My buddy Pete is an ex-pentecostal now-atheist (yay!)
I had posted a link to Jonathan Miller's "A Brief History of Disbelief" (2) (3) in a forum thread off-site and Pete has been watching them. It covers briefly America's secularim and he's come back to me saying he is interested to know more about America's founding and government
"Growing up I was always taught that the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation, with the constitution and deceleration of independence all being inspired by judeo Christian philosophies and quite possibly directly inspired by God. That the reason that the U.S. is the only super power is because that the Jews or Israel where the chosen people but since they rejected Jesus and Christianity, Rome became the chosen people than the UK and now the U.S. are God's chosen people but that could all change yada yada yada. It's crazy stuff and the more you read about what people like Washington, Jefferson and Franklin actually believed it becomes more apparent that my teachers, and pastors were full of shit. Anyway you guys know of any good books or link to something that talks about this?"
Off the top of my head I do not. I know I've listened to Hitchen's speak about this a few times; as an american citizen freshly installed it's been important to him.
I was thinking I might refer him to some Thomas Paine.
But actual books about America's secular founding, I don't have many clear ideas so I said I'd ask around.
Couple of standards right off the top:
There's also letters which Thomas Jefferson wrote which spell out both his aversion to religion and the "wall" between church and state that he desired. That should get you started, at least.
Thanks Loren, I think what he's after are some history books about it if you follow me.
Another friend in the same thread recommended.
Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan Jacoby.
What's God Got To Do With It: Free Thought, Honest Talk, And The Separation of Church and State by Robert Ingersoll.
I don't know these books or any like them so I will pass those on but he's also looking for commentary I think which will dispel and contradict what his pastors and teachers told him.
I did mention Jefferson's "wall" letter.
That must surely count as the most perverse an unexpected answer I could have anticipated.
As Susan said, why?
have him read "a deamon haunted world" by carl sagen.
also there is "thethinkingatheist" on youtube. the guy that runs it is also an x-christer preacher and understands.
cheers and happy logic.
not much to do directly about polotics in U.S. but a good place to start.
also ther is the "portable atheist" by christopher hitchens.
collected writings of atheists/free thinkers.
hope this helps.
Hi Matt - this conversation was in a reply to another freshly freed mind of a college student, in which Portable Atheist and Demon Haunted World have already come up.
I think to properly address his query what I need as suggestions that are directly about politics in the U.S, if you see?
the thinking atheist pod cast (call in show) from this last eekend.
its about religion and polotics.
also check out
on the right side of the main page there is a list of C.H. books.
he has done a lot of historical research and has done some excellent writings on Thomas Jeff. and Thom Pain.
several are listed here.
BTW the Jonathan Miller documentaries (3parts) are a permannt part of my collection.
sorry I did missunderstand your post.