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When understood in that way, religion not only involves ideas and practices that are manifestly religious but also includes a broad range of cultural phenomena not ordinarily associated with religion.Mercadante sees both spirituality and religion as consisting of four basic components: beliefs, desire, rituals, and behavioural expectations, but across the field of Religious Studies the definitions vary.When Mercadante has spoken with SBNRs, they take a decidedly anti-dogmatic stance against religious belief in general.They claim not only that belief is non-essential, but that it is potentially harmful or at least a hindrance to spirituality."Spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) also known as " Spiritual but not affiliated " (SBNA) is a popular phrase and initialism used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that takes issue with organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth.Spirituality places an emphasis upon the well-being of the "mind-body-spirit", In contemporary usage, many people do connect "spiritual" and "religious" and in general, 'spiritual' refers to the interior life of faith and 'religion' refers to organizational or communal dimensions.Conversely, only 8% of religiously unaffiliated individuals are 65 and older.Among those unaffiliated with organized religion as a whole, 56% are men and 44% are women.
As a result, in cultures that are deeply suspicious of institutional structures and that place a high value on individual freedom and autonomy, spirituality has come to have largely positive connotations, while religion has been viewed more negatively.
According to a study conducted by Pew Research Center in 2012, the number of Americans who do not identify with any religion has increased from 15% in 2007 to 20% in 2012, and this number continues to grow.
One fifth of the US public and a third of adults under the age of 30 are reportedly unaffiliated with any religion, however they identify as being spiritual in some way.
Significant differences were found between the percentage of those considered younger Millennials (born 1990–1994) as compared with Generation Xers (born 1965–1980), with 34% and 21% reporting to be religiously unaffiliated, respectively.
Demographically, research has found that the religiously unaffiliated population is younger, predominately male, and 35% are between the ages of 18 and 29.