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CoastLine: If Americans Are Less Religious, How Do Cape Fearians Find Community?

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0
The nave in Immaculate Conception Church, Farm Street, London, England

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

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.