The nonreligious

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In "An Oversupply of 'Nones' " (March 4 Perspectives), Bishop David Zubik laments the rapid increase of religiously unaffiliated Americans. His case, though, relies on a breathtakingly prejudicial characterization.

Bishop Zubik uncritically caricatures the nonreligious as unreflective, "mired in consumerism" and lacking in "shared humanity." He then contrasts the nonreligious with those who, like himself, find "answer[s] [to life's] fundamental questions" in the Catholic faith. Has it not occurred to the good bishop that when we encourage people to accept things on faith, we tend to short-circuit critical reflection?

Perhaps millions of Americans are turning away from religion precisely because faith grants believers a kind of exemption from basic standards of rational accountability. I do know this: The nonreligious Americans I know are every bit as reflective and humane as Bishop Zubik and considerably more aware of the way faith can exacerbate our species' innate tribalism, thereby undermining our "shared humanity."

ANDY NORMAN
Point Breeze


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