Spiritual But Not Religious

Lessons for church from the ‘spiritual but not religious’

A survey released the Pew Research Center reported that a growing number of adults in the US identify as religiously unaffiliated. While 70.6 percent say they are Christians, 22.8 percent–more than Catholics or mainline Protestants–say they are what some call “spiritual but not religious” (SBNR). Most of them (69 percent) say they do believe in God, just not in organized religion.

The Reverend Linda Mercadante, Professor of Theology at Methodist Theological School in Ohio, warns that the separation of religion and spirituality is a false dichotomy. She used John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, to illustrate.

spiritual-not-religiousBookMercadante conducted a series of in-depth interviews with people who self-identified as spiritual but not religious. Her interviewees were from across the US and of nearly every age group, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Her findings are published in Belief without Borders: Inside the Minds of the Spiritual but not Religious.

“This whole journey,” she writes, “has made me even more convinced that a profound spiritual change is going on in America. No matter how organized religions try to ignore, challenge, adapt, or protest it, our society is being deeply changed by this pervasive ethos.”

Mercadante offered some lessons the church can learn, which are shared by UMNS writer Joe Iovino.  Learn more… 

Also, A new report on the Pew Survey survey was released Nov. 3.