Sacred Heart University professor, Honors Colloquium guest to lecture on decline of participation in organized religion in U.S.

KINGSTON, R.I. — November 6, 2019 — A professor of religious studies at Sacred Heart University, Christel Manning has spent the past decade studying people who leave their religion. She will be visiting the University of Rhode Island Nov. 19 as part of the “Religion in America” Honors Colloquium, where she will discuss a group of people termed the “nones,” or people unaffiliated with any organized religion. Her research aims to discover what these people are turning to as they exit the sphere of conventional religion, and how this will affect the future of religion in the U.S.

The lecture, “The Nones: America’s fastest growing religion,” will take place Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. in Edwards Hall, 64 Upper College Road, on the Kingston Campus. The lecture is free and open to the public, and will be livestreamed and archived.

According to Manning, Americans, particularly the young, are leaving organized religion in record numbers. There are now more “nones” than Catholics in the U.S. population, and more than a third of millennials, born between 1980 and 1994, say they have no religion. This talk will explore why and where they are turning. Manning will examine what “nones” believe, what they are passing on to their children, and how this change in religious culture will affect the future of religion in America.

Manning’s book, Losing our Religion, was rated one of the top ten religion titles of 2015 and received the 2016 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. She is co-editor of Organized Secularism in the United States, a collection of essays about the atheist and free-thinkers movement, and a contributor to New Dimensions in Spirituality, Religion, and Aging. Her current research focuses on how non-religious individuals find meaning as they approach the end of life.

Lauren Poirier, an intern in the Marketing and Communications Department at URI and public relations and English major, wrote this press release.