89 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Secularism about their New Books
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New Books in Secularism New Books Network

    • Religion & Spirituality
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Interviews with Scholars of Secularism about their New Books
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    Robin Derricourt, "Creating God: The Birth and Growth of Major Religions" ( Manchester UP, 2021)

    Robin Derricourt, "Creating God: The Birth and Growth of Major Religions" ( Manchester UP, 2021)

    What do we really know about how and where religions began, and how they spread? 
    Robin Derricourt considers the birth and growth of several major religions, using history and archaeology to recreate the times, places and societies that witnessed the rise of significant monotheistic faiths. Beginning with Mormonism and working backwards through Islam, Christianity and Judaism to Zoroastrianism, Creating God: The Birth and Growth of Major Religions ( Manchester UP, 2021) opens up the conditions that allowed religious movements to emerge, attract their first followers and grow. Throughout history there have been many prophets: individuals who believed they were in direct contact with the divine, with instructions to spread a religious message. While many disappeared without trace, some gained millions of followers and established a lasting religion. Derricourt considers and gives new insights on the origins of major religions and raises essential questions about why some succeeded where others failed. And who does not want to know that!
    Robin Derricourt is an Honorary Professor of History in the School of Humanities at the University of New South Wales and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He holds a PhD in archaeology from the University of Cambridge. His previous books include Inventing Africa: History, Archaeology and Ideas (2011), Antiquity Imagined: The Remarkable Legacy of Egypt and the Ancient Near East (2015) and Unearthing Childhood: Young Lives in Prehistory (2018), which received the PROSE Award for Archaeology and Ancient History.
    Bede Haines is a solicitor, specialising in litigation and a partner at Holding Redlich, an Australian commercial law firm. He lives in Sydney, Australia. Known to read books, ride bikes and eat cereal (often). bede.haines@holdingredlich.com.
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    • 57 min
    Joseph P. Laycock, "Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds" (U California Press, 2015)

    Joseph P. Laycock, "Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds" (U California Press, 2015)

    The 1980s saw the peak of a moral panic over fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. A coalition of moral entrepreneurs that included representatives from the Christian Right, the field of psychology, and law enforcement claimed that these games were not only psychologically dangerous but an occult religion masquerading as a game. Dangerous Games: What the Moral Panic over Role-Playing Games Says about Play, Religion, and Imagined Worlds (University of California Press, 2015) by Joseph Laycock, explores both the history and the sociological significance of this panic.
    Fantasy role-playing games do share several functions in common with religion. However, religion—as a socially constructed world of shared meaning—can also be compared to a fantasy role-playing game. In fact, the claims of the moral entrepreneurs, in which they presented themselves as heroes battling a dark conspiracy, often resembled the very games of imagination they condemned as evil. By attacking the imagination, they preserved the taken-for-granted status of their own socially constructed reality. Interpreted in this way, the panic over fantasy-role playing games yields new insights about how humans play and how they construct and maintain meaningful worlds together.
    Joseph Laycock is an associate professor of religious studies at Texas State University. He has written several books on new religious movements and American religious history, including one on The Satanic Temple. He is also a co-editor for the journal Nova Religio.
    Carrie Lynn Evans is currently a PhD student of English Literature with Université Laval in Quebec.
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    • 1 hr 17 min
    James Reeves, "Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A Literary History of Atheism" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    James Reeves, "Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A Literary History of Atheism" (Cambridge UP, 2020)

