The latest statistics on religion in America are here courtesy of the Pew Research Center. In their 2014 Religious Landscape Study that just came out we find that Christianity is in decline at the expense of the Nones—those who check “none of the above” when asked what religion they belong to. Over the past 8 years the percentage of Christians has fallen from 78% to 71% while the Nones have gone up to 23%. If you look at those born from 1990-6 it’s 36%. This includes a rise in the number of atheists, agnostics, and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular.”
I reported on this trend in my book, and in fact, one of the main reasons to get the book out was driven by this question: if people are turning their backs on the Churches of their parents what will they teach their children about morals? Moral education was always tied up with Sunday School, the 10 Commandments and the parables of Jesus. The Churches, Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox, dictated what we should do and think. If you reject all that, will the kids simply run wild?
Structure is helpful in education, and the Seven Universal Sacraments are an attempt to provide that structure. By recognizing the power of these intense moments of human-to-human contact, we can discover a moral path that all of us can walk by virtue of our humanity, regardless of how we view the Deity. Parents and teachers can build a curriculum around these Seven, and as children become aware of them, they will become better citizens of their communities, and of the world.
The march of the Nones is going to continue in America, and it’s going to eventually spread to all parts of the world. It already is the case in Europe that only a few people buy into what the old Churches are saying. In France for example just 45% of the people claim to be Catholic, but only 5% attend mass regularly. As for the Muslim world, it’s a safe bet that as the internecine slaughters continue unabated in Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen, many are going to start asking themselves if there isn’t some other way to live their lives. The blind adherence to dogma and religious strictures that causes the death and displacement of millions is going to drive them into the ranks of the Nones too.