“A humane and sensible guide to and for the many kinds of Americans leading secular lives in what remains one of the most religious nations in the developed world.” —The New York Times Book Review Over the last twenty-five years, “no religion” has become the fastest-growing religious preference in the United States. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people have turned away from the traditional faiths of the past and embraced a moral yet nonreligious—or secular—life, generating societies vastly less religious than at any other time in human history. 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 country—Living the Secular Life will be indispensable for millions of secular Americans. Drawing on innovative sociological research, Living the Secular Life illuminates this demographic shift with the moral convictions that govern secular individuals, offering crucial information for the religious and nonreligious alike. Living the Secular Life reveals that, despite opinions to the contrary, nonreligious Americans possess a unique moral code that allows them to effectively navigate the complexities of modern life. Spiritual self-reliance, clear-eyed pragmatism, and an abiding faith in the Golden Rule to adjudicate moral decisions: these common principles are shared across secular society. Living the Secular Life demonstrates these principles in action and points to their usage throughout daily life. Phil Zuckerman is a sociology professor at Pitzer College, where he studied the lives of the nonreligious for years before founding a Department of Secular Studies, the first academic program in the nation dedicated to exclusively studying secular culture and the sociological consequences of America’s fastest-growing “faith.” Zuckerman discovered that despite the entrenched negative beliefs about nonreligious people, American se
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An updated edition showcasing the social health of the least religious nations in the world Religious conservatives around the world often claim that a society without a strong foundation of faith would necessarily be an immoral one, bereft of ethics, values, and meaning. Indeed, the Christian Right in the United States has argued that a society without God would be hell on earth. In Society without God, Second Edition sociologist Phil Zuckerman challenges these claims. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews with more than 150 citizens of Denmark and Sweden, among the least religious countries in the world, he shows that, far from being inhumane, crime-infested, and dysfunctional, highly secular societies are healthier, safer, greener, less violent, and more democratic and egalitarian than highly religious ones. Society without God provides a rich portrait of life in a secular society, exploring how a culture without faith copes with death, grapples with the meaning of life, and remains content through everyday ups and downs. This updated edition incorporates new data from recent studies, updated statistics, and a revised Introduction, as well as framing around the now more highly developed field of secular studies. It addresses the dramatic surge of irreligion in the United States and the rise of the “nones,” and adds data on societal health in specific US states, along with fascinating context regarding which are the most religious and which the most secular.
"A thoughtful perspective on humans' capacity for moral behavior." --Kirkus Reviews "A comprehensive introduction to religious skepticism." --Publishers Weekly In What It Means to Be Moral: Why Religion Is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life, Phil Zuckerman argues that morality does not come from God. Rather, it comes from us: our brains, our evolutionary past, our ongoing cultural development, our social experiences, and our ability to reason, reflect, and be sensitive to the suffering of others. By deconstructing religious arguments for God-based morality and guiding readers through the premises and promises of secular morality, Zuckerman argues that the major challenges facing the world today--from global warming and growing inequality to religious support for unethical political policies to gun violence and terrorism--are best approached from a nonreligious ethical framework. In short, we need to look to our fellow humans and within ourselves for moral progress and ethical action. "In this brilliant, provocative, and timely book, Phil Zuckerman breaks down the myth that our morality comes from religion--compellingly making the case that when it comes to the biggest challenges we face today, a secular approach is the only truly moral one." --Ali A. Rizvi, author of The Atheist Muslim
“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
When Nouwen was asked by a secular Jewish friend to explain his faith in simple language, he responded with "Life of the Beloved, " which shows that all people, believers and nonbelievers, are beloved by God unconditionally.
