Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Return of the Nones

My friend William's hands holding a caterpillar

I am aware of data that says the "nones" and the a-religious are increasing in American culture. That makes sense to me. I see it in the 100 college students I teach every semester.

I also observe that the transcendent, metaphysical impulse has not moved. The a-religious have it as much as the self-proclaimed religious do. Sometimes even more. My students generally want to talk metaphysics. I think one reason is that, while some self-profess as a "none," their none-ness is largely nonreflective. The metaphysical yearning is easily awakened in the kind of philosophy classes I teach.

David Bentley Hart writes: "The human longing for God or the transcendent runs very deep— perhaps far too deep to be trusted, but also too deep to treat as mere primitive folly— and it has produced much good and much evil in human history. It lies at the heart of all human culture." (David Bentley Hart, The Experience of God, p. 6) 

Those of us who are Jesus-followers need not be threatened by the rising nones. The door to most of their hearts is wide open to the transcendent and supernatural. They are more than interested. And as they age and face death many of them will return to God.