The "Nones" are here–are you One?"


By Larry Peterson

Things have changed and things are-a-changing still. I have stepped into the world of senior citizen which is a high-up perch where one can pause, look down and see with clarity what was and what is. When I look back about 20 or so years ago there is a small group of people occupying a small corner of the landscape. For some  reason their numbers have exploded and now they occupy almost 20% of the American population. These people are called the “Nones”. Maybe you are one of them.

The “Nones” are those folks who have no religion affiliation. Except for the atheist and agnostics the rest do not consider themselves Godless. They just do not think that they need a religion to guide them. (this leads to another thought–if God and religion are two different things why all the hysteria about using the name of God in the public square? That can be discussed another time). As you can see, for a guy like me, a Catholic blue-collar, flag waving type of person, this “None” thing is a bit perplexing.  I want to yell and scream and say—-“OH MY GOD!! What’s the matter with you people?” But–I and many of my generation are part of why this “None” phenomena has grown and taken hold. We have not passed  down our faith and traditions. We have, as Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington has said, “catechized without content”.

Protestantism was the majority religion for decades, maybe longer. Now it is under 50%. There are supposedly about 58 million Catholics in the country yet, maybe 16 million practice their faith. That’s about 28%. What happened to change the religious landscape? We old fools happened, that’s what happened. We let down our guard with our kids and started worrying too much about traumatizing their delicate psyches. We did not want to say “no” to poor little Johnny and Joanie. That was the beginning.

And so the world changes and evolves. I am a cradle catholic. I am even among the dwindling population of  catholics that attends not only Sunday mass but daily Mass. Yet I am responsible as are many of my generation. From the religious hierarchy downward and into the home itself and right to the empty supper tables choosing TV instead. We did not  transfer the baton. We dropped the baton. Not saying “no” morphed into “Nones”.

                              ©Larry Peterson 2012 All Rights Reserved

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