You might think nones would feel left out on the National Day of Prayer, but it turns out this is one of the few traditions they actually still cling to.
Just because nones are shying away from the traditional church, does not mean they have broken all ties with spiritual perception. In fact, on a day like today when people of all religions and beliefs come together in prayer, nones feel very much at home. According to Elizabeth Drescher at the Washington Post:
My research shows that prayer stands alone among traditional practices like attending church and reading scripture tracked by pollsters as “spiritually meaningful” for nones. For many nones, prayer offers an openness and flexibility that makes it functional for those who have left the religions of their childhoods but who don’t’ want to—or can’t—forget them entirely.
It is true that about 20 percent of the United States population consider themselves to be unaffiliated with any religion, but 88 percent of those nones say they still pray at least once a month. Some do it simply because they were raised being taught to pray, and others pray because they want to give credence to all religions. One none from Hawaii said:
“I’ll pray with anyone. I’ll kneel down with you. I’ll make an offering at your temple. I’ll celebrate the rains and the harvest. That can’t be bad, right?”
Drescher didn’t seem to think so, but if the meaning of prayer is simply to feel accepting of other types of religion and people, does the whole communicating with God part get laid to the side? Or, is the reason nones still pray because
when no other answers will come, deep down they want to believe some higher power has a handle on things?
Maybe. But one none from Missouri says prayer is the only place he can find the peace that religion doesn’t offer him. ““I pray because I always have. [Prayer] is where religion is most true for me. You know, it’s not a show of how holy I am.”
Interestingly, prayer seems to also be a way for us to see just how diverse nones are. They are a generation full of exceptions and specialized beliefs. They make their own faith, tailored around what helps them feel happiness or peace. But, prayer will usually make a presence in some form or another.