Faith No More
Author: Phil Zuckerman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
During his 2009 inaugural speech, President Obama described the United States as a nation of "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus--and nonbelievers." It was the first time an American president had acknowledged the existence of this rapidly growing segment of the population in such a public forum. And yet the reasons why more and more people are turning away from religion are still poorly understood. In Faith No More, Phil Zuckerman draws on in-depth interviews with people who have left religion to find out what's really behind the process of losing one's faith. According to a 2008 study, so many Americans claim no religion (15%, up from 8% in 1990) that this category now outranks every other religious group except Catholics and Baptists. Exploring the deeper stories within such survey data, Zuckerman shows that leaving one's faith is a highly personal, complex, and drawn-out process. And he finds that, rather than the cliché of the angry, nihilistic atheist, apostates are life-affirming, courageous, highly intelligent and inquisitive, and deeply moral. Zuckerman predicts that this trend toward nonbelief will likely continue and argues that the sooner we recognize that religion is frequently and freely rejected by all sorts of men and women, the sooner our understanding of the human condition will improve. The first book of its kind, Faith No More will appeal to anyone interested in the "New Atheism" and indeed to anyone wishing to more fully understand our changing relationship to religious faith.
This book intends to serve as a conversational, colorful, engaging, and provocative introduction to the sociology of religion for undergraduates. Written in lively prose, this volume aims to introduce students to the major themes, problems and goals of the sociological study of religion while also summoning the sense of wonder and curiosity for the enterprise itself.
Living the Secular Life
Author: Phil Zuckerman
Publisher: Penguin Books
Over the last 25 years, 'no religion' has become the fastest-growing religion in the Western World. Revealing the inspiring beliefs that empower secular culture - alongside real stories of nonreligious men and women based on extensive in-depth interviews from across the U.S. - Living the Secular Life will be indispensable for millions of secular people. A manifesto for a booming social movement and a revelatory survey of an overlooked community, this book offers essential and long-awaited information for anyone building a life based on his or her own principles
Society without God
Author: Phil Zuckerman
Publisher: NYU Press
“Silver” Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Religion Category Before he began his recent travels, it seemed to Phil Zuckerman as if humans all over the globe were “getting religion”—praising deities, performing holy rites, and soberly defending the world from sin. But most residents of Denmark and Sweden, he found, don’t worship any god at all, don’t pray, and don’t give much credence to religious dogma of any kind. Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries are filled with residents who score at the very top of the “happiness index” and enjoy their healthy societies, which boast some of the lowest rates of violent crime in the world (along with some of the lowest levels of corruption), excellent educational systems, strong economies, well-supported arts, free health care, egalitarian social policies, outstanding bike paths, and great beer. Zuckerman formally interviewed nearly 150 Danes and Swedes of all ages and educational backgrounds over the course of fourteen months. He was particularly interested in the worldviews of people who live their lives without religious orientation. How do they think about and cope with death? Are they worried about an afterlife? What he found is that nearly all of his interviewees live their lives without much fear of the Grim Reaper or worries about the hereafter. This led him to wonder how and why it is that certain societies are non-religious in a world that seems to be marked by increasing religiosity. Drawing on prominent sociological theories and his own extensive research, Zuckerman ventures some interesting answers. This fascinating approach directly counters the claims of outspoken, conservative American Christians who argue that a society without God would be hell on earth. It is crucial, Zuckerman believes, for Americans to know that “society without God is not only possible, but it can be quite civil and pleasant.”
"[Davidman's] rich ethnographic observations and lucid prose illuminate two of the more important aspects of modern religion generally: the changing role of women and the resurgence of traditional faith."—Robert Wuthnow, author of Meaning and Moral Order
Faith Beyond Belief
Author: Margaret Placentra Johnston
Publisher: Quest Books
Faith Beyond Belief gives a much-needed voice to the “good” people who have left their church but whose spirituality continues to mature. Johnston uses first-person stories as well as known spiritual authorities in describing various stages of religious growth. Some of these real-life accounts are by nonbelievers; others are by those among the growing numbers of the “spiritual but not religious.” All are thoughtful people with too much integrity to live what they consider a lie. The stories of the nonbelievers-including an ex-Catholic, a former Mormon, and a clandestine Muslim apostate who left his community after the attacks of 9/11-show how complete confidence in human reason can lead away from literal religious interpretation. But, while that step is a necessary one on the spiritual path, it is only intermediate. Her second set of stories are of people at the “mystic” level who can tolerate paradox and see truth and reality as multidimensional. Johnston’s book will help doubters to see things in a new light as well as those who are struggling to clarify their own spiritual vision. It also points beyond the atheist/believer controversy wrecking such divisive havoc in our culture today.
