Religious nones and dones are some of the fastest growing groups in America. For those unfamiliar with the terms, “nones” are those who self identify as having no religion, including atheists, agnostics, and those who believe in God but reject particular religious traditions. “Dones” are formerly religious individuals, often people who were highly involved but became disillusioned and burned out.
Articles and conversations about the nones and dones from a religious perspective often have an undercurrent of panic as people try to understand why so many are leaving organized religion. Anxiety is a normal human response to change (especially when those changes expose our own hidden doubts). But there’s a better way to think about the future of religion. It’s found in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s letters and papers from prison.
Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran theologian, one of just a handful who took a stand against the Third Reich and spoke up for the Jewish people. Although
In April, 1944, Bonhoeffer wrote:
We are moving toward a completely religionless time; people as they are now simply cannot be religious anymore. Even those who honestly describe themselves as "religious" do not in the least act up to it, and so they presumably mean something quite different by "religious."