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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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For many, 'Losing My Religion' isn't a song, it's life

When Ben Helton signed up for an online dating service, under "religion" he called himself "spiritually apathetic."

On Sunday mornings, when Bill Dohm turns his eyes toward heaven, he's just checking the weather so he can fly his 1946 Aeronca Champ two-seater plane.

Helton, 28, and Dohm, 54, aren't atheists. They simply shrug off God, religion, heaven or the ever-trendy search-for-meaning and/or purpose. Their attitude could be summed up as "So what?"

"The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest, thinking about ultimate questions, is minimal," said Mark Silk, professor of religion and public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn.

Clergy and religion experts are dismayed, fearing for souls' salvation and for the common threads of faith breaking in society. Others see no dire consequences to a more openly secular America as people not only fess up to being faithless but admit they're skipping out on spirituality altogether.


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