The end of another Christmas season (with Hannukah already a distant memory) seems an appropriate time to watch ‘the nays’.
Not the chronological nothings of the ancient Romans, but the real accelerating masses of our contemporaries who are changing historical perceptions of God and religion.
For the record, none (pronounced nonz) in the ancient Roman calendar, designates the ninth day before the ides (remember what that time meant for Caesar?) Of a month. By calculation included, the no’s are the 7th day of March, May, July and October, and the 5th of the other months.
Today’s none are more than just a descriptive modifier; they have a secular impact on what has long been spiritually attractive.
Once upon a time, there was religion and politics to talk in good company. Today the two are at the top of the conversation list. And, none play a key role in the change.
In a recent AP-NORC poll and a Pew research study asking people how they would personally identify with religions, the fastest growing group was “unaffiliated.” This segment of respondents (mostly millennials) describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular”. This group – commonly known as the “nones” – now constitutes 29% of American adults. This is against 19% just 10 years ago.
“If the unaffiliated were a religion, they would be the largest religious group in the United States,” said Elizabeth Drescher, adjunct professor at the University of Santa Clara and author of a book on the spiritual life of the nuns.
People with no religious affiliation were once concentrated in urban and coastal areas, but now live across the United States, representing a diversity of ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, Drescher said.
The growth of nuns in the United States has come at the expense of the Protestant population in the United States, according to the new Pew Survey. He said 40% of American adults are now Protestant, up from 50% ten years ago.
In recent years, the prevalence of nuns in the United States has been comparable to that in Western Europe, but overall Americans remain more religious, with higher rates of daily prayer and belief in God. , as described in the Bible. According to a 2018 Pew poll, about two-thirds of American Christians prayed daily, compared to 6% in Britain and 9% in Germany.
Dr. Gary Laderman, President and Goodrich C. White Professor of American Religious History and Culture, Department of Religion, Emory University in Atlanta, said, “I have seen the future of religion in America and its name is “Nones”.
“This wave of people unwilling to associate themselves with any religious tradition when questioned by surveyors will certainly attract a lot of attention: the faithful will cry out that the sky is falling, and the world is clearly coming to an end with this movement. distance from traditional authoritarian authorities, religious institutions.
“Political experts (aha, politics and religion!) The rise of the religious right in the second half of the twentieth century.
“And atheists will gain the upper hand in the ongoing battles with religious leaders who they believe have deceived and exploited weak-minded sheep for far too long.
“My take on the present moment is that it is not about an ‘awakening’ – which is associated with a renewal of the Christian spirit and the return of Americans to church – but with a great cultural metamorphosis. If things continue to move in this direction in the future, religion will never be the same as it used to be, ”Laderman continued.
He sees the 1960s returning home to roost.
“The rise of the ‘nuns’ confirms that the counter- and hippie cultures of the 1960s have an underestimated longevity in the cultural and spiritual lives of Americans. While many appreciate the trajectory and influence of the religious right in the aftermath of the cultural uproar associated with the 1960s, the current trend to move away from religious affiliations and a more ill-defined spirituality suggests that the spirit of this era endures.
“Second, popular culture in America governs our spiritual lives and appears to be a more important source of wisdom, morality, transcendence, and meaning than traditional institutions like the church. Movies, music, the Internet, television, literature – these are now just as important, if not more important, than the teachings found in sacred texts and theological statements for the younger generation as well as the baby boomers.
Third, we are a nation of consumers and America’s desires for food, toys, clothing, and health care, and travel is finally reshaping the spiritual market as well.
“Fourth, the contours and limits of religious freedom will be tested like never before, a challenge for society in general but also above all for lawyers and judges. When religion is no longer just about attending church, how will it be defined? Will that match Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous words about pornography: “I know it when I see it”? Or will the state define what counts as religion on the basis of more formal criteria?
“Finally, the rise of the ‘nuns’ surely suggests forgetting the churches, forgetting priests and pastors, forgetting the Bible, forgetting organized religion in general. What is sacred are no longer conventional objects like a cross, a singular religious identity like being a Methodist, or activities like going to church or praying. Instead, the religious worlds of the contemporary and future United States are robust and vast, offering an abundance of spiritual possibilities found in unexpected places like drum circles and meditation exercises, sporting events, and other expressions. popular culture, ”Laderman said…
“It’s a brave new world for religious Americans who are increasingly disconnected from traditional authorities and institutions,” Laderman said.
Maybe while we make these mandatory New Year’s resolutions, given that we live in a very different world than our parents and grandparents, we could decide where we want to be spiritually in 2022. Just a thought.
The last word: good day, good luck, good news tomorrow… and happy new year!
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