Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

A new Florida State University research project plans to study the psychology of forgiveness from a higher power as part of the work of the FSU Family Institute in the College of Health and Human Sciences. 

Program Director Frank Fincham welcomed the $3.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation. 

“Divine forgiveness is a source of great comfort for people of faith,” Fincham said in a statement. “We know very little scientifically about how humans think about, experience and relate to this notion.” The team will start with defining the experience of forgiveness and considering how it is important component of relationship longevity, satisfaction and overall mental health and well-being.

According to Fincham, interpersonal forgiveness and self-forgiveness have been studied, but few scholars have sought to look at the impact of divine forgiveness.  

Questions to be pondered include: Do people become more interpersonally forgiving because they experience divine forgiveness? Or do people who engage in interpersonal forgiveness wind up being ed to seek divine forgiveness? Or lastly, if you feel forgiven by God are you more likely to forgive yourself?

The aim is to end up with the first empirical research on the topic. Myriam Rudaz, assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at the FSU College of Health and Human Sciences, will serve as a co-principal investigator on the project. 

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