Review and Discuss Part 1 of "Village Atheists" by Leigh Eric Schmidt April 24 2019

Review and Discuss Part 1 of "Village Atheists" by Leigh Eric Schmidt April 24 2019

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Updated on Apr 23, 2019

Review and Discuss Part 1 of "Village Atheists" by Leigh Eric Schmidt

What Review and Discuss Part 1 of "Village Atheists" by Leigh Eric Schmidt
When Wednesday, April 24, 2019
07:00 PM to 09:30 PM
By Atheist Scholars
Where The Birmingham Atheist Center
https://www.meetup.com/Atheist-Scholars/boards/thread/50584808
Birmingham, MI 48009
How to find us Only members can see the actual meeting location.
Located in BIRMINGHAM, MI

Join us for an educational book review and discussion of Part 1 of "Village Atheists: How America's Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation" by Leigh Eric Schmidt. This is the story of godless freethinkers known by the close of the 19th century for their gutsy dissent from stultifying pieties and for posing a necessary secularist challenge to entanglements of church and state.

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NOTE:
In fairness to everyone attending who expects to have a meaningful discussion and a productive learning experience, you must complete the reading or listening through the end of Chapter 2 (page 171) of this book in order to attend this meeting.

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"Village Atheists:
How America's Unbelievers Made Their Way in a Godly Nation"
by Leigh Eric Schmidt
284 pages

publisher: Princeton University Press
reprint edition, December 2018
https://www.amazon.com/Village-Atheists-Americas-Unbelievers-Nation/dp/0691183112/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1553830882&sr=1-347

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From the Publisher:

"A much-maligned minority throughout American history, atheists have been cast as a threat to the nation’s moral fabric, barred from holding public office, and branded as irreligious misfits in a nation chosen by God. Yet village atheists―as these godless freethinkers came to be known by the close of the nineteenth century―were also hailed for their gutsy dissent from stultifying pieties and for posing a necessary secularist challenge to the entanglements of church and state.

Leigh Eric Schmidt explores the complex cultural terrain that unbelievers have long had to navigate in their fight to secure equal rights and liberties in American public life. He rebuilds the history of American secularism from the ground up, giving flesh and blood to these outspoken infidels."

From "Publishers Weekly":

"The book offers biographical sketches of four exemplary “village atheist” types whose uneven fortunes are chronicled in a nuanced exploration of the lived reality of nonbelief in a nation of the faithful. Readers are introduced to Samuel Porter Putnam (1838–1896), a minister who wrestled with faith on his journey to secularism; Watson Heston (1846–1905), a political cartoonist whose anti-religious art enjoyed far more success than its creator; Charles B. Reynolds (1832–1896), whose experience as a revivalist preacher led to fiery notoriety on the secular lecture circuit; and finally Elmina Drake Slenker (1827–1908), whose atheist beliefs combined with her sexual radicalism brought her to the attention of moral crusader Anthony Comstock.

Schmidt, a historian of religion, approaches his subject with the confidence of an expert well-grounded in his sources. He’s sensitive to the intersection of secular identity with the politics of race, class, and gender. Framed by a robust introduction and conclusion that provide a pre- and post-history of 19th-century atheism, this well-written and lively text will be of interest to both scholars and more general readers with an interest in American irreligion."

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The actual Meetup location is posted for members at:

https://www.meetup.com/Atheist-Scholars/messages/boards/thread/50584808#[masked]

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Book Reviews

“For anyone interested in the birth, growth, and development of grassroots secularism in the United States this book is an absolute must.”
―Phil Zuckerman, Los Angeles Review of Books

“Schmidt’s rich, deep exploration of atheist thinkers in 19th-century America contextualizes questions pressing on American Christianity today.”
―"One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2017"

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About the Author

Leigh Eric Schmidt is the Edward C. Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor at the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis. His books include Restless Souls: The Making of American Spirituality and Heaven’s Bride: The Unprintable Life of Ida C. Craddock, American Mystic, Scholar, Sexologist, Martyr, and Madwoman.

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