Unbelief Project

The rapid rise of the religious ‘nones,’ secularist activism, nonreligious movements such as ‘New Atheism,’ and policy debates around nonreligious inclusion have all fueled interest in and debate about so-called ‘unbelief.’ Unbelief is broadly conceived as unbelief in religious phenomena, the afterlife, and the ultimate purpose of life, but there is still a substantial lack of knowledge about its precise nature.

The Unbelief Project is working to produce a stable understanding of unbelief by building a framework for classification and by developing a multi-dimensional instrument for measuring unbelief.

Researchers at CMAC are combining data at many levels of complexity and keeping all types of analysis in the conversation in order to create rich interpretations and stable taxonomies. They are using an Across-Disciplines-Across-Cultures (ADAC) method, instruments such as the Multidimensional Religious Ideology scale and the Dimensions of Spirituality Inventory scale, and instant-feedback survey sites (ExploringMyReligion.org and FaithInDepth.org) to create new and validated datasets. Those datasets will enable us to render the resulting understanding of unbelief sensitive to a number of diverse variables, thus expanding the foundation for studies on unbelief and opening up a new realm of research. Years Active: 2016–Present.

Publications & Presentations

Caldwell-Harris, C. “Understanding Atheism/Non-Belief as an Expected Individual-Differences Variable,” Religion, Brain & Behavior. 2012.

Caldwell-Harris, C., Wilson, A. L., LoTempio, E., Beit-Hallahmi, B. “Exploring the Atheist Personality: Well-being, Awe, and Magical Thinking in Atheists, Buddhists, and Christian,” Mental Health, Religion & Culture. 2010.

Ayçiçeği-Dinn, A., Hocaoğlu, S., & Caldwell-Harris, C.L. “Does Analytical Style Promote Irreligion? Not in a Culturally Constraining Environment.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Psychonomics Society, Chicago, IL. 2015.

Caldwell-Harris, C., Fox Murphy, C., Velazquez, T., McNamara, P. “Religious Belief Systems of Persons with High Functioning Autism.” Paper presented during the Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, 2011.