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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchAtheism as a Political Project

Atheism as a Political Project

Author: Stephen LeDrew 

Organization/Publisher: The American Political Science Association

Date/Place: June, 2020/USA

Type of Literature: Review Essay

Number of Pages: 9


Keywords: Atheism, Political Atheism, and New Atheism


The author argues that scholarship on atheism is dominated by sociologists, who concentrate on questions of identity as well as beliefs about science and religion. LeDrew contends that the major works that treat atheism as a social movement are “Atheist Awakening” by Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith, and his own work “The Evolution of Atheism.” The author reminds us that there is little work on the political dimensions of atheism. He also states that there are two new books that investigate the political nature of organized atheism, which are the topic of this review essay. These works are “Atheists in American Politics” by Richard J. Meagher, and “The Politics of New Atheism” by McAnulla, Kettle, and Schulzke. While the former book deals with atheism as a social movement, the latter focuses on “new atheism,” which is the cultural phenomenon that built on aggressive critique of religion. LeDrew criticizes both books, specifically that their analysis is already out of date. Also, neither book considers a great deal about the future of “new atheism” since the movement now is a historical phenomenon and not a contemporary one as both books claim.

By: Fadi Zatari, CIGA Senior Research Associate



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