    Although there were no self-avowed British atheists before the 1780s, authors including Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Sarah Fielding, Phebe Gibbes, and William Cowper worried extensively about atheism's dystopian possibilities and routinely represented atheists as being beyond the pale of human sympathy. In Godless Fictions in the Eighteenth Century: A Literary History of Atheism (Cambridge University Press, 2020), Dr. James Bryant Reeves challenges traditional notions of secularization that equate modernity with unbelief, revealing how reactions against atheism instead helped sustain various forms of religious belief throughout the “Age of Enlightenment.” He demonstrates that hostility to unbelief likewise produced various forms of religious ecumenicalism, with authors depicting non-Christian theists from around Britain's emerging empire as sympathetic allies in the fight against irreligion. Godless Fictions traces a literary history of atheism in eighteenth-century Britain for the first time, revealing a relationship between atheism and secularization far more fraught than has previously been supposed.
    James Bryant Reeves is an assistant professor of English at Texas State University in San Marcos. His work has appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, the Keats-Shelley Journal, and SEL Studies in English Literature 1500–1900. He has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar, Linacre College, Oxford, and UCLA, where he earned his PhD in 2016.
    Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.
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    • 1 hr 19 min
    Hugh McLeod and Todd Weir, "Defending the Faith: Global Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Hugh McLeod and Todd Weir, "Defending the Faith: Global Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    Todd H. Weir and Hugh McLeod, two leading historians of religion, have teamed up to edit a volume in the Proceedings of the British Academy that explores how conflicts between secular worldviews and religions shaped the history of the 20th century. With contributions considering case studies relating to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, atheism and communism, and from several continents, Defending the Faith: Global Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century (Oxford UP, 2020) offers to re-shape the conceptual tools by which the history of religious politics and politicised religion will be shaped. What happens to the history of the "short 20th century" when the concept of apologetics is put at its centre? We discover that politics and religion are categories that overlap, and that actors in disputes between religions, and in disputes between religions and political entities, are constantly learning from each other.
    Crawford Gribben is a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast.
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    • 39 min
    Andrei Znamenski, "Socialism As a Secular Creed" (Lexington Books, 2021)

    Andrei Znamenski, "Socialism As a Secular Creed" (Lexington Books, 2021)

    The predominantly secular focus of socialism can often obscure the parts of its ideology that reflect the elements it inherited from Western religious thinking. In Socialism as a Secular Creed: A Modern Global History (Lexington Books, 2021), Andrei Znamenski shows how this religious inheritance created elements within it that were closer in form to a belief system than a philosophy. These religious elements were most prevalent in socialism’s formative period, as Znamenski identifies the debt the socialist world-view owed to Christian millennialist ideas that were current in the early 19th century. Because of this the socialist world-view soon echoed the Christian one, with the working class becoming the chosen people who were anticipated to be the vanguard leading the world to the promised land of a socialist system. These elements persisted even as socialism focused on social engineering and nationalist forces caused socialist thinking to branch off into different forms. This continued in the 20th century as the economic conditions changed, as the “embourgeoisement” of the working classes and the post-World War II desire to disassociate from Soviet-style socialism led many socialists to turn instead to culture as the means towards attaining their millennialist vision.
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    • 1 hr 9 min
    Ana Honnacker, "Pragmatic Humanism Revisited: An Essay on Making the World a Home" (Palgrave, 2019)

    Ana Honnacker, "Pragmatic Humanism Revisited: An Essay on Making the World a Home" (Palgrave, 2019)

    How can we feel at home in this world? Pragmatic Humanism Revisited: An Essay on Making the World a Home (Palgrave, 2019) offers a humanist re-reading of philosophical pragmatism and explores its potentials for a worldview that relies only on human resources. Thinking along with authors like William James and F.C.S. Schiller, it highlights a humanist strand of pragmatism aimed at fostering human creativity and transformative action. It is grounded in everyday experience and underlines our responsibility to strive for the better. Ana Honnacker traces perspectives on science, religion, and ethics in the light of a pragmatic understanding of humanism. Furthermore, she suggests how to address the existential challenges we face today. Thus, pragmatic humanism is explored as "a philosophy for real human beings".
    Kai Wortman is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Education, University of Tübingen, interested in philosophy of education.
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    • 1 hr

Customer Reviews

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1 Rating

rbush108 ,

Terrific

Great interview with Bart Campolo. I’m a Christian myself and I really enjoyed it. Getting right at a major issue facing moderns: we are in an increasingly pluralistic setting, religion is not going away, so how are we going to all get on and be civil and maintain a high level of respect for one another? While I myself think Christianity has a terrific resource for doing just that (our founder went to his death praying for his enemies), we’ve nevertheless often failed to make use of it. Bart’s perspective is a needed one, for both those who adhere to organized religion and those who don’t. Thank you for putting this on.

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