This is a guest post written by the researchers mentioned below.
We’re excited to announce the launch of the Secular Communities Survey, the largest-ever study of the community life of secular and non-religious people in the United States. The survey opened yesterday, on March 1st, and will remain open until April 11th. If you’re part of a secular community, we’d love for you to participate. You can take the survey here.
Our research team has extensive experience studying secular and non-religious people. Joseph Blankholm, Ph.D., is a professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses mostly on secularism, atheism, and secular people. Juhem Navarro-Rivera, Ph.D., is a political scientist, writer, public speaker, and research consultant. He is the Political Research Director and Managing Partner at Socioanalitica Research, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Humanist Studies, and a board member of the American Humanist Association. Dusty Hoesly, Ph.D., is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on minority religions and secularism in the United States.
Americans are less religious than ever before, so understanding secular communities has never been more important. This is especially true because most studies suggest that increasing secularization leads to weaker social bonds and less civic engagement. We believe that researchers need to look in new places to understand how society is evolving with religious decline. Though not many researchers have studied them, we know there are about 1,400 local communities for non-believers in the United States. Knowing more about these communities is imperative for understanding the future of American civic life.
The Secular Communities Survey is interested in secular, atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker, and non-religious Americans. We want to understand their worldviews, their politics, the communities they form, and how they view religion. We also want to understand secular people’s values and the ways they try to live them.
If you’re a member of a secular community — including any atheist, agnostic, humanist, freethinker, or other secular group — we hope that you’ll take our survey and that you’ll encourage others in your community to participate, too. You could be a member of an established secular organization, belong to the Friendly Atheist reader community, or participate in a Facebook, Meetup, or local group for secular people or religious humanists.
The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. All survey responses are anonymous. No names or contact information will be recorded in research materials unless a respondent provides them. No survey respondent will be identified in any publications or other research material. More information can be found on our website’s FAQ page.
In addition to contributing to the understanding of community life in the United States, we also hope that the Secular Communities Survey will help members of secular communities gain a broader and deeper understanding of themselves. That’s why we’re working with secular organizations throughout the country to distribute our results back to the communities we study. We’ll be presenting our findings at academic conferences and publishing them in academic journals, but we’ll also publish summaries of our results on our website and in the newsletters, blogs, and other publications of secular organizations.
We’re grateful for your participation and your help, and we’re happy to answer questions if you have them. Please contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re also on Twitter (@SecularSurvey) and Facebook.
(Image via Shutterstock)