by Lisa Parks
- Although African Americans are more involved in organized religion than the general population, a growing number of what some are calling “nones” are coming out.
- “Nones” are people who do not identify with any of the religions in the American marketplace. Some do not consider themselves to be atheists or agnostics, yet they do not subscribe to any religion. Many have never attended church and most are skeptical about the existence of a deity.
- The American Religious Identification Survey found that from 1990 to 2008, the number of blacks without any religious affiliation nearly doubled from 6 to 11% (IntersectionsSouthLA.org, 14 May 2012).
- According to the Pew Religious Landscape Survey, more than two-thirds of black nonbelievers say that religion has a primarily cultural role in their lives, with some attending church out of tradition (NYTimes.com, 27 November 2011).
WHAT THIS MEANS TO BUSINESS
- Some African Americans may find it difficult to call themselves atheists because of the stigma against the term in the black community. For some believers, lack of faith is tantamount to hating God and this sentiment can make nonbelievers wary of labeling themselves.
- For many black people, subscribing to church teachings is not necessary to attend church. The cultural and social aspects of attendance create community, which is also valuable to nones.