It is of great, inestimable consequence that Sartre inscribes the question of atheism at the end of his childhood account ( récit d’enfance 1 ) where he writes these famous words: ‘L’athéisme est une entreprise cruelle et de longue haleine : je
Translator : Ârash Aminian Tabrizi
Renaat Demoen’s Au pays de la grande angoisse (1950–1951)
atheism. Near the beginning of the album, a young boy tells Annie that once they cross the border, it would be unwise to let anyone see that she is wearing a cross around her neck. 57 A little further on, a memorable page condemns a violent anti
John H. Gillespie
Atheists have brought renewed vigour to this centuries-old debate. Similarly, in recent years, more attention has begun to be paid to the role of God in Sartre’s thought. However, much work remains to be done. In studying atheism in Sartre’s writings 1 it
We all have our conceptual bugbears, terms which, as anthropologists, cause us trouble. Over the past couple of years, an increasing number of anthropologists working in the anthropology of religion have had to face some newly prominent ones: atheism, godlessness, and (worst of all) non-religion.
Godless People, Doubt, and Atheism
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.
Materiality and the Morality of Atheist Materialism
Jacob Copeman and Johannes Quack
Atheists are not the only people who donate their bodies, yet the practice is strikingly prevalent in a variety of atheist circles. We concentrate here on the Indian case, exploring body donation as a key instance of the material culture of atheism. Recent efforts to reinvigorate study of the material culture of religion are to be welcomed, but they should be extended to non-religion in order to address the irony that sees scholars representing materialism as an abstract doctrine and, hence, as immaterial. Body donation holds value for Indian atheists as a bridge between 'positive' and 'negative' modes of atheist thought and action. It also provides a ready-made solution for atheist activists keen to circumvent the cadaver-centered death rituals they find so redundant.
Ruy Llera Blanes and Abel Paxe
In this article we chart the histories and political translations of atheist cultures in Angola. We explore the specific translations of atheist ideologies into practical actions that occurred in the post-independence period in the 1970s–1980s and perform an ethnographic exploration of their legacies in contemporary Angola. We also debate the problem of atheism as an anthropological concept, examining the interfaces between ideology, political agency, and social praxis. We suggest that atheism is inherently a politically biased concept, a product of the local histories and intellectual traditions that shape it.
Ronald E. Santoni
Before addressing Ronald Aronson’s Living Without God, I wish, first, to make a brief remark or two about the perspective from which I come, and secondly, to offer a few summary comments about “Sartre and Atheism,” a theme that underlies much of Aron- son’s analysis and represents a kind of subtitle for this panel-discus- sion and exchange.
Adrian van den Hoven
While reading Ron Aronson’s illuminating guide to the secular life, it struck me that, given the context, an exploration of the topic of Sartre and atheism was very much in order.
Power and Non-religious Culture in Contemporary Britain
In Britain, most non-theists and atheists do not identify themselves as such in explicit terms, yet non-theistic cultural threads are interwoven through everyday discourses. This article calls for more extensive ethnographic engagement with these more diffuse—and therefore less visible and less commonly researched—forms of non-religious culture. Based on exploratory fieldwork conducted in South East England, it draws attention to one set of these indistinct non-religious forms: 'authentic' and 'inauthentic' ambivalent atheist and non-religious self-understandings and self-representations. It demonstrates how these identities may be subjectively meaningful and culturally significant and how they may be simultaneously empowering and disempowering. Scrutiny of ambivalent atheist identities points to complicated dynamics between non-religion and power and the value of attending to poorly or unmarked non-religious cultures through ethnographic work.