Date Thesis Awarded

5-2016

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Interdisciplinary Studies

Advisor

Christine Nemacheck

Committee Member

Jackson Sasser

Committee Member

Leisa Meyer

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in the United States. The Pew Research Center has recently reported on this phenomenon in their “America’s Changing Religious Landscape” demographic study. In this analysis, Pew has defined the unaffiliated to include atheists, agnostics and Americans who identify with “nothing in particular.” However, atheists and agnostics only make up about a third of the total population of religiously unaffiliated Americans. This means that a large portion of the religiously affiliated may be spiritual or even religious to some degree outside of organized religion. Who are the religiously unaffiliated? Does this phenomenon really exist as a demographic trend in the United States? Here I examine national surveys as well as my own to explore the trend and beliefs of the “nothing in particular” category of unaffiliated respondents. Are they different than atheists or agnostics? How? Furthermore, what might this mean for our assessment of their role in American politics?

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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