NPR’s Losing Our Religion Series

Jan 16, 2013 | 0 comments

NPR logoThis week, NPR is running a special series of stories titled Losing Our Religion. The content has serious implication for people facing loss, as today’s installment showed. This series shows why Certified Celebrants are a growing trend as officiants for funerals and memorial services.

After Tragedy, Nonbelievers Find Other Ways to Cope looks at the clash between atheists and the religious in the face of death, especially tragic, untimely ends.

Many have long turned to religion for solace in the aftermath of a tragedy, but that’s not an option for the nonreligious or those whose faith is destroyed by the event. For the nonreligious, dealing with trauma and loss often requires forging one’s own path.

One-fifth of Americans are religiously unaffiliated — higher than at any time in recent U.S. history — and those younger than 30 especially seem to be drifting from organized religion. A third of young Americans say they don’t belong to any religion.

More Young People are Moving Away from Religion, But Why? offers thoughtful interviews with young people about their growing distance from organized religion.

On Monday, the series started with The Growth of the ‘Nones.’ As religious as this country may be, many Americans are not religious at all. The group of religiously unaffiliated – dubbed “nones”— has been growing. One-fifth of Americans say they’re nones, as are one in three under 30. They’re socially liberal and aren’t looking for an organized religion.

In October, the Pew Research Center released a study, ‘Nones’ on the Rise, that takes a closer look at the 46 million people who answered none to the religion question in 2012. According to Pew, one-fifth of American adults have no religious affiliation, a trend that has for years been on the rise.

A growing group without religion has implications for funerals and memorial services. A major life change such as a death in the family calls for some sort of recognition. Religion has served to provide the rituals for the “matchings, hatchings and dispatchings” of our lives. Top hits and traffic to this blog come in for the information on religious funeral traditions.

A rise in a search for independent ways to mark end-of-life cycle transitions could happen, just as baby boomers wrote their own wedding vows. But death might not engender the same passion for self-styled ceremony as weddings do.

NPR’s series continues through the week. Tune in for more good reporting!

Update: Here’s a great Pearls Before Swine cartoon that adds commentary to the series.

Pearls Religion 1.17.13

P.S.: The series’ title refers to the R.E.M. song “Losing My Religion” released in 1991.

A Good Goodbye