June 20, 2022

Is It Possible to Be Non-Religious in the United States?

Is It Possible to Be Non-Religious in the United States?

The Secular Paradox


Brad is joined by Dr. Joe Blankholm, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of California Santa Barbara. They discuss his new book, the Secular Paradox: On the Religiosity of the Non-Religious.

The Secular Paradox: https://nyupress.org/9781479809509/the-secular-paradox/

Blankholm argues that, despite their desire to avoid religion, nonbelievers often seem religious because Christianity influences the culture around them so deeply. Relying on several years of ethnographic research among secular activists and organized nonbelievers in the United States, the volume explores how very secular people are ambivalent toward belief, community, ritual, conversion, and tradition. As they try to embrace what they share, secular people encounter, again and again, that they are becoming too religious. And as they reject religion, they feel they have lost too much. Trying to strike the right balance, secular people alternate between the two sides of their ambiguous condition: absolutely not religious and part of a religion-like secular tradition.

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