TWU’s ‘Science, Faith, and Human Flourishing: Conversations in Community“ Initiative
Abstract: Public polls indicate that the Western world is becoming decreasing religious. Today, compared to past generations, fewer people in the West believe in God, claim a religion, indicate religion is important to their daily lives, and attend religious services. Though these trends reveal changing attitudes and behaviours related to traditional religious identities and beliefs, they say little about the religious nature of humans.
A growing body of behavioral science research suggests that many common views about the psychology of religion are wrong. However, emerging research suggests that alternative religious-like beliefs and practices may not be successfully meeting people’s social and existential needs and poses the question of whether science-centered secular culture can thrive without protecting a space for the sacred.
Dr. Clay Routledge is a behavioural scientist, writer, and professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University. Much of his work focuses on the human need to find and maintain meaning in life. More specifically, his research examines individual differences in the need for meaning, the underlying cognitive processes involved in meaning-making, the different ways people seek and maintain meaning, and how the presence or absence of meaning influences health, wellbeing, self-control, and goal pursuit. Dr. Routledge is an award-winning scholar who has published over 100 academic papers and co-edited two books. He authored the books Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource and Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World. He was also the lead author for the TED-Ed animated lesson Why Do We Feel Nostalgia? His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, John Templeton Foundation, Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, and Charles Koch Foundation. You can find out more about Dr. Routledge’s work at https://www.clayroutledge.com/
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