A recent survey by the Pew Research Center shows that Americans are increasingly identifying themselves as “nones” — not connected to any religious faith. The survey, conducted in 2018 and 2019, showed that in the U.S. the percentage of those who described themselves as “religiously unaffiliated had risen sharply, from 17 percent in 2009, to 26 percent.” During the same time period, Americans who identified themselves as Christians has also dropped significantly, by 12 percent percentage points.
This has worried some of the talking heads appearing on Fox Nation, so the show’s host Tom Shillue asked his guests why “the rise of the ‘nones'” is happening.
At one point, Shillue asked panel members if the popularity of atheist books could be viewed positively, wondering if this means people are seeking greater meaning out of life. But ethicist, theologian, and Fox News contributor Jonathan Morris, who’s also a former priest, didn’t seem to see it that way.
“This whole cottage industry of atheistic activism…influences people, I think, in a negative way,” he said. “It substitutes the search for real meaning by saying ‘I am committed to’ almost ‘I belong to’ the religion of atheism… And I think in the end, there’s going to be a lot of people asking the same question that people have asked for millennia. That is, ‘who am I? Where am I going? Let’s figure this out. And that will never end.”
Morris also noted that the way the findings are interpreted is also important.
“First of all, I think the best way to understand ‘nones’ is ‘none of the above’ because that’s usually how the question is asked,” he said. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Much worse would be ‘I don’t believe in anything.’ That’s not really what this study says.”
Morris added that the Pew Research Center has previously noted in an earlier survey that of those who consider themselves ‘religiously unaffiliated,’ many still believe in God.
But some have a less positive view of the situation, Fox News religion correspondent Lauren Green inferred at one point. She had interviewed one theologian who blamed family problems for the influx of ‘nones,’ and had this to say:
“It’s the family unit where you normally play out your faith, where you get your morals, your ethics because it’s lived out in that sense. And you’ve got a high divorce rate. You’ve got kids are growing up with no center in their family. And so they’re looking for other things to do to fill that void.”
Watch the video at foxnews.com