Lots of interesting statistics in the latest Pew poll on religion in America. The big news is the same as last time: the number of people who are religiously unaffiliated (the Nones) is growing. In the 2014 survey, 23% of Americans fall into this category, up from 16% in 2007. Belief in God has remained strong, but has fallen slightly, from 92% to 89%. However, the percentage of people who regularly feel a deep sense of spiritual peace and well-being rose from 52% to 59%.
Whether or not this trend will continue depends on the state of the world and how secure people feel. Here at home we feel fairly secure, I would reckon, but there are still no atheists in foxholes, so if we start to feel under threat, perhaps some of those Nones will head back to the pews. There are threats a-plenty beyond our borders as wars and gangs continue to spin out of control in so many places, and refugees are fleeing to stable countries like ours in unprecedented numbers. It’s anyone’s guess whether they will be absorbed quietly or end up disenchanted and angry—the source of even more unrest.
But I hope this trend does continue as it has, and that those apostate Nones look to the Seven Universal Sacraments for a framework upon which to build a new moral code to fill the gap left by traditional religions. Children must be raised, something has to be taught about what makes us tick as human beings, and how to live as humanly and humanely as possible. Without Sunday School to etch the Ten Commandments into young hearts, parents can use some guidance on how to approach the Greater Good. Whether there is a God or not, we can perceive some universal Rights and Wrongs in the world if we take the time to look around.