Credit: Associate Press

Mike Dulak grew up Catholic in Southern California, but by his teen years, he began skipping Mass and driving straight to the shore to play guitar, watch the waves and enjoy the beauty of the morning. “And it felt more spiritual than any time I set foot in a church,” he recalled.

Nothing has changed that view in the ensuing decades.  

“Most religions are there to control people and get money from them,” said Dulak, now 76, of Rocheport, Missouri. He also cited sex abuse scandals in Catholic and Southern Baptist churches. “I can’t buy into that,” he said.

As Dulak rejects being part of a religious flock, he has plenty of company. He is a “none” — no, not that kind of nun. The kind that checks “none” when pollsters ask “What’s your religion?”

The decades-long rise of the nones — a diverse, hard-to-summarize group — is one of the most talked about phenomena in U.S. religion. They are reshaping America’s religious landscape as we know it.

In U.S. religion today, “the most important story without a shadow […]

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