I’ve found that scientific studies of religious life reveal that we don’t have to give up “religion” to be “spiritual.” In fact, religion at its best makes us more deeply spiritual. For those who care about the vibrancy of the church, particularly those who lead congregations, instead of feeling discouraged at SBNRs walking out the doors of the sanctuary for good, our hope is that engaging science can lead them to the deeper spirituality they seek.
Scientific Study of Religion
When the effects of the pandemic subside—and when we can safely do so—should we go back to church? What do science and Scripture say?
All too often, the scientific study of religion is used to explain away belief and to support criticism of religion in general. Justin Barrett, an experimental psychologist and former co-area director for Young Life, takes the opposite approach.
Are prayer and science in opposition to one another when it comes to healing? It turns out the conversation on this topic has been going on for a long time.
What is especially amazing is that Lewis’s and Pascal’s observations are backed up not only by a long history of scientists and philosophers, but also by the Cognitive Science of Religion (CSR), “which investigates how human cognitive systems inform and constrain religious thought, experience, and expression.”
To do missions today, we need to understand unbelief. Sure, it is good to track the demographic trends, but it is far more important to understand the mindset of the unaffiliated, the agnostic, and the atheist.