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Atheist AwakeningSecular Activism and Community in America$
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Richard Cimino and Christopher Smith

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199986323

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199986323.001.0001

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Organized Secularism Beyond the “Humanist Twenty-First Century”

Organized Secularism Beyond the “Humanist Twenty-First Century”

(p.16) Chapter 1 Organized Secularism Beyond the “Humanist Twenty-First Century”
Atheist Awakening

Richard Cimino

Christopher Smith

Oxford University Press

The organized atheist and secular humanist movements have long operated under the premise of secularism progressing in American society. In the last two decades, however, progressive secularism has come under increasing criticism. This chapter examines how atheists and secular humanists have responded to the failure of secularism to become a dominant force in the United States and how they have rethought their role and strategy from that of acting as the secular vanguard to assuming a subcultural identity and engaging in defensive competition in order to find a place in American society. They have created a niche for secularism among “secular seekers,” often mimicking and adapting various aspects of evangelicalism, even as they target this movement as their main antagonist. They have also made use of minority discourse and identity politics.

Keywords:   atheism, secular humanism, secularism, subculture, identity

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