant about the issue at all in any way.

It is also very bad news for those who seek to centralize religious control worldwide, either through Vatican-centered ecumenism, or through the World Parliament of Religions and the like. It is up to all citizens to be vigilant in safeguarding their individual rights. Vigilant citizens do not let themselves be dominated by authoritarians, no matter how cute their rhetoric.

"They are among the most strongly and consistently liberal and Democratic constituencies in the United States."

A pity that "non-binary" is a term reserved for mathematics and gender these days. Many people aren't buying into the two party system and the false liberal-conservative dichotomy which so benefits the ruling class ... anymore than they buy into religious organizations.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 24, 2024 09:03PM

"Binary" thinking has been denounced literally hundreds of times on this board.

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Posted by: Finding Freedom ( )
Date: January 25, 2024 06:09AM

Lot's Wife Wrote:
> "Binary" thinking has been denounced literally
> hundreds of times on this board.

As may be, but many continue to practise it. I don't believe that there are only two stances in most things in life. When people get locked into the silly "liberal-conservative" paradigm in religion or politics or whatever, they can end up tribalalistic and not see that a lot of things which are being done are neither liberal nor conservative, even by people who call themselves such things.

For example, I find so called liberal Protestants often believe very little in the way of Christianity but are doctrinaire on certain other matters. A similar situation exists with so called liberal Jews, who have exchanged the Torah for certain other beliefs and allow no diversity of opinion on those.

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Posted by: Finding Freedom ( )
Date: January 25, 2024 06:10AM

* Tribalistic

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Posted by: schrodingerscat ( )
Date: January 25, 2024 09:23AM

I think ‘Nones’ are the religious equivalent of ‘politically Independent’ there are more ‘Independents’ in America than either Democrats or Republicans.
But half of America doesn’t vote, making it easy for a highly motivated religious minority to take control and maintain it indefinitely, which is about to happen.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 25, 2024 10:04PM

You're the epitome of binary thinking. You think Marxism is all-or-nothing, "Romanism" is all or nothing, liberation theology is all or nothing, critics of communism cannot be critics of capitalism.

You do it all the time.

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Posted by: jay ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 01:30AM

You say he does. He says he doesn’t.

Which one is it?

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/26/2024 01:30AM by jay.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 01:43AM

Look up his posts on Marxism and "Romanism" from just a couple of days ago and decide for yourself.

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Posted by: Happy_Heretic ( )
Date: January 25, 2024 10:52AM

Damnit Cat! I should have looked before posting about the same article. Do you sleep?

IGNORE my thread on the same article.

HH =)

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Posted by: [|] ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 01:56AM

The 28% is less than the 31% in 2022,

Is this a sign that the number of "nones" has started to decline?

Is it just a temporary downward blip?

Is it just statistical noise?

Unfortunately, neither the article in the OP, nor the one above provides any margin of error for the results so it is difficult to answer that question.

Referencing here

their NPORS reports an error margin 0f 1.8%.

But it also includes this statement:

" Estimates based on subgroups will have larger margins of error. It is important to remember that random sampling error is only one possible source of error in a survey estimate. Other sources, such as question wording and reporting inaccuracy, may contribute additional error."

One final point:

OP says that "’Nones’ are now 28% of pop., the single largest religious ID in America."

That depends on how one defines "religious ID". If you separate out evangelical protestants from other protestants, it is true, but only if you separate out evangelicals.

According to the results of the NPORS study noted just above

protestants as a whole constitute 40% of the population. If choosing to subdivide protestants, perhaps it would be appropriate to subdivide nones into those that are religious but do not affiliate with any religion from those who are not religious.

According to the Pew survey 13 % of nones believe in "God as described in the Bible" while 56% believe in "other higher power". Furthermore 10% of nones attend religious services at least a few times per year with 3% attending at least monthly.

So the picture is muddier than the original report makes it appear.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 02:24AM

An important point, no?

If someone surveys people to discover their favorite flavors of ice cream and finds that 25% prefer chocolate, 25% prefer vanilla, and 22% prefer strawberry, the fact that 28% report not eating ice cream does not imply that ice cream is becoming less popular. The meaningful conclusion is that roughly 3/4 of people enjoy the food.

The same is true of surveys of religion. What distinguishes the "nones" from the religious is the latter's belief in, depending on the wording of the question, God or the supernatural. To say that 28% of those surveyed is the largest group is unreasonable. It is a distinction without a difference.

What the Pew survey says is that roughly 3/4 of Americans remain religious.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 06:07AM

Attending religious services a few times a year could include church weddings, funerals, Christmas carol services, or the occasional holiday visit to placate family.

I think the journey out of religion can be very gradual indeed. It was for me. If only 3% of the "nones" are attending church monthly, that tells me that almost all of the "nones" are disengaged with religion to one degree or another.

I think the real sticking point came when churches started to actively interfere with people's civil rights. That can turn the "nones" who are tolerant of religion into people who are angry at religious institutions. If a church doesn't want to marry gays, fine. But don't interfere in gay's right to marry civilly. Don't interfere in women's reproductive rights. Don't keep trying to insert their religion of choice into the public schools.

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Posted by: Alien Weaponry ( )
Date: January 27, 2024 07:58AM

In many places, churches were narrying gays before officialdom was.

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Posted by: Kentish ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 09:48AM

I think a fact is that the more religious groups like evangelicals engage in politics, seeking after a different kingdom to push their standards as the norm, the more they actually drive people away. The term evangelical has become something quite different from its original meaning. It has become sullied and meaningless from its original context.

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Posted by: Lot's Wife ( )
Date: January 26, 2024 05:50PM

Wholeheartedly agreed. The best way to discredit a religious movement is to give it political power.

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Posted by: Alien Weaponry ( )
Date: January 27, 2024 06:10AM

Kentish Wrote:
> The term evangelical has become something
> quite different from its original meaning. It has
> become sullied and meaningless from its original
> context.

I agree. The word Evangelical has multiple meanings, some of them little related to what it should mean. It seems to be shorthand now for vaguely Protestant followers of the Prosperity Gospel nowadays.

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Posted by: Kentish ( )
Date: January 27, 2024 10:51AM

I think it is broader than that. I think it has become a catch phrase for crazy political right wing religionists. Christianity is at its core evangelical whether or not believers think they fit under that umbrella. Those outside the faith, I believe, use the term as a pejorative or as a box to categorize. Thus in their zeal for a political kingdom evangelicals so determined sacrifice the integrity of God's Kingdom and drive people away rather than attract them.

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: January 27, 2024 11:10AM

Unfortunately in the U.S., the term has become synonymous with a particular brand of conservative (fundie) "take no prisoners" Christianity that has joined forces with the far right in order to impose their will on everyone else.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/27/2024 11:10AM by summer.

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