Reader Robert Eldredge sent me a request, and I’ve decided to post it here on the blog since I didn’t get around to mentioning it on the Non-Prophets this weekend:
I am in a research methods class for my graduate school program. Listening to several years of the atheist experience and non-prophets spawned my interest in my research topic: How does the threat or presence of hell effect the relationships and lives between religious and nonreligious people. Because we have no funding I will not actually be doing a full on research study, but merely, an in depth proposal. However, because little to no research has been done on my specific topic (that I have been able to find anyway) I will be doing a little pilot study, one directed at religious people, and one directed at atheists. It would be extremely helpful if you could mention this survey on the air, and/or put it up on the atheist experience blog. While all atheists who want are encouraged to answer, I am specifically looking for those that have religious family members or loved ones. I will be asking about their experiences coming out to those people, or, if they have not, why not. As this is a pilot study and I have nothing to offer the participants but my gratitude, I have worked real hard to keep the survey as short as I possibly can, and I think most will be able to complete it in about 10 to 20 minutes. I will be posting the results of the survey sometime in May at my blog importantandsmart.blogspot.com, or people who are interested can go to a website I set up specifically to publish results of the survey: religionpilotstudy.blogspot.com (I did this so I could direct fundie Christians to a website without the rantings of a liberal atheist). The survey is currently open, but will close Saturday April 4th at 11:45pm eastern time. This should give me about 3 weeks to study the results and put together my proposal to be graded for class.
My end goal is that hopefully more research (hopefully it will be me doing the research!) will be done on this topic. People have differences of opinion on religion, but hopefully, if we understand the emotions and attitudes that go along with the differing opinions, how people react when such things come up, and the reasons for conflict, strategies can be developed in dealing with these situations so that these issues need not tear loving families apart, and suffering over these issues can be minimized.
Go help out with the survey if you feel like it.