Secular Spiritual "Nones": Investigating Religiously Unaffiliated Spirituality in Cascadia




Bahan, Samantha

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Traditional religion has failed to become commonplace in the population of Cascadia for two hundred years. However, an alternative earth-based spirituality has flourished here, distinguishing this region from the rest of North America and possibly the world. This region is home to a majority “unchurched” population of religious “nones” (those who when asked what their religion is, would say “none”) that is twice the size of the largest religious denomination, comprising one quarter of the populations of Oregon and Washington and nearly half of British Columbians. Furthermore, this population is continuing to grow with younger generations identifying as religiously unaffiliated. Scholars investigating Cascadia’s religious “nones” have found within this population groups of apocalyptic millennialism (primarily on the U.S. side of the border) as well as different expressions of New Age spiritualities and an earth-based spirituality. For many Cascadians, nature is revered and experienced as sacred. This is the essence of earth-based spirituality, the most prominent form of spirituality in the Pacific Northwest. The following poster looks at the growth of Cascadia’s “no religion” population, some of the differences between Canadian and American sides of the Cascadian border, and how the New Age movement and the rise of environmentalism contributed to some of Cascadia’s secular spiritual forms, including New Age spiritualities and earth-based spirituality. Lastly, these influences will be considered for their impacts on the upbringing of the millennial generation, which has contributed not only to the growth of religious “nones,” but also to the pervasiveness of Cascadia’s earth-based spirituality.



Cascadia, spirituality, secular spirituality, nature spirituality, milennial spirituality, New Age spirituality, religious "none", nonreligious spirituality