Phil Zuckerman: Those Normal, Upstanding Nonbelievers

April 6, 2015

Phil Zuckerman is a professor of sociology at Pitzer College, and among the world’s leading experts in the growing field of secular studies, with a deep understanding of how people’s lives are lived without religion. He’s the author of the books Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions, Society without God, and Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion.

There is a wide range of secular people, from hardcore atheists and secular humanists to those for whom religion is simply unimportant, and Zuckerman distinguishes between the vast majority of nonbelievers who live normal, upstanding lives, and the small minority for whom secularism is an organizing force. He discusses with Point of Inquiry host Lindsay Beyerstein how empathy, rather than belief in the watchful eye of a deity, is the guiding force of secular morality, and how religion can actually hinder society’s larger moral understanding.

It’s a fascinating inward look at our own community of skeptics and humanists, and you can learn even more from Zuckerman about his ideas and research at the Reason for Change conference, where he’ll be among the many brilliant and provocative speakers. Reason for Change takes place July 11-15 in Buffalo, New York. Visit for more!