The "nones" and their importance


#1

There have been several news stories recently, including in the New York Times, regarding the number of people who claim no religious affiliation. They are called the “nones.”

Coincidentally, I recently watched a very interesting interview with Salman Rushdie, where he stated the Islam he grew up with doesn’t resemble the Islam of today. He said today, Islam has been corrupted by fanatical minority sects.

Rushdie went on to say that this phenonemon is not islated within Islam. He said there has been a resurgence of Hindu fanatacism in India. He also cited the Christian fanatics in the U.S.

What he said made me consider the growth of the “nones” in the U.S. and Europe. If religions have come to be viewed as the realm of fanatics, wouldn’t that explain why so many people are simply eschewing the whole idea and pursuing their spirituality in other ways?

Keep in mind the nones now make up about 20 percent of the population in the U.S., and that number is growing.

If this premise is sound, how could religious organizations address this perception and will they?

Peace,

Seeker


#2

I don’t hold out much hope - it seems to me that our religious dialogue is becoming as polarized as our political discourse.

It all boils down to people taking the attitude “If you’re not 100% with me, you’re my enemy”.

I don’t see it changing anytime soon, I even see signs of it in my own UU congregation (but not as bad as I found in Catholicism).


#3

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:301729"]

What he said made me consider the growth of the "nones" in the U.S. and Europe. If religions have come to be viewed as the realm of fanatics, wouldn't that explain why so many people are simply eschewing the whole idea and pursuing their spirituality in other ways?

[/quote]

Fanatic depends on context. Fanaticism is strong adherence to your faith. In my observation the 'nones' adhere just as strongly to their faith. Their faith tends to proclaim relativism and doubt about our ability to have knowledge, particularly moral knowledge. But they are just as dogmatic about their relativism and doubt. They tend to claim there is no objective truth except for the objective truth that there is no objective truth, which is of course a contradiction. I would view them as being fanatic about their belief. They strongly believe that truth and morality can not be found in organized religion.

In my opinion this is due mostly to the extreme individualism and selfishness that pervades the West today. And this goes hand in hand with our view of sexuality which is that it is primarily for pleasure. Sex is not for creating the family. It is not for giving the gift of life. In such a society the greatest concern is with ourselves and our pleasure. In my opinion the religious beliefs are more due to our philosophy on life. The real issue is what is good. Those that have answered self pleasure will not have any use for a philosophy that denies that such as Christianity.

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:301729"]

If this premise is sound, how could religious organizations address this perception and will they?

[/quote]

On my view they should address it by denying the underlying philosophy of the 'nones'. This may not translate into more adherents. It may result in less but it would be the right thing to do. In my observation the Christian churches that have adopted the relativist and doubtful outlook have not gained members but lost them. This makes sense since that philosophy is not going to cause anyone to want to get up and go to church on Sunday since it really doesn't matter what they do or believe.


#4

[quote="cheese_sdc, post:2, topic:301729"]
I don't hold out much hope - it seems to me that our religious dialogue is becoming as polarized as our political discourse.

It all boils down to people taking the attitude "If you're not 100% with me, you're my enemy".

I don't see it changing anytime soon, I even see signs of it in my own UU congregation (but not as bad as I found in Catholicism).

[/quote]

slander much ?


#5

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:301729"]
There have been several news stories recently, including in the New York Times, regarding the number of people who claim no religious affiliation. They are called the "nones."

Coincidentally, I recently watched a very interesting interview with Salman Rushdie, where he stated the Islam he grew up with doesn't resemble the Islam of today. He said today, Islam has been corrupted by fanatical minority sects.

Rushdie went on to say that this phenonemon is not islated within Islam. He said there has been a resurgence of Hindu fanatacism in India. He also cited the Christian fanatics in the U.S.

What he said made me consider the growth of the "nones" in the U.S. and Europe. If religions have come to be viewed as the realm of fanatics, wouldn't that explain why so many people are simply eschewing the whole idea and pursuing their spirituality in other ways?

Keep in mind the nones now make up about 20 percent of the population in the U.S., and that number is growing.

If this premise is sound, how could religious organizations address this perception and will they?

Peace,

Seeker

[/quote]

Dear Seeker57--

I agree with you. If you were raised in a cave and had never heard of Christianity, and your perception of it was based on how it is portrayed in mainstream society, what would you think? Greedy televangelists...the shameful Westboro folk dishonoring our young men and women who have died for our country...scandals left and right. If this is "Christianity," then I wouldn't want to be a Christian either!! :eek:

I do think popular media are somewhat to blame. It's the nutcases and extremists (of every religion) who get all the press. Of course, I wouldn't think there are many people in the US who are completely ignorant of Christianity as in my example above, but perhaps they perceive it changing from what they grew up with, much like Mr. Rushdie's Islam. It is all too easy to stereotype ("all Muslims are ___" or "all Christians believe ____"); why actually come to your own conclusions about anything when the media tells you what to think? :rolleyes:

So what can religious organizations do? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps its the followers who have to come forward and say "look, the majority of us are NOT like what you see on TV." We have to say it, and more importantly, we have to act it.

