Eric Weiner reflects on the state of religion as the Christmas holiday approaches. In a New York Times article, he observes that there is are a number of people who prefer not to affiliate with any formal religious system but who find that abandoning God altogether isn’t attractive. He calls this group “the Nones.” These are people who fall somewhere between “True Believers” on one side and “Angry Atheists” on the other and who seek to know more about faith.
And this group is growing, says Weiner. “We are the Nones, the roughly 12 percent of people who say they have no religious affiliation at all….Apparently, a growing number of Americans are running from organized religion, but by no means running from God. On average 93 percent of those surveyed say they believe in God or a higher power; this holds true for most Nones — just 7 percent of whom describe themselves as atheists, according to a survey by Trinity College.”
This is a trend I’ve written a bit about and I think the numbers will continue to shift. While I don’t agree that we need yet another religious guru that will help us out of the morass, I do appreciate Weiner’s call for conversation. There seems to be a strong desire to have meaningful discussions about faith and “break the spell” as Daniel Dennett puts it. I think that’s a great idea.