The Project

The Nonreligion in a Complex Future (NCF) project identifies the social impact of the rapid and dramatic increase of nonreligion. Canada is the focal point of our international research sites, which include Australia, the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland), the United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America (Brazil and Argentina).

Our key research objectives are to:

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Develop new research tools to measure and describe nonreligion

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Analyze the social impact of nonreligion

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Expand current discussions about diversity to include nonreligion

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Map conflicts and collaborations between religious and nonreligious people

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Advance new knowledge for living well together that can be used to inform public policy

The project achieves these objectives by considering five areas where we observe the impact of nonreligion. These five focal areas are health, law, education, the environment, and migration. In each of these areas, we ask how the approaches and interests of the nonreligious challenge existing and taken-for-granted practices and cultures. For instance, do practices in palliative care primarily reflect religious beliefs about dying? How do nonreligion and religion influence how morality discussed in law? How does nonreligion impact access to education, for example in areas where the only or better schools are religious? What are the differences and similarities in religious and nonreligious responses to environmental consciousness? How is nonreligion negotiated in a context in which religious groups are dominant – is claiming a nonreligious identity even possible? These questions allow the project to examine the nature, shape and impact of nonreligion, and to build an evidence base from which to identify models for living well together in complex, diverse, and inclusive societies.