A new “hot topic” are the “Nones”, the growing group of people recently named for having no religion. This group currently includes one-fifth of the United States population, and is a greater amount than in previous history. This group is especially saturated with young adults age 30 and under.
The “nones” include people who consider themselves agnostics or atheists, as well as some who say they are spiritual or pray regularly. A majority say they believe in some kind of spirit or God, while at least half pray regularly. However, many of these are not looking for organized religious institutions to compliment or fulfill their spiritual goals or feelings.
The distancing from churches or other religious institutions is not limited to religion; those under 30 are much less involved in any organizations than any group this age in history, according to NPR’s David Greene. The reason for this probably began around 1990, when religion became too associated with politics. The “nones” are generally more liberal politically and socially. Many churches today are opinionated on political issues and church staff are vocal about these issues and their viewpoints, which turns people away who do not agree.
This is no small issue; the nones are a large enough group that they were a major part of re-electing Obama for his second term.
However, there is another factor to consider when contemplating the “nones”: there was no such officially named group until more recently in history, and this group, besides more liberal political beliefs and a general non-belief in religion, has little else in common. The one thing they do have in common, though, is that they are not interested in the church due to political views, as well as too much legalism and focus on power and money.
More specifics can be read online and in books about this phenomenon; however, it does raise questions among people from all groups.
Why is religion becoming less important in American society?
Shouldn’t faith and religion be something that spans time and generations?
Why is faith important to anyone?
Is faith something that is individualized and personal, or something that is meant to be shared with others?
The growth of the “nones” is having a major impact on the church in the U.S. and abroad, whether people are able to see it yet or not. There has been a similar trend in history in England, and the church there is almost non-existent. When parents stop bringing their children to church, and their children never take their children to church, and so on, the tradition dies out over time.
But maybe religion is (or should be) about more than tradition. Maybe it should be something that is life-changing; if faith and religion are connected with the meaning of life, which is a subject that the “nones” say they contemplate, that is a question that churches and religious institutions need to be answering for people.
Another question: is faith about something other than politics or political views? Or church rules and regulations? Or a certain “set” of people who are welcome and “fit in” in a certain church, denomination, or religion? If a Southern Baptist church member meets someone who is under 30, socially and politically liberal, and says they aren’t interested in organized religion, how do they respond? Would the Baptist want the None to come to their church? Why or why not? What can be done to change this?
This article is filled with questions, and they are in great need of answers. If Jesus really did come to save the world, and if people have been trusting an believing in Him for over 2,000 years, shouldn’t that be something to pass on?
There is another problem that is the beginning to finding the solution to the “nones”. Churches are doing a poor job, if their job is, in fact, to win people for Christ, keeping and gaining new church members. Children who grow up in church are leaving by the droves, beginning in middle and high school. Of the 70 percent who leave, only half return when they have children.
What is wrong with high school students, college students, and young adults? What is wrong with single adults and those without children? Those people are not feeling accepted or loved by the church. They are not being shown respect or given leadership positions in many churches.
This blog gives the top ten reasons why kids are leaving church.
This article satirizes why young singles do not feel welcome in the church.
The Study with statistics about the "Nones".
Essential Church, a book by Thom Rainer, that tells how young people do not see church as being essential to their lives, and how that is keeping them out of the church and organized religion.
The Millennials, by Rainer and his son, Jess, which talks about the young generation who comprise much of the "Nones."
Spring: Connecting With God, by David, Chelsea, and Sarah Simon, which tells how God wants a love relationship with each person, and goes through each of the Passovers in the Bible, explaining how the annual celebration is essential to passing the faith on to the next generation.
Dennis Pethers is an evangelist from England who started a movement called The Rooftop. He talks about the post modernism movement in England and how the U.S. is headed the same direction, as more and more people do not take their children to church.