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Rise Of The Nones

Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith Galatians 6:9-10).

Rise of the “nones”?

No, I’m not talking about an upcoming Star Trek movie. The “nones” aren’t science fiction but one of the biggest problems facing the church today.

In 2018, Pastor Ryan Burge received recent statistics from the General Social Survey (GSS). Nope, I hadn’t heard of this either until I read Burge’s book, The Nones.

Ryan Burge is a pastor but also a social scientist, and GSS statistics are the gold standard for studying religious life in America. I’m going to let Pastor Ryan tell his story…

I saw it immediately.

The percentage of religiously unaffiliated people had steadily risen since the early 1990s. Previously, the “nones” had zoomed past 10 percent of the population by 1996, crossed the 15 percent threshold just a decade later, and managed to reach 20 percent by 2014. That rise had not abated in 2018. 

It had finally happened: the nones were now the same size as both Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants. That meant that the religiously unaffiliated were statistically the same size as the largest religious groups in the United States.

Let me take a few lines to interpret this information. The “nones” are those who check the “not affiliated with any religious group” in surveys. Research indicates it’s not just those younger but all ages in America.  

Young and old alike.

Pastor Ryan continues…

Here’s a staggering statistic: One in twenty Americans has become a nothing in particular over the past decade. That increase in their ranks alone is nearly the same size as the total share of atheists or agnostics in 2018.

There is no single reason for the rise of the “nones.”  

From Pastor Grant’s perspective, I would suggest a tiredness with churches promoting Jesus from right works, right doctrine, and right politics – resulting in weariness, confusion, and conflict.

I’ve heard many who have stopped coming to church on a regular basis say, “It feels good to take a break.”

Pastor and social scientist Ryan Burge ends his book with this advice… 

The winds of secularization and polarization are swirling like never before. Most of that seed is going to fall on rocky soil, never to reap a harvest. And it seems that there are fewer people to spread it every year. It’s easy to give up hope. But we must recall the words of the apostle Paul to the church in Galatia: “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up” (Gal 6:9). Seed that expresses the love and grace and hope of Jesus Christ is never truly lost. Don’t give up!

I would add – let’s pray for revival!