Today, almost twenty-five percent of American adults self-identify as religiously unaffiliated, roughly the same numbers of Evangelicals and Catholics, respectively, making them one of the fastest-growing demographics, especially amongst the young. If asked why, bestselling author and Atheist Sam Harris might respond, “Because science!” However, there is always a story behind the statistics, a narrative buried in the numbers. Sociologists have long sought the face of this group of people who check the box “none” on surveys for religiosity (called Nones)—who they are and what they believe. What is the story behind the Nones? In her book Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World, author Tara Isabella Burton explores the spiritual fluidity of the nones. Burton reveals that far from being embarrassed by religion, the Nones are extraordinarily spiritual. They “may not be traditionally religious,” she writes, “but they are not exactly secular, either.”
This Postmodern Realities episode is a conversation with Journal author Rebekah Valerius about her online-exclusive, “Bespoke Religiosity and the Rise of the Nones: a review of Strange Rites: New Religions for a Godless World by Tara Isabella Burton”.
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