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There Is No God Atheists in America
978-1-4422-1849-9 • Hardback
April 2013 • $36.00 • (£22.95)
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978-1-4422-1851-2 • eBook
April 2013 • $35.99 • (£22.95)

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Pages: 150
Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/8
By David A. Williamson and George Yancey
 
Religion | Atheism
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
There is No God: Atheists in America answers several questions pertaining to how the atheist population has grown from relatively small numbers to have a disproportionately large impact on important issues of our day, such as the separation of church and state, abortion, gay marriage, and public school curricula. Williamson and Yancey answer the common questions surrounding atheism. Just how common is the dismissal and derision of religion expressed by atheists? How are we to understand the world view of atheists and their motivations in political action and public discourse? Finally, is there any hope for rapprochement in the relationship of atheism and theism?

In
There is No God, the authors begin with a brief history of atheism to set the stage for a better understanding of contemporary American atheism. They then explore how the relationship between religious and atheistic ideologies has evolved as each attempted to discredit the other in different ways at different times and under very different social and political circumstances. Although atheists are a relatively small minority, atheists appear to be growing in number and in their willingness to be identified as atheists and to voice their non-belief. As those voices of atheism increase it is essential that we understand how and why those who are defined by such a simple term as “non-believers in the existence of God” should have such social and political influence. The authors successfully answer the broader question of the apparent polarization of the religious and non-religious dimensions of American society.
David A. Williamson is associate professor of sociology at the University of North Texas.

George Yancey is professor of sociology at the University of North Texas. He is the author of numerous books, including Just Don’t Marry: Interracial Dating, Marriage, and Parenting and One Body, One Spirit: Principles of Successful Multiracial Churches.
1: Understanding Atheism in the United States
2: A Brief History of Atheism
3: Who Are the Atheists?
4: The Foolishness of Religion
5: Progressive Politics as a Tenet of Atheism
6: Towards an Atheist Morality
7: Atheism in the United States
8: Summary and Conclusion
Tables
Appendices
The education of teachers has always presented problems. The essays in this book address the issue in terms of the educational needs of the 21st century. In the first section, contributors review some of the challenges and proposed changes in the US, UK, Israel, Scotland, and Hong Kong. The second section of the book addresses issues more broadly, such as feminine culture, racism, and environmental education. Educating both new and experienced teachers in the role of technology as an educational tool is acknowledged as necessary. Balancing content and methodology in educating teachers is a long-standing problem. There is recognition throughout the book about the differing needs of teachers throughout their professional careers. Beginning teachers seem to need practical, classroom-oriented learning; more-experienced professionals require a more theoretical and ethical approach. The most informative parts of the book are the examples of specific educational dilemmas. The authors stress the importance of collaboration among elementary schools, secondary schools, and higher education institutions as well as the importance of lifelong learning for teachers. The problem of educational funding is continuously mentioned and hovers over every innovative idea. Summing Up: Recommended. Research and professional collections.

CHOICE


Williamson and Yancey define atheism as the affirmative belief that no god or supernatural power exists. Atheists, therefore, share something in common with those who embrace religion. Their worldview is equally a matter of faith or belief. Quite remarkable, then, is the venom and vitriol found in contemporary antireligious polemics, especially by those desiring a society that is inclusive, diverse, and respectful of differences. The authors have undertaken a historical and sociological analysis of atheists, not only to better understand this vocal minority but also to examine the nature of the conflict with religion. They conclude it’s more political than metaphysical. Extreme atheism seeks to eliminate religion from the public square and subvert its perceived authority for drawing social and moral boundaries. If history is full of examples of the destructive excesses and intolerance of religion, an acerbic atheism, an atheism without altruism, scarcely seems an acceptable alternative. The authors’ dispassionate and helpful analysis of extreme atheism also demonstrates that compassion and compromise come from the center.
Booklist


This study puts into context the historical conditions and the sociopolitical realities that have set the stage for the evolution of one of the most understudied and yet revealing minority groups in the contemporary United States. For an introduction and sociological picture of some of the most critical issues surrounding American atheists, begin here.
Jesse M. Smith, University of Colorado at Boulder


David A. Williamson and George. Yancey ably integrate the sociology of religion with political sociology in an insightful analysis of contemporary atheist Americans, a largely unknown and under-researched minority.
Barry A. Kosmin, director, Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society & Culture, Trinity College


Religious people assume that the growing atheist minority in America lacks a sense of morality. There is No God gives voice to committed atheists who have a strong moral compass, pointing not toward God but in the direction of rationality, and humanism. Williamson and Yancey describe the long history of atheists’ delight in subjecting theism to the test of science and logic, from Diagoras to Diderot to Dawkins. They predict the societal struggle between atheists and theists will be resolved by those between the two extremes.
Ariela Keysar, co-principal investigator, American Religious Identification Survey, Trinity College, Hartford


Williamson and Yancey have successfully walked the fine line between the two extremes of the religious-atheism divide. The authors’ messages are honest, thoughtful, and respectful of the people and points of view along the continuum from those with absolute god belief, absolute no-god belief, and variations in between.
Raymond F. Paloutzian, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology at Westmont College, editor of The International Journal for the Psychology of Religion


• On December 18, 2013, KERA (NPR station, North Texas) program: Think with Kris Boyd segment on Rejecting Religion

Link here, in hour 2 is http://www.kera.org/2013/12/18/rejecting-religion
Description from program : As atheists go public with their identity, non-believers are becoming an increasingly powerful political and social faction. We’ll talk this hour about atheists’ impact with University of North Texas professors David A. Williamson and George Yancey. Their new book is There Is No God: Atheists in America.


 
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