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New Study Shows There Are More ‘Nones’ Than Ever

New Study Shows There Are More ‘Nones’ Than Ever

According to a new Pew Research study, not all “nones” are nonbelievers.

The number of “nones” — the religiously unaffiliated demographic comprised of atheists, agnostics and those who say their religion is “nothing in particular” — has been steadily rising over the last several years. According to a new study from Pew Research, 28% of U.S. adults categorize themselves as “nones.”

Back in 2007, “nones” made up just 16% of Americans, but Pew’s new survey found that they’re now the second largest cohort in the U.S., only behind Christianity at 40%. As the group has grown, researchers have tried to discover what, if at all, “nones” believe about the world and spirituality.

The biggest discovery the new study found is that just because someone is religiously unaffiliated, it doesn’t mean they fully reject all things spiritual. In fact, while the “nones” does include many nonbelievers, 70% say they believe in God or another higher power, and 63% say they believe in “spiritual forces beyond the natural world.”

Two-thirds of “nones” say they don’t want to associate with religion because they question a lot of religious teachings. Additionally, many respondents claimed that negative experiences with religious institutions (47%) or people (30%) impacted their decision to not associate with any religion.

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