NSRN in the News

NSRN in the News is managed by Lorna Mumford.
This page provides links to press articles relating to the NSRN or the work of network members.


Religion and Ethics Festival
12th-13th September 2012

Hosted by the BBC’s Religion and Ethics department this two day event brought together broadcasters, producers, journalists, academics, clergy and members of the public for a series of discussions and debates exploring issues of faith, philosophy and ethics. NSRN director Lois Lee took part in a special live edition of The Big Questions. The show is not currently available online but is expected to be broadcast on the BBC Parliamentary Channel (date TBC). In the meantime general information about the festival can be found on the BBC website and Aaqil Ahmed, head of religion and ethics at the BBC, blogs about the event here.

Workshop: Nonreligious Identities in Policy and Practice

AHRC/ESRC Religion in Society Programme
6th June 2012

NSRN director Lois Lee acted as rapporteur for this one day workshop addressing nonreligious identities as lived and legislated. The day brought together academics, humanists, atheists, secularists, the media, the third sector and other interested parties to discuss issues ranging from equalities legislation to what nonreligious practice might look like.

Reports and podcasts avaliable here.

‘This path-breaking religious research – can we have no more like it?’ by Lois Lee

The Guardian
12th May 2012

Lois Lee discusses the recent series of Westminster Faith Debates, held as part of the AHRC/ESRC Religion and Society Programme, and the London School of Economics new Programme for the Study of Religion and Nonreligion. Available here

‘The Social Science of Secularity’ by Frank L. Pasquale

Free Enquiry Vol.32, No.2
April/May 2012

Pasquale provides an overview of contemporary research into nonreligion and secularity in which he describes the NSRN and the Center for Atheist Research as’ two innovative organizations’ which exemplify the ‘new social scientific focus on the nonreligious’. As well as documenting motivations for the rising popularity of nonreligion as a topic of study in recent years, Pasquale highlights the complexities of terminology, the relationship between (non)religiosity and health, and the plurality of nonreligious worldviews as key areas for future research. Read the full article online here.

Beyond Belief

BBC Radio 4
5th March 2012

In BBC Radio 4’s Beyond Belief series Ernie Rea and his guests discuss issues related to the place of faith and religion in today’s complex world. NSRN director Lois Lee joined Ernie, along with Simon Blackburn of the British Humanist Association and Mark Embleton of AtheismUK, to discuss the appeal and direction of ‘New Atheism’.

Listen to the podcast of this debate and others here.

‘Atheists Trade in Traditional Christian Symbols, Make Meaningful Icons of their Own’ by Ken Chitwood

The Houston Chronicle
30th November 2011

Katie Aston, assistant editor of NSRN Online, whose PhD research explores atheist aesthetics and material cultures, is quoted by Ken Chitwood in his discussion of atheist symbolism. Read the article here.

‘Going Godless: Does Secularism Make People More Ethical?’ by Hilmar Schmundt

Spiegel Online
8th November 2011

This article published in the online version of German news magazine Der Spiegel discusses current social scientific research within the field of nonreligion and secularity. The research of Barry Kosmin, co-editor of Secularism and Nonreligion, and NSRN members Catherine Caldwell-Harris, and Phil Zuckerman is discussed. Read the full article here.

‘The Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network’

The Secular Outpost
19th September 2011

Blog post by Taner Edis complimenting the work of the NSRN. Available here.

‘First academic journal on secularism, nonreligion to debut in January’ by Dan Gilgoff

28th July 2011

The launch of the new journal Secularism and Nonreligion, a joint project between Trinity College in Conneticut and the NSRN, is reported in CNN’s Belief Blog. Online here.

‘What is secularism?’

The Guardian
27th June 2011

Articles published in response to Comment is Free feature asking ‘What is secularism?’ include contributions from NSRN members. Responses address the relationship between secularism and modernity, the difference between secularism and secularisation, the complexities of secularism in Egypt, and the role of secularism in protecting religious freedom. Available here.

‘Secular Studies Arrives at Last’ by Phil Zuckerman

The Huffington Post
17th May 2011

The NSRN is mentioned in a blog post by Phil Zuckerman explaining motivations for establishing the new secular studies programme at Pitzer College. Read it here.

