Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Godless Wednesday: The Growth Of the Nones

NPR's Morning Edition  is exploring the rise of the "non-religiously affiliated" population in the United States in  a week-long series called "Losing Our Religion: The Growth Of The Nones." Nones is the term that was coined by Barry Kosmin, who was the founding director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society. Kosmin explains his thinking about how the term "none" became commonly used:

“Nonreligious” was a possibility. So was “non-faith” and “non-affiliated.” 
But Kosmin rejected all of these. The “non” part bothered him. “Non-affiliated” would be like calling people “non-white,” he said. “We didn’t want to suggest that ‘affiliated’ was the norm, and every one else was an ‘other.’” 
“Nomenclature,” he added, “is quite important in these things.” 
So Kosmin began calling this group the “nones,” a shortened version for “none of the above” — which is what people often said when asked to name their religion. He never thought the term would stick.
In the NPR story they highlight how the fraction of people who are now labeled "nones" has been growing.

In 2010 the number has reached 16% of all respondents, and among younger cohorts of the population (18-29 years-old) 32% of respondents gave responses aligned with the "none" category in 2012.

Ahhh, more and more godlessness. It's a wonderful thing!

Hat/tip to Friendly Atheist

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