"What does 'belief' mean in America?"
The Religious Studies Project
June 11, 2012
with Ariela Keysar, Co-director of the ISSSC
"The Social Science of Secularity'"
Volume 32 Number 2
by Frank L. Pasquale
July 25, 2011
"The Future of Irreligion (Part 2)'"
Volume 31 Number 4
"Counting Non-theis: Lies, Damn Lies, and Religious Statistics Around the World"
International Humanist News
"The Future of Irreligion (Part 1)'"
Volume 31 Number 3
"'Religious Switching' is Widespread in the United States"
Center for the Applied Research in the Apostolate
"One Nation, Losing God'"
Point of Inquiry
December 31, 2010
"Media Stereotypes and the Invisible Latino 'Nones'"
December 2010/January 2011
Volume 31 Number 1
"Unholy Trinity? Secularism Institute Renews Liberal Arts Curriculum"
New England Journal of Higher Education
August 2, 2010
"Religious Switching is Widespread in the United States"
The CARA Report (Georgetown University)
Vol. 15, No.3, Winter 2010
Read the article
on the presentation by Barry Kosmin at RRA/SSSR Annual Meeting, Denver, October 2009.
"The Quintessential Secular Institution"
December 2009/January 2010
Read the article
by Frank L. Pasquale, cultural anthropologist and ISSSC Research Associate.
American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population
A Report Based on the American Religious Identification Survey 2008
Principal Investigators: Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar with Ryan Cragun and Juhem Navarro-Rivera
Date Published: September 2009
Media Coverage of the presentations at the Fifteenth World Congress of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, Israel, August 2009:
- Barry A. Kosmin - The Changing Population Profile of American Jews 1990-2008: New Findings
- Ariela Keysar - Secular Jews and Other Secular Americans: New Findings
American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) 2008
Principal Investigators: Barry A. Kosmin and Ariela Keysar
Date Published: March 2009
The Subjects Are Seculars
An Interview with Barry Kosmin
- What is secularism, and who are the secularists?
- You head the new Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. Secularism—are you and your colleagues for it or against it?Is secularism a dirty word?
- Some studies suggest that secularism is increasing in America, while others seem to show that religion is advancing in the public square. Which is it?
- Pundits and talking heads often use the term secular left as distinct from the religious right. Is secularism tied to the political spectrum?
- Will religion always be with us? And, will secularism survive?
- How do people become secularists? Is the secularization hypothesis—the notion that as the world becomes more advanced, it becomes more secular—dead in the water?
Barry Kosmin, Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) answers these leading questions in an interview from Free Inquiry, October/November 2005 issue.
"The Scientific Study of Secularism"
Point of Inquiry
June 1, 2007
Barry Kosmin is a sociologist, and is research professor in public policy and law at Trinity College. He is co-author of One Nation Under God and author of Religion in a Free Market .
"Science, Education, and the Common Good"
Read the Op-Ed
article by Barry A. Kosmin, Director of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture and Michael Ben-Chaim, past Resident Fellow of the Institute.
"Secularism: The Missing Piece in the 'Science and/or Religion' Puzzle" The Triple Helix
January 2, 2007
Read the Op-Ed
article by Michael Ben-Chaim, past Resident Fellow of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture.
"The Scientific Study of Secularism"
Point of Inquiry
December 1, 2006
Barry Kosmin is a sociologist, and is research professor in public policy and law at Trinity College. He is co-author of One Nation Under God and author of Religion in a Free Market . Kosmin was...
"Campus signs up freethinkers"
Thursday, July 27, 2006
By Cathy Lynn Grossman
"Unlike the thousands of traditional Christian and Jewish camps and vacation Bible schools that weave God's glory into their programs, these are camps for future "nones" — campers whose parents answer "none" when pollsters ask their religious identification. Surveys count 14% of Americans in this category...
"Cultural anthropologist Frank Pasquale calls Sinon an 'educator,' one of several varieties among the 'nones.'
"'Educators systematically encourage their children to seek a broad understanding of human religious and philosophical thought. They'll read the Bible, the Koran and the Upanishads (Hindu) text and let the child choose,' says Pasquale, a research associate at the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College in Hartford.
Other niches he sees:
- "'Modelers,' who don't talk about ideas so much as show desirable, ethical, loving behavior in action. 'The kids may have no interest in Western or Eastern philosophy, but they see service, social responsibility and community involvement are important things.'
- "'Reasoners,' who focus on critical thinking and independent judgment. 'They don't talk about religion pro or con, but they want their child to think soundly.'
- "'Affirmers,' who explicitly teach a non-religious or religiously critical point of view.
"'They may call themselves humanists or ethical culturalists, but they espouse positive alternative ways to think and act about life other than religion. These are the types sending their kids to Camp Quest.'
"He disputes the media fascination with 'seekers' and the idea that everyone is looking for the meaning of life in some format and hoping, if they are parents, to share this with the next generation.
