On Thursday, I wrote an Examiner article about the rise of the “nones.” Apparently the media loves the fact that according to the new Gallup tracking poll, the “nones” only grew .3% from the previous year. The religious are thrilled that our rise is “slowing down.” But they really shouldn’t be.
As I explained in the article, the Gallup poll didn’t account for people below the age of 18, which is probably our largest demographic. The poll showed that young people (age 18-29) are three times more likely to identify as “none” than older people (age 65+). Those below the age of 18 were not surveyed, but probably are at least equal to the 18-29 demographic if not larger.
But here is where things get interesting; the “nones” are still on the rise. Looking at the context of how the other religious identities have risen or fallen, it becomes clear that this is a win for atheism. Protestants actually shrunk by .6%. Catholics can’t brag either. They fell .2%. Jews and Muslims stayed the same at 1.7% and .6% respectively.
So, let’s look at this data another way. Instead of pointing and saying that the rate of growth has plateaued, we should be saying that the “nones” have grown half of all the Muslims in America in just a single year. In fact, according to this very same data from Gallup, the “nones” are still the fastest growing religious identity with Mormonism coming in second with a growth of .2%. Just about every other religious identity (i.e. all actual religions aside from Mormonism) have either dropped or stayed the same.
So fuck you media! Stop trying to change the narrative to make us look bad. The headlines shouldn’t be “Bucking previous trends, survey finds growth of the religiously unaffiliated slowing” (CNN), it should be, “Religiously unaffiliated still the fastest growing religious identity.” Or even better, “People are still fleeing religion.”