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Why America’s ‘Nones’ Don’t Identify With a Religion

Six in 10 religiously unaffiliated Americans — adults who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic, or “nothing in particular” — say the questioning of religious teachings is a very important reason for their lack of affiliation. The second most common reason is opposition to the positions taken by churches on social and political issues, cited by 49 percent of respondents (the survey asked about each of the six options separately). Smaller, but still substantial, shares say they dislike religious organizations (41 percent), don’t believe in God (37 percent), consider religion irrelevant to them (36 percent), or dislike religious leaders (34 percent). Those who identify as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” tend to give different reasons for their lack of affiliation, showing that “nones” are far from a monolithic group.

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