Rise of ‘nones’ might be waning, ‘State of the Bible’ report suggests

The rise of the “nones” — or religiously unaffiliated — might be waning, the American Bible Society said in findings focused on Gen Z in the 2021 State of the Bible report.

Gen Z members also haven’t decided whether Scripture can help sustain American ideals including democracy and justice, nor whether the Bible is truer than the Koran and the Book of Mormon, ABS said in releasing the data Aug. 10.

Historically a study of how adults interact with Scripture, this year’s State of the Bible includes the opinions and perceptions of Gen Z, which spans ages 9-24, and studies Gen Z youth as a subset spanning ages 15-17.

“Zooming out, Gen Z’s halting steps toward Scripture are placed in the context of a meandering faith journey, occurring in both their generation and the nation,” ABS said in its report.

“It remains to be seen how much of this effect will be cultural or generational — a matter of fact, or a matter of time.

“In this study, at least, both segments of Gen Z (36 percent of Gen Z youth and adults) as well as Millennials (34 percent) are equally likely to be non-Christians, and recent data suggest the so-called ‘rise of the nones’ (religiously unaffiliated people) may be stalling.”

ABS encourages churches to “support faith formation for emerging adults by welcoming their questions and helping them engage with the Bible for themselves. In addition, Bible engagement, prayer and spiritual relationships have been shown to be keys to strengthening the spiritual formation of emerging adults, including those in Gen Z.”