In contemporary Turkey—a democratic, secular, and predominantly Muslim nation—the religious healer is a controversial figure. Attracting widespread condemnation, religious healers are derided as exploiters of the sick and vulnerable, discredited forms of Islamic and medical authority, and superstitious relics of a pre-modern era. Yet all sorts of people, and not just the desperately ill, continue to seek them out. After years of research with healers and their patients in working-class neighborhoods of urban Turkey, anthropologist Christopher Dole concludes that the religious healer should be regarded not as an exception to Turkey's secular modern development but as one of its defining figures. Healing Secular Life demonstrates that religious healing and secularism in fact have a set of common stakes in the ordering of lives and the remaking of worlds. Linking the history of medical reforms and scientific literacy campaigns to contemporary efforts of Qur'anic healers to treat people afflicted by spirits and living saints through whom deceased political leaders speak, Healing Secular Life approaches stories of healing and being healed as settings for examining the everyday social intimacies of secular political rule. This ethnography of loss, care, and politics reveals not only that the authority of the religious healer is deeply embedded within the history of secular modern reform in Turkey but also that personal narratives of suffering and affliction are inseparable from the story of a nation seeking to recover from the violence of its own secular past.
Part seeker's memoir, part spiritual travelogue, this is a book for anyone looking to uncover--or recover--their spiritual self.
Can secularism offer us moral, aesthetic, and spiritual satisfaction? Or does the secular view simply affirm a dog-eat-dog universe? At a time when the issues of religion, evolution, atheism, fundamentalism, Darwin, and science fill headlines and invoke controversy, The Joy of Secularism provides a balanced and thoughtful approach for understanding an enlightened, sympathetic, and relevant secularism for our lives today. Bringing together distinguished historians, philosophers, scientists, and writers, this book shows that secularism is not a mere denial of religion. Rather, this positive and necessary condition presents a vision of a natural and difficult world--without miracles or supernatural interventions--that is far richer and more satisfying than the religious one beyond. From various perspectives--philosophy, evolutionary biology, primate study, Darwinian thinking, poetry, and even bird-watching--the essays in this collection examine the wealth of possibilities that secularism offers for achieving a condition of fullness. Factoring in historical contexts, and ethical and emotional challenges, the contributors make an honest and heartfelt yet rigorous case for the secular view by focusing attention on aspects of ordinary life normally associated with religion, such as the desire for meaning, justice, spirituality, and wonder. Demonstrating that a world of secular enchantment is a place worth living in, The Joy of Secularism takes a new and liberating look at a valuable and complex subject. The contributors are William Connolly, Paolo Costa, Frans de Waal, Philip Kitcher, George Levine, Adam Phillips, Robert Richards, Bruce Robbins, Rebecca Stott, Charles Taylor, and David Sloan Wilson.
A permissive society, a power-hungry people, a nation without God. Daniel's situation in Babylon sounds quite a bit like our own. In the midst of such forces, how can we remain loyal to biblical values? How can we have a positive impact on those around us? In this twelve-session LifeGuide® Bible Study, Daniel gives us practical and personal help with these questions.
- Author : H. Nouwen
- Publisher : Turtleback Books
- Release Date : 2002-10-01
- Genre : Uncategorized
- Pages : 231
- ISBN : 1417664967
The American Jewish community is in transition. This book describes in detail how American Jews changed from living in a religion-oriented community to living a secular life. Falk discusses how Jewish Americans were greatly influenced by the secularization of Western civilization in general and by the Christian community in Europe and America specifically. The secularization of American Jewish institutions is analyzed by discussing changes in the Jewish religion, Jewish education and Jewish organizations during this century. Special consideration is given to the issue of Jewish survival in America with specific emphasis on the Jewish-Christian intermarriage rate. Contents: Part One: The Present Condition of Judaism in America; The American Jewish at the End of the 20th Century; Part Two: The Development of Secularization in the Western World; The Influence of Jewish Philosophers on the Secularization of Judaism; The Influence of Christians and Other Philosophers on the Secularization of the Western World; The Secularization of the U.S. before 1900; The Influence of Scientific Thinking on the Secularization Process; The Influence of Some European and American Writers on the Secularization Process; The Secularization of the United States in the 20th Century; Part Three: American Jewish Institutions at the End of the Century; The Secularization of the Jewish Religion in America; The Secularization of the American Jewish Family; The Secularization of American Jewish Education; Organized American Jewishness at the End of the 20th Century; Part Four: Jewish Continuity in a Secular Society; The Secular Life in America; Jewish Survival in America.
