There Is No God: Atheists in America

There Is No God: Atheists in America

by David A. Williamson, George Yancey


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442218499
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 150
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 5.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

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

What People are Saying About This

Jesse M. Smith

This study puts into context the historical conditions and the socio-political 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. The authors search beneath the simple belief vs. unbelief dichotomy, demonstrating that there is more to the story concerning what motivates and shapes both sides. For an introduction and sociological picture of some of the most critical issues surrounding American atheists, begin here.

Raymond F. Paloutzian

Williamson and Yancey have successfully walked the fine line between the two extremes of the religious-atheism divide. This book captures the range of points of view in a balance with delicate skill, and careful, accurate presentation of their various nuances. Their 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.People's attitudes about those "on the other side," as well as their proclivities to act in certain ways in relation to them, are revealed in in-depth interviews and are represented overall in research on societal trends. Although the book is about the present, interesting historical notes are woven in that add to its intellectual richness and insights.

Barry A. Kosmin

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. The authors show how, for many atheists, their non-theistic world view meshes with a strong commitment to political progressivism that is very much a mirror image of Religious Right's theocratic conservatism.

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