A None's Story

A None's Story

Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, & Islam

Book - 2016
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The rising population known as "nones" for its members' lack of religious affiliation is changing American society, politics, and culture. Many nones believe in God and even visit places of worship, but they do not identify with a specific faith or belong to a spiritual community. Corinna Nicolaou is a none, and in this layered narrative, she describes what it is like for her and thousands of others to live without religion or to be spiritual without committing to a specific faith. Nicolaou tours America's major traditional religions to see what, if anything, one might lack without God. She moves through Christianity's denominations, learning their tenets and worshiping alongside their followers. She travels to Los Angeles to immerse herself in Judaism, Berkeley to educate herself about Buddhism, and Dallas and Washington, D.C., to familiarize herself with Islam. She explores what light they can shed on the fears and failings of her past, and these encounters prove the significant role religion still plays in modern life. They also exemplify the vibrant relationship between religion and American culture and the enduring value it provides to immigrants and outsiders. Though she remains a devout none, Nicolaou's experiences reveal points of contact between the religious and the unaffiliated, suggesting that nones may be radically revising the practice of faith in contemporary times.
Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780231173940
Branch Call Number: 200 NIC 2016
Characteristics: xiv, 289 pages ; 24 cm


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May 03, 2016

Early on in the book the author slips in a comment that got me thinking. She writes, "...to reject something, it's necessary to have a working knowledge of what you reject." I'm not sure I agree, but it's an interesting notion. The world is full of countless competing ideas continually vying for our attention and we routinely ignore (or reject) a healthy majority of them. Is it intellectually dishonest to reject something after only a cursory consideration?

A None's Story starts off well but then grows too tedious for me. The author admittedly is not conducting scientific research so the result is more of a journalistic excursion into the practices of the various religions and their denominations. I have little patience for ritual tribalism but I think someone with an interest in world religions would enjoy Corinna's story more than I did.

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