Once Was Lost
is a difficult book for me to review right now because it hits a little too close to home. At its heart, it's a book about a girl living through family life so painful that it causes her to question her long-held faith in God. It feels true. I'd wager even the most existential, post-modern progressive when faced with real grief secretly asks, "How could you? Why would you?" as Samara asks God when Jody Shaw goes missing. There's something about deep, unfair, unreasonable pain that causes those of faith to doubt and those without faith to reach out to something more. "I don't know when God stopped being someone I saw as a true friend, and turned into something I'm mostly confused about," thinks Sam as she sits in the youth group of the church where her father is pastor.
As Christmas passed and I said goodbye to the troubled little boy I've helped raise...
Beyond the Book
Because the US Census doesn't collect information about religious affiliation, the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) began its own survey in 1990 with 113,000 interviews, and followed up with 54,000 in 2008.
According to the ARIS Survey, Nones make up 15% of the US adult population, up from 8% in 1990. So who are they? Nones are simply the growing number of folks who answer "none" when asked for their religious identity or affiliation. Which doesn't mean they're necessarily non-believers - only about 7% of Nones are atheists, a third identify as agnostic and over half believe in a higher power.
In the general US population, while the number of atheists and agnostics has more than tripled in the last two decades they still...