Atheism Versus Humanism: Ideological Tensions and Identity Dynamics

  • Stephen LeDrewEmail author
Part of the Boundaries of Religious Freedom: Regulating Religion in Diverse Societies book series (BOREFRRERE, volume 2)


LeDrew uses a comparative approach to highlight the different ways in which atheist group identity is being expressed. LeDrew begins with a historiography of two branches of atheism: scientific atheism and humanistic atheism. He describes scientific atheism as originating in Enlightenment-era rationalism and the natural scientists, explaining that scientific atheists see religion in terms of its explanative function. Humanistic atheism, on the other hand, derives from the social sciences and humanistic atheists understand religion as a social phenomenon. LeDrew explores how these two ways of understanding the nature of religion contributes to tensions between and within groups of atheists and humanists, particularly with respect to the desired goals of social movement activism.


Social Justice Minority Identity Free Inquiry Movement Discourse Ideological Tension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of TheologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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