Meet the “Nones,” a rapidly growing group of the religiously unaffiliated in America (so-called because they check the box that reads, essentially, “none of the above” when asked about their faith). While many Americans are raised in a religious tradition, recent decades have seen unprecedented numbers of individuals and families drift from their churches and synagogues, temples and mosques, and abandon faith-based practices.
But what is lost with this exodus from organized religion? Religion gives many of us a moral grounding and a sense of identity by connecting us to our past and creating tight communal bonds. It’s also thought to make us happier, healthier, and more giving. Without the one-stop shop of religion, how do the nonreligious fill the need for ritual, story, community, and, above all, purpose and meaning? With a quarter of Americans identifying as religiously unaffiliated, these questions have never been more urgent.
In her book, Grace Without God: The Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Belonging in a Secular Age, author Katherine Ozment offers both a personal and critical exploration of the many ways nonreligious Americans create their own traditions and communities after religion. Ozment visited diverse congregations, from an “atheist church” to a storytelling gathering to a nature-based coming-of-age ceremony. She turned to science and the humanities, seeking guidance from noted scholars in a wide range of disciplines. She interviewed community leaders and parents, and searched for meaning on mountaintops and in her own front yard. In her book she shares how her family has found purpose and connection without the organizing principle of religion, and she will present these findings in her talk, along with a group discussion.
Katherine Ozment is the author of GRACE WITHOUT GOD: THE SEARCH FOR MEANING, PURPOSE, AND BELONGING IN A SECULAR AGE (HarperWave). She is an award-winning journalist who has worked in publishing for more than twenty-five years, including as a senior editor at National Geographic. Her essays and articles have been widely published in such venues as National Geographic, The New York Times, and Salon. Born in Arkansas, she has lived on both coasts and now resides with her husband and three children in Chicago. You can find her on Facebook (katherineozmentauthor), Twitter (@katherineozment (https://twitter.com/katherineozment)), or her website ( http://www.katherineozment.com ).
Books will be available to purchase and Kathrine is happy to autograph!
This event is free to our members though we do accept donations (http://sanjoseatheists.org/donate/)