Claremont, Calif. (December 4, 2014)—Pitzer College Professor of Sociology Phil Zuckerman’s new book, Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions, was released today by Penguin Press. Named one of the best books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly, Living the Secular Life mixes personal stories, sociological insight and compelling prose to examine how people live meaningful and successful lives without traditional religious touchstones.
Living the Secular Life draws on more than a decade of research and in-depth interviews with individuals who are part of an ever-increasing group of people who don’t identify with any organized religion. Over the past 25 years, the number of Americans who say they don’t practice religion has grown to nearly a third of the US population, according to recent surveys. In Living the Secular Life, Zuckerman shares some of their stories and shows how they create their own cosmology by following the golden rule instead of commandments.
“Morality is about listening and adhering to one’s own inner moral compass concerning what is right or wrong, just or unjust, compassionate or cruel, and then acting accordingly in relation to others,” Zuckerman writes.
Living the Secular Life has received rave reviews. The Library Journal says Zuckerman “brilliantly weaves stories and reflections together with empirical sociological research to create a rich portrait of secular America,” and Publishers Weekly calls the book a fascinating work that “explores the moral and ethical foundations of secularism.” Patheos ranked it #2 among the Best Atheist Books of 2014.
Zuckerman pioneered Pitzer’s secular studies program—the first program of its kind in the country—and teaches courses on the sociology of religion and the foundations of secularism at the College. He has authored and edited several books, including Society Without God (2008) and Faith No More (2011). His work has been translated into six languages, including Chinese, Turkish and Farsi. Zuckerman writes a column for Psychology Today and is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.