How does ritual contribute to the spiritual yearning of non-religious individuals? Does it enhance social cohesion and moral consensus? Produce meaning and satisfaction? Cultivate virtue and define the life cycle? Mitigate conflict and facilitate cooperation? “Ritual for the Non-Religious” addresses these questions by employing quantitative, qualitative, and computational methods to identify themes, patterns, and meanings in rituals for spiritual but not religious people (SBNRs) in three novel databases.
These databases will be built by (1) gathering demographic, spirituality, ideology, and personality information, as well as narratives about ritual practices and the meanings ascribed to them, through surveys of SBNRs (N=2000) and three control groups (N=500 each); (2) documenting rituals used by SBNRs (N=200, collected through UncommonRituals.com); (3) interviewing thought leaders on SBNR ritual trends and effects (N=20).
In addition to four journal articles and one general-audience essay, we will publish at least two books of rituals, selected from dataset #2 by expert advisors – the first scientifically informed collection of rituals with the potential to address the spiritual yearning of SBNR individuals and the groups they sometimes form. We will also conduct outreach by promoting the books and disseminating scientific research findings – in part by leveraging the platforms of a board of expert advisors.