How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps

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Do you want the greatest challenges of the day to be addressed with thoughtful, reality-based solutions rather than with cherry-picked quotations from scripture? Do you want to shrink religion—especially fundamentalist religion—to the point that it plays no noticeable role in American public life? Do you want right-wing religious leaders to be so unpopular that politicians avoid them rather than pander to them for endorsements? Drawing on the latest social-scientific research on religion to help interested nonbelievers—and even progressive believers—weaken the influence of fundamentalist religion in society at large, How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps illustrates specific, actionable steps we all can take to facilitate fundamentalist religion’s decline. It covers topics as far ranging as education, welfare, sex, science, capitalism, and Christmas, and each of the 10 chapters focuses on a specific action that research has shown can weaken religion, detailing why and how, and concluding with specific recommendations for individuals, local groups, and national organizations.

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Ryan T. Cragun is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Tampa and the author of What You Don’t Know about Religion (but Should). His research is regularly featured in national media. He lives in Tampa, Florida.

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“Dr. Cragun makes a compelling case that secular activism must be more proactive than reactive, that we’re at our best when we're united in purpose, organized and positive, and that many religious people can be nudged into discovering that (despite their outward professions of faith) they're already living largely secular lives. How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps speaks to the need for a cultural shift, and it provides useful ideas for creating one.” —Seth Andrews, host, The Thinking Atheist“This is a rare ‘How to…’ book that actually provides wonderful ideas on—’How to.’ Good books about atheism and humanism abound, but Cragun’s book is much more than just an excellent read. Based on his wealth of experience as a social scientist, he offers ample evidence for effective strategies to marginalize religion. Whether you want to become more engaged as an individual, or as part of a local or national group, Cragun suggests a variety of activities in each thoughtful chapter. And the good news is that it can be both easy and fun. You might find it difficult to do everything this book advises, but I think you will find it even more difficult to resist following at least some of the sage advice offered.” —Herb Silverman, founder and president, the Secular Coalition for America and author, Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt“Ryan Cragun gets to the heart of the matter in his eminently readable ‘10 Steps’ book. Want a society free from religious dictates? Give people a real social safety net so they aren’t relegated to invoking a nonexistent deity for security, support science, art and education, the pillars of a progressive, cultured and worldly citizenry, and defend a secular education for all children, so kids have a foundation in science and the tools they need to critically assess the truth about religion. Add to these a few other ingredients Ryan helpfully offers, wait a generation and, viola, secularism flourishes. Most of us who are nonreligious could have come up with a similar list, but Ryan shortcuts the work for us, laying out a plan that he calls subversive but is largely just about building a better society for us all.” —Robyn Blumner, executive director, Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science
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