An increasing number of Americans do not affiliate with any particular religion. BYU Radio’s Matt Townsend Show recently interviewed CRCC senior director of research and evaluation Richard Flory, about the increase of religious “nones” in America and the causes behind this trend.
Flory first noted that the decline in the positive view of social institutions and authority structures contributes to the rise in religious “nones” in America:
“There’s a flattening of authority structures across all sectors of society, and a lot of this is because of the digital revolution. People can get knowledge anywhere. You don’t necessarily need that authority, in this case religious authority, to tell you what is right or wrong or how to think about the Bible. In general, there’s also been a decline in the positive view of large-scale social institutions. Religion in particular has a bad brand particularly because of sex or money scandals.”
Flory also noted that people nowadays view religion more as a constrain on their time.
“People have to work and take their kids to soccer, and they’re all over the place. So, their attendance at church or synagogues has become one more social obligation, rather than a place where they can pause and reflect.”
Above all, Flory states that the American way of valuing personal choice over everything has a considerable effect on this religious “nones” trend.
“Many young people have been brought up to think about religion as something potentially viable for them, but they have to make their own mind about it. So, if that is your starting point, you’re going to view religion as something you can take or leave, modify and customize in whatever way you want.”
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