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I am nothing at all. Am I a “None”?

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“Nones” – the religious affiliation for the secular population.

I came upon this new label today while listening to Tom Ashbrook’s radio show On Point (link). Although the topic was being discussed in a political light, I felt akin to the callers admitting that they consider religion far less important than true morality.

Growing up religious is normal for so many people, but what goes through people’s minds later in life, when they meet people of different faiths – intelligent, respectable people of different faiths at that? We all get a choice once we’re able to make one. I feel as though I was hemmed in by religion, somewhat of my own doing, until I started taking college classes. I was being introduced to people with views different from mine. Fortunately, not only was I raised religious, I was also raised to respect other people.

Perhaps I am a “None”. I do not feel as if I ever lost my faith. I feel as if it has grown to be so much more than what Lutherans define as truth. I feel connected with others on a greater level. I believe condemning anyone for their beliefs is the opposite of humility, and that we should all be humbled by our miniscule part on this planet. I believe in showing respect and inflicting no harm on other people. I am a realist, and know there is pain, sin, and hierarchy in the world. I don’t choose not to see it. I choose to live as a good person despite what others may do.

I do a lot of soul searching, and I’ve put a lot of thought into my beliefs. The more I learn, the more my views evolve. I try not to keep myself inside of an echo chamber where only one perspective is repeated. Instead, I search for opposite arguments of issues that I want to know more about. I am forever rounding out my beliefs this way.

I feel like I cannot say what I really think to those who should support me most – family. It rarely came up, though, since they just assume I am who I always was. After having a child, religion popped up in the form of baptism. “When are you baptizing him?” “You should have your uncle baptize him at the family picnic!” I love these people and didn’t want to disappoint them with my change of heart about religion. However, silence is a passive lie, and I consider lying wrong. I told them we won’t be baptizing him, that he can decide to follow or not follow a religion when he has the ability to make such decisions. I told them that we will raise him to be a good person, with respect and morality, but baptism alone is nothing but a ritual of a religion in which we no longer participate.

Again, we don’t talk about it. Well, at least they know.

At least I know.

I know who I am and what I believe. I am glad that I meditate on it by myself, and also discuss it with people different than me. I am glad to know there are others like me, who separate morality and worthiness from religion.

Pew Research article “A closer look at America’s rapidly growing religious ‘nones'”

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