Winner of the René Wellek Prize Named a Best Book of the Year by The Guardian, The Millions, and The Sydney Morning Herald A profound, original, and accessible book that offers a new secular vision of how we can lead our lives. Ranging from fundamental existential questions to the most pressing social issues of our time, This Life shows why our commitment to freedom and democracy should lead us beyond both religion and capitalism. In this groundbreaking book, the philosopher Martin Hägglund challenges our received notions of faith and freedom. The faith we need to cultivate, he argues, is not a religious faith in eternity but a secular faith devoted to our finite life together. He shows that all spiritual questions of freedom are inseparable from economic and material conditions. What ultimately matters is how we treat one another in this life, and what we do with our time together. Hägglund develops new existential and political principles while transforming our understanding of spiritual life. His critique of religion takes us to the heart of what it means to mourn our loved ones, be committed, and care about a sustainable world. His critique of capitalism demonstrates that we fail to sustain our democratic values because our lives depend on wage labor. In clear and pathbreaking terms, Hägglund explains why capitalism is inimical to our freedom, and why we should instead pursue a novel form of democratic socialism. In developing his vision of an emancipated secular life, Hägglund engages with great philosophers from Aristotle to Hegel and Marx, literary writers from Dante to Proust and Knausgaard, political economists from Mill to Keynes and Hayek, and religious thinkers from Augustine to Kierkegaard and Martin Luther King, Jr. This Life gives us new access to our past—for the sake of a different future.
Achieve a life of balance with Karma Yeshe Rabgye's eye-opening new book, Life's Meandering Path. The thirty-eight principles set forth, based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha, comprise a basic guide to living for anyone seeking peace and harmony. The value of such qualities as individual responsibility, rational thought and the fulfillment of social obligations are discussed-as well as exactly how to implement each of these principles into one's daily life. It is not uncommon to experience a sense of fear or uncertainty in the oftentimes frantic, fast-paced world in which we live. But it is possible to move beyond those obstacles and that feeling of being overwhelmed, into a state where happiness and a lack of suffering dominate. Learn how to juggle individual challenges, family obligations, social responsibility and personal growth while maintaining a vital sense of balance in the midst of a chaotic world. All of this is possible without needing to call oneself a Buddhist or Christian or Muslim. Regardless of religion or faith, readers will learn how to achieve some much needed peace in this enriching guide to life.
We've all heard the saying, too much of a good thing.Ó This can apply to many of the actions and behaviors that would be called virtues.Ó By overemphasizing certain traits, Christians can lose spiritual balance. In this book, veteran counselor and author Ray Anderson offers a study of fourteen Christian virtues designed to help you develop the balance that is key to a mature Christian faith. After providing a detailed explanation of each virtue, Anderson gives a unique look at how to keep a good virtue from turning bad through overemphasis. If you seek balance in your walk with Christ, 'Living the Spiritually Balanced Life' can help. Let it show you how to build up your spiritual well-being and to help others who are struggling on the same path take the first step toward a more fruitful spiritual life.
Paul Kurtz was one of America's foremost expositors of humanist philosophy. In Living without Religion he introduced a new word to describe humanism - eupraxophy. Derived from the Greek roots eu (good), praxis (practice), and sophia (philosophical and scientific wisdom), eupraxophy means literally "good conduct and wisdom in living." Eupraxophy draws upon the disciplines of the sciences, philosophy, and ethics - yet it is more than these. Not simply an intellectual position, eupraxophy expresses convictions about the nature of the universe and how to live one's life with commitment and dedication. It thus combines both a cosmic outlook and a life stance. Kurtz maintains that the eupraxopher can lead a meaningful life and help create a just society, and he offers concrete recommendations for the development of the humanism of the future. An entire section of this book is devoted to the careful definition of religion, which clearly demonstrates than an authentic moral life is possible without religious belief. Following Kurtz's Transcendental Temptation and Forbidden Fruit, Living without Religion completes a trilogy of humanist works that responds to theistic critics of modern secular humanism.
