The Changing Religious Landscape: Conflict and Cooperation Between the Religious and Nonreligious
In today’s complex world, how can the religious and the nonreligious live well together? This is the primary question that Dr. Lori G. Beaman, Canada Research Chair in Religious Diversity and Social Change, is exploring.
Societies are grappling with a combination of increased religious diversity, a renewed presence of religion in the public sphere, and growing numbers of people who describe themselves as having no religion. Beaman’s research examines how the increase in those identifying as nonreligious is changing the religious landscape. The potential impact of this shift is profound, yet the contours of it have yet to be fully explored.
Beaman’s work examines issues that are deeply important to policy makers—in fields from education to health to law—who are seeking ways of responding to this new “normal” and the conflict it engenders. Given Canada’s history of global leadership on human rights, multiculturalism and diversity, it is well positioned to develop strategies to support a complex future that includes both diverse religious and nonreligious populations.
Understanding the range of interactions between these groups by mapping sites of conflict and negotiation is one task of this programme of research. Another is to discover how differences are negotiated or conflict is intensified. Ultimately, this research will identify non-conflictual approaches to diversities across the religion/nonreligion spectrum.