Biography & Net Worth: What is your religion? In the United States, the current common answer is “none.”

Natalie Charles Even mid-teens felt unwelcome to the Baptist congregation, which held conservative views of immigration, gender, and sexuality. So she left.

“I don’t think it mixes with my point of view. What is God God and what can God be?” Princeton University

“It wasn’t an environment with much love or nurturing for one’s faith.”

After leaving the church in New Jersey three years ago, she identified herself as an atheist and then an agnostic, and then pursued a spiritual but non-religious life. In her hostel, she performs rituals at the altar, sings Buddhist, Taoist and Hindu chants, and pays homage to her ancestors while meditating and praying.

The path that Charles followed places him among religiously unrelated people. It is the fastest growing group in a survey asking Americans about their religious identity. They describe themselves as atheists, agnostics, or “nothing in particular”.

This group (commonly known as “none”) now accounts for 29% of adults in the United States, according to a study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. This is up from 23% in 2016 and 19% in 2011.

Elizabeth Drescher, part-time professor at Santa Clara University and author of a book about the spiritual lives of empty people, said:

Religiously unrelated people used to be concentrated in urban coastal areas, but they now live across the United States, representing a variety of ages, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds.

A recent survey by the Associated Press-NORC Public Relations Center shows that even in their personal philosophies, none are much different from those in the United States. For example, 30% say they feel connected to God and a higher power, and 19% say that religion holds some importance to them, even if they do not have a religious connection.

About 12% describe themselves as religious and spiritual, and 28% describe themselves as spiritual but not religious. More than half tell themselves neither.

According to AP-NORC surveys, nearly 60% of people say that religion was at least somewhat important when the family was growing up. We found that 30% were meditating, some praying in person several times a month, and some were having regular consultations with religious or spiritual leaders.

“There are people who are actually practicing either in that particular tradition of faith that we identify with, or in many traditions of faith,” Drescher said. “They are not interested in formal membership in those communities or their identification as someone in that religion.”

In recent years, the prevalence of nothing in the United States is almost comparable to that of Western Europe, but overall, Americans are more religious, with daily prayer and belief in God, as described in the Bible. The percentage is high. According to a 2018 Pew survey, nearly two-thirds of American Christians prayed daily, with 6% in the UK and 9% in Germany.

According to a new Pew study, there was no growth in the United States primarily at the expense of the Protestant population in the United States. Forty percent of adults in the United States are now Protestant, down from 50% ten years ago.

Among the former Protestants is 36-year-old Shianda Simmons from Lakeland, Florida. He began establishing himself as an atheist in 2013.

She grew up as a Baptist and attended church regularly. She says she left mainly because of the unequal treatment of women in the church.

Simmons said that not everyone in his family knew he had given up his religion, and that some who knew it found it difficult to accept it.

“Some people can’t say I’m an atheist,” she said. “It took me away from my family.”

Likewise, her cosmetology shop feels that nostalgia should be “hidden” from customers for fear of going elsewhere.

Mandissa went to church as a child, like Simmons Thomas, but despite being a mighty force among many, she is now a black atheist who has broken away from organized religions. African American

“Within the black community, we are facing the eviction of porcelain pieces,” said Thomas, who lived near Atlanta and founded a support group, Black Nonbelievers, in 2011. What do white people do? ,

Another proponent of absolutism is Kevin Boring, who grew up in a military family and was a boy at the Roman Catholic altar. In college, he began to question the role of the church and became disillusioned with the church’s position on sexuality after being gay.

He is currently the Managing Director of the Secular Student Alliance, which has over 200 branches in universities across the country. He said that this chapter serves as a haven for secular students and those who doubt their faith.

“I think this generation could be the first generation where the majority are non-religious, while the majority are religious,” he said.

Being Catholic was also a big part of Ashley Taylor’s upbringing—she became an altar server at the age of nine. Now 30 years old, she identifies him as religiously unrelated.

“It means finding meaning, and maybe even spirituality, without following religion … pulling from something that makes sense to me or that fits my values,” she says. Rice fields.

When she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 11, her faith empowered her, but Catholic growth adversely affected her emotional and sexual development and emerged as a lesbian. I think I’ve delayed it.

Eventually, Taylor discovered Sunday’s rally. This provided her with a congregation-like community, but in a secular way, she provided activities such as singing, reading clubs, and trivia quizzes. She is currently the Speaker of the Parliament of Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“They’re not trying to tell you what’s true,” Taylor said. “There’s always a sense of curiosity, skepticism, and openness.”

For some, like 70-year-old Zayn Marston in Shelburne, Massachusetts, their spiritual journey continues to evolve over the decades.

Growing up near Boston, Marston attended a Congregational church with his family. He remembers itching in flannel trousers when he attended Bible studies, church-sponsored dances, and Sunday services.

Through high school and college, he “turned away” from Christian beliefs and began a serious and long-lasting journey into spirituality while rehabbing in his thirties to curb his alcoholism.

“Spirituality is a soul-based journey into the mind, entrusting one’s ego’s desire to a higher will,” he said. “We’re looking for our own answers beyond the programming we grew up in.”

His path was sometimes difficult, with the death of his wife from rapidly progressing cancer, the loss of his home due to financial problems, but his sadhana replaced anxiety with “tender joy” and desire, he said. Growth. help others.

He used to work as a landscape designer and real estate appraiser, but now runs a school that teaches qigong. Qigong developed from China, which combines slow and relaxing movements with breathing and meditation.

“When I was a kid, I had a white beard, judged, and thought about God taking the throne, but that completely changed,” Marston said. “My higher power is the universe… If I can get out of the way of my ego, it’s always there for me.”


The AP-NORC survey of 1,083 adults was conducted on October 21–25 using samples designed to represent the US population. The sample error margin of all respondents is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Pew survey was conducted from May 29 to August 25 on 3,937 respondents. The respondents’ absolute sample tolerance is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.


Associated Press writer Miriam Fam contributed to this report.


The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. AP is solely responsible for this content.

What is your religion? In the United States, the current general answer is “none”.

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