freethinkers a history of american secularism

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Freethinkers

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 1429934751
Genre : Religion
File Size : 48. 72 MB
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An authoritative history of the vital role of secularist thinkers and activists in the United States, from a writer of "fierce intelligence and nimble, unfettered imagination" (The New York Times) At a time when the separation of church and state is under attack as never before, Freethinkers offers a powerful defense of the secularist heritage that gave Americans the first government in the world founded not on the authority of religion but on the bedrock of human reason. In impassioned, elegant prose, celebrated author Susan Jacoby paints a striking portrait of more than two hundred years of secularist activism, beginning with the fierce debate over the omission of God from the Constitution. Moving from nineteenth-century abolitionism and suffragism through the twentieth century's civil liberties, civil rights, and feminist movements, Freethinkers illuminates the neglected accomplishments of secularists who, allied with liberal and tolerant religious believers, have stood at the forefront of the battle for reforms opposed by reactionary forces in the past and today. Rich with such iconic figures as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Clarence Darrow—as well as once-famous secularists such as Robert Green Ingersoll, "the Great Agnostic"—Freethinkers restores to history generations of dedicated humanists. It is they, Jacoby shows, who have led the struggle to uphold the combination of secular government and religious liberty that is the glory of the American system.

Freethinkers

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 0805074422
Genre : History
File Size : 81. 61 MB
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Chronicles two centuries of secularism in the United States, exploring this rich thread in American life and history and speculating on its continual role in society.

The Age Of American Unreason In A Culture Of Lies

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 9780525436522
Genre : History
File Size : 85. 11 MB
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NATIONAL BESTSELLER The prescient and now-classic analysis of the forces of anti-intellectualism in contemporary American life--updated for the era of Trump, Twitter, Breitbart and fake news controversies. The searing cultural history of the last half-century, The Age of American Unreason In A Culture of Lies focuses on the convergence of social forces--usually treated as separate entities--that has created a perfect storm of anti-rationalism. These include the upsurge of religious fundamentalism, with more political power today than ever before; the failure of public education to create an informed citizenry; the triumph of internet over print culture; and America's toxic addition to infotainment. Combining historical analysis with contemporary observation and sparing neither the right nor the left, Susan Jacoby asserts that Americans today have embraced "junk thought" that makes almost no effort to separate fact from opinion. At today's critical political juncture, nothing could be more important than recognizing the crisis described in this impassioned, tough-minded book, which challenges Americans to face the painful truth about what the flights from reason has cost us as individuals and as a nation.

Strange Gods

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 9781101870969
Genre : History
File Size : 79. 81 MB
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In a groundbreaking historical work that addresses religious conversion in the West from an uncompromisingly secular perspective, Susan Jacoby challenges the conventional narrative of conversion as a purely spiritual journey. From the transformation on the road to Damascus of the Jew Saul into the Christian evangelist Paul to a twenty-first-century “religious marketplace” in which half of Americans have changed faiths at least once, nothing has been more important in the struggle for reason than the right to believe in the God of one’s choice or to reject belief in God altogether. Focusing on the long, tense convergence of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—each claiming possession of absolute truth—Jacoby examines conversions within a social and economic framework that includes theocratic coercion (unto torture and death) and the more friendly persuasion of political advantage, economic opportunism, and interreligious marriage. Moving through time, continents, and cultures—the triumph of Christianity over paganism in late antiquity, the Spanish Inquisition, John Calvin’s dour theocracy, Southern plantations where African slaves had to accept their masters’ religion—the narrative is punctuated by portraits of individual converts embodying the sacred and profane. The cast includes Augustine of Hippo; John Donne; the German Jew Edith Stein, whose conversion to Catholicism did not save her from Auschwitz; boxing champion Muhammad Ali; and former President George W. Bush. The story also encompasses conversions to rigid secular ideologies, notably Stalinist Communism, with their own truth claims. Finally, Jacoby offers a powerful case for religious choice as a product of the secular Enlightenment. In a forthright and unsettling conclusion linking the present with the most violent parts of the West’s religious past, she reminds us that in the absence of Enlightenment values, radical Islamists are persecuting Christians, many other Muslims, and atheists in ways that recall the worst of the Middle Ages. (With 8 pages of black-and-white illustrations.) From the Hardcover edition.

The Great Agnostic

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 9780300137255
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 46. 16 MB
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A biography that restores America's foremost 19th-century champion of reason and secularism to the still contested 21st-century public square.

