Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Chapters 16 & 15 in Spiritual Waypoints examine how to share the Good News with the growing percentage of Americans who consider themselves atheist or agnostic. A key research finding in that book is that atheist and agnostics are not growing in their hostility towards religion and the article below further confirms this. Thus, there may be ways we can connect those without faith by not being confrontative but letting our good works pave our way into conversation with them.”
by MICHAEL LIPKA, 9/23/14, Pew Research
We’ve known for some time that the number of Americans who say they have no religion has been growing. But while this group does not identify with a specific religious tradition or denomination, the “nones” are not uniformly against religion having a role in society, a new Pew Research Center surveyfinds.
We asked all respondents whether religion is gaining or losing influence in American life, and 72% of U.S. adults (including 70% of the religiously unaffiliated) said religion is losing influence. We then asked whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, and, not surprisingly, “nones” were much more likely than other major religious groups to say that the declining influence of religion in American life is a good thing.
The results, however, were not completely one-sided. In fact, religiously unaffiliated people who perceive religion’s influence as declining were split on whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. About a third of “nones” overall (34%) said it is good that religion is losing influence, while a similar share (30%) said this is bad.
“Nones” include atheists and agnostics as well as people who have no religion in particular. Among only atheists and agnostics, half (50%) see religion’s influence as declining and see this as a good thing, while only 12% say it’s a bad thing. But among those who say their religion is “nothing in particular,” 37% say religion’s declining influence is a bad thing and 27% say it’s a good thing…