Thursday, April 14, 2011

Atheism as a Cultural Phenomenon

Paul Adams

My first "Listmania!" list on Amazon.

It's at and below.

Atheism as a Cultural Phenomenon

A Listmania! list by Paul Adams (Honolulu)

Much writing about atheism and religion assumes atheism as the default position, with religion as the phenomenon that needs to be explained. But atheism is by far the rarer phenomenon, something that became widespread in the 19th century, peaked in the second half of the 20th century, and has been declining since. This is a list of books that attempt to understand atheism as a historically specific cultural phenomenon. The authors are philosophers, theologians, and cultural critics rather than sociologists--there is a whole other literature on secularization theory. The books do not debate the truth claims of atheism but represent attempts, mostly by non-atheists, to understand atheism in its historical and cultural specificity.

1. Drama of Atheist Humanism by Henri de Lubac
The list author says:
"Study by a great 20th century Catholic theologian of Feuerbach, Nietzsche, Comte, and others."
$16.79 Used & New from: $14.70
(5 customer reviews)

2. The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World by Alister E. McGrath
The list author says:
"see my review"
$11.31 Used & New from: $6.40
(63 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

3. Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies by David Bentley Hart
The list author says:
"A brilliant book, though, admittedly, more about the revolutionary nature of Christianity and its cultural-historical impact than about atheism. See my review."
$11.09 Used & New from: $10.16
(47 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

4. The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse by Steven D. Smith
The list author says:
"Smith argues that it is not primarily religion but rather the strictures of secular rationalism that have drained our modern discourse of force and authenticity."
$20.04 Used & New from: $19.98
1 customer discussion

5. A Secular Age by Charles Taylor
The list author says:
"As Alasdair MacIntyre says, "Taylor's book is a major and highly original contribution to the debates on secularization that have been ongoing for the past century. There is no book remotely like it.""
$30.00 Used & New from: $24.98
(27 customer reviews)

6. The Rage Against God: How Atheism Led Me to Faith by Peter Hitchens
The list author says:
"Fascinating account by Christopher Hitchens's brother--partly for the historical and cultural context in postwar England in which both boys (and I) grew up. See my review."
$15.63 Used & New from: $6.59
(50 customer reviews)

7. Reason, Faith, and Revolution (The Terry Lectures Series) by Terry Eagleton
The list author says:
"Atheists and Christians alike will likely share the assessment of one reviewer that the book is "by turns thought-provoking, infuriating, inspiring and very, very funny.""
$10.66 Used & New from: $5.98
(30 customer reviews)

8. A Short History of Secularism by Graeme Smith
The list author says:
"Argues that secularism was born of Christianity and that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without understanding that, at root, it is Christian."
$29.00 Used & New from: $5.00
(1 customer review)

9. The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion by Jurgen Habermas and Joseph Ratzinger
The list author says:
"Fascinating dialogue between German philosopher and neo-marxist Jurgen Habermas and Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI."
$10.17 Used & New from: $8.75
(7 customer reviews)

10. An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-secular Age by Jurgen Habermas
The list author says:
"Further development of Habermas's thinking on the relation between secular reason and faith, in debate with Jesuit philosophers."
$42.30 Used & New from: $38.29
(1 customer review)

11. Clash Of Orthodoxies: Law Religion & Morality In Crisis by Robert P. George
The list author says:
"The book is not a study of atheism as such but a critique of the ways in which secularism, or practical atheism, has become not an alternative to orthodoxy but another orthodoxy of its own."
$10.18 Used & New from: $3.17
(21 customer reviews)

12. No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers by Michael Novak
The list author says:
"Addressing, from within the Judeo-Christian tradition, the views and experiences of atheists, Novak sees a kind of common ground in the experience of nothingness (the dark night of the soul) experienced by Catholic mystics."

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