Within the framework of this project, it will focus on young generation of “nonbelievers.” In the past project on the “Future of Religion” (futureofreligion.org), we tried to answer the question of whether it is possible to communicate with the young generation of apatheists about some deeper topics such as the question of faith or the meaning of life. It turned out that this is possible, but only if their communication channels are used and the theme is taught by their role models’ language, for example a popular singer (we worked with Tomas Klus) or their favorite YouTuber (we cooperated with NejFake). We have also been very successful in organizing a competition for young people to create short videos about the meaning of life (mujsmyslzivota.cz).
In the present Dialog Lab sub-project, we would like to build on our previous experiences and analyze the faith and beliefs of the young generation of “nonbelievers.” The Dialog Lab will be based on dialogue with young “nonbelievers” through their communication channels on the issues of their faith and unbelief. The target group will be young people aged 15-20 years. Communication channels will be social networks, internet discussion forums, videoconference, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. The work will be pursued in collaboration with experts on the new media. To address the younger generation, we would like to get involved their peers and their own “heroes.” We will try to address contemporary young thinkers, bloggers, YouTubers, popular singers, and celebrities for whom it will also be an opportunity to ask questions about their own faith or beliefs. We would like to get sociologists and theologians to analyze the results of these conversations and to conduct sociological surveys and demographic studies. Sociologists and theologians will get an opportunity to analyze what forms the faith and beliefs of the young generation of “nonbelievers.”
We would like to share the Dialog Lab results with the religious leaders who could use them in their communication with the younger generation of “nonbelievers.” We plan to organize a competition for young people to make short video clips of no more than 3 minutes on the theme of belief and unbelief, and to create a website where it will be possible to upload those short videos, take part in the competition, and receive a financial prize in the form of vouchers for the purchase of books and small electronic devices. From these short videos, we would like to create an archive that remains here as a “testimony to our time.” This will make it possible in the future (for example, in 10 years) to return to the topic and have a comparative material for sociologists and theologians.
In the framework of the previous Templeton project, we have discovered that although it is possible to enter dialogue with the young generation, the communication is of a very short time-span and limited to a few contributions and comments. Within the framework of this
Dialogue Lab, we would also like to address the question of how the young generation can be kept in critical and deeper themes of thinking for a longer period of time.
The aims of this activity are the following:
1) To enter dialogue with the young generation of “nonbelievers” via their own communication channels, thus inviting them to reflect on their own faith and beliefs.
2) Involving sociologists and theologians, to analyze what factors shape the belief and unbelief of the contemporary young generation aged 15-20.
3) To make the results of the analysis available to religious leaders so that the latter can use it in their ministry to the young generation.
4) To explore the ways of “deepening the dialogue” with the young generation on the issues such as belief and unbelief, i.e., going beyond the mode of brief comments in the online chat forums.