The project Faith and Beliefs of „Nonbelievers“ explores the phenomenon of a globally growing segment of people who break with any form of organized religion, or “nones.” It is designed as a follow-up to the successful pilot project conducted by our team (futureofreligion.org), using our experience with interdisciplinary and international teamwork. We focus on the following issues: First, is there a difference between “nones” in postcommunist countries and countries in the West? Second, what is the faith and beliefs of “nonbelievers”? Third, how can believers and “nones” cooperate to overcome the misuse of religion? Fourth, in what respects can the experience with “nones” in the post-communist world contribute to the reconceptualization of key patterns in sociology of religion? Further, fifth, the project will explore the faith and beliefs of the young generation of nonbelievers (15-20 y.) and involve young scholars in the research work on the project, especially within DialogLab. The project helps to answer the Big Questions of “How are religions and religious communities changing globally?” and “How do we conceptualize the divine?” Especially in point 4 is this project unique as a follow-up and further development of the “Understanding Unbelief” Templeton project through exploring post-communist experience that have so far not been reflected in such scale.
The project will carry out a series of international and interdisciplinary working sessions; public events; university courses; case studies; and a lab involving new technologies. The outputs include written and audiovisual documentation, research reports, university courses, and a
video contest for young people. The project is needed as it addresses some pressing issues in today’s West: transformations of religion and a loss of personal/cultural identity. It will provide religious/public leaders and opinion-makers with tools to better understand the current changes in religiosity and overcome the prejudices between believers and nonbelievers.