A deep look at Scripture—God's very words—is never wasted. In fact, not only is it never wasted; it's richly rewarded. The more deeply we dive into the riches of the Bible, the more deeply we can experience and serve God, the giver of all truth, wisdom, love and understanding. The new LifeGuide® in Depth Bible Studies help you do just that, taking you further into themes and books of Scripture than you might have gone before. As you see new connections between the Old and New Testament, gain an understanding of the historical and cultural background of passages, engage in creative exercises, and concretely apply what you've learned, you'll be amazed at the breadth of the knowledge and wisdom you gain and the transformation God can work in you as you meet him in his Word. Each session provides enough material for a week's worth of Scripture study along with a weekly group discussion guide that pulls all of the elements together. This guide is based on and includes the inductive Bible study Daniel from the bestselling LifeGuide® Bible Study Series--only now it has been expanded for a new kind of study experience. In A Deeper Look at Daniel, specifically, you'll discover how to (accurately) interpret the meaning of the goat with one horn how God has been at work throughout history how the sins of our predecessors can influence us how to stand firm when your faith and values are challenged and much more. If you're longing to go deeper in your understanding of God and his Word, LifeGuide® in Depth Bible Studies are is for you. These new studies will meet your need for both rich, solidly researched content and personal application. They'll meet your need for Bible study that challenges your head and your heart. Most of all, we pray you'll meet God in them.
- Author : Isaac Kramnick
- Publisher : W. W. Norton & Company
- Release Date : 2018-08-21
- Genre : Political Science
- Pages : 240
- ISBN : 9780393254976
If the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects religious liberty, why doesn’t it protect atheists? God occupies our nation’s consciousness, even defining to many what it means to be American. Nonbelievers have often had second-class legal status and have had to fight for their rights as citizens. As R. Laurence Moore and Isaac Kramnick demonstrate in their sharp and convincing work, avowed atheists were derided since the founding of the nation. Even Thomas Paine fell into disfavor and his role as a patriot forgotten. Popular Republican Robert Ingersoll could not be elected in the nineteenth century due to his atheism, and the suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton was shunned when she questioned biblical precepts about women’s roles. Moore and Kramnick lay out this fascinating history and the legal cases that have questioned religious supremacy. It took until 1961 for the Supreme Court to ban religious tests for state officials, despite Article 6 of the Constitution. Still, every one of the fifty states continues to have God in its constitution. The authors discuss these cases and more current ones, such as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which address whether personal religious beliefs supersede secular ones. In Godless Citizens in a Godly Republic, the authors also explore the dramatic rise of an "atheist awakening" and the role of organizations intent on holding the country to the secular principles it was founded upon.
- Author : Anonim
- Publisher : Stanford University
- Release Date : 2010
- Genre : Uncategorized
- Pages : 231
- ISBN : STANFORD:vr947wb5953
Secular priests occupied a central place within thirteenth-century European society, carrying out important duties within the institutional Church, as well as participating in the lay and religious communities around them. This dissertation uses secular sources--the private registers of public notaries--to show that priests in the port city of Genoa entered into economic, spiritual, and social transactions with a wide range of people. In doing so, they built complex and durable relationships that provided ample opportunities for the exchange of ideas and values with the women, men, and other clerics with whom they shared their lives. If a major trend in scholarship on the Middle Ages over the past seventy years has been to emphasize the religiosity of lay people's everyday world, then this dissertation looks the other direction, to explore the so-called secularity of religious institutions and their priests. Ultimately, the notarial registers prove that Genoa's priests were not mere facilitators of lay religiosity or agents of ecclesiastical power; rather they played a multivalent role in the intermediary space between "lay" and "religious" communities. Chapter One provides an overview of Genoa's ecclesiastical structure and demonstrates how private notarial registers can provide useful perspectives on secular priests' lives. Chapter Two investigates how priests' participation in the real estate and credit markets helped weave them into the fabric of Genoese neighborhoods. Chapter Three uses the notarial registers to show priests carrying out their core professional duties: tending to the health of souls in their communities. Chapter Four demonstrates priests' important intermediary position by examining their service as executors, agents, arbiters, and judges. Chapter Five explores how secular priests embodied the Genoese Church overseas in Genoa's network of trading settlements around the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Finally, the Conclusion considers the broader