Modeling Religion in Norway

The goal of the MODRN project is to create leading-edge computer simulations of religious and social conflict in Norway. With our partners at the University of Agder, the MODRN team is using modeling systems that enable ‘virtual’ social experimentation. By integrating validated theories in the scientific study of religion and secularization into complex ‘causal architectures,’ we are creating simulations that will offer empirical grounds with which to evaluate policy proposals.

Those simulations are calibrated on massive Norwegian datasets and are built to interact with that data, allowing us to experimentally project into the future of a ‘virtual’ Norway. They include both micro- and macro-levels of society to best showcase how changes will occur. Experts in the fields of computer modeling, religious and secular diversification, and Norwegian public-policy are involved in guiding our simulations and interpreting the results.

This project is not only strengthening the collaboration between international networks of research but it is also developing a simulation platform that will be freely available to scholars and policy-makers, so they can test their ideas about the dynamics of conflict and change. The MODRN models will provide a clear and concrete platform into understanding complex societal relations and ultimately enable us to have a more informed public debate.

The MODRN research team recently traveled to Lesbos, Greece, for a workshop that sought to understand insights into intricate political realities. Developing artificial intelligence models, the team looked at the migration of peoples, from their original displacement through long-term processes of acculturation. This work enables researchers to envision theories in a concrete way, better advising policy professionals.

Modeling Religion in Norway (MODRN) upcoming workshop in Lesvos Greece from Jenn Lindsay on Vimeo.

Key Personnel

LeRon Shults
Wesley Wildman
Saikou Diallo
Justin Lane


University of Agder
Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center

Relevant Publications

Modelling Terror Management Theory: Computer Simulations of the Impact of Mortality Salience on Religiosity