Atheist Awakening: Secular Activism and Community in America

Hardcover | November 12, 2014

byRichard Cimino, Christopher Smith

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Surveys over the last twenty years have seen an ever-growing number of Americans disclaim religious affiliations and instead check the "none" box. In the first sociological exploration of organized secularism in America, Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith show how one segment of these"nones" have created a new, cohesive atheist identity through activism and the creation of communities. According to Cimino and Smith, the new upsurge of atheists is a reaction to the revival of religious fervor in American politics since 1980. Feeling overlooked and underrepresented in the public sphere, atheists have employed a wide variety of strategies-some evangelical, some based on identitypolitics - to defend and assert themselves against their ideological opponents. These strategies include building and maintaining communities, despite the absence of the kinds of shared rituals, texts, and laws that help to sustain organized religions.Drawing on in-depth interviews with self-identified atheist, secularist, and humanist leaders and activists, as well as extensive observations and analysis of secular gatherings and media, Cimino and Smith illustrate how atheists organize and align themselves toward common goals, and how media -particularly web-based media - have proven invaluable in connecting atheists to one another and in creating a powerful virtual community. Cimino and Smith suggest that secularists rely not only on the Internet for community-building, but on their own new forms of ritual.This groundbreaking study will be essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the growing atheist movement in America.

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Surveys over the last twenty years have seen an ever-growing number of Americans disclaim religious affiliations and instead check the "none" box. In the first sociological exploration of organized secularism in America, Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith show how one segment of these"nones" have created a new, cohesive atheist ident...

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 Shop...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:216 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:November 12, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199986320

ISBN - 13:9780199986323

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsForewordIntroduction1. Organized Secularism Beyond the `Humanist 21st Century'2. The New Atheism and the Revival of Secularism3. Atheism Unbound-Moving to the Center, Speaking from the Margins4. Rituals and Commemorations-Secularist Solidarity and LegitimizationConclusionAppendixReferencesIndex