Questions to Corinna


She might be the neighbor down the street. Or maybe your own adult child, niece or cousin. Or maybe a long-time childhood friend. What she definitely is is a self-described “none,” one of those who increasingly check the “none” box on the census when it comes to religious affiliation.

I want to introduce you to Corinna Nicolaou, the author of the 2016 book, A None’s Story: Searching for Meaning Inside Christianity Judaism, Buddhism and Islam. Corinna has agreed to write a column for the Omnibus for the months of January through June, 2019 in an Ann Landers’ Q and A style. Over the next two months we will collect questions that you have for her about her identity as a none, her experience of churches and religious traditions, her own spiritual values, etc. You get to ask the questions!

This is our opportunity to hear directly from one who not only identifies as a none, but who has delved deeply into her own spiritual life and explored America’s religious landscape in search of meaning. Corinna will be writing under a column titled “None Sense” as she offers herself to our presbytery as we try to make sense of the lifestyles, values and identities of those people in our communities who do not share our particular religious practice.

Here is the information from the front flap of her book:

The rising population known as “nones” for its members’ lack of religious affiliation is changing American society, politics and culture. Many nones believe in God and even visit places of worship, but they do not identify with a specific faith or belong to a spiritual community. Corinna Nicolaou is a none, and in this layered narrative, she describes what it is like for her and thousands of others to live without religion or to be spiritual without committing to a specific faith.

Nicolaou tours America’s major traditional religions to see what, if anything, one might lack without God. She moves through Christianity’s denominations, learning their tenets and worshiping alongside their followers. She travels to Los Angeles to immerse herself in Judaism, Berkeley to educate herself about Buddhism, and Dallas and Washington, D.C., to familiarize herself with Islam. She explores what light they can shed on the fears and failings of her past, and these encounters prove the significant role religion still plays in modern life. They also exemplify the vibrant relationship between religion and American culture and the enduring value it provides to immigrants and outsiders. Though she remains a devout none, Nicolaou’s experiences reveal points of contact between the religious and the unaffiliated, suggesting that nones may be radically revising the practice of faith in contemporary times.


If you have a question for our guest columnist, Corinna, please fill out this form. We cannot promise that we will get to all questions, but we will do the best we can to address the most representative and conversation-starting questions. The first column will appear in our January edition of the Omnibus.    View Form