HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Religion & Spirituality » Religion (Group) » Believers Beyond the Chur...

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 06:47 AM

Believers Beyond the Church: How the 'Spiritual Not Religious' Gospel Has Spread

http://www.alternet.org/belief/believers-beyond-church-how-spiritual-not-religious-gospel-has-spread



You can call them “unaffiliated,” as in a recent Pew poll, or “nones” -- or even just “ not very religious .” A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute divides this group further (and somewhat counterintuitively) into “unattached,” “atheists/agnostics,” and “seculars.” But whatever you call them, this ever-growing cohort of unchurched Americans makes up, at 23 percent , the single largest segment of Barack Obama’s “religious coalition” (compared to the 37 percent of white evangelicals who support Mitt Romney).

While we have yet to see a “Seculars for Obama” bumper sticker, the unaffliated are clearly having a moment . Media analysis, however, has not gone very deep -- there is a story here that goes beyond names and numbers.

Recent sociological work from Courtney Bender , Christian Smith , and others does help us understand who the current crop of unaffiliated are and what they do and believe. Yet we have precious little historical understanding of this critical and growing demographic. What are their roots? What religious, cultural, economic, demographic, and political processes shaped their sensibilities, habits, and makeup?

In order to understand these still-believing “nones,” we need to understand that much of the religious dynamism in the United States happens outside the church walls, and has for some time now. The “rise of the nones” is but the latest phase in the long transformation of religion into what we now commonly call “spirituality.” In my class on “Spirituality in America” at the University of Virginia, we use Leigh Schmidt’s pathbreaking Restless Souls to trace this phenomenon over two centuries, from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s break with New England Unitarianism in the 1830s to the multibillion dollar spirituality industry of today.

8 replies, 1029 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 08:08 AM

1. People get smart enough to figure out that organized religion is a costly and...

time consuming load of bunk and they are dubbed the "nones"? Why would anyone with brains enough to get that far want to discuss it with a group who attempts to lump them together in a negative and and unappealing way? If organized religion can't figure out that their very existence is what is making them obsolete, then they are destined to go the way of the Teaparty and the Dodo, never knowing what hit them as they fade away.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Walk away (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:59 AM

4. They are not dubbed anything. This is the answer to the question, "What religious

group do you identify with?". Some indicate a continue religious belief, others do not and some claim to be spiritual but not religious.

Anyway, much of this article is about how they are consuming books and other items about religion and spirituality. Much of the data indicates that they are abandoning established institutions, but perhaps grabbing on to something else.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:56 AM

2. Good article. I look forward to seeing more analysis and data on this group.

The fact that they are a target for marketing is not surprising at all.

Now, the question for me is, can we get them politically motivated.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:33 AM

7. I don't think their political motivation is a problem

since the more secular people are the most resistant to the Republican Party's attempt to insert narrow religious dogma into civil law.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:18 AM

8. I don't think there is any data to support your contention.

Some of this people are just anti-establishment (haven't heard that one for awhile, have we) and may align themselves with the tea party.

It's not just about religious dogma.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 11:58 AM

3. LOL..."the unchurched".

I like it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Nov 11, 2012, 09:03 PM

5. The "seculars for Obama" may not be financially able to replace their trashed vehicles.

Might be a consideration.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xchrom (Original post)

Mon Nov 12, 2012, 05:32 AM

6. Disgusted by the antics of the religious right,

some young believers have stopped self identifying as Christian, even though they remain believers. I find this very sad. I'd rather they grab the name back from the heretics.

Televangelists built this. I hope they're proud of themselves.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread