Masters Thesis

The Rise of the Nonreligious Population: The Virtual Geographies, Created Communities, and Socio-political Impacts of the Religious "nones" in the United States

This thesis seeks to understand the sociocultural, political, and economic influences of the growing nonreligious population in the United States. This study will be conducted through examining the demographics of the nonreligious population, their socio-political involvement within society, as well as the creation of a community specifically designed for those who do not claim belief in a religious dogma. As the nonreligious do not have formal physical places to congregate such as their religious counterparts do, I argue that the population of those in the United States who claim to be religious “nones” has created a community of their own. This has gained much momentum in the 21st century with the use of social media as a platform, that in turn resulted in the creation of a virtual geography, with a time and a place that exist online for the nonreligious to meet. Once these virtual geographies were established and strengthened, especially in more recent years, this led to the creation of physical communities for the nonreligious population through conventions and regular monthly meetings. As the nonreligious has grown into an active community of people seeking to make change in the culture around them, they have become more involved in activism, policymaking, and have begun to make impacts in the political and sociocultural sphere. The extent to which the community is impacting society has been underreported in academia, and this study seeks to inform and fill in some of those gaps.


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