Jala


#6

What can we do?

Evangelize always, and if necessary use words.

We should be known by our Love, not our our bickering. Why should anyone come on the ark of life if all they see is knock-down fights on deck?

As an aside, I would note that the second largest religious category in the US is lapsed Catholics. We might spend more time/effort on the New Evangelization (reaching these folks) than worrying about converting our brothers and sisters in in other Christian communities.

[quote="Jala, post:5, topic:301729"]
Dear Seeker57--

I agree with you. If you were raised in a cave and had never heard of Christianity, and your perception of it was based on how it is portrayed in mainstream society, what would you think? Greedy televangelists...the shameful Westboro folk dishonoring our young men and women who have died for our country...scandals left and right. If this is "Christianity," then I wouldn't want to be a Christian either!! :eek:

I do think popular media are somewhat to blame. It's the nutcases and extremists (of every religion) who get all the press. Of course, I wouldn't think there are many people in the US who are completely ignorant of Christianity as in my example above, but perhaps they perceive it changing from what they grew up with, much like Mr. Rushdie's Islam. It is all too easy to stereotype ("all Muslims are ___" or "all Christians believe ____"); why actually come to your own conclusions about anything when the media tells you what to think? :rolleyes:

So what can religious organizations do? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps its the followers who have to come forward and say "look, the majority of us are NOT like what you see on TV." We have to say it, and more importantly, we have to act it.

Jala

[/quote]


#7

[quote="april32010, post:4, topic:301729"]
slander much ?

[/quote]

:shrug:

Glad your experience in Catholicism was/is different than mine.


#8

[quote="april32010, post:4, topic:301729"]
slander much ?

[/quote]

April -

Over many years, I've see limited # of people leave the church for a variety of reasons:
- don't like the priest
- don't like the homilies (don't like hearing the truth)
- don't like hearing the truth
- don't like hearing the truth
- don't like hearing the truth
- don't like the music
- don't like the people attending
- etc

What's common with all of them is that they are poorly Catechised and really don't know the faith. It's interesting that same people who leave hardly ever attended anything in the church outside of mass. Never (or seldom) attended a bible study for example. They see the "church" as the issue when it is in reality themselves.

However, those people are a minority. The people I know at church, like you, love the Church and understand it to be the Church Christ established on earth, til the end of time. What's interesting about converts to Catholicism is that many of them are very well catechised and find the Truth in the Catholic Church. :thumbsup:


#9

[quote="cheese_sdc, post:2, topic:301729"]
I don't hold out much hope - it seems to me that our religious dialogue is becoming as polarized as our political discourse.

It all boils down to people taking the attitude "If you're not 100% with me, you're my enemy".

I don't see it changing anytime soon, I even see signs of it in my own UU congregation (but not as bad as I found in Catholicism).

[/quote]

Catholics don't view any group of people as their enemy. What is TRUE however is that if you're not Catholic you're against Christ's will. He created One Church and calls us all to it. And no it's not the universal church He's talking about. A very physical and literal Church. If Catholics didn't stand for the Truth then we would be doing the world a great disservice.


#10

Catholics don't view any group of people as their enemy. What is TRUE however is that if you're not Catholic you're against Christ's will.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

You do see how those two sentences cancel each other, right?


#11

So who exactly are the nones? We have 20% of None?:smiley:


#12

[quote="GaryTaylor, post:11, topic:301729"]
So who exactly are the nones? We have 20% of None?:D

[/quote]

Those who claim no affiliation with an organized religion. On some post about this topic there has been the question of non-denomination Christians. Since they won't describe themselves as Protestant but just Christian did or could the PEW group add them to the 20% because they don't know if to assign them to trinitarin or non-trinitarian groups.


#13

[quote="SaintPatrick333, post:9, topic:301729"]
Catholics don't view any group of people as their enemy.

[/quote]

Don't? Ever? Or shouldn't?


#14

[quote="seeker57, post:1, topic:301729"]
What he said made me consider the growth of the "nones" in the U.S. and Europe. If religions have come to be viewed as the realm of fanatics, wouldn't that explain why so many people are simply eschewing the whole idea and pursuing their spirituality in other ways?

Keep in mind the nones now make up about 20 percent of the population in the U.S., and that number is growing.

If this premise is sound, how could religious organizations address this perception and will they?

[/quote]

Do such organisations need to address it? I am always wary of the idea that God, or Christianity, is something which should be sold and so churches should be worried about their brand reputation or their market share.


