• As a Pagan myself, I’m usually lumped into the Nones even though I do have a religious affiliation. It’s just not an affiliation that is usually an option I can mark when I have the opportunity to do so. I look forward to more surveys that target Nones more specifically to help tease apart our specific idiosyncrasies.

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  • Donald Burk

    Just curious. You say you are pagan. What does that mean? Does it involve a set of beliefs and/or practices?

  • Alexander Griswold

    I think just because many millennials report NOW that they aren’t looking for a religion doesn’t mean they won’t “outgrow” it or look later. How many religious people are there today where, if you polled them in their teens and 20s, would have answered the same way? Probably a great deal. And there’s truth behind the cliche that “I didn’t go looking for God, God found me.” That’s often how it is for some people.

  • Atheist Max

    Neurologists are doing a better job explaining God than the Priests are.
    God is just Dad & Mom.

    We are biologically ‘programmed’ by evolution to look for our parents
    when we are born and this childish feature would die off – like baby teeth – if we allowed it.

    Preachers and such simply keep it going…and it is a huge industry!

    The JOY one feels in prayer is real – it is like “knowing your parent will always protect you” – the “confidence” that you will be safe.

    But it is delusional. And it isn’t good for you.
    The NONES are getting an inkling of some of this science.

    Just like explaining baby teeth and belly buttons, it will be standard science education in high schools everywhere – and that will be the final blow to religion. For goodness sake.

    God is a delusion.

  • (@moderators – I click the “report abuse” button by accident. Sorry!)

    Sure does! It’s hard to pin down exactly what Pagans and Paganisms are because of our overall youth and the individualistic style that we all bring to our faith practices. Put 10 Pagans in a room and ask a question, you’ll get 12 answers; two will change their mind while the conversation happens.

    The short version is that Pagans are those who seek spiritual inspiration in religions of the ancient world, especially those of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. This inspiration usually takes one of two forms: reconstruction of ancient faiths using primary sources, like the Norse Eddas or the writings of the Greeks and Romans, or new religious movements that try to incorporate the mythologies of the ancient worlds into a more modern context. Once you drill down, though, you’ll find that there’s a lot of different faiths and faith practices that we cram under a Pagan umbrella term sometimes simply for lack of a better one.

    Track me down if you have any additional questions! Google “dashifen.” You’ll find me 🙂

  • Jaytheist

    Most of my contemporaries would qualify as “nones” but would probably still identify culturally as Christian (out of habit I guess). They believe in a higher power but see the church as a man made institution that is mostly corrupt or irrelevant in their lives. The typical stance of most denominations against homosexuals and women’s reproductive rights also drives them away. They certainly don’t see the bible as infallible truth. I don’t know why they recognize the man made church but not the man made god.

    I think the church has an uphill battle holding on to future generations in the age of the internet. Questioning authority is second nature to people with access to information. I hope they’ll eventually lose the imaginary friends too but I won’t hold my breath.

  • It’s worth noting the increase in nominal “atheists” from 1.7 rot 2.5 amounts to an increase of 47% over that time period. That is astonishing growth that should not be trivialized. This is especially so, considering the a-word has been continuously defamed for centuries (and is now defamed by both theists and by non-religious liberals). 47% growth in spite of widespread negative views of that label- note I mean the label, not the philo/theological orientation. That means we should expect, a priori, those numbers to be under-representative of what beliefs are like among Americans. Such surveys are corrupted by social desirability bias and demand characteristics.

  • Lee

    I am not a millennial – I’m at the tail end of the Baby Boom – but I have pretty much always been a “None.” I’m definitely not an atheist – I simply feel that my understanding of God is between me and God, and doesn’t require a middleman. I also talk regularly with people of all different faiths and consider all those perspectives valuable and enriching. Moreover, I’m a lifelong student of science and have never considered science to be at odds with my spirituality as do both atheists and religious fundamentalists – they’re apples and oranges, as far as I’m concerned.

    Most people I know who aren’t affiliated with a religion are pretty similar: not confused, not looking for a religion, mostly not atheist (though some are agnostic). Just not binary. It’s not really that hard to comprehend but like you say, people need to come up with a headline and usually come up with something really simplistic and divisive. It’s not as if we aren’t real people who can’t actually be asked about our beliefs. 😉

  • Atheist Max

    Indeed!

    I wear “ATHEIST” proudly. It is a most honorable position to hold.
    I do not believe God is real.

    Religions are cultural superstitions, fantasies and delusions – passed on through the generations because of deep fear and superstitions.

    We will be better off when religion is abandoned someday.

  • The Great God Pan

    “That is astonishing growth that should not be trivialized.”

    Welcome to Chris Stedman’s column. He is the atheist who trivializes (or worse) atheists at every opportunity.

  • Lee

    I have no problem with atheism, but a lot of atheists sound as bad as religious fundamentalists. Not everyone has to be exactly like you for the world to progress. In fact, progress depends on a diversity of perspectives, and some form of religion or spirituality is not going to go away any time soon. Apart from which, your second-guessing of people’s motivations for having a religion is wrong – to the extent that it’s correct at all, it’s only correct for a small percentage of people who are religious or spiritual.

  • Atheist Max

    When people abandon ‘faith in things for which there is no evidence’ (religion) things will get better.

    We have too many problems created by religion and its adherents:
    middle east conflicts, terrorism, climate change deniers, women’s rights, genital mutilation, organized pedophilia, ritual sexual slavery of girls in Togo, Benin and Ghana, …etc.

    I don’t share your disregard of these problems. Religion is at the root of them and they will only go away when religion is abandoned.

  • tacitus

    Sorry, Alex, but the numbers don’t bear that out. If you look at polls taken over the last 50 years (they’re referred to in that Pew survey), then one thing that is striking is just how consistent the proportion of “nones” is per generation as they age. In other words, if 10% of one generation is non-religious when they enter adulthood, when you come back and ask them again 50 years later, the number is still around 10%. It’s been that way since the surveys began back in the 1960s.

    Thus you should take the nones at their word. They aren’t looking, and they’re not likely to be looking in 20 years time.

  • I think just because many millennials report NOW that they aren’t looking for a religion doesn’t mean they won’t “outgrow” it or look later. How many religious people are there today where, if you polled them in their teens and 20s, would have answered the same way? Probably a great deal. And there’s truth behind the cliche that “I didn’t go looking for God, God found me.” That’s often how it is for some people.