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'Nones' Are Your Business

A review of 'The Rise of the Nones' by James Emery White

In The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated (Baker, 2014), pastor James Emery White tackles a growing problem: the increasing number of people who, when asked which religion they practice, check the box marked "none." In 1990 8.1 percent of Americans claimed no religion. By 2012 it had risen to 19.3 percent.

White begins by mining recent research to sketch a picture of the nones: where they came from, what they believe, and why they won't be returning to church anytime soon. The profile of the average none may surprise you. These aren't staunch atheists. White describes them as more disinterested than disbelieving. They don't think much about religion one way or another, and many still pray and believe in God. They don't necessarily mistrust religion; they just don't want to be a part of one. White's interest goes far beyond sociological curiosity. He wants to equip ministry leaders to reach the nones more effectively.

White starts the second half of ...

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