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Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions Hardcover – December 4, 2014

4.2 out of 5 stars 110 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Susan Jacoby, New York Times Book Review
“An insightful mixture of academic research on shifting American religious views, his own experience as a parent, and interviews with others facing moral crises without God… this book is a humane and sensible guide to and for the many kinds of Americans leading secular lives.” 

A Best Book of 2014,
Publishers Weekly: 
"Zuckerman is a sociologist who in this groundbreaking book writes clearly, offers unobtrusive statistical support, and provides a persuasive and comprehensive look at the growing contemporary phenomenon of people who choose to live without religion, but with ethics and meaning in their lives."

David Brooks, The New York Times
"As secularism becomes more prominent and self-confident, its spokesmen have more insistently argued that secularism should not be seen as an absence — as a lack of faith — but rather as a positive moral creed. Phil Zuckerman, a Pitzer College sociologist, makes this case as fluidly and pleasurably as anybody in his book, Living the Secular Life."


Publishers Weekly
"In this fascinating work, Zuckerman (Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion), professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College, explores the moral and ethical foundations of secularism, addressing the question of whether you can live a good life without God or religion. Anecdotal evidence abounds; interviews with former religious adherents who have moved into secularism, both within and outside their religious communities, offer a compelling argument for the non-necessity of God in the pursuit of a moral life. "

Booklist
"With recent polls reporting 30 percent of Americans are nonreligious, while other studies find atheists the least-trusted people in the country, isn’t it high time to blow away the myths about the nonreligious? Answering affirmatively, the sociologist founder of the first secular-studies program at Pitzer College presents real secular people as peaceable, productive, and living happily….He also shows that secularism isn’t bipolar—believer or nonbeliever—but includes many with some supernatural beliefs but who aren’t religiously observant. And there’s not a proselytizer or zealot among this group—the point being that secular people are not all—indeed, hardly ever—Christopher Hitchens or Madalyn Murray O’Hair. May one more prejudice fall." 

Library Journal: 
The author brilliantly weaves stories and reflections together with empirical sociological research to create a rich portrait of secular America….Highly recommended for all readers, both religious and nonreligious, seeking a more accurate understanding of this ever-growing segment of the American population.”

Greg M. Epstein, humanist chaplain at Harvard University; author Good Without God
Phil Zuckerman is without a doubt the leading American sociologist of secularism. And with America secularizing more rapidly and profoundly now than in any previous era in our history, Zuckerman’s work has become essential reading for everyday people who want to understand religion—and the nonreligious—in this country. Living the Secular Life represents the next big chapter in a centuries-old story, so if you’ve ever taken an interest in Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, et al., you certainly need to pick this book up and find out where things are headed.”

Bart Campolo, author Things We Wish We Had Said
“Since coming out as a post-Christian minister, I’ve discovered all kinds of people sincerely pursuing goodness without the nurture, encouragement, and mutual support most church folks take for granted. These folks are hungry for fellowship and pastoral care, but even hungrier for a thoughtful, positive way to communicate their values and commitments to friends and family members instinctively distrustful of anyone who doesn’t believe in God. For them—and for me—Phil Zuckerman is a genuine hero, and Living the Secular Life is a wonderful gift. Here at last is a clear, concise, and compassionate guided tour of the world’s fastest-growing way of life. Zuckerman isn’t trying to prove everyone else wrong. On the contrary, he’s helping the secular community better understand and comport itself, and helping the rest of humanity understand that we’re on their side too.”

Peter Boghossian, professor of philosophy, Portland State University; author of A Manual for Creating Atheists
“For secular people seeking deeper insight into their own worldview, or religious people seeking to better understand the rise of irreligion in society today, this book is indispensable. An engaging, powerful read.

About the Author

PHIL ZUCKERMAN is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is the author most recently of Faith No More and Society Without God and blogs for Psychology Today and the Huffington Post. In 2011 Zuckerman founded an interdisciplinary Department of Secular Studies at Pitzer College, the first in the nation.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
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R^5
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent explanation and a respectful advocacy for a perspective on belief systems that would make for a better world if we
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