Religious Nones are Growing. Concerned?

Does it concern you that the category of Religious Nones in the US is growing? Religious Nones include people who do not identify with a religious group, are not religiously active, and who have little or no religious commitment. If interested, read more about Religious Nones in this Pew Research article.

Again, does it concern you that Religious Nones are growing? That might depend on if you have loved ones like that. Religious Nones are not only atheists and agnostics, they also include plenty of people who are not necessarily anti-religious. They are just at a place in their lives where they don’t feel a need to having a personal faith in God, or they are confused enough by things in life or in the world that they don’t give allegiance to God. Religious Nones are much more common in this Post Modern Age.

Here’s good news if you are concerned: similar to what I wrote in my first post, I believe every person is specially made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). They are precious for that profound reason, they have the capacity to relate to God, and they are deeply desired by God who wants them to know Him—“This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (2 Timothy 2:3-4). So, I believe the kind of Peace that only God can bring, is absolutely Within every person’s Reach.

But here’s what I’m learning as I become better acquainted with Religious Nones, and this may be challenging for Christians called to reach out (First Post–Get In Position to Communicate Faith.). Religious Nones don’t like easily-handed-out, one-and-done answers to big questions. Many of them have a distaste toward what they believe are right-leaning, typical-Christian views on issues like climate change, immigration policies, and care for the poor. I’m just saying, as one who is of the Church. But care? Yes, many do. I have a couple of friends who are atheist, and they care much about me, and about those who are under-served or exploited, and they care about the world. They, like other Religious Nones, look for purpose and fulfillment.

I hope this helps as we go forward in life, sometimes scratching our heads in how to make a real difference.

4 thoughts on “Religious Nones are Growing. Concerned?”

  1. Are the viewpoints of Nones the result of a lack of evangelizing, an overabundance of bureaucracy, apathey, or are these attitudes part of prophecy? II Timothy 3:1-5 points to the “end-times man” as being selfish, proud, arrogant, abusive… Do the attitudes of Nones resemble that of the people living in end times, lovers of self and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God?
    Assuming the views of Nones are rooted in selfish desire, is it not plausible the people exposed to these Nones would likely be extremely receptive to the good news?
    We are created in God’s image, could this mean we all have a yearning to be loved? And, if we all want to be loved would this craving make us open minded as well as open armed to the deeds, values, and beliefs of those who express their love toward us? I wonder if these Nones would likely need to witness a miracle or if our unrelenting love would be enough for them to undergo their transformation? And yet, Romans 10:9 clearly states we must declare publicly, for all to hear, that Jesus is Lord should we desire salvation.

    Since I haven’t mastered walking on water just yet, I will try extending myself to them in the hopes they will cultivate a very deep personal relationship with our Lord. And yet, I pray I will remember to be cautious, not quick to judge one’s motives or faith based on a lack of denomination or attendance within a given congregation, but hasty in extending a loving heart. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

    1. Jim, there’s a lot to digest there! Regarding your pondering on whether or not some Nones are part of “end-times man,” I guess I don’t wonder upon that much. I leave that in God’s court, for as Jesus said in Mark 13:32–“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
      I think the growing number of Nones is due to numerous reasons you listed—lack of evangelizing, including effective evangelizing, growing apathy maybe but I really think some have good questions coming from a heart that cares but which the world makes confused.
      Regarding miracles, I read and hear that God is doing that, as especially is evidenced in Muslim populations. Not surprising based on 1 Timothy 2:4–“This is good and pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
      Absolutely, as you seem to suggest, meet people’s felt-need of love and care, before meeting bigger, spiritual-understanding needs which might not yet be felt.

  2. I have come in contact with many nones, I use to be one. Thinking back myself you are right, I did not like simple answers to big questions. I did want more but What kind of answer are they looking for? How in depth do we have to go with them? Even now looking back I didn’t know what I was looking for nor did I expect to find an answer. What I did want to know on big Questions was Is God capable? Is He big enough to heal my hurts, the worlds hurts? How do we express that?

    1. Kevin, I think people are often not looking for deep theological answers, as much as someone who cares about them and their questions. Over time, maybe a theological discussion can happen, but don’t pour out too much, too fast. Let them experience God on a tangible level, perhaps through our care and presence to start, and never forget prayer, that God “speaks” to them through our care and open-door conversations.

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