#15

[quote="4Squarebaby, post:12, topic:301729"]
because they don't know

[/quote]

Nor do we it seems

So we have 20% of "something" not clearly identified. See looks better already. ;)


#16

[quote="cheese_sdc, post:2, topic:301729"]
I don't hold out much hope - it seems to me that our religious dialogue is becoming as polarized as our political discourse.

It all boils down to people taking the attitude "If you're not 100% with me, you're my enemy".

[/quote]

Tribalism has always been a part of the human experience - unfortunately the "I'm right, your wrong, now go off and die" mentality never seems to go away, regardless of what one might happen to believe.

What i do find surprising is the reaction that this is somehow the current secularist culture's fault in producing - esp. since many of those in the "nones" still ascribe to a generalized sense of spirituality or a belief in God but a rejection of organized religious structures on grounds of overt political involvement.

I can compare the situation in the West with say a place like India, where despite an official secular culture the faith found amongst the masses of the subcontinent towards their native and imported religious traditions is like a roaring bonfire vs. the dim lights in Europe.


#17

[quote="cheese_sdc, post:10, topic:301729"]
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

You do see how those two sentences cancel each other, right?

[/quote]

Nones have a basic choice.

Follow the Truth in Christ :)

Or

Follow man and self deceiving lies. :(


#18

Pope Leo XIII after saying Mass had a horrific inner locution of dialogue between Christ and Satan. The devil was asking Christ to give him 100 years to destroy the Catholic Church, this happening towards the end of the 19th century. Christ gave him 100 years.

Afterwards, Pope Leo XIII composed the prayer to St. Michael to be recited after Mass in all parishes throughout the world. And in 1899, he consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The greater amount of sex scandals happened before 2000, and in around 2003 to 2009 was this opening to the secular press the amount of abuse that happened prior to this century.
Most cases happened in the 20th century.

Now we are awaiting John Paul II's vision of the Church entering into a new springtime of evangelization....and there are priests, deacons, and laymen being prepared by bishops for this great work.

An observer of priests in Europe in the 1800's came to conclusion that all that he witnessed were all good priests. Our church is founded on consecrated souls in spirit and truth. We are praying for vocations constantly. We are awaiting a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will hopefully enlighten the 'nones'....what great insights and revelations, what most life giving transcendence awaits them to be open to the new life of Christ.


#19

So that we don't get lost in a discussion of, "We have the truth and they should follow it," I should point out that the nones are either historically unchurched, meaning they were not reared in any particular church or faith tradition, or they have voluntarily left whatever faith tradition they grew up in becuase it simply didn't work for them, or some similar reason.

At least, that is what I have heard from people I have asked.

Some want nothing to do with any church - period. They view them as dogmatic charlatans and their followers as sheep being fleeced.

I think Cheese also had a good point.

In the past, people of all political ilks could be found in any given church. Now, though, many people choose a church based on their politics, not their beliefs.

Yes, Catholics are guilty of this as well. I have friends who switched from one Catholic parish to another because they thought the priest at the first parish was too liberal. They are, in essense, church shopping.

Because of thie polarization, I also hold out little hope for organized religion.

I believe the pope just called for increased efforts to reach lapsed Catholics.

As someone else pointed out here, lapsed Catholics make ujp the second fastest growing group in the United States.

Protestant churches are right there along side them, losing members all the time.

Something I forgot to mention earlier, the study that showed 20 percent of Americans are nones also stated that among those less than 30 years old, that percentage grows to 34 percent. That number is also climbing.

Just food for thought.

Peace,

Seeker


#20

Could be in other churches but I know of no Catholic who joined or remains in the Church for the sake of politics. They follow the Truth in Christ. Politics matters not.

Yes, Catholics are guilty of this as well. I have friends who switched from one Catholic parish to another because they thought the priest at the first parish was too liberal. They are, in essense, church shopping.

But they still remain Catholic. Define “liberal”?

Because of thie polarization, I also hold out little hope for organized religion.

Truth: Christ said he would be with his Catholic church always until the end of time. This gives me not just hope but confidence that no matter what happens in the world around us, his Church will stay true on faith & morals. As Catholics we are to “teach” what the Lord has commanded. This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with Truth. Matthew 28:

19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold,** I am with you always, until the end of the age.**

I believe the pope just called for increased efforts to reach lapsed Catholics.

Certainly as he should

As someone else pointed out here, lapsed Catholics make ujp the second fastest growing group in the United States.

Could be but so what. It doesn’t change the Truth.

Protestant churches are right there along side them, losing members all the time.

More and more of them are becoming Catholic! (allow me a bit of humor)

Something I forgot to mention earlier, the study that showed 20 percent of Americans are nones also stated that among those less than 30 years old, that percentage grows to 34 percent. That number is also climbing.

All the more reason to evangelize as scripture says in Mark 16:

14 [But] later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised.
15 He said to them, “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature.
16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.
More food for thought. Now what do you think that the word “believe” means in this sentence?

Peace,

Pork


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