From the EDITORIAL “The scientiﬁc study of atheism”
“This issue of Religion, Brain & Behavior focuses on the scientific study of atheism.
With a pair of target articles from Catherine Caldwell-Harris and Dominic Johnson,
a large collection of expert commentaries on those articles, and two responses from
the authors, this is one of the richest discussions of the scientific study of atheism in
print. Johnson reviews the various ways of conceiving of atheism in evolutionary
terms, while Caldwell-Harris analyzes the evidence for atheism as a matter of
individual differences. These two essays represent fundamentally contrasting
strategies for making sense of atheism and it is likely that future scientific study
will have to navigate between the two perspectives.”
Read more of this open access edition Religion, Brain & Behavior, Volume 2 Issue 1
A new publication has been announced of interest to the NSRN. Contributors below include the NSRN director Stephen Bullivant and other contributors to our upcoming annual conference.
Vol. 2/ 1 (June, 2011)
Theme: The New Visibility of Atheism in Europe
Grace Davie, Phil Zuckerman, Teemu Taira, Thomas Zenk, Teuvo Laitila, Tiina Mahlamäki, Gavin Hyman, Mattias Martinson, Stuart McAnulla, Stephen Bullivant, Lise Kanckos, Mikko Sillfors.
AR is published by the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History in Åbo, Finland. Its purpose is to publish current research on religion and to offer a platform for scholarly co-operation and debate within the field. The journal appears twice a year and consists of articles and book reviews. It addresses an international readership and, as the title suggests, approaches the field of religion from a broad perspective, engaging contributors from different theoretical and methodological traditions.
A last minute events addition, this Friday (20 January), Matthew Engelke will be giving an extended version of the talk he previously gave at the Atheism and Anthropology workshop at UCL last year (Lorna Mumford’s useful discussion of that event provides a summary: https://nonreligionandsecularity.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/events-report-lorna-mumford-nsrn-net.pdf ). The talk will be part of the LSE’s Research Seminar on Anthropological Theory seminar series, which is open to all researchers. Details are as follows:
Friday 10:30am – 12:30pm
Seligman Library (OLD 6.05) Old Building, LS
Further info can be found here:
Now that things are slowly getting back to normal after the holiday season, we thought some extra reading might be in order.
The following items have been added to the NSRN’s bibliography today, and are mostly the result of suggestions from visitors to the website. A huge thanks to everyone who suggested items – please keep them coming.
The complete bibliography can be viewed in a list organised by author surname or publication date.
- Alicino, F. 2011. “The Collaborations-Relations Between Western (Secular) Law and Religious Nomoi Groups in Today’s Multicultural Context : The Cases of France and Canada.” Transition Studies Review 18 (2): 430-444.
- Aston, Katie. 2011. Atheism Explained by Jonathan Lanman (NSRN Annual Lecture 2011). NSRN Events Report series [online]. NSRN, October 25. http://nsrn.net/events/events-reports.
- Baker, Joseph O’Brian, and Buster Smith. 2009. “The Nones: Social Characteristics of the Religiously Unaffiliated.” Social Forces 87 (3): 1251-1263.
- Bradley, Arthur, and Andrew Tate. 2010. The new atheist novel: fiction, philosophy and polemic after 9/11. Continuum International Publishing Group, April 11.
- Bullivant, Stephen, and Lois Lee. 2012. “Interdisciplinary Studies of Non-religion and Secularity: The State of the Union.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Caplow, T. 1998. “The Case of the Phantom Episcopalians.” American Sociological Review 63 (1): 112-113.
- Chatterjee, Nandini. 2011. The Making of Indian Secularism: Empire, Law and Christianity, 1830-1960. Palgrave Macmillan, March 1.
- Cragun, Ryan, Barry A. Kosmin, Ariela Keysar, Joseph H. Hammer, and Michael Nielsen. 2012. “On the Receiving End: Discrimination Toward the Non-Religious in the United States.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Demerath, N. J., III, and Victor Thiessen. 1966. “On Spitting Against the Wind: Organizational Precariousness and American Irreligion.” American Journal of Sociology 71 (6): 674-687.
- Ellison, Christopher G., and Darren E. Sherkat. 1995. “The ‘Semi -Involuntary Institution’ Revisited: Regional Differences in Church Participation Among Black Americans.” Social Forces 74.
- Festinger, L. 1956. When Prophecy Fails. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- Gorski, Philip S., and Ateş Altinordu. 2008. “After Secularization?” Annual Review of Sociology 34 (1): 55-85.