"'Lots of people are actually indifferent on fundamental metaphysical questions, on the nature and purpose of existence,' Pasquale says. 'But they're still very devoted to community service, happy as clams and raising some really nice children without obsessing about "What is well-being? How do we act and why?"'
"And camp is one more way they do this."
The entire article is available at www.USATODAY.com
"Notes from a Secularism Conference"
Thursday, July 6, 2006
By Jeffrey Weiss
"Last week... I was attending a conference on secularism... The conference was produced by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. Which is based in Trinity College in Hartford, Conn...
"Even more interesting, to me, was how differently the words 'secular' or 'secularism' are used overseas. Don’t we always assume that our own points of view are somehow inevitable? In this case, I discovered, not so much.
"This meeting included international scholars - from India, Israel, France, Denmark and England.
"In India, 'secular' is used the way we use 'tolerant.' Ali Ashgar Engineer from Mumbai explained that Indians who call themselves 'secular' are likely to be fervent Hindus (or Muslims, Sikhs or any of a bunch of other faiths). What they set themselves against is religious nationalism, a movement to declare India as an explicitly Hindu nation.
"In Israel, even many so-called secularists recognize Orthodox rabbis as the authentic voice of Judaism and national identity. In France, the American idea of secularism is hard to find. Instead, there’s an almost militant public value - like patriotism - that opposes many public expressions of religion. And in Great Britain, many people are so apathetic toward faith that it’s hard to find a strong opinion in support or opposition. Is that 'secular?'"
The entire article is available at www.DallasNews.com
"Scholars To Debate Hispanic Secularism"
The Hartford Courant
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
By Frances Grandy Taylor
"Are Hispanics becoming more secular? Scholars will debate today whether Hispanics are following the growing American trend away from religious affiliation, or whether their religiosity is simply changing.
"'Are U.S. Latino Society and Culture Undergoing Secularization?' is the topic of a free colloquium to be presented by the Institute for Study of Secularism in Society and Culture at Trinity College...
"According to a 2001 American Religious Identification Survey, 13 percent of U.S. Hispanics now say they have "no religion," compared with 6 percent more than a decade earlier."
Are U.S. Latino Society & Culture Undergoing Secularization?
Research Findings to be Examined at Trinity College’s Secularism Institute Event
Hartford, Conn., February 24, 2006—The explosive growth of the U.S. Latino population would seem to be a boon for American churches. Indeed, most of them have been strengthened by increasing numbers of Latino adherents. But a 2001 study suggests a weakness of Latino ties to religious institutions.
The results of the study, the ARIS/PARAL report entitled “Religious Identification Among Hispanics in the United States,” will be the focus of an enlightening colloquium, “Are U.S. Latino Society and Culture Undergoing Secularization?” presented by the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC) at Trinity College. The event is free of charge and open to the public. It will be held on Tuesday, March 7, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Terrace Rooms in Mather Hall. A reception will follow the lectures.
Examining the controversial topic will be Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo of Brooklyn College, Efrain Agosto of the Hartford Seminary, José E. Cruz of State University of New York, Albany, and Carleen R. Basler, of Amherst College.
The colloquium will begin with a presentation of key findings from the 2001 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) by ISSSC Associate Director Dr. Ariela Keysar. The distinguished speakers will then address some challenging questions: Do Latinos equate “no religion” with secularism? Is there a secular tradition among Latinos? Do the ARIS findings reflect the experience of local Latino communities in Hartford and New England?
The ARIS/PARAL report was the result of a unique collaborative effort between the social scientists of the Program for the Analysis of Religion Among Latinos/as (PARAL) and Barry Kosmin and Ariela Keysar of the ISSSC, who in early 2001 carried out the American Religious Identification Survey 2001(ARIS). The goal was to provide a comprehensive social scientific understanding of the religious lives and worldviews of more than 35 million persons of Hispanic heritage in the United States.
Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo is professor of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College and Distinguished Scholar of the City University of New York. Widely published both in English and Spanish, he has written more than 40 scholarly articles and authored 9 books, including the four volume PARAL series on religion among Latinos/as. His 1980 book, Prophets Denied Honor, is considered a “landmark of Catholic literature.” With his spouse, Ana María Díaz-Stevens, he authored Recognizing the Latino Religious Resurgence, which was named an Outstanding Academic Book for 1998 by Choice Magazine. A spokesperson for civil and human rights, he has testified before the U.S. Congress and the United Nations and was named by President Jimmy Carter to the advisory board of the U.S. Commission of Civil Rights for two terms. Presently, he directs the Research Center for Religion in Society and Culture (RISC).
Efraín Agosto is the Professor of New Testament and Director of the Programa de Ministerios Hispanos (Hispanic Ministries Program) at the Hartford Seminary. Previously, he served on the staff of the Center for Urban Ministerial Education of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston from 1983-1995, the last five years as director and dean. Efraín is a 1982 M.Div. graduate of Gordon-Conwell and completed his Ph.D. in New Testament Studies from Boston University in June 1995. His B.A. is from Columbia University (1977). Efraín has published several essays in Pauline studies and his book, Servant Leadership: Jesus and Paul was published in November 2005 by Chalice Press.
