DOI: 10.18413/2408-9338-2020-6-3-0-2

“Religion”, “No religion” and “Spirituality” of the “Nones”: Issues of definition and study

Abstract. In recent decades, in many Western countries, the number of “nones” has been growing rapidly. “The nones” are respondents who in surveys and studies of religiousness say they are religiously unaffiliated, “have no religion” or “religious preferences”. Their rapid growth has been observed in many Christian countries from the U.S. to Australia, and this is along with a decline in those who identify themselves as Christians. Because they represent a rapidly growing segment of the Western world's population, it is important to understand what they represent, their attitude toward religion, disbelief and spirituality. Can they be considered absolutely unbelievers and secular, or is their “no religion” more indicative of a denial of “religion” as such, religious institutions and authorities? Today, the question of religious affiliation and identity has a theoretical, political and legal dimension, and is of particular importance against the background of polarization of Western societies, the emergence of a “new cultural majority” in the face of the “non-religious” population, and the mobilization of new and old religions. The article presents an overview of the studies related to the growth of “nones” in different countries; considers the problems of their definition, classification and self-identification, including among the young generations, which prove to be the driving force behind the growth of “nones”, which is most characterized by a combination of incompatible elements; it is noted that the identity of “nones” is largely characterized by a combination of the non-religious, religious and spiritual, which is a sign of a “complex” (non)religious identity of modern mankind.

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