- Gutkowski, Stacey. 2012. “The British Secular habitus and the War on Terror.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Hadaway, C. Kirk, and Wade Clark Roof. 1979. “Those Who Stay Religious ‘Nones’ and Those Who Don’t: A Research Note.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 18 (2): 194-200.
- Hadaway, C.K., and P.L. Marler. 1993. “All in the Family: Religious Mobility in America.” Review of Religious Research 35 (2): 97-116.
- Hadaway, C.K., P.L. Marler, and M. Chaves. 1998. “Overreporting Church Attendance in America: Evidence That Demands the Same Verdict.” American Sociological Review 63 (1): 122-130.
- Hout, Michael, and Andrew Greeley. 1998. “What Church Officials’ Reports Don’t Show: Another Look at Church Attendance Data.” American Sociological Review 63 (1): 113-119.
- Hunter, Laura A. 2010. “Explaining Atheism: Testing the Secondary Compensator Model and Proposing an Alternative.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 6.
- Knott, Kim. 2010. “Theoretical and Methodological Resources for Breaking OPen the Secular and Exploring the Boundary between Religion and Non-religion.” Historia Religionum 2: 115-133.
- Kraut, Benny. 1979. From Reform Judaism to Ethical Culture: The Religious Evolution of Felix Adler. New York: Hebrew Union College Press.
- Lanman, Jonathan. 2011. “Thou Shalt Believe -: Or Not.” New Scientist.
- ———. 2012. “The Importance of Religious Displays for Belief Acquisition and Secularization.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Lee, Lois. 2012. “Research Note: Talking about a Revolution: Terminology for the New Field of Non-religion Studies.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Lerner, Berel Dov. 1995. “Understanding a (Secular) Primitive Society.” Religious Studies 31: 303-309.
- Lowis, M.J., A.J. Jewell, M.I. Jackson, and R. Merchant. 2011. “Religious and Secular Coping Methods Used by Older Adults : An Empirical Investigation.” Journal of Religion, Spirituality and Aging 23 (4): 279-303.
- Luehrmann, S. 2011. Secularism Soviet Style: Teaching Atheism and Religion in a Volga Republic. Indiana: Indiana University Press.
- MacKillop, I.D. 1986. The British Ethical Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Merino, Stephen M. 2012. “Irreligious Socialization? The Adult Religious Preferences of Individuals Raised with No Religion PDF Stephen M. Merino.” Secularism and Nonreligion 1: 1-16.
- Mumford, Lorna. 2011. Atheism and Anthropology: Researching Atheism and Self-Searching Belief and Experience Workshop. NSRN Events Report series [online]. NSRN, December. http://www.nsrn.net/events/events-reports.
- Orsi, R. 2005. Between heaven and earth: the religious worlds people make and the scholars who study them. Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Parmeggiani, F. 2011. “Speaking of God : The Post-Secular Challenge for Italian Feminist Thought and Practices.” Annali D Italianistica 29: 417-430.
- Presser, S., and M. Chaves. 2007. “Is Religious Service Attendance Declining?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 46 (3): 417-423.
- Quack, Johannes. 2012. “Organised Atheism in India: An Overview.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Radest, Howard B. 1969. Toward Common Ground: The Story of the Ethical Societies in the United States. New York: Frederick Unger Publishing Co.
- ———. 1990. The Devil and Secular Humanism: The Children of the Enlightenment. Westport, CT: Praeger.
- Roof, W.C., and W. McKinney. 1987. American Mainline Religion: Its Changing Shape and Future. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
- Sandomirsky, S., and J. Wilson. 1990. “Processes of Disaffiliation: Religious Mobility among Men and Women.” Social Forces 68: 1211-1229.
- Schwadel, P. 2010. “Period and Cohort Effects on Religious Nonaffiliation and Religious Disaffiliation: A Research Note.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 49 (2): 311-319.
- Stark, Rodney, Eva Hamberg, and Allen S. Miller. 2005. “Exploring Spirituality and Unchurched Religions in America, Sweden, and Japan.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 20 (1): 3-23.
- Stolzenberg, R.M., M. Blair-Loy, and L.J. Waite. 1994. “Stolzenberg, R. M., Blair-Loy, M., & Waite, L. J. (1994). Religious Participation in Early Adulthood: Age and Family Life Cycle Effects on Church Membership. American Sociological Review, 60, 84-103.” American Sociological Review 60: 84-103.
- Tamney, Joseph B., Shawn Powell, and Stephen Johnson. 1989. “Innovation Theory and Religious Nones.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 28 (2): 216-229.
