Lancaster University

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Young Atheists needed for new study

02/01/2011 00:00:00


Dr Rebecca Catto
Dr Rebecca Catto

Lancaster University has launched a one year study investigating atheism and the digital generation.

Researchers are interested in hearing the views of young people aged between 16 and 25 years old in the UK who hold atheist, humanists and secularist views and/or engage with organisations like the British Humanist Association and National Secular Society.

The research, funded by the Jacobs Foundation, based in Zurich, Switzerland, who support work on youth and development, will hopefully shed new light on a growing but little understood group in the UK.

Dr Rebecca Catto, Research Associate on the Arts and Humanities Research Council/Economic and Social Research Council funded Religion and Society Programme, is leading the project.

She said: “ ‘Non-religious’ beliefs are now protected alongside religion under equality legislation in the UK, but relatively little is understood about what these beliefs actually are.

“We hear a lot about high profile middle aged ‘New Atheists’ like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, but what about this unheard group? Do they follow Dawkins? Does engagement affect their everyday life? How do they feel about religion?

“This research will help give voice to a small but growing and unknown constituency and shed light on the sheer variety of non-religious identities as they are lived in Britain today.”

Anyone interested in taking part in the study should contact Rebecca Catto 01524 510 835 or go to