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Religious unbelief in oral history collections- an audio essay 

Paul Merchant

 

Previous work in which religious unbelief is explored using qualitative interviews tends to involve an interviewer asking about unbelief, in a project concerned with unbelief, often with interviewees who are themselves especially aware of or interested in their unbelief. While this work contributes enormously to our understanding of certain forms of unbelief, it has two disadvantages. One, it tends to focus on very particular sub-groups, such as members of humanist organisations.* Two, it risks artificially foregrounding religious unbelief as an aspect of interviewees’ lives.

In this audio essay I seek to side-step these two problems by examining religious unbelief through interviews that were recorded with no particular interest in religious unbelief. In an innovative collaboration between National Life Stories and the Understanding Unbelief programme, I have been able to explore two sound archives held at the British library: Keep reading here


The Nonreligious

Lois Lee (2018) The Nonreligious Fact Sheet for the Religion Media Centre.

Miguel Farias et al., (2019) Atheists on the Santiago Way: Examining Motivations to Go On Pilgrimage, Sociology of Religion, sry019, https://doi.org/10.1093/socrel/sry019 


Europe’s Young Adults and Religion

 

Stephen Bullivant (2018) Europe’s Young Adults and Religion: Findings from the European Social Survey (2014-16) to inform the 2018 Synod of Bishops. St Mary’s University Twickenham, London: Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society.  Access the full report here

 

 


Supernatural Belief Is Not Modulated by Intuitive Thinking Style or Cognitive Inhibition

Farias, M., Mulukom, V., &  Kahane, G et.al. (2017). Supernatural beliefs are not modulated by intuitive thinking style or cognitive inhibition. Scientific Reports


The “No Religion” Population of Britain

 

Stephen Bullivant (2017). Catholic Research Forum Report 3: The “No Religion Population of Britain: Recent Data from the British Social Attitudes Survey (2015) and the European Social Attitudes Social Survey (2014). St Mary’s University Twickenham, London: Benedict XVI Centre for Religion and Society.  Access the full report here…

 

 


 Understanding Unbelief: Across Disciplines, Across Cultures

Lois Lee, Stephen Bullivant, Miguel Farias and Jonathan Lanman, 2017. Understanding Unbelief: Background. Understanding Unbelief. Access the full review here…


Scientific Study of Nonreligious Belief programme

Lois Lee, Stephen Bullivant, Miguel Farias and Jonathan Lanman, eds. (2016). Research Methods for the Scientific Study of Nonreligion. Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network. Available at www.nsrn.net/