Although considerable scientific progress has been made in understanding forgiveness, relatively little attention has been paid to divine forgiveness (forgiveness by a Supreme Being or Higher Power). Some published studies can be found that include a question that asks about forgiveness by God. However, the question is typically not the focus of the study resulting in scattered findings rather than a systematic and intentional literature. This is unfortunate because understanding the perception and experience of divine forgiveness is integral to understanding human behavior. For example, divine forgiveness likely influences earthly forgiveness, both of other people and of the self.
The current project will facilitate systematic research on divine forgiveness via a request for proposals (RFP). Central questions that need to be addressed to develop a systematic understanding of the role of divine forgiveness in human functioning will inform the RFP. The RFP will fund empirical and non-empirical projects on the nature and manifestation of divine forgiveness in cognition, affect, motivation, and behavior. Inter alia, the funded research will increase understanding of how people go about seeking divine forgiveness, how divine forgiveness is perceived and experienced, individual differences regarding divine forgiveness, and how the desire for divine forgiveness develops and changes over the lifespan.
A core research component includes a psychometric exercise executed in the context of testing an aspect of a new model of divine forgiveness. Several studies are also outlined to test this model.
The overall goal of the project is to support, generate, and disseminate innovative ideas in the study of divine forgiveness and in so doing, address a significant omission in the existing science of forgiveness which has thus far largely focused on interpersonal forgiveness, and to a lesser extent, self-forgiveness.