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PBS's TV show, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, will be airing a three part mini-series about the rise of the religiously unaffiliated in the US, based on the recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.

The series will begin this weekend, but it will air at different times based on your local PBS station.  Be sure to search for "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly", or just "Religion" on your TV.

Here is the trailer for the mini-series:

There is a great survey to take at the PBS website, where you can compare your answers with other Online Survey takers, as well as see how you did compared to the original survey with the U.S. Population (Pew Forum / R&E Survey).  People taking the online survey are definitely less religious than the original survey takers.  After the dKos community gets done taking the survey, I'm figuring it will be even more skewed from the original.

Why is this of interest to the dKos community?  Because a key finding from the survey found that while most Americans still consider themselves spiritual, a rapidly growing number no longer affiliate with a church. Today, 46 million Americans fall into the category now commonly called “nones.”  Many of them are under 30 and politically moderate to liberal. In 2007, they made up 15 percent of the population. Now it’s 20 percent and growing.

From Religion & Ethics Newsweekly,

According to the Pew Research Center, one in five American adults — nearly 20 percent of the US population — now describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated, the highest percentage ever in Pew’s polling. Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly partnered with the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life in a survey to delve more deeply into the theological, social and political views of these Americans, who are often called “the nones.”

“We’re getting a growing group, as much as one-fifth of the adult population, that do not identify with some kind of organized religion, and that has a lot of implications for religion, for politics, for society,” Prof. John Green, director of the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, told Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. “It represents a very significant change.”

Among the joint survey findings, the miniseries explores:

Two-thirds (68 percent) of those who describe themselves as religiously unaffiliated say they believe in God or a universal spirit.  More than half (58 percent) say they often feel a deep connection with nature and the earth, and more than a third (37 percent) describe themselves as “spiritual” but not “religious.”

A third of adults under 30 have no religious affiliation, compared with just one-in-ten who are 65 and older.

The majority of the religiously unaffiliated are Democrats or lean Democratic, and 67 percent of them believe churches and other religious institutions are too involved with politics.

Large majorities of the unaffiliated say religious institutions are too concerned with money and power (70 percent) and focus too much on rules (67 percent).

More than three-quarters (77 percent) say religious institutions play an important role in helping the poor and needy and bring people together and strengthen community bonds (78 percent).

While 76 percent of Americans overall believe that churches and other religious institutions protect and strengthen morality, only about half (52 percent) of the religiously unaffiliated agree.

The vast majority of religiously unaffiliated Americans are not actively seeking to find a church or other religious group to join.  Of those who describe themselves as “nothing in particular” (as opposed to atheist or agnostic), 88 percent say they are not looking for a religion that is right for them.

The survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of adults in all 50 states, including 958 who are religiously unaffiliated.

To find out where the three part mini-series will air in your viewing area, you'll need to know your zip code and the TV service you use (for example, Time Warner, Dish, DirecTV, etc) and then go here for the schedule.

This would also be a great time for me to put in a plug for Camp Quest, a week long camp for the children of the religiously unaffiliated. My children have been going to Camp Quest for many, many summers, and are now old enough to be counselors themselves.  My kids look forward to Camp Quest every summer.

From CQ's Frequently Asked Questions:

Camp Quest is a place for fun, friends, and freethought for kids ages 8-17. Our camps provide a traditional sleepaway summer camp experience with a wide range of activities including sports, crafts, games, swimming, and campfires. In addition to our traditional summer camp activities, Camp Quest offers educational activities focused on critical thinking, ethics, scientific inquiry, philosophy, and comparative religion.

Camp Quest is open to all children and teenagers within the age range, but it is particularly geared towards building a community for children from atheist, agnostic, humanist and other freethinking families. Our goal is to provide a place where children can explore their developing worldviews, ask questions, and make friends in an environment that is supportive of critical thinking and skepticism.

The camps are located throughout the US and Canada, as well as England and Ireland. A new camp may be opening in your area in 2013.

Originally posted to WayBeyondSoccerMom on Wed Oct 10, 2012 at 11:34 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Will you try to watch the PBS series, "None of the Above: The Rise of the Religiously Unaffiliated"?

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