I’ve been busy watching what is being said about the “Nones” – that group of people who, like me, when queried about what their religion is check the box that says “None.” According to the poll takers, this group presently includes about 19% of U.S. men and 12% of women. It also seems to draw the highest percentage of “nones” from the 18 to 29 age group. As one would expect, older people choose “none” less often that the younger ones.
There also is some talk about this trend which, the sources I read speculate, might possibly be the prelude to another “Great Awakening” – a massive Protestant revival, or immigration bringing in more Catholic believers.
Neither of these happenings seem to be likely, as far as my thinking goes, but I doubt that immigration would do number-wise what the “Great Awakening” did the last time around. Can you imagine having a massive Protestant revival where all the “awakened” align themselves with the religious right? If I’d have to pick one or the other, I’d choose the immigration!
There also is a lot of talk about exactly what the founding fathers meant when they talked about religion. Steven Waldman's book, Founding Faith: Providence, Politics and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America is a good place to get an earful (or an eyeful, actually.) He reminds us that Thomas Paine wrote The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology and didn’t take too kindly to either the bible or religion. And as for Thomas Jefferson, he edited the bible, removed anything “divine” and left in what he agreed with.
So the next time you think to use the Founding Fathers' religion to bolster your argument, you'd better think twice. I don't think it is a very valid argument.
I’m not a “for-er” or an “against-er” I am all for everyone to his own religion. But I do think it is an exceptionally interesting thing to read and ruminate about!