There’s been a lot of praying going on around the globe, what with the recent elevation of new leaders in the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Throughout the Christian Holy Week, both Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby called on the faithful to join them in prayer, but they also made a point to included the religiously unaffiliated—Nones—in the prayerful love. In a recent article for Religion Dispatches, I wonder what all this might mean:
As more and more people pull away from institutional religion, do have any real meaning in the wider world? Do they connect in any significant way to private, personal expressions of prayer? Does prayer matter at all?
A majority of Americans still answer “yes” to those questions. Close to 90 percent of those affiliated with religions report praying on a regular basis, and 40 percent of Nones in general say they pray with some frequency. Indeed, a plurality (17%) of those identified as “Atheist/Agnostic” by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life report that they pray. Among those who described their religious affiliation as “nothing in particular,” more than half say they pray regularly.
But do the prayers of Nones have anything in common with the prayers of Pope Francis or Archbishop Welby and their flocks?
The rest of the article is available here.