A Sociology of Religion for Secularism

Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith. American Secularism: Cultural Contours of Nonreligious Belief Systems. NYU Press, 2015. 

Reviewed by István Kamarás OJD

Joseph O. Baker and Buster G. Smith’s book American Secularism, published in 2015, is an excellent work in the sociology of religion, one that addresses a gap in the literature. Few studies have focused on the question of non-religiousness as thoroughly as this one. For readers who connect diminished levels of religiosity with secularization or secularism (and these types even crop up among sociologists of religion), the title of this review may come as a surprise. The title is warranted by the central thesis of Baker and Smith’s book, namely, that secularism and religion are two dimensions of the same phenomenon, or more precisely, they represent two endpoints on a continuum of faith.

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