"Small Empty Church During the Day" by Connor Cunningham / CC BY-SA 4.0

New Research Shows the Four Conditions That Lead to a Less Religious Society

Aug 25, 2020

By Hemant Mehta

A couple of summers ago, I spent a wonderful week working with a group of policy experts, computer programmers, and sociologists and discussing what conditions would create communities with more thoughtful, charitable, and connected atheists.

It wasn’t merely some long thought experiment. There was plenty of historical data available that allowed us to gauge whether our theories were accurate. If they were, we could use that information to better calibrate our models and forecast the future. (Thank you, programmers.)

One of the models that came out of that colloquium has resulted in a brand new paper, recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Secularism and Nonreligion. The model in question is called the “Future of Religious and Secular Transitions” (FOReST) and the goal was the figure out why and how societies develop that do not embrace the supernatural… and how that process can work in reverse.

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