There are two interesting, and relatively new demographics in the Western world.
The first demographic are the “nones.” This group of people are those who do not identify with one particular religious position. In this group are atheists, agnostics, and those who have an eclectic spirituality that fits no traditional religious category.
The second demographic are the “dones.” This group of people are those who perhaps do identify with a particular religious tradition, but are “done” with the organized manifestation of that religion.
These two groups are growing demographics in the West, and in particular Western Europe and the United States of America. Common statements from these groups are:
(1) I am not spiritual (atheism / “none”)
(2) I am spiritual; I just choose not to restrict my spiritual enlightenment with labels. (generic spiritualism with no formal tradition / “none”)
(3) I am a follower of Jesus, but don’t like the church. I don’t like organized religion. I don’t need the church to be saved. It’s a personal relationship anyway. (“done” with church).
The point is this: these two groups are not engaging in organized religion. It repulses them, and if it doesn’t repulse them, they consider themselves “too enlightened” (or “beyond”) the need of such structure.
This is where my issue with these two groups lie: they claim to be beyond the need of buildings, spiritual teachers, authoritative religious texts, and yet their actions speak much louder than their words.
One man is highly sought after in and among these two groups: Rob Bell. Rob is a spiritual author and teacher, and he says, “everywhere I go and every group I speak to there is an universal hunger for spiritual guidance. They are asking the same basic questions. Questions that deal with fear, forgiveness, daily wisdom.” Bell’s audience are also asking questions of origin, the nature of reality, relationships, and social order.
People have questions. People want answers, naturally. And to get those answers they attend a meeting in a building (giving money to do so) to listen to a spiritual leader/teacher, and thereafter buy literature addressing spiritual matters.
That looks and sounds a lot like a kind of organized religion, and I think this points to something bigger: people are not “over” God / organized religion / the quest for truth. Instead, they are pursuing it more intensely – buying books, attending conferences, meetings, listening to leaders and teachers on spiritual matters (treating them as an authority, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to listen).
That is an interesting quandary of those who identify as a “none” or “done.”
I think there are some reasons for this trend of “nones” and “dones,” and there is a solution – both of which will be discussed in the blog post to follow.