Or What’s up with the nones?
Session 1: Religion, religion, everywhere
Read: Robert N. Bellah, Civil Religion in America — this is the classic text about American civil religion. While the data certainly needs to be updated, the analysis and historical points remain the important starting point for discussing religion in America.
Write: At least 3 observations on how Bellah applies to what you see in American religion today.
Read: Marcia Pally, Donald Trump: Apostle of American Civil Religion in Religion and Ethics.
Session 2: The Phenomenon of the Unaffiliated
Read: A recent summary of the American Religious Landscape by the PEW Research center entitled “If the U.S. had 100 people.” If you are interested, the data this report is built on comes from the U.S. Religious Landscape survey.
Read: Another short review by PEW about “The factors driving the growth of the religious ‘nones’ in the US.” If you are interested, PEW maintains a catalog of all of their articles about the Religiously Unaffiliated.
Read: Adam Gopnik’s “Bigger than Phil: When did Faith Start to Fade?” in the New Yorker from February 2014. This is a longer-read than the PEW reports, but it will provide an excellent starting point for discussing faith and its discontents in contemporary America.
Session 3: New Takes on Old Faiths
Have Fun: Testing your own religious knowledge
Read: “For Millennials, Belief is a Choice” on millennialmarketing.com — yep, the folks at Forbes want your money.
Read: “How do you choose the correct religion?” on thenextgreatgeneration.com, a crowd-sources journalism experiment.
Read: “Religion among the Millennials” from the PEW center. This is the executive summary, the hard data is all linked, feel free to explore it, or not.
Session 4: Finding My Religion
Read: Emma Green, “How will young people choose their religion?” The Atlantic, March 20, 2016.
Explore: The “Choosing My Religion” project from The Atlantic in April 2014. Choose at least two of the linked articles to read and be ready to discuss them in class.