So the Pew study reports that there been real and sustained growth in the group known as the “nones.” The Religious News Service did a really good profile of what the study shows.
Here’s what I think is important (at least for this post):
5. [He’s] not very religious. This may sound obvious, but it makes the distinction between a person who has no religious affiliation, and one who is not religious. There are some nones who do consider themselves religious — just outside the confines of a religious organization. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of nones seldom or never attend religious services.
So if a substantial majority of the “nones” do not consider themselves religious–and not just unaffiliated, why are so many religious folk (especially liberal religious folk) running after them as if they were the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? This makes as much sense to me as a tanning salon chain putting an ad in Essence magazine.
What’s really the drive behind running after the “nones”? It can’t be that we really think we’re going to get somewhere with them. Because, honestly, what we’re offering appeals to them about as much as what the tanning salon is offering appeals to most black people.