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The Culture of Disbelief

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  201 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
The Culture of Disbelief has been the subject of an enormous amount of media attention from the first moment it was published.  Hugely successful in hardcover, the Anchor paperback is sure to find a large audience as the ever-increasing, enduring debate about the relationship of church and state in America continues. In The Culture of Disbelief, Stephen Carter explains how ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 1st 1994 by Anchor (first published 1993)
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Gary Miller
Feb 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Carter is an Episcopalian, who once clerked for Thurgood Marshall. He is also a law professor at Yale. He writes like an attorney. Some of his sentences seem to be several pages long (not really, just seems like it). There were times when I wished he had provided an English translation from his legalize. He specializes in church/state issues.

The basic idea of the book is though the government should not be involved in religion, religious people have a constitutional right and a moral obligation
Mar 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!!!
Very good insights about the way that religion is treated in the public sphere of America currently. Cogent arguments for reevaluating the way in which religious voices are considered and the foundations of religious beliefs treated. The author defends the reasonableness even of religious people with whom he disagrees, but can find how their religious perspective provides a coherent system of reasoning for them. Astute and wise, with sound suggestions for changing the emphasis in public discussi ...more
Mar 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
S. Carter doesn't hold the same views on his faith that I do. He did explain very well how the law tends to view religion as sometimes a hobby. The law isn't consistent. It was informative, but a little outdated being written in 1992. He did point out several times that Reagan didn't go to church and Bush used the Christian right rather than being a part of it. He said both did very little to help.
Michael Vincent
It took me awhile to get through this, but overall Carter takes his liberal Christian perspective and argues that a person's religious views should not disqualify him from entering the political and social argument. He gives many examples of how a person's religion played a role in their public decisions, and how society, rightly or wrongly, reacted to these decisions. Many important court cases are discussed throughout. A thought provoking book.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
I read this in college, but I still think about it all the time. It's a non-fiction description of how our culture tends to cow faithful folks into acting differently in public and pretending their beliefs don't matter to them.
The Thousander Club
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
As I am wont to do, I checked the references on a talk I listened to given by Dallin H. Oaks. In 2011, Oaks gave a talk at a CES devotional titled Truth & Tolerance. Among the 17 sources he used, one was Stephen L. Carter's The Culture of Disbelief, which caught my attention. The subject matter has a special interest to me, and I was happy to find a serious work from an academic scholar on such an important topic as religious freedom.

Carter is a practicing Christian, as in he attends Church,
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful look at the poo-pooing of religion by secular American society

I found The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religion while reading another book by Stephen L. Carter, one that I did not care for, Jericho's Fall . However, I am glad I read Jericho's Fall because I found this book listed on a page of the author's other works.

Read the discussion boards on popular blogs, newspaper pages and any other site that attracts people from all walks of life and
Sheldon Lehman
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it
Considering this book is a little dated ('93) many of the author's points are still an issue today, like the discussion of school vouchers. After the first 8 chapters, where there is much discussion of the courts, the book decays into more of a philosophical discussion. I don't agree with his stance on everything (WARNING!! Even though he calls himself a Christian (Episcopal), he does not believe in the errancy of Scripture or the Biblical account of creation - this is discussed in a chapter on ...more
Apr 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I am reading this book for my Sociology of Religion class.
It is a good read just to see an interesting perspective on politics and religion. After reading this book, i find that Carter keeps a nice balance between the religious and non-religious. You can tell that Carter is religious, but he does not superimpose it on the reader. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a new perspective.
Aug 13, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: religion
I appreciated Carter's somewhat provocative perspective, which challenges the assumptions of both conservatives & liberals. Unfortunately, the message was really pretty simple & got repeated over & over--like most popular nonfiction books, so I got bored after a while.
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
A really good understanding and critique of how religion has been abused by our legal system. Although I am a strict separationist and believe deeply in the "wall" -- it expresses to me the heart of the 1st amendment -- I like this book and some of his arguments.
Jim B
Jul 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, nonfiction
This was a book that changed tv and movies!

When President Clinton was seen carrying this book, many people read Stephen Carter's assessment of how religion was being excluded from media. Suddenly tv shows started including religious characters.
to dnt just other person
Stephen Hallquist
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A must read...Period!
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
First time I read this in college, I so connected with this. It explains our freedom of religions turned into freedom from religions rather than freedom for religions.
Marc Manley
Jan 02, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: religion
Thanks to Ebadur for the referral.
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Interesting ideas about the role of faith in a democratic society.
Aug 06, 2011 added it
An important book for both the religious and non-religious, but certainly a must read for Christians.
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Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale where he has taught since 1982. He has published seven critically acclaimed nonfiction books on topics ranging from affirmative action to religion and politics. His first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002), was an immediate national best seller. His latest novel is New England White (Knopf, 2007). A recipient of the NAA ...more
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