Wild Justice

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 0060911816
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 48. 10 MB
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Traces the history of Western attitudes towards revenge and justice, looks at sexual revenge, capital punishment, and the U.S. criminal justice system, and considers the portrayal of revenge in popular novels and movies

Half Jew

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 9781101971338
Genre : Biography & Autobiography
File Size : 39. 18 MB
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Since childhood, Susan Jacoby, the New York Times bestselling author of The Age of American Unreason, was sure that her father was keeping a secret. At age twenty, just before beginning her writing career as a reporter for the Washington Post, she learned the truth: Robert Jacoby, a Catholic convert with a Catholic wife, was also a Jew. In Half-Jew, Jacoby grapples with the hidden identity cloaked by the persona of a successful accountant and member of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in East Lansing, Michigan—and with the secrets and lies that had marked her family’s history for three generations on two continents. Beginning in 1849 when her great-grandfather arrived in America as a political refugee, Jacoby traces her lineage through the lives of her great-uncle Harold, the distinguished astronomer whose map of the constellations is etched on the ceiling of Grand Central Terminal; her uncle, the bridge champion Oswald Jacoby, her aunt Edith, also a Catholic convert and eventually a reformer within the church; and, of course her father himself. At the core of story is the psychic damage that accrues across generations when people conceal their true ethnic and religious origins. Featuring a new afterword, Half-Jew is a meticulously researched, emotionally poignant examination of the dark legacy of European and American anti-Semitism as well as a tender-hearted account of a daughter coming to understand her father, herself, and her family’s true legacy.

American Secularism

Author : Joseph O. Baker
ISBN : 9781479867417
Genre : History
File Size : 35. 99 MB
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A rapidly growing number of Americans are embracing life outside the bounds of organized religion. Although America has long been viewed as a fervently religious Christian nation, survey data shows that more and more Americans are identifying as “not religious.” There are more non-religious Americans than ever before, yet social scientists have not adequately studied or typologized secularities, and the lived reality of secular individuals in America has not been astutely analyzed. American Secularism documents how changes to American society have fueled these shifts in the non-religious landscape and examines the diverse and dynamic world of secular Americans. This volume offers a theoretical framework for understanding secularisms. It explores secular Americans’ thought and practice to understand secularisms as worldviews in their own right, not just as negations of religion. Drawing on empirical data, the authors examine how people live secular lives and make meaning outside of organized religion. Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith link secularities to broader issues of social power and organization, providing an empirical and cultural perspective on the secular landscape. In so doing, they demonstrate that shifts in American secularism are reflective of changes in the political meanings of “religion” in American culture. American Secularism addresses the contemporary lived reality of secular individuals, outlining forms of secular identity and showing their connection to patterns of family formation, sexuality, and politics, providing scholars of religion with a more comprehensive understanding of worldviews that do not include traditional religion. Data Analyses Appendix Instructor's Guide

Never Say Die

Author : Susan Jacoby
ISBN : 9780307456281
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 27. 23 MB
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The author of the best-selling The Age of American Unreason presents an impassioned critique of modern practices by pharmaceutical companies, lifestyle gurus and scientific businessmen who are promoting morally questionable and expensive illusions of thriving longevity. Reprint.

Village Atheists

Author : Leigh Eric Schmidt
ISBN : 9781400884346
Genre : Religion
File Size : 61. 92 MB
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A much-maligned minority throughout American history, atheists have been cast as a threat to the nation's moral fabric, barred from holding public office, and branded as irreligious misfits in a nation chosen by God. Yet, village atheists—as these godless freethinkers came to be known by the close of the nineteenth century—were also hailed for their gutsy dissent from stultifying pieties and for posing a necessary secularist challenge to majoritarian entanglements of church and state. Village Atheists explores the complex cultural terrain that unbelievers have long had to navigate in their fight to secure equal rights and liberties in American public life. Leigh Eric Schmidt rebuilds the history of American secularism from the ground up, giving flesh and blood to these outspoken infidels, including itinerant lecturer Samuel Porter Putnam; rough-edged cartoonist Watson Heston; convicted blasphemer Charles B. Reynolds; and atheist sex reformer Elmina D. Slenker. He describes their everyday confrontations with devout neighbors and evangelical ministers, their strained efforts at civility alongside their urge to ridicule and offend their Christian compatriots. Schmidt examines the multilayered world of social exclusion, legal jeopardy, yet also civic acceptance in which American atheists and secularists lived. He shows how it was only in the middle decades of the twentieth century that nonbelievers attained a measure of legal vindication, yet even then they often found themselves marginalized on the edges of a God-trusting, Bible-believing nation. Village Atheists reveals how the secularist vision for the United States proved to be anything but triumphant and age-defining for a country where faith and citizenship were—and still are—routinely interwoven.

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