José E. Cruz is the director of the New York Latino Research and Resources Network, and associate professor of political science and Latin American studies at University at Albany, State University of New York. Cruz’s research focus is on Latino political participation in the Northeast, focusing on Puerto Ricans in New York and Connecticut. In particular, his work explores the role of race and ethnicity in the political process, how minority elites fashion political alliances, and the role of leadership in bridging the gap between political representation and policy responsiveness. His first book, Identity and Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998, explored the relationship between ethnic identity, political mobilization, and political empowerment. Cruz is currently working on two book projects: a political history of Puerto Ricans in New York City during the period 1965-1990 and a comparative case-study of coalition-building between African-American and Latino elites in Chicago and New York City during the administrations of Harold Washington and David Dinkins.
Carleen R. Basler is an Assistant Professor of Sociology and American Studies at Amherst College. She completed her BA at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her Ph.D. at Yale University. Her teaching and research are primarily concerned with race and ethnicity, political identity, social stratification, and social movements. Basler is a Mexican-American who splits her time between residences in Amherst, Massachusetts and Los Angeles, California. In researching Mexican-American political identity, Basler has found that many second-generation Latinos/as have moved toward a more “secular” position in society, with complex social and political results.
Trinity Hosts Secularism Forum
On November 2, the Trinity campus community and many welcomed guests gathered in the Washington Room for the inaugural event of the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture (ISSSC). With a half-dozen of the world’s most prominent contemporary voices on secularism and religion as participants, the overflow crowd witnessed and engaged in a lively debate that examined the controversial line of separation between church and state and the contested relationship between public culture and religion.
After opening remarks from Barry Kosmin, the institute’s director, the afternoon kicked off with the first session, “Secularism and American Public Life.” Mark Silk, director of the Trinity Program on Public Values (comprising both the Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life and the ISSSC), acted as moderator for panelists Christopher Hitchens, columnist for Vanity Fair; Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism; and Peter Steinfels, religion columnist for the New York Times. “The event was an all-around success,” says Silk. “The turnout among students was terrific, the discussions were lively, and the insights were fascinating.”
Sociologist Barry Kosmin offers his take on American Jewish trends
Excerpt from The Jewish Ledger, October 20, 2005
By Judie Jacobson
HARTFORD - “The key to good, relevant, social science and especially sociology, is asking the right questions at the right time,” says Professor Barry A. Kosmin, director of the newly established Trinity College Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture.
Kosmin should know.
As a nationally recognized sociologist and demographer, best known for heading four major studies of religious identity in the United States, Kosmin has been asking the right questions for a long time.
Author of the critically acclaimed book, “One Nation Under God: Religion in Contemporary American Society,” much of his previous work has focused on deciphering trends among America’s Jewish population. Some of his previous posts include director of research for the North American Council of Jewish Federations in New York and executive director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research in London, and founding director of the North American Jewish Data Bank at the City University of New York (CUNY).
Excerpt from “Connecticut school to study roots and growth of secularism”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 23, 2005
“A Swiss-based foundation is giving $2.8 million to Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., to study the rise of secularism in the United States and around the world, and its implications for politics, religion and culture. The five-year grant will fund the Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture, at Trinity's Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life. The project is bankrolled by the Lucerne-based Posen Foundation, which previously funded the American Religious Identification Survey in 2001 that documented a doubling of the number of Americans who claim no religious affiliation. That survey found the number of American adults who claimed no religion grew from 14 million to 29 million in the 1990s. ‘We owe it to ourselves and future generations that secular ideas and phenomena are clearly understood, so that people can make informed choices,’ the foundation said in a statement.”
Excerpt from “Rise of Secularism to be Examined”
Hartford Courant, June 15, 2005
“Research suggests that if secularism were a religious denomination, it would be one of the largest and fastest-growing in the United States today. The number of people who say they have no religious affiliation has grown since the early 1990s to nearly 14 percent of the population. This trend has surprised researchers, given the political and social impact that religious values have had in America in recent years. A new program at Trinity College, the Institute for the Study of Secularism and Culture, will begin in July to delve into the struggle between religious and secular values in society. It is believed to be the first academic institute devoted to the study of the history and development of secular values. Barry Kosmin, a sociologist who has conducted major studies of religious identity in the United States, will be the institute's director. Secularism demands further study, Kosmin said … because it underlies intense public debate, but is not well understood. ‘It's an issue for our times – at the personal level and the public level – that has to be looked at in some detail,’ Kosmin said in a telephone interview … ‘It's a very intriguing question – our mission is to bring more light than heat to the subject.’ The institute is being funded with a five-year, $2.8 million grant from the Posen Foundation of Lucerne, Switzerland, which has underwritten earlier research conducted by Kosmin.”