Phil Zuckerman

On this date in 1969, Phil Zuckerman was born in Los Angeles. He grew up in Pacific Palisades and studied at Santa Monica College before transferring to the University of Oregon in Eugene, where he earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology. Zuckerman is a professor of sociology and secular studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., and an affiliated adjunct professor at Claremont Graduate University. He was a guest professor at Aarhus University in Denmark in 2006 and 2010. 

In 2011 he founded the first secular studies department in the nation, an interdisciplinary program focusing on the study of nonreligious people in societies and cultures, past and present. He serves as the special series editor of the Secular Studies book series published by NYU Press and is on the board of directors of Brighter Brains, which builds and supports orphanages, schools and clinics in Uganda. He and his wife Stacy have three children.

Zuckerman writes a blog for Psychology Today titled “The Secular Life” (“Thriving Without Gods or Gurus”) and also writes for the Huffington Post. His work has also been published in various scholarly journals and in the mainstream press.

His books include What It Means to be Moral: Why Religion Is Not Necessary for Living an Ethical Life (2019), The Nonreligious: Understanding Secular People and Societies (with Luke Galen and Frank Pasquale, 2016), Living the Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions (2014), Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion (2011), Atheism and Secularity (2010), Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment (2008), Sex and Religion (with Christel Manning, 2005) and Invitation to the Sociology of Religion (2003).

His books have been translated and published in Danish, Farsi, Turkish, Chinese, Korean, and Italian.

“In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis argues that human beings cannot be truly good or moral without faith in God and without submission to the will of Christ,” Zuckerman wrote in Faith No More. “Unfortunately, Lewis does not provide any actual data for his assertions. They are nothing more than the mild musings of a wealthy British man, pondering the state of humanity’s soul between his sips of tea.” 

He spoke in 2009 to FFRF’s national convention in Seattle on “The Goodness of Godlessness.” He has also been a guest on FFRF’s “Freethought Matters” and “Freethought Radio” shows.

Freedom From Religion Foundation