CoastLine: If Americans Are Less Religious, How Do Cape Fearians Find Community?
The number of people who identify as Christian is declining and a new category of ‘nones’, meaning “nothing in particular”, agnostic, and atheist, is growing. That’s according to a study by the Pew Research Center from 2015 called the American Religious Landscape Study. If the current trend stays the course, according to Pew, American society is likely to grow less religious even if today’s adults maintain their current level of commitment.
So what do these changing religious views tell us about our culture and definition of community? What does it say about the value Americans place on spirituality – and how have ideas around what that even means changed? What are the repercussions of losing our religion – if any? Most importantly, if organized religion is on the decline, what is taking its place?
Here to help us answer these questions through the lens of southeastern North Carolinians and the Cape Fear region:
Andrew Coates, Instructor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he studies the history of religion in America in the early 20th century
Daniel Lewis, Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Wilmington
Cheryl M. Walker, Pastor of the Unitarian Universalist congregation of Wilmington