Pew Research reports that there’s been a 40% increase — just from 2012 to 2017 — in the portion of Americans who consider themselves “spiritual but not religious.” The percentage of people who label themselves as religious has dropped in just five years from 65% to 54%. The trend isn’t surprising, but the speed is extraordinary. If this rate were to continue (which it won’t), then there wouldn’t be any religious people left by 2042.
But I’m also looking at the bottom category of “religious but not spiritual.” Just 6% of Americans put themselves in that bucket. And it’s flat from 2012 to 2017. What does that look like in real life?
And — while we’re at it — what does it even mean to call yourself “spiritual”? How does that help you live your life to the fullest? Does it allow you to connect more strongly with other people?
It’s easy to see the flaws in organized religion, but I wonder about what we might be giving up by emphasizing spirituality divorced from religion. I suspect some of the “religious but not spiritual” folks may be getting the better end of the bargain.