Nothing Is Not Something

On Replacing Nonreligion with Identities

In: Secular Studies
Ryan T. Cragun The University of Tampa USA Tampa, FL

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Kevin McCaffree University of North Texas USA Denton, TX

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With the advance of secularization in numerous countries and the growth of those who report no religious affiliation, more attention is being given to individuals who are not religious. Various scholars have proposed names for the individuals who report no religious affiliation and researchers have created categories for such individuals. The de facto term is now “nonreligion” or “nonreligious.” However, even when the term “nonreligious” (Lee 2012) was put forward, there were serious reservations about labeling a group of people by what they are not. In this article, we detail why this is such a serious problem, and how this is only going to become more of a problem as this segment of national populations grows. We propose that we discontinue referring to such individuals as “nonreligious” and instead focus on the positive substance of their identities.

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