The growth of the “nones”, being those with no religious affiliation, has been growing by leaps and bounds in the past decade. The Catholic Church, in particular, has been losing members, due in part to the continued scandals that have been reported here and elsewhere.
But what does it mean to be a “none”? The Pew Research Center has just released a study that shows that 6 in 10 have replaced traditional religious labels with unfounded New Age Beliefs, such as
- Believe spiritual energy can be located in physical things (47%)
- Believe in psychics (40%)
- Believe in reincarnation (38%)
- Believe in astrology (32%)
Belief in at least one of those four was found in 62% of the respondents!
There is some hope that the label of atheist resulted in the least acceptance of unfounded beliefs. That said, the freethought movement, as a whole, clearly has more work to do towards make “fact over fiction” a guiding principle in our lives. In particular those who prefer the label “Agnostic” show much greater acceptance of unfounded beliefs.
Steel City Skeptics continues to encourage rigorous scientific studies without the “woo” of new age thought. Unfortunately, there is much work to be done to make this principle universal.