Templeton Foundation: Spiritual Yearning Research Initiative–The Search for Meaning Among the Nonreligious

This initiative aims to address the spiritual yearnings, existential concerns, and search for meaning of spiritually curious but nonreligious individuals and communities. The overarching question is: How can those who experience a deep yearning for a meaningful spiritual life, but find traditional religion unsatisfying, fulfill that yearning? This question involves empirical, conceptual, and normative dimensions, calling for an approach that is cross-disciplinary in nature.

The Foundation’s aim in this funding competition is to arrive at a better understanding of spiritual yearning and flourishing among the spiritually curious but nonreligious, by supporting research by scholars within philosophy, theology, religious studies, and the psychological sciences.

The current funding competition focuses on the two broad themes of spiritual yearning and meaning-making for the nonreligious, with each of these themes covering a number of possible empirical and conceptual research questions. We invite proposals that make use of a variety of research methods, including but not limited to qualitative research, theory-construction, conceptual clarification, surveys, experimental research, and normative argument. While we anticipate funding at least one project consisting primarily or exclusively of new empirical research (i.e., data collection, data analysis, and/or experimental work), the majority of the successful proposals will include conceptual or cross-disciplinary dimensions.

Proposals may focus on (but are not limited to) the following themes:

  • The nature of spiritual yearning
  • The value of spiritual yearning
  •  The potential causes and effects of spiritual yearning
  • Addressing spiritual yearning
  • Spiritual yearning in practice

The Foundation will award up to $2,200,000 in grants in this competition, and we expect to fund between six and ten projects.

Please contact Daniel Hadley if you are interested in applying to this opportunity.