In May of 2011 my denomination’s local body, New Castle Presbytery of the PCUSA, commissioned me as an Interfaith Peacemaker. In that role I hang out with friends from many religious traditions, and also with others who belong to none.
If you have been reading my blog, Interfaith Reflections, you may have noticed that I’m intrigued by atheists who respect believers, and sometimes even participate enthusiastically in interfaith activities. See these two posts, particularly: What’s a Faithiest: A Review of Chris Stedman’s New Book at http://bit.ly/13fLpRA, and Some Faithful People Are Not Religious: Toward a Deeper Understanding of “Interfaith” at http://bit.ly/qAfDGz.
Recently National Public Radio has been featuring a series of interviews with Americans who do not identify with any religion. The series is called “Losing Our Religion.” Sociologists of religion have dubbed such folk the ‘nones’. A recent Pew Foundation poll indicates that a fifth of all Americans and a third of those under the age of 30 are ‘nones’.
I have discovered that many communities of faith are experiencing difficulty recruiting new members, which is not surprising in light of the Pew poll. If your own congregation wants to address this challenge, you might want to listen to these NPR radio interviews, and discuss them with leaders in your congregation.
You will find the interviews at http://www.npr.org/series/169065270/losing-our-religion
There are five posted there so far:
- Losing Our Religion: The Growth of the ‘Nones’
- More Young People Are Moving Away from Religion. But Why?
- On Religion: Some Young People Show Both Doubt And Respect
- After Tragedy Non-Believers Find Other Ways to Cope
- Making Marriage Work When One Spouse Believes in God
The listing above is chronological, by the date each interview was aired, with the earliest on top. On the NPR index page, however, you will find the earliest broadcasts at the bottom of the list.