Reaching for a new sense of connection: soft atheism and ‘patch and make do’ spirituality amongst nonreligious European millennials
In surveys a growing proportion of Europeans, especially young people, claim they have ‘no religion’, yet only a minority of these say they are atheist or agnostic; what then, do they believe, and how do their beliefs influence how they live their lives? And as religion’s influence diminishes for these groups, what takes the place of the psychological and social functions once performed by religion?
As part of the global research program Understanding Unbelief we interviewed 67 nonreligious people aged 18-35 across six European countries, East and West, examining how and with whom (and though what networks) they addressed existential questions in their lives. In this paper we focus on the third of respondents who expressed paranormal, superstitious, magical, and supernatural
(PSMS) beliefs or a sense of immanent moral structure to the world, through beliefs like karma, meaningful coincidences, or a belief that justice will be done in the end.
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