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Over the last decade or so, no religion' has become the fastest growing religion in the UK. Around the world, millions of people have turned away from the traditional faiths of the past and embraced a secular-or nonreligious-life. While these people may not subscribe to a faith, this secular life still enables inspiring beliefs. Here these beliefs and real stories of nonreligious men and women, based on extensive in-depth interviews, are explored, making this an indispensable handbook for anyone living a secular life.'
Feminism and atheism are "dirty words" that Americans across the political spectrum love to debate--and hate. Throw them into a blender and you have a toxic brew that supposedly defies decency, respectability, and Americana. Add an "unapologetically" Black critique to the mix and it's a deal-breaking social taboo. Putting gender at the center of the equation, progressive "Religious Nones" of color are spearheading an anti-racist, social justice humanism that disrupts the "colorblind" ethos of European American atheist and humanist agendas, which focus principally on church-state separation. These critical interventions build on the lived experiences and social histories of segregated Black and Latinx communities that are increasingly under economic siege. In this context, Hutchinson makes a valuable and necessary call for social justice change in a polarized climate where Black women's political power has become a galvanizing national force.
No thinker in the West has had a wider and more sustained influence than the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. From philosophy to drama, religion to politics, it is difficult to find a current cultural or social phenomenon that is not in some aspect indebted to the famous philosopher and the Platonic tradition. It should come as no surprise that contemporary artists continue to engage with and respond to the ideas of Plato. Accompanying an exhibition at the Getty Villa, this book brings together eleven renowned artists working in a variety of media--Paul Chan, Rachel Harrison, Huang Yong Ping, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Joseph Kosuth, Paul McCarthy, Whitney McVeigh, Raymond Pettibon, Adrian Piper, and Michelangelo Pistoletto--all of whom have acknowledged the role of Plato in their artistic process. Featuring candid interviews with the artists, this volume begins with an essay by the critic and curator Donatien Grau that contextualizes Plato in antiquity and in the present day. Contemporary art, Grau demonstrates, is Platonism stripped bare, and it allows us to reconsider Plato's philosophy as a deeply human construct, one that remains highly relevant today.
The story of how prominent liberal intellectuals reshaped American religious and secular institutions to promote a more democratic, science-centered society. Recent polls show that a quarter of Americans claim to have no religious affiliation, identifying instead as atheists, agnostics, or "nothing in particular." A century ago, a small group of American intellectuals who dubbed themselves humanists tread this same path, turning to science as a major source of spiritual sustenance. In The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism, Stephen P. Weldon tells the fascinating story of this group as it developed over the twentieth century, following the fortunes of a few generations of radical ministers, academic philosophers, and prominent scientists who sought to replace traditional religion with a modern, liberal, scientific outlook. Weldon explores humanism through the networks of friendships and institutional relationships that underlay it, from philosophers preaching in synagogues and ministers editing articles of Nobel laureates to magicians invoking the scientific method. Examining the development of an increasingly antagonistic engagement between religious conservatives and the secular culture of the academy, Weldon explains how this conflict has shaped the discussion of science and religion in American culture. He also uncovers a less known--but equally influential--story about the conflict within humanism itself between two very different visions of science: an aspirational, democratic outlook held by the followers of John Dewey on the one hand, and a skeptical, combative view influenced by logical positivism on the other. Putting America's distinctive science talk into historical perspective, Weldon shows how events such as the Pugwash movement for nuclear disarmament, the ongoing evolution controversies, the debunking of pseudo-science, and the selection of scientists and popularizers like Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov as humanist figureheads all fit a distinctly American ethos. Weldon maintains that this secular ethos gained much of its influence by tapping into the idealism found in the American radical religious tradition that includes the deism of Thomas Paine, nineteenth-century rationalism and free thought, Protestant modernism, and most important, Unitarianism. Drawing on archival research, interviews, and a thorough study of the main humanist publications, The Scientific Spirit of American Humanism reveals a new level of detail about the personal and institutional forces that have shaped major trends in American secular culture. Significantly, the book shows why special attention to American liberal religiosity remains critical to a clear understanding of the scientific spirit in American culture.