Phil Zuckerman's book, Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us about Contentment (2nd ed.) (New York University Press, 2020), points out that religious conservatives around the world often claim that a society without a strong foundation of faith would necessarily be an immoral one, bereft of ethics, values, and meaning. Indeed, the Christian Right in the United States has argued that a society without God would be hell on earth.
Zuckerman, however, challenges these claims. Drawing on fieldwork and interviews with more than 150 citizens of Denmark and Sweden, among the least religious countries in the world, he shows that, far from being inhumane, crime-infested, and dysfunctional, highly secular societies are healthier, safer, greener, less violent, and more democratic and egalitarian than highly religious ones.
Society without God provides a rich portrait of life in a secular society, exploring how a culture without faith copes with death, grapples with the meaning of life, and remains content through everyday ups and downs.
Phil Zuckerman is an Associate Dean and Professor of Sociology and Secular Studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, California. He is also a regular affiliated professor at Claremont Graduate University, and he has been a guest professor for two years at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. In 2011, Phil founded the first Secular Studies department in the nation, he regularly writes for Psychology Today, Huffington Post, and numerous scholarly journals, and his books have been translated and published in Danish, Farsi, Turkish, Chinese, Korean, and Italian.
Carrie Lynn Evans is a PhD student at Université Laval in Quebec City.