The list author says: "Much writing about atheism and religion assumes atheism as the default position, with religion as the phenomenon that needs to be explained. But atheism is by far the rarer phenomenon, something that became widespread in the 19th century, peaked in the second half of the 20th century, and has been declining since. This is a list of books that attempt to understand atheism as a historically specific cultural phenomenon. The authors are philosophers, theologians, and cultural critics rather than sociologists--there is a whole other literature on secularization theory. The books do not debate the truth claims of atheism but represent attempts, mostly by non-atheists, to understand atheism in its historical and cultural specificity. I have reviewed several of these books for Amazon and/or my own blog, http://ethicsculture.blogspot.com."
"McGrath takes atheism seriously as a social, cultural, and historical phenomenon in its own right. It deserves examination in these terms no less than the religions to which it responds. See my review."
"As Alasdair MacIntyre says, "Taylor's book is a major and highly original contribution to the debates on secularization that have been ongoing for the past century. There is no book remotely like it.""
"Addressing, from within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the views and experiences of atheists, Novak sees a kind of common ground in the experience of nothingness (the dark night of the soul) experienced by Catholic mystics."