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The Future of Nonery

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Richard S. R.
The Future of Nonery


“Nones” (as opposed to “nuns”) are people who respond “none” when asked what religion they are. They aren’t necessarily atheists, but they’re not active in any organized religion. And there are more and more of them every year. That growth comes largely at the expense of Christianity, with projections from the Pew Research Center suggesting that Christians will probably be a minority in America by 2050 and overtaken as the dominant “religious” group by the nones sometime thereafter.

This trend is discussed in more detail by Hemant Mehta in a “Friendly Atheist” essay. As he writes, “If you’re wondering why religious switching is happening at all, well, hire a sociologist. But some explanations include a push for secularization, anti-women/anti-LGBTQ views held by conservative religious zealots, child sex abuse scandals, religious intermarriage, and the ability for religious doubters to find helpful resources and forums online for their new beliefs.”

But the nones are no more a coherent, unified (let alone organized) group than are religionists in general or Christians in particular. So what will they do once they’re in a position to exert a powerful influence on society and politics? Well, there’s no clear-cut direction, but there’s starting to be some speculation, including in the recent books Secularism: The Basics, from Georgetown University professor Jacques Berlinerblau; Secular Surge, by political scientists John C. Green of the University of Akron and David E. Campbell and Geoffrey C. Layman, both of the University of Notre Dame; and The Nones: Where They Came From, Who They Are, and Where They’re Going, by Ryan P. Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University. There’s an overview of what they have to say in this article by Michelle Boorstein of the Washington Post.

It won’t be necessary to read all these books to participate in the discussion, but you can get some food for thot from the article. One thing we’ll for sure want to deal with is whether the nones will be as cocky and domineering with their numeric superiority as the Christians have been with theirs.

This will be a virtual meeting conducted via Zoom. A link will be sent out at noon on the day of the event to people who’ve RSVPed.

Madison Skeptics
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