From the Preface

Once in a while you find an old book that speaks to you in such a way that you feel as if you are the first person ever to have read it. You might come across it in a secondhand store, on a friend’s bookshelf, or on the curb in certain parts of Brooklyn where the neighbors like to share their old finds. This project began many years ago when I discovered Ethan Allen’s Oracles of Reason of 1784 in an electronic database at a public library. And it is distinctly possible that I was the first person to have read it in a very long time, if you don’t count the half-dozen scholars who decided that the book was so bad that there was no point in reading it…

Review Links

National Book Award–Longlist for Nonfiction

The Boston Globe, “enthralling and important”

The Los Angeles Times, “graceful … eloquently argued”

The New Republic, “enormous, ambitious … impassioned, noble, and necessary.”

KIRKUS REVIEW, (Starred Review/ Best Books 2014) “stirring … imposing … admirably lucid”

Booklist, “sprawling, ambitious … compelling … richly argued”

Prospect, “splendidly polemical … vigorous”

The Post and Courier, “probing … impressive”

The Dispatch, “engrossing … full of insights”

Daylight Atheism, “dense … compelling”

Interview/ Presentation Links

Christopher Philips, Socrates Cafe, podcast, April 16, 2017.

Between Two Revolutions: Nature’s God in America 1776-1865,” Lecture at the Boston Athenaeum, September 21, 2016.

Interview with Barbara Adams (audio), Radio Amerika Now, December 6, 2014

Interview with Stewart Harris (audio), Your Weekly Constitutional, November 14, 2014.

Interview with Barry Kibrick (video), Between the Lines, PBS, First Airing October 4, 2014.

Interview with Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor (audio), Freethought Radio, September 1, 2014.

Presentation at Politics & Prose (audio), July 21, 2014.

Interview with Connie Martinson (video), Connie Martinson Talks Books, August 6, 2014.

Presentation at the Harvard Book Store (video), BookTV, CSPAN-2, July 2, 2014.

Interview with Leonard Lopate (radio), The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, July 30, 2014.

Interview with Coy Barefoot (radio), Inside Charlottesville, July 11, 2014.

Interview with Art Remillard (radio), The Marginalia Review of Books, July 22, 2014.

“Founders Claimed a Subversive Right to ‘Nature’s God’,” Interview with Arun Rath, NPR Weekend Edition Sunday, July 13, 2014.

Interview with Bill Thompson (print), Kirkus Reviews, July 10, 2014.

Interview with Gary Null (radio), The Gary Null Show, July 1, 2014.

“Founding Sources: A New Book Examines the Philosophical Underpinnings of America’s ‘Heretical’ Republic,” Interview with Rob