Yesterday, all of the major media organizations covered a new study on the religious affiliations of people in the United States done by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. The "U.S. Religious Landscape Survey,"
I find this study fascinating for a number of reasons. For Americans to actively leave the religion in which they were raised requires a decision to make a change. It seems that we are putting some thought into the beliefs we were brought up with and noticing that, perhaps, they are not what we believe today as adults. Or perhaps the reason people aren't necessarily committing to or choosing a religion is because they are disappointed by all of the religions.
Has religion failed many of us, regardless of which one we were raised in? And if this is the case, what has taken its place?
An interesting potential answer from the survey is that more than 16% of the respondents say they are unaffiliated to any religious organization. This may give us a clue that people are either searching outside of the boundaries of organized religion (5.8% are unaffiliated but religious), or they have given up on anything vaguely religious or spiritual (6.3% are secular unaffiliated). There are certainly an increasing number of people who are drawn to more spiritual content and discussions--more of the inner work, teachers and books that remind us who we are on the inside--instead of identifying with an outside religious figure. Can the two exist together? Absolutely.
I was raised Catholic, but was also exposed to many religions from growing up in six countries. I respect and have learned from each of them--none are superior and none have all of the answers. And I have also spent the last decade being more of a seeker of truth. I allow myself to be guided by the Divine, trusting myself and my intuition, listening as my Higher Self guides me to living more spiritually. I have met and interviewed dozens of people whose mission is more about living a more conscious life, than a religious life. Maybe that's what this research is now highlighting.
Have you personally changed associating with the religion you were brought up in? Do you consider yourself more spiritual today?