Is Massachusetts Losing Its Religion?
A new Pew Research Report shows that one in five American adults now has no religious affiliation. Do you think that is reason to rejoice — or cause for concern?
Massachusetts has been the land of the Puritans, the Unitarians, the Christian Scientists and the Irish Catholics.
Today's trend toward dropping out of church/synagogue life has been anecdotally obvious for some time. The new Pew Research Report confirms that, across the country, the "Nones" — people who do not identify with any religious group — are on the rise. The number of Americans which does not identify with any religion has grown to one-fifth of the total U.S. public — and accounts for one-third of adults under age 30.
The findings of the joint survey conducted by Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life and Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly show that most unaffiliated adults do consider themselves religious or spiritual in some way; 68 percent say they believe in God and 58 percent report that they feel a "deep connection with nature and earth." A little more than a third classify themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious” (37 percent), and (21 percent) admit to daily prayer.
The survey found that most of those who are unaffiliated readily admit they are not looking for a religion, thank you very much. And they think "religious organizations are too concerned with money and power, too focused on rules and too involved in politics."
What do you think is the reason for the rise of the "Nones," the religiously unaffiliated: too much political talk from the pulpit? Too many rules? Is church/synagogue boring? And what about implications of this change: is Massachusetts (and the rest of the U.S., too) on its way to becoming an almost religion-free zone, like Western Europe? If so, does that concern you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.