‘Majoring in secular studies’ by Phil Zuckerman

The Guardian
13th May 2011

The NSRN receives a mention in Phil Zuckerman’s article discussing the new secular studies department at Pitzer College in Claremont. Read it here:

‘What can science say about atheism?’

The Guardian
11th April 2011

NSRN members discuss their research in response to a Comment is Free question feature asking ‘What can science say about atheism?’ Available here.

‘Nonreligion and immortality’ by Lois Lee

The Guardian
5th April 2011

In this article for the Guardian’s Comment is Free Lois Lee responds to remarks made by John Gray regarding nonreligious conceptions of mortality and immortality. Lee discusses how her own research, along with that of Abby Day, demonstrates that ‘the nonreligious, like the religious, accept and reject different types of and vehicles for immortality’. Read her article here.

‘Religion is irrational, but so is atheism’ by Jonathan Lanman

New Scientist
26th March 2011

This article provides a summary of the paper delivered by Jonathan Lanman at the First Annual Lecture of the NSRN in 2011. Lanman identifies differences between ‘non-theism’, which he defines to be a lack of belief in supernatural agents, and ‘strong atheism’ which is characterised by a moral opposition to religious beliefs. Lanman contends that, rather than viewing religion as related to conditions of existential insecurity, these differences are better explained through a theory of ‘threat and action’.

Read the full article here (requires subscription).

You can also access the NSRN events report of the lecture, written by Katie Aston, here.

‘Better to be hated for the right reasons than ignored’ By Stephen Bullivant

The Guardian
15th October 2010

NSRN director Stephen Bullivant responds to the findings of the Church of England report The Faith of Generation Y in the Guardian’s Comment is Free. Read his article here.

‘Indifference may be the church’s best hope’ By Lois Lee

The Guardian
11th October 2010

Lois Lee comments on the findings of the recent Church of England report The Faith of Generation Y which noted that a significant number of young, infrequent churchgoers indicated a lack of concern regarding matters of religious belief. Lee asks whether religious indifference is the best way of understanding these responses, and suggests some alternative interpretations. Available here.

‘Scientists investigate if atheists’ brains are missing a ‘God spot’’ by Erin Anderssen

The Globe and Mail
2nd April 2010

The NSRN and research conducted by some of its members are referred to in this article discussing current studies on atheism and nonreligion. Available online here.

‘Die Bildung der Atheisten’

Der Standard
16th March 2010

Lois Lee discussed the activities of the NSRN in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard. Available online here.

‘Mysterious rituals of the atheists’ by Stephen Bullivant and Lois Lee

The Age
15th March 2010

Reflecting on the 2010 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne NSRN directors, Stephen Bullivant and Lois Lee, refer to how in recent years the presumed correlation between education, technological-scientific advancement and declining religiosity has been thrown into doubt. Describing contemporary unbelief as a ‘fascinating social phenomenon’ they state that while it is not the role of the social sciences to ‘comment on the existence or otherwise of God or any other supernatural phenomena’ what they can do is demonstrate the variety of ways people perceive and relate to such phenomena. Read their full article here.

‘Where do atheists come from?’ by Lois Lee and Stephen Bullivant

New Scientist
6th March 2010

NSRN founder members, Lois Lee and Stephen Bullivant, describe their motivations for setting up the research network, stating that ‘Enlightenment assumptions about the decline of religion’ had resulted in atheism becoming a ‘collective blind spot in research’. They go on to discuss research presented at the NSRN Inaugural Conference in December 2009 which highlighted the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of how nonreligious people find meaning in their lives, the need for a clarification of terminology relating to nonreligion, and challenges to prior assumptions regarding a link between atheism and educational attainment. The full article can be found here (requires subscription).

‘Have faith in atheists’ by Nathan Schneider.

The Guardian
21st June 2009

The NSRN and quotes from founder and director, Lois Lee, are included in an article by Nathan Schneider published in The Guardian’s Comment is Free section. Schneider discusses how research within the field of nonreligion and secularity is challenging negative perceptions of atheists in the U.S. Read the article here.

‘Beyond belief: Research on religion goes after a new target: The secular’ by Nathan Schneider

The Boston Globe
26th April 2009

The NSRN is mentioned in Nathan Schneider’s article discussing current secularity research, published in The Boston Globe. Full article available here (requires subscription).