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Tue Dec 25, 2012, 02:13 PM

Five Must-Reads on the “Nones”: A Tipping Point in American Religion and Spirituality



http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/6657/five_must_reads_on_the__nones__a_tipping_point_in_american_religion_and_spirituality/



December 24, 2012
By ELIZABETH DRESCHER
Elizabeth Drescher is the author, with Keith Anderson, of Click 2 Save: The Digital Ministry Bible (Morehouse, 2012). She teaches religion and pastoral ministries at Santa Clara University. She is currently at work on Choosing Our Religion: The Spiritual Lives of Religious Nones, a project funded in part through a grant from the Social Science Research Council’s “New Directions in the Study of Prayer” project through the Templeton Foundation. Her website is www.elizabethdrescher.com\

Religion writers, both journalists and scholars, have had much to say of late about the continued growth of the religiously unaffiliated—especially given the impact of so-called “Nones” in the recent presidential election.

But much of what’s been written fails to highlight finer distinctions among Nones. So how to better understand this fast-approaching tipping point in American religion and spirituality?

Projects like progressive Mainline Protestant Diana Butler Bass’ thoughtful, if sometimes historically strained Christianity After Religion and conservative evangelical David Kinnaman’s demographically interesting if theologically thin You Lost Me have attempted to understand how the Christian churches from which the majority of Nones emerge can attract and retain disidentified and disaffected believers.

But for those less interested in figuring out what’s wrong with churches and more keen to explore what Nones are up to on their own terms, the books below are a helpful start:

Catherine Albanese, A Republic of Mind and Spirit: A Cultural History of American Metaphysical Religion (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006).

Albanese reminds readers that contemporary spirituality isn’t always, or even often, comprised of newly-minted, idiosyncratic practices. Her historical look at the metaphysical tradition from fifteenth century Europe to late modern America shows that while religious change in the United States has unfolded outside the normative boundaries of denominational Christianity, “new” developments in religiosity have hardly been random, disorganized experiments of the unfettered spirit.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:04 PM

1. Just a personal, small sample of family opinion (posted this in another discussion) -

Most of my nieces and nephews could be counted in the "nones" demographic. They all state some form of humanist and spiritual outlook, unaligned with any established religion. Have ethical and moral standards they find important and uphold. And hold no grudge with religion per se. They seem to feel there's room for a range of outlook.

Save for the extremists. Their take runs the gamut from besides the point, laughing derision and serious threat. All take the separation of church and state as a standard to be held.

Most interestingly for me, they also seem to clearly see themselves as the future. That these conflicts are of my generation and will in due course fade into history. (They are obviously the future, duh, the fade into history thing remains open, imo.)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1218&pid=60041

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Response to pinto (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 03:08 PM

2. Merry Christmas, my friend!

I agree with your assessment. My kids seem to have taken very similar positions as well.

For the most part, they don't discuss religion or share their own views. But, when asked, they do have opinions about religion in general and their personal positions are uniquely theirs.

They are, indeed, the future.

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Response to cbayer (Reply #2)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 04:05 PM

3. Merry Christmas, my friend!

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Response to pinto (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 06:49 PM

4. Do I understand correctly from your post

that you consider wanting to uphold the separation of church and state to be an extremist position? Your second paragraph seems to say that.

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Response to Mariana (Reply #4)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 09:24 PM

5. No, not a all. It was an added comment of sorts. A counter to extremist positions.

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Response to cbayer (Original post)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 05:40 AM

6. Disidentification is easy to explain. Once one sees that many religions have equally valid claims,

it makes little sense to adhere to any specific one.

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Response to dimbear (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 11:19 AM

7. But that is the problem, no? Adherents to one religion do not give the claims of other religions

any validity at all. To do so would invalidate the claims of their religion.

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Response to cleanhippie (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 26, 2012, 06:48 PM

8. I see that as an advantage to realism. Religions are equally valid, and there are lots of them.

None agree, so a good assumption is they're all false. With the rapid spread of information, this good news is getting around. Hence the 'nones.' Also......the quarrelsome nature of religions gives the nones an evolutionary advantage. Fancy that. We just need to remember that old jungle proverb: "When the elephants fight, the mice get trampled."

Stay safe, nones.


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