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Jonathan Romain

There are many religious people in Britain at the moment who feel they have

been stabbed in the back, then turned around and punched in the face. The

attack from behind is because they feel they are pursuing a religious lifestyle

that is largely caring and considerate, yet they have become associated with

religious extremists whose murderous fanaticism has tainted all people of faith.

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Rosalind Barber

Beliefs acquired from authoritative sources and maintained over time, tend to achieve the status of truths. As a result, though there are many possible ways of interpreting historical data, consensus beliefs are so powerful a determinant of interpretive outcomes that new interpretations of historical evidence will tend to be rare. In addition, any evidence that conflicts radically with a belief that has achieved the status of a truth will logically be dismissed. Such, historically, has been the status of the Shakespeare authorship question. Since we know who wrote the Shakespeare canon, there is no apparent point to research.

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Ruy Llera Blanes and Galina Oustinova-Stjepanovic

In the introduction to this special issue, we set the agenda for researching the aspirations and practices of godless people who seek to thin out religion in their daily lives. We reflect on why processes of disengagement from religion have not been adequately researched in anthropology. Locating this issue's articles in the anthropological literature on doubt and atheism, we argue for the importance of a comparative investigation to analyze people's reluctance to pursue religion.

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Massimo Rosati

Ivan Strenski, The New Durkheim. New Brunswick (NJ) and London: Rutgers University Press, 2006, pp. 376.

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Kevin W. Sweeney

Book Review of Malcolm Turvey, Doubting Vision: Film and the Revelationist Tradition

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Paul-François Tremlett and Fang-Long Shih

New Atheism is characterized by a binary logic that pits religion against science, belief against doubt, a pre-modern past against a modern present. It generates a temporal sensibility and attitude toward being modern that is a 'survival' of late-nineteenth-century anthropology, where religious belief and the past were bound together in opposition to science and the present. We analyze this binary logic and then, in response, present two ethnographic accounts—one from the Philippines, the other from Taiwan—to support our contention that religion is not just a matter of personal convictions. Rather, it is a public practice in which belief and doubt are constituted socially and dialogically.