“Religious Nones” are among the fastest growing groups whenever survey research organizations like the Pew Research Center do polls concerning religious issues.
The results of the latest Pew survey of a representative sample of the Nones – which includes those who identify themselves as “atheist,” “agnostic” and “nothing” – finds an important reason (60 percent) these folks give for their views is they “question a lot of religious teachings.”
The second most frequently cited reason at 49 percent is dislike of “positions the church takes on social/political issues,” followed by 41 percent citing their dislike of “religious organizations.”
Interestingly, though, only 37 percent said they “don’t believe in God,” while 36 percent said “religious is irrelevant” to them and 34 percent said they “don’t like religious leaders.”
Pew also asked respondents what is the single most important reason for their lack of religious beliefs:
“We also asked religious ‘nones’ which of the six potential statements is the single most important reason they are unaffiliated. Again, questioning religious teachings is among the top responses, with a quarter (25 percent) of all ‘nones’ saying it is the most important reason.
“A similar share (22 percent) cite lack of belief in God, and 16 percent say the most important reason is that they dislike the positions churches take on social and political issues.”
NBC “Dateline’s” cold-case expert J. Warner Wallace is also a noted Christian apologist and he points to an important and largely overlooked factor in the 2018 Pew results.
Unlike in previous years, Pew only offered respondents the six reasons listed above to explain their views. In 2016, for example, respondents were allowed to put their reasons in their own words.
“In this study, most ‘nones’ said they no longer identified with a religious group because they no longer believed it was true. When asked why they didn’t believe, many said their views about God had ‘evolved’ and some reported having a ‘crisis of faith,'” Wallace said.
“Their specific explanations included the following statements:
- ‘Learning about evolution when I went away to college.’
- ‘Religion is the opiate of the people.’
- ‘Rational thought makes religion go out the window’
- ‘Lack of any sort of scientific or specific evidence of a creator.’
- ‘I just realized somewhere along the line that I didn’t really believe it.’
- ‘I’m doing a lot more learning, studying and kind of making decisions myself rather than listening to someone else.’”
My guess is there are a lot of folks working on the Hill these days who would identify with one or more of those statements. HillFaith blog exists to do with any person who wants to talk about these matters what Wallace says is the significance of the Pew statements for those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior:
“Ex-Christians often leave the church because they don’t think anyone in the church can answer their questions or make a case. It’s time for believers to accept their responsibility to explain what Christianity proposes and why these propositions are true, especially when interacting with young people who have legitimate questions.
“Rather than embracing a blind or unreasonable faith, Christians must develop an informed, forensic faith that can stand up in the marketplace of ideas. We know why young Christians are leaving. Now it’s time to give them a reason to stay.”