Although our country is still very much identified as “one nation under God,” the truth is the number of nonreligious Americans is precipitously rising. Back in the 1950s, fewer than 5 percent of Americans were nonreligious; today, that figure has jumped to 30 percent.
Drawing on sociological research and extensive in-depth interviews with men and women across the country, sociologist Phil Zuckerman’s Living the Secular Life illuminates this demographic shift with the moral convictions that govern secular individuals.
Critically acclaimed and bestselling author James Carroll has explored every aspect of Christianity, faith, and Jesus Christ except this central one: What can we believe about—and how can we believe in—Jesus in the twenty-first century in light of the Holocaust and other atrocities of the twentieth century and the drift from religion that followed?
In Christ Actually: The Son of God for the Secular Age, Carroll explores how one can retrieve transcendent faith in modern times.
For the first time, religious self-identification is on the decline in American. Some analysts have cited as cause a post-9/11 perception: that faith in general is a source of aggression, intolerance, and divisiveness—something bad for society. But how accurate is that view?
In her book, Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, Karen Armstrong sets out to discover the truth about religion and violence in each of the world’s great traditions, taking us on an astonishing journey from prehistoric times to the present.
Recent grassroots efforts have prevented the razing of churches that have been closed for a number of years in Berkshire County. But the victories for preservationists don’t change the underlying issue, part of a national trend: many congregations are simply struggling to survive. In part two of a two-part series, this story takes a look at how some religious organizations in the Berkshires are having success in reaching more people.
Recent grassroots efforts have prevented the razing of churches that have been closed for a number of years in Berkshire County. But the victories for preservationists don’t change the underlying issue, part of a national trend: many congregations are simply struggling to survive. In part one of a two-part series, this story takes a look at how active people are in existing religious organizations in the area.
Evangelical Christianity and conservative politics are today seen as inseparable. But when Jimmy Carter, a Democrat and a born-again Christian, won the presidency in 1976, he owed his victory in part to American evangelicals, who responded to his open religiosity and his rejection of the moral bankruptcy of the Nixon Administration. Carter, running as a representative of the New South, articulated a progressive strand of American Christianity that championed liberal ideals, racial equality, and social justice—one that has almost been forgotten since.
In Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter, acclaimed religious historian Randall Balmer reveals how the rise and fall of Jimmy Carter’s political fortunes mirrored the transformation of American religious politics.
Thomas Moore was a monk for twelve years, a musician, a university professor, and a psychotherapist. He writes regularly for Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, Spirituality & Health, and Resurgence Magazine. He lectures widely on holistic medicine, spirituality, psychotherapy, and the arts. Moore has been awarded numerous honors, including the Humanitarian Award from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University and an honorary doctorate from Lesley University.
On June 27, 1844, a mob stormed the jail in the dusty frontier town of Carthage, Illinois. Clamorous and angry, they were hunting down a man they saw as a grave threat to their otherwise quiet lives: the founding prophet of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. They wanted blood.
At thirty-nine years old, Smith had already lived an outsized life. In addition to starting his own religion and creating his own “Golden Bible”—the Book of Mormon—he had worked as a water-dowser and treasure hunter. He’d led his people to Ohio, then Missouri, then Illinois, where he founded a city larger than fledgling Chicago. He was running for president. And, secretly, he had married more than thirty women.
In American Crucifixion, Alex Beam tells how Smith went from charismatic leader to public enemy: How his most seismic revelation—the doctrine of polygamy—created a rift among his people; how that schism turned to violence; and how, ultimately, Smith could not escape the consequences of his ambition and pride.
Several weeks ago, as I planned my overly ambitious summer reading list, I came across my son’s copy of Flannery O’Connor’s famous first novel, Wise Blood. Contemplating whether or not to read the book, and always looking for an excuse to talk to my adult child, I called him to inquire about what he thought of it. “You know, dad,” he began, “It is an intensely religious novel, all about a man who is trying to rid himself of faith in Jesus and God, yet who fails to do so. As a rabbi and religious person, you’ll like it.”