The spiritual longings of those deconstructing their faith are often frustrated by the liminal identity and corresponding mental health challenges of this group. While they are no longer religious as before, they are also very different from individuals who have never been religious. These "religious dones" continue to have desires for spiritual meaning and fulfillment, though it is not clear how they can flourish as they desire. Within the SYRI, our project explores how recent findings in experimental psychology of religion can shed light on mental health interventions aimed at facilitating spiritual meaning-making for "religious dones" who continue to experience spiritual longing after deconstructing their faith. With 4 years of data already gathered to answer these questions, our team is poised to expand our research for further empirical delivery and testing.
Funding from JTF will significantly expedite our institutional commitment to this research question and project that fills a gap in literature on the varieties of nonreligious experience and the possibilities for spiritual flourishing after religious deconstruction. Our unique angle is the application of research to practice and subsequent concrete theory validation. By project end, we will have 3 article manuscripts prepared for journal publication and an open access mental health intervention aimed at spiritual meaning-making for "religious dones." This project expands research into practice on the emerging literature around irreligious experience and effective spiritual care for faith deconstruction.