Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov via
Photo by Leonid Mamchenkov via

University of Connecticut sociologist Bradley Wright has developed SoulPulse, an app that asks research participants twice a day about their activities, thoughts, and feelings.

Wright, working with pastor and author John Ortberg, hopes to enroll 10,000 people in the study over the next three years, to gain a better understanding of how people – believers and atheists and everything in between – define spirituality for themselves.

“Everyone – well, almost everyone – is spiritual or religious.¬† Now, we have an app to find out, what do they mean when they say that,” Wright said in an interview with the Washington Post.

This study implicitly draws from the late Robert Bellah’s argument that liberal Protestantism has declined even as it’s been successfully incorporated into mainstream spiritual and secular values and discussions. The individual experiences of spirituality reported by the SoulPulse app combined with the appearance of liberal Protestant doctrine across many belief systems makes for an intriguing sociological link between the public and the private in 21st century American spirituality.

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