- Taylor, Charles. 1998. Modes of Secularism. In Secularism and its Critics: Themes in Politics, ed. Rajeev Bhargava, 32-53. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
- Vargas, N. 2011. “Retrospective Accounts of Religious Disaffiliation in the United States: Stressors, Skepticism, and Political Factors.” Sociology of Religion (October 11). doi:10.1093/socrel/srr044. http://secularismandnonreligion.org/index.php/snr/article/view/5.
- Veevers, J.E., and D.F. Cousineau. 1980. “The Heathen Canadians: Demographic Correlates of Nonbelief.” The Pacific Sociological Review 23 (2): 199-216.
- Voas, David, and Siobhan McAndrew. 2012. “Three Puzzles of Non-religion in Britain.” Journal of Contemporary Religion 27 (1).
- Welch, Michael R. 1978a. “Religious Non-Affiliates and Worldly Success.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 17 (1): 59-61.
- ———. 1978b. “The Unchurched: Black Religious Non-Affiliates.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 17 (3): 289-293.
- Wilson, J., and Darren E. Sherkat. 1994. “Returning to the Fold.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 33: 148-161.
- Zuckerman, Phil. 2009. “Why are Danes and Swedes so Irreligious?” Nordic Journal of Religion and Society 22 (1).
- ———. 2011. Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion. New York: Oxford University Press.
The draft programme for the 2012 Sociology of Religion Study Group of the British Sociological Association (SOCREL) – Religion and (In)Equalities – has recently been announced, and is available here.
The conference dates are 28-30 March 2012 at the University of Chester, UK. The entire programme looks thoroughly stimulating, and contains a number of papers which should be of interest to NSRN researchers.
Of particular relevance is the ‘Atheism and Non-Religion’ panel on 29 March at 09.00:
Atheist summer camps: Transitioning away from conceptions of disbelief to belief
Christopher R. Cotter
The inherent inequalities of the religion-nonreligion dichotomy: A narrative approach to individual (non-)religiosity
Religion and modernity
Janet Eccles & Rebecca Catto
Countercultural or mainstream? Some reflections from the Young Atheist Project
The Nonreligion and Secularity Research Network (NSRN) are proud to announce the launch of their new website – nsrn.net!
The NSRN website has been going from strength to strength since its relaunch in November 2009 at the co.uk site – but wide-interest in and growing membership of the NSRN means we’ve needed to expand our services. After weeks and months of development with the new online editorial team, the next generation NSRN website is here!
Visit http://www.nsrn.net to take a look.
*Although the old . co.uk address will still be around for a while, we’d be extremely grateful for anyone linking to the site to amend their records, citations, links and so forth. The NSRN is truly international, in membership and audiences, and we felt it was important to reflect this in the web address – and we appreciate your help in implementing this change*
A preview of some of the new things we provide on the site:
We’ve also updated and expanded our existing services and resources. The new site boasts,
And we now have a range of new Thoroughly Modern features, including:
- full integration with the NSRN’s new Twitter feed
- full integration with the NSRN’s new Facebook page
… and which will enable users to keep up to date with NSRN news and resources in whatever way suits you:
New features and older material are now fully archived and easily searchable.
We hope you like it. As ever, comments and suggestions are always encouraged.
We would greatly appreciate it if you could circulate this information around any individuals or groups that you think might be interested. As a research network, we rely upon the input of our members and friends in the collation and dissemination of information. If you notice any errors or omissions, or are aware of any events, resources, articles etc that we should be promoting, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
With kind regards from,
The NSRN Online Team
To coincide with the launching of our new website, the NSRN are proud to announce the publication of a new Events Report by Lorna Mumford, on the recent ‘Atheism and Anthropology’ Workshop in London.
Please see the details and link to the document below:
Atheism and Anthropology: Researching Atheism and Self-Searching Belief and Experience Workshop
University College, London, 21 September 2011
Report by Lorna Mumford, University College London
Published by the NSRN, 14 December 2011
The British Higher Education Authority have just published an article on teaching atheism and nonreligion in its online journal Discourse. Our very own Stephen Bullivant discusses the module he has developed on the subject, as well as detailing some resources available for teachers and students. The article is open access and available here…
The NSRN is developing a new web resource dealing with teaching and funding resources, and will point students in the direction of Bullivant’s module at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, a module that has been developed at Aberdeen University and and the Secularism major at Pitzer College. If anyone knows of other teaching resources or dedicated funding calls that they think it would be helpful for researchers to be aware of, please email Lois at firstname.lastname@example.org.