On Tuesday, the Pew Forum on Religious Life published its newest findings on the religiously unaffiliated or "nones".
The study finds that nearly 20 percent of Americans are unaffiliated. What's more, they grew up with religion and now are unaffiliated (74 percent), aren't looking for a religion (88 percent) and feel religion has no place in politics (67 percent). In short: they are happy without religion and don't want it imposed on them.
That's why so much of the discussion surrounding the release of this study was so disturbing. In two separate press conferences, the experts and panelists presenting the study fielded questions about how religious communities could "minister" to the unaffiliated and lead them to religion. They wanted to know what specifically they should do to reach out to the nones. How and where they should approach them.... "at the mall?" On the street "in Georgetown?"
All the while the larger point was completely missed. The nones are non-affiliated not because they "haven't found a religious home", but because they don't want a religious home. They aren't concerned about missing out on the feeling of community religious communities claim to provide, because only 28 percent think a "shared community" is important.
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