More Americans are turning away from religion. We’ll look at how to live a moral life without it.
Religion is a solace and inspiration for millions and millions of Americans. For millions of others, it’s not. Twenty percent of Americans now say they have no religious affiliation. For young people, it’s nearly a third. They don’t all say they are atheist, or even agnostic. But many millions are now living a secular life. Non-religious. My guest today has interviewed lots of those Americans and the people who study them. To look at where they find their morals, their community, their transcendence, their awe. This hour On Point: Meaning, morals, and the secular life.
-- Tom Ashbrook
Phil Zuckerman, professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College. Author of the new book, "Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions." Also author of "Faith No More" and "Society Without God." (@phil_zuckerman)
Bill Leonard, professor of church history and religion at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity, where he is also the founding dean. Ordained Baptist minister. Author of "A Sense of the Heart," "Can I Get A Witness?" "The Challenge of Being Baptist" and ""Baptist Ways."
From Tom’s Reading List
Los Angeles Times: How secular family values stack up -- "The number of American children raised without religion has grown significantly since the 1950s, when fewer than 4% of Americans reported growing up in a nonreligious household, according to several recent national studies. That figure entered the double digits when a 2012 study showed that 11% of people born after 1970 said they had been raised in secular homes. This may help explain why 23% of adults in the U.S. claim to have no religion, and more than 30% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say the same."
Washington Post: Welcome to ‘aweism,’ the nonreligious impulse you can’t explain — "Zuckerman describes the intangible glue he believes connects nonbelievers to the universe and to each other. It is something he calls 'aweism.' He calls it a 'profound, overflowing feeling' that he knows only in fleeting moments: playing on the beach with his young daughter, eating grapes from his grandparents’ backyard, sledding in the dark of a January night, dancing with abandon at a favorite concert."
New York Times: ‘Living the Secular Life,’ by Phil Zuckerman — "The Golden Rule (who but a psychopath could disagree with it?) is a touchstone for atheists if they feel obliged to prove that they follow a moral code recognizable to their religious compatriots. But this universal ethical premise does not prevent religious Americans (especially on the right) from badgering atheists about goodness without God — even though it would correctly be seen as rude for an atheist to ask her religious neighbors how they can be good with God."
Read An Excerpt Of "Living the Secular Life" By Phil Zuckerman
This program aired on February 26, 2015.