Fifty years after it held the world’s first international conference examining the rise of atheism and secularism, the Vatican is joining forces with a British research initiative to host a conference on “Cultures of Unbelief.”

In late May, scholars from a range of disciplines will gather at Rome’s Gregorian University to discuss the results of the research initiative, called “Understanding Unbelief,” which for the past two years has been mapping the rise and nature of non-religion across the world.

Funding for the $3 million Understanding Unbelief program, which is based at the University of Kent, has come from the John Templeton Foundation.

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