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American Religious Identification Survey

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American Religious Identification Survey

Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture
Abbreviation ISSSC
Formation 2005
Type Research Institute
Purpose/focus The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) was established to advance understanding of the role of secular values and the process of secularization in contemporary society and culture. Nonpartisan and multidisciplinary, the Institute conducts academic research, sponsors curriculum development, and presents public events.
Headquarters Trinity College, Hartford, CT USA
Official languages primarily English
Key people Barry A. Kosmin Director
Ariela Keysar Assoc. Director
Juhem Navarro-Rivera Research Fellow
Affiliations Trinity College, Hartford, CT USA

The Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) is located at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. ISSSC was established in 2005 to advance the understanding of the role of secular values and the process of secularization in contemporary society and culture. Designed to be multidisciplinary and nonpartisan, the Institute conducts research, lectures and public events.[1]

Author and professor, Barry Kosmin, PhD created the ISSSC and remains the director of the Institute.

Barry Kosmin

Author of over 20 books, Kosmin is a research professor of public policy and law at Trinity College. In October 2011 Kosmin accepted a seat on the Board of Directors of CFI, his responsibilities include the Council for Secular Humanism and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry as well as serving on the CFI affiliate committee.

He is the joint editor of the new academic journal Secularism & Nonreligion and was one of the principal investigators of the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS).[2] Kosmin is considered the leading expert "on the growing percentage of Americas who lack a religious identity, the so called "nones".[3] Kosmin has been featured on podcasts such as Center for Inquiry's Point of Inquiry and published in Free Inquiry magazine discussing the results of the ARIS.[3][4][5][6]

American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS)

Previously named the National Survey of Religious Identification in 1990, it was renamed the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) in 2001. The survey was originally created as a social experiment to record the response to the "What is your religion?" question. They found it was necessary to ask a series of questions such as "Do you want to have a religious funeral?" in order to get a better grasp of the answer to the main question.[7]

The 2001 survey intended to replicate the 1990 survey. Data was collected from over 50,000 households over a 4-month period.[8] In 2008 the ARIS again randomly called over 50,000 households and questioned adults about their religious affiliations, if any.[9] ARIS is the survey used by the U.S. Census in the Statistical Abstract of the U.S. to show the religious distribution of the U.S. Population.[10]

The results of the ARIS have been discussed in many media stories ABC News,[11] Christian Science Monitor[12] and USA Today,[13]

Academics and curriculum development

ISSSC develops new multi-disciplinary courses based on a common theme every year with associated faculty at Trinity College, Hartford and the Claremont Colleges, California. The cross-discipline themes include (by year):

  • 2005-06: The Roots of the Secular Tradition in the West
  • 2006-07: The Secular Tradition and Foundations of the Natural Sciences
  • 2007-08: Secularism and the Enlightenment
  • 2008-09: The Global Impact of Secular Values
  • 2009-10: The Secular Tradition in General Education

Social science research

International Survey: Worldviews and Opinions of Scientists (India 2008)[14]



  • (edited by Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar)


  • (edited by Ariela Keysar and Barry Kosmin)


  • (edited by Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar)
  • "Unbelief and Irreligion, Empirical Study and Neglect of" (by Frank L. Pasquale in The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief; edited by Tom Flynn; Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books)


  • Religion in a Free Market: Religious and Non-Religious Americans—Who, What, Why and Where (by Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar)


External links

  • ISSSC website
  • ISSSC Publications
  • American Religions Identification Survey
  • Understanding Secularism
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