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Choosing Our ReligionThe Spiritual Lives of America's Nones$
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Elizabeth Drescher

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199341221

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199341221.001.0001

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Becoming None

Becoming None

Religiously Manufactured Spiritual Self-Invention

(p.53) 2 Becoming None
Choosing Our Religion

Elizabeth Drescher

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   Nones, unaffiliated, affiliation, conversion, religion, spirituality

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