Religion Left Behind

1 in 5 Americans Religiously Unaffiliated (NBC)

“One in five Americans — and one in three of adults under 30 — is religiously unaffiliated, the highest percentage ever, according to a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday.

Over the past five years, the study found, the number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased from slightly over 15 percent to just under 20 percent, a figure that includes more than 13 million self-described atheists and agnostics, as well as almost 33 million adults who do not identify themselves with a particular religion.”

No surprise this number is growing.  Now, what do we “seculars” and “non-believers” or believing “unaffiliateds” do about it?  Still seems to me a new kind of Community of Compassion or Internet Congregation (IC) or Nature Temple or something may serve a purpose.  Otherwise we will always be known by what we are NOT (Un-, Anti-, A-this, A-that).  I wouldn’t want us to fall into the U-hole or the A-hole!

BTW, over 100 years ago, in The Light of Day, naturalist John Burroughs wrote,

“It is also to be said that the decay of religious belief in our times is rather a decay of creeds and dogmas than of the spirit of true religion–religion as love, as an aspiration after the highest good.”

and this great line:

“In this morning of the world humanity is no longer the child that cried for the moon of the night before.”

and, one more for good measure:

“The world is not yet used to the open air of this thought–the great outdoors of it. . .We have been so long housed in our comfortable little anthropomorphic creeds, with their artificial warmth and light, that when we are suddenly turned out of doors by this thought, we experience, I say, the cosmic chill.  It is quite probable that future generations, with a more robust religious sense than ours, will have quite a different feeling in the presence of this discovery.”

Burroughs’ “God” was nothing more than NATURE, his “Religion” nothing more than love and natural, ethical practice.

He would be quite pleased, and also unsurprised, by the growing number of “unaffiliated.”

See the FOX SPIN as a Protestant problem.

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About Chris Highland

Author, teacher, nonprofit manager, photographer, former minister, interfaith chaplain View all posts by Chris Highland

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