Religious and nonreligious identification results from IFYC's 2013 alumni survey.

Nearly 1 in 4 alums of leading U.S. interfaith organization are nonreligious

Earlier this month, Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)—a leading interfaith organization in the United States that works with college and university campuses to equip young people for cooperative service and dialogue around shared values—released intriguing numbers about the alumni of their programs.

According to their survey results, nearly 1 in 4 IFYC alums identify as atheist (4.7 percent), agnostic (7.1 percent), secular humanist (5.3 percent), or spiritual but not religious (6.5 percent). “The number of IFYC alums that identify as atheist, agnostic, or secular humanist is about as much as our Roman Catholic, Hindu, and Buddhist alumni combined,” said IFYC Director of Alumni Relations Amber Hacker in a recent interview. The large number of nontheist or nonreligious IFYC alums may come as a surprise to some—perhaps especially those wondering whether nonreligious people are actually welcome in interfaith work. When I worked as a contractor for IFYC a number of years ago, I didn’t encounter many other atheists, agnostics, or nonreligious people. But that has shifted dramatically in recent years.