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Atheist Awakening: Secular Activism and Community in America 1st Edition
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"Like many of my colleagues, I have long been impressed - and influenced - by Cimino and Smith's pioneering research on contemporary American unbelief. But Atheist Awakening goes beyond even what I might have hoped for. This meticulous, innovative, and engaging book is essential for understanding the New Atheism within its wider social, cultural, and political contexts."
--Stephen Bullivant, Senior Lecturer in Theology and Ethics, St Mary's University, Twickenham
"Scholars are just beginning to explore secularist, humanist, atheist, and free thought activism as a coherent social movement. At the forefront of that research are Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith. In Atheist Awakening, Cimino and Smith continue their previous work with new qualitative and quantitative data to provide a nuanced picture of this nascent social movement. Scholars interested in studying this movement should familiarize themselves with Cimino and Smith's influential body of work."
--Ryan Cragun, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tampa
"This insightful and comprehensive study of how secularists are attempting to form a collective identity and build community in contemporary America is a fine piece of sociology. The authors show a real understanding of the political dilemmas and possibilities this new demographic faces. They also provide a valuable analysis of the ways the new media environment is driving this social phenomenon."
--Barry A. Kosmin, Research Professor, Public Policy & Law Program, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
"This is an insightful exploration of the nature of secular communities in the 21st century... Highly recommended." --CHOICE
"This book fills an important gap in the literature by examining atheism/secularism as a social movement."-- Journal of Church and State
About the Author
Richard Cimino is founding editor of Religion Watch, a monthly publication reporting on trends and research in contemporary religion. He currently teaches sociology at the University of Richmond in Virginia and is the author of several books on religion, including The Most Scientific Religion, Trusting the Spirit, and co-author of Shopping for Faith.
Christopher Smith is an independent researcher. His areas of interest include secularism and social theory. He holds an M.A. in Sociology from the New School for Social Research.
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For further reading on other studies on atheists see comment #1. Interestingly, the authors noted numerous similarities between atheist groups and evangelicals groups (they cited American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving as a contrast)
The following is a list of all the chapters in the book and some of the contents to be found therein. This list is not exhaustive:
"The Awakened - shall we call them that? - face many problems in mixed religious-and-secular cultures. The Awakened recognize that many fellow citizens fear or disdain them consider them to be subversive of values cherished by the majority. Some - more often than not evangelicals - debate them and fight them in them of God. They may well be paying compliments to nonbelievers when they picture atheists as having sufficient force to subvert society.Read more ›
This relatively short book is based on interviews with leading atheists, research and study of atheist conferences and publications and analysis of the media; Internet websites and blogs in particular.
The Introduction indicates, “how atheists are forming a collective identity and building a community through the use of rituals as well as engaging in activism and advocating a more positive atheism that seeks to create nontheist alternatives to traditional religion.“ The main body is divided into four chapters that gradually build up from the rise of religious politics and alienation of secularists, to the reaction of secularists advocating a more active atheism as an alternative to organized religion, to building a community through networking, the media and especially the Internet; ultimately creating a solidarity movement that legitimizes the secular humanists’ participation in culture and politics.
The authors show how the divisions between humanists, atheists and secularists about “spirituality and rituals” are being eliminated by creating a common set of secular rituals and rules, based on organized religion but without the theist component.
Cimino and Smith show how a diverse population of atheists are joining together by ideas, common grievances and goals to develop a sense of community by deftly using the social media and electronic communications.Read more ›