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Living the Secular Life

David Brooks The New York TimesAs secularism becomes prominent and self confident its spokesmen have 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 LifeA Best Book of 2014 Publishers Weekly Over the last twenty five years “no religion” has become the fastest growing religion 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 S. This is one of the enjoyable atheist books that I ve recently read It covers all of the major aspects of life people experience from a secular viewpoint It s nice to read something that s empowering and adds a zest to living something that makes me glad to be a secular citizen instead of focusing on how much religion sucks There aren t enough guidebooks on how to be a good atheistagnosticskeptic but this is a great one to utilize I d love to dive into the author s secular studies program

summary Living the Secular Life

S Zuckerman shares eye opening research that reveals the enduring moral strength of children raised without religion as well as the hardships experienced by secular mothers in the rural South where church attendance defines the public space Despite the real sorrows of mortality Zuckerman conveys the deep psychological health of secular individuals in their attitudes toward illness death and dying Tracking the efforts of nonreligious groups to construct their own communities Zuckerman shows how Americans are building institutions and cultivating relationships without religious influence Most of all Living the Secular Life infuses the sociological data and groundbreaking research with the moral convictions that govern secular individuals and demonstrates how readers can integrate these beliefs into their own lives A manifesto for a booming social movement and a revelatory survey of this overlooked community Living the Secular Life offers essential and long awaited information for anyone building a life based on his or her own principles New York Times Book Review Susan Jacoby “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 wor. A MUST read for anyone who has left religion and HIGHLY recommended for anyone who is religious so as to better understand your own religion your part in it and how to accept and understand those without religion for whatever reason I was raised LDS I FULLY lived it and FULLY believed it for 35 years Leaving my religion of birth was no easy thing and a decision that was NOT taken lightly I guarantee you But feeling confident in my decision I was so confused on how to create my own new path find and build my own new community and even confused about what it was that I believed or didn t believe any Zuckerman does a wonderful job of aligning morals values perspective hope and judgement OUTSIDE of the boundaries of religion and helps build a framework where I as an infant athiestagnosticsecular humanistaweist as Zuckerman calls it could feel confident in my new self trusting that I do have good instincts good personal intuition good morals and values and that I could rely on my own judgement and life experience rather than defaulting to a defined script that dictated my decision making for the past 3 decades Leaving a religion leaves one feeling void of belonging after belonging to a large global entity my whole life and being labeled as Mormon brought an immense community to my doorstep no matter where I lived how old I was what political party I belonged to etc Zuckerman explains both believing and non believing life perspectives presents studies and data that is clear and surprising and does so in a way that is non offsensive to believers about the pros and cons of not being religious how secularism is on the rise in our lifetime and just how good secular people are despite having no God or articles of theological faith guiding their life choices Fantastic data interesting personal stories and great instruction for anyone living outside of traditional religious Belief

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Ecular Life reveals that despite opinions to the contrary nonreligious Americans possess a uniue 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 principlesare 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 conseuences of America’s fastest growing “faith” Zuckerman discovered that despite the entrenched negative beliefs about nonreligious people American secular culture is grounded in deep morality and proactive citizenship indeed some of the very best that the country has to offer Living the Secular Life journeys through some of the most essential components of human existence child rearing and morality death and ritual community and beauty and offers secular readers inspiration for leading their own live. Mostly common sense apologetics for the secularAs a secular reader I found most of what this book offers as common sense secular people have morals values family seek to do good have no traditions and no comfort in a promise of supernatural salvation big problem And that religious believers tend to believe the first four on that list are not possible without religion notably their own After Trump it s no longer a surprise that the author s many referenced studies show that American believers are not always but likely to be bigots and racists they scream at such associations but it s no longer deniable However 1 I d like to examine those studies their uestions and assumptions to check their methodology Social science is not science And 2 isn t that how true communities when we had any assured cohesion shunning others while promoting their own as the only true way From that standpoint no surprise that believers are hostile to non believers though the author notes they do tend to give to charity In the chapter Don t Fear the Reaper the secular life starts to fray Some interviewees responded to the uestion of death with What s there to be afraid of And I wasn t here 100 years ago That doesn t bother me Why should my absence 100 years from now be a problem Really Pulease Let s ask this person when they re 70 or 80 years old close to doom no longer invincible Rational answers be they science based or logic have zero impact on that great non rational problem we re alive and know we won t be That s why non rational religion works for those who can believe it If it made sense like science it would lose its power Whatever that mythical aspect of human nature is the supernatural mythical magical addresses it Secularism appears to have no good answer I was hoping to find one in this book I particularly liked the author s chapter Aweism concerning the miraculous nature of existence much of it now understood through science And his euating this to what believers probably experience Though they attribute it to God we attribute it to fundamental laws of nature which we do not worship but should He also does well to show how America was not as the Founders intended created as a Christian nation Under God was added to our Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 and the moto In God we trust added in 56 both in response to godless commies in the USSR As President John Adams said The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion

About the Author: Phil Zuckerman

Philip Phil Zuckerman born June 26 1969 in Los Angeles California is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College in Claremont California He specializes in the sociology of secularity He is the author of several books including Society Without God for which he won ForeWord Magazine's silver book of the year award and Faith No Morehttpswwwpitzereduacademicsfacu

10 thoughts on “Living the Secular Life

  1. says:

    This book provides a humane and sensible guide for Americans leading secular lives Thus this book is addressed to the fastest growing segment of the American population when classified by religion or non religio

  2. says:

    A number of people lose their religious belief in the face of logic and evidence and say what now? Many drifted out of faith or were never in its grasp How does one as a member of the most despised group of Americans Atheists make

  3. says:

    This is one of the enjoyable atheist books that I've recently read It covers all of the major aspects of life people experience from a secular v

  4. says:

    Goodreads win Will read and review once receivedThis was really interesting to read and very easy to follow It was also pretty easy to understand what the author was talking about in this book It was a short and uick read It was a very informative read and I did enjoy it uite a bit A good read that I plan to pass along to some frie

  5. says:

    It is a good book I am too old for this book but am pleased there is an excellent writer who is explaining the belief system I have lived a secular life for many years and found nothing in the book that added to my experience This would not have been so forty or fifty years ago when I could find little on the topic Unfort

  6. says:

    Mostly common sense apologetics for the secularAs a secular reader I found most of what this book offers as common sense secular peo

  7. says:

    There are very few books that I wish everyone would read but Living the Secular Life is one of them whether you are totally committed to a devoted religious life or you are an open atheist because in it Phil Zuckerman successfully bridges the ever widening gap between those who believe in God and those who don't I love thi

  8. says:

    A MUST read for anyone who has left religion and HIGHLY recommended for anyone who is religious so as to better understand your own religion your part in it and how to accept and understand those without religion for whate

  9. says:

    For context I am both a non religious person and a college student studying comparative religionI am really hating this book While I agree with the premise that secularity is absolutely a phenomenon worthy of study just like religiosity the author and I then precede to completely diverge I think that his arguments are very poorly constructed and without nuance of self awareness An actual sentence from the book reads And we can

  10. says:

    For the most part I found the book confirmed what I suspected The world is getting and secular and I am glad for that The author convinced me that the United States is at about 35% secular with and people checking the none box on religion Given statistics that show the secular countries of the world rate higher on nearly every factor that represents human well being and the religious countriesstates rate at the bottom of all positive facto

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