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Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt (Online)

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Join Madeleine Pennington, Head of Research at Theos, as she discusses 'Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt' with Prof. Alec Ryrie.

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The rise of secularism and atheism is often presented as a story of science, philosophy and freethinking. But what if it is instead a story of emotion, anger and anxiety? What if we choose unbelief just as intuitively and instinctively as we choose faith?

Drawing on his latest book, Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt, and chaired by Theos Head of Research, Madeleine Pennington, Prof. Alec Ryrie looks at how the West came to lose its faith. Rather than an attempt to debunk atheism, or to explain its rise ‘scientifically’, he argues that we can’t understand belief, unbelief or the ‘secular’ world around us without understanding the role of the heart as well as the head.

Professor Alec Ryrie is the author of Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt (2019), and of numerous other books including Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World  (2017) and the prizewinning Being Protestant in Reformation Britain (2013). He is Professor of the History of Christianity at Durham University, Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, London, co-editor of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History and a Fellow of the British Academy. He has had numerous radio and TV appearances and has written for the Wall Street Journal, Daily Telegraph, CNN.com, salon.com, Foreign Affairs, History Today, BBC History, Church Times and many other outlets.

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Organiser Theos Think Tank

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Understanding faith. Enriching society.

Theos is the UK’s leading religion and society think tank, and has a Christian basis. We exist to enrich the conversation about religion in public life, seeing the wisdom of our faith traditions and the people in our faith communities as gifts and not threats, essential for flourishing societies.

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