This new book from Oxford University Press on the rise of the religiously unaffiliated is getting some attention: Nonverts: The Making of Ex-Christian America by sociologist Stephen Bullivant (St. Mary’s University, London and University of Notre Dame, Sydney). I just received my copy in the mail and am looking forward to reading it. The rise of the religiously unaffiliated has implications for American culture generally and for free exercise law in particular. Understanding the phenomenon is essential. Here’s the publisher’s description:
The United States is in the midst of a religious revolution. Or, perhaps it is better to say a non-religious revolution. Around a quarter of US adults now say they have no religion. The great majority of these religious “nones” also say that they used to belong to a religion but no longer do. These are the nonverts: think “converts,” but from having religion to having none. There are currently has about 59 million of them in the United States.
Nonverts explores who they are, and why they joined the rising tide of the ex-religious. One of world’s leading experts on contemporary atheism and nonreligiosity, sociologist and theologian Stephen Bullivant draws on dozens of interviews, original analysis of high-quality survey data, and a wealth of cutting-edge studies, to present an entertaining and insightful exploration of America’s ex-religious landscape. Bullivant criss-crosses the country, talking to everyone from ex-Mormons in Utah to ex-Catholics in Pennsylvania, from ex-Evangelicals in Georgia to ex-Muslims in California, showing not only what they have in common but also how the traditions they left behind continue to shape them.
While American religion is not going to die out any time soon, ex-Christian America is a growing presence in national life. America’s religious revolution is not just a religious revolution–it is catalyzing a profound social, cultural, moral, and political impact. Nonverts will serve as an indispensable guide to this shifting landscape, as well as the future of American life.