joreth (joreth) wrote,

Call To Non-Pagan Polyamorists For Research Study

I took part in an online survey of polyamorous people that is looking at their spirituality and spiritual views. When I saw "spirituality" in the title, I believed that there would be a bias under her research and I felt it was important to make sure that atheists and non-pagans got represented because I was pretty sure that the pagan community would be over-represented. It's very frustrating to me that pagans are so much a visual part of the poly community that non-pagans often avoid "poly communities" because they feel as though they'll have nothing in common other than the polyamory, and that the polyamory will look quite different, and sadly, that's often true, in my observation.

>Please note, it is not my intent to dump on pagans here. I'm not saying that pagans intentionally push out people of alternate viewpoints, and, in fact, many of the pagans that I know personally are quite welcoming of people with different spiritual outlooks. It is my intent to point out a, perhaps, overly subtle discrimination or imbalance in the poly communities, which is that poly people who do not have strong spiritual viewpoints are under-represented and overshadowed, and that the statistical data on polyamory may be incorrect because of the lack of connection or outreach with non-spiritual poly people by the rest of the community and by researchers.

This study has covered almost exclusively pagan polyamorists because they're who are most visible and often participate in the community, and therefore things like studies & media events. Although pagans are still free to join in the study, I would like to encourage poly people of other spiritual or non-spiritual outlooks to chime in to get a better representation of the actual diversity among spiritual beliefs in the poly community. The first part is an online survey, and then, if you qualify (I forget what the qualifications are), you may be asked to do a phone interview, completely anonymously, for research purposes and not for any form of media or public presentation.

I just completed this phone interview, and, although this study has been going on for some time now, I was the first atheist the researcher had spoken to, and she had a host of misconceptions about what atheism is and isn't and how religious views do or don't affect one's relationship structures. She was very appreciative of the alternate viewpoint and the opportunity to have her biases made clear to her that were completely overlooked by both herself and her approval committee in her word choice and assumptions (for the record, I did not tell her she was biased, I answered her questions and she revealed to me that she had found a bias in her thesis wording through my answers and so thanked me). So I am hopeful that my contribution will prove to be very beneficial in present and future poly research and I urge others to contribute as well, since my views are not the same as, or necessarily representative of all atheists, but currently, I'm the only atheist voice in this particular research study.

Please also feel free to forward this request on, particularly to non-pagan polyamorists. I realize it may come across that I am trying to push aside pagans or pad the numbers in a non-pagan favor, so I want to be clear that I am not trying to do that. But I do feel as though the non-pagan polyamorists are much higher in number than the current research suggests, so I am particularly encouraging non-pagans to get out there and help make the statistics more accurate. It's not a matter of "let's outnumber the pagans!", it's a matter of better representation of other types of polyamorists. Pagan polyamorists are very well represented, but other groups are not, as evidenced by the fact that I am the only atheist the researcher has talked to, and I happen to know I'm not the only atheist polyamorist out there :-)
Tags: atheism, polyamory, recommendations, relationships, religion, science

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