As recent headlines reveal, conflicts and debates around the world more and more frequently involve secularism. National borders and traditional religions can no longer keep people in tidy boxes anymore as political struggles, doctrinal divergences, and demographic trends sweep across regionsand entire continents. Secularity is increasing in society, with a growing number of people in many regions having no religious affiliation or lacking interest in religion. Simultaneously, there is a resurgence of religious participation in the politics of many countries. How might these diversephenomena be interrelated, and better understood? The Oxford Handbook of Secularism offers a wide-ranging examination of secularism on a global scale, bringing together an international collection of views from prominent experts in a variety of fields. This volume reflects the impressive level of academic attention now given to secularism acrossthe humanities, social sciences, law and public policy, and international relations. Long-reigning theories about the pace of secularization, and ideal church-state relations, are here scrutinized by a new generation of scholars studying secularism with new questions, better data, and freshperspectives.This is the essential volume for comprehending the core issues and methodological approaches to the demographics and sociology of secularity; the history and variety of political secularisms; the comparison of constitutional secularisms across countries spanning from America to Asia; the keyproblems now convulsing church-state relations; the intersections of liberalism, multiculturalism, and religion; the latest psychological research into secular lives and lifestyles; and the naturalistic and humanistic worldviews available to nonreligious people. The Oxford Handbook of Secularismaddresses a wide breadth of interrelated issues and problems from multi-disciplinary stances, covering scholarly territory not addressed previously.
Faith Versus Fact
Author: Jerry A. Coyne
The best-selling author of Why Evolution Is True discusses the negative role of religion in education, politics, medicine and social policy, explaining how religion cannot provide verifiable or responsible answers to world problems.
The Nones Are Alright
Author: Oakes, Kaya
Publisher: Orbis Books
Losing My Religion
Author: William Lobdell
Publisher: Harper Collins
William Lobdell's journey of faith—and doubt—may be the most compelling spiritual memoir of our time. Lobdell became a born-again Christian in his late 20s when personal problems—including a failed marriage—drove him to his knees in prayer. As a newly minted evangelical, Lobdell—a veteran journalist—noticed that religion wasn't covered well in the mainstream media, and he prayed for the Lord to put him on the religion beat at a major newspaper. In 1998, his prayers were answered when the Los Angeles Times asked him to write about faith. Yet what happened over the next eight years was a roller-coaster of inspiration, confusion, doubt, and soul-searching as his reporting and experiences slowly chipped away at his faith. While reporting on hundreds of stories, he witnessed a disturbing gap between the tenets of various religions and the behaviors of the faithful and their leaders. He investigated religious institutions that acted less ethically than corrupt Wall St. firms. He found few differences between the morals of Christians and atheists. As this evidence piled up, he started to fear that God didn't exist. He explored every doubt, every question—until, finally, his faith collapsed. After the paper agreed to reassign him, he wrote a personal essay in the summer of 2007 that became an international sensation for its honest exploration of doubt. Losing My Religion is a book about life's deepest questions that speaks to everyone: Lobdell understands the longings and satisfactions of the faithful, as well as the unrelenting power of doubt. How he faced that power, and wrestled with it, is must reading for people of faith and nonbelievers alike.
Author: Phil Zuckerman, Luke W. Galen, Frank L. Pasquale
Publisher: Oxford University Press
The number of nonreligious people has increased dramatically over the past several decades, yet scholarship on the nonreligious is severely lacking. In response to this critical gap in knowledge, The Nonreligious provides a comprehensive summation and analysis of existing social scientific research on secular people and societies. The authors present a thorough overview of existing knowledge while also drawing upon ongoing research and suggesting ways to improve our understanding of this growing population. Offering a research- and data-based examination of the nonreligious, this book will be an invaluable source of information and a foundation for further scholarship. Written in clear, accessible language that will appeal to students and the increasingly interested general reader, The Nonreligious provides an unbiased and thorough account of relevant existing scholarship within the social sciences that bears on lived experiences of the nonreligious.
Noted social scientist Eviatar Zerubavel casts a critical eye on how we trace our past-individually and collectively arguing that rather than simply find out who our ancestors are from genetics or history, we actually create the stories that make them our ancestors.
Diana Butler Bass, one of contemporary Christianity’s leading trend-spotters, exposes how the failings of the church today are giving rise to a new “spiritual but not religious” movement. Using evidence from the latest national polls and from her own cutting-edge research, Bass, the visionary author of A People’s History of Christianity, continues the conversation began in books like Brian D. McLaren’s A New Kind of Christianity and Harvey Cox’s The Future of Faith, examining the connections—and the divisions—between theology, practice, and community that Christians experience today. Bass’s clearly worded, powerful, and probing Christianity After Religion is required reading for anyone invested in the future of Christianity.
Author: Paul Offit
When Jesus said, “Suffer the children,” faith healing is not what he had in mind
More Jesus, Less Religion
Author: Stephen Arterburn, Jack Felton
One decade ago, best-selling authors Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton exposed the dangers of what they called "toxic faith," helping countless believers to understand and overcome their religious misconceptions. Now, drawing upon an additional ten years of observation and experience, these authors go one step further, offering new insights and a positive approach to the dilemma in this long-awaited follow-up to their ground-breaking work. Be set free from man-made rules, "churchianity," and legalistic religion. Learn to recognize serious misinterpretations of vital biblical concepts such as "accountability." Return to the roots of a strong, obedient, yet grace-filled relationship with your Creator. To all who want to enter into deeper joy, fuller obedience, greater influence, and a healthier experience of God, More Jesus, Less Religion points the way back to the grace of the Lord and shows what it takes to avoid the pitfalls of toxic faith. From the Trade Paperback edition.