Religiously Manufactured Spiritual Self-Invention
Nones do not come to see themselves as such out of nowhere. However they come to understand themselves as Nones, the unaffiliated have only the resources within their own backgrounds and what they know of the wider culture from which to construct unaffiliated identities. For the most part, the Nones interviewed did not describe the process of becoming unaffiliated in terms of “conversion.” Nones instead consistently saw themselves as active creators in the story of their own spiritual lives. Their narratives were populated with the language of “discovery,” “freedom,” “escape,” “liberation,” “maturation,” “journeying,” “enlightenment,” and “self-realization,” or “growth” in “awareness,” “knowledge,” “self-understanding,” or “insight.” And, at least among Nones from Christian backgrounds, the emotions associated with the shift from affiliated to unaffiliated map to the religious tradition in which a person was raised.
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