How to Be Secular

How to Be Secular

A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom

Book - 2012
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"Berlinerblau mounts a careful, judicious, and compelling argument that America needs more secularists--not only among nonbelievers but among believers as well. It will change the way we think and talk about religious freedom."
--Randall Balmer, author of Thy Kingdom Come: How the Religious Right Distorts Faith and Threatens America

Weary of religious conservatives urging "defense of marriage" and atheist polemicists decrying the crimes of religion? Sick of pundits who want only to recast American life in their own image? Americans are stuck in an all-or-nothing landscape for religion in public life. What are reasonable citizens to do?

Seen as godless by the religious and weak by the atheists, secularism mostly has been misunderstood. In How to Be Secular , Berlinerblau argues for a return to America's hard-won secular tradition; the best way to protect religious diversity and freedom lies in keeping an eye on the encroachment of each into the other.

Berlinerblau passionately defends the virtues of secularism, reminds us what it is and what it can protect, and urges us to mobilize around its cause, which is for all Americans to continue to enjoy freedom for--and from--religion. This is an urgent wake-up call for progressives in and out of all faiths.

Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
ISBN: 9780547473345
Branch Call Number: 211.6 BER
Characteristics: xxix, 306 p. ; 24 cm.


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Mar 02, 2017

I grew up in an evangelical Christian family and went to an evangelical college (Wheaton), but my religious and political views have moved far away from my background. I'm not ready to embrace the vitriol of the so-called new atheism (Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, the later Christopher Hitchens), nor do I want to be one of those "spiritual, but not religious" folks, so I was intrigued by Jacques Berlinerblau's "How to be Secular." Secular is a bad word in Christian circles and often synonymous with atheist, anti-Christian, and humanist, which is also a bad word. Georgetown professor Berlinerblau tries to reclaim the term, outline the history of the separation of church and state, and point a way forward that both the religious and non-religious can agree upon. It's a difficult task, and he's only partially successful, but he should be lauded for his efforts and for those who have moved away from religious, there's a lot to think about.

Oct 19, 2015

Well written if a bit precious. But too USA centric for me.

Jan 28, 2013

Freedom of religion cannot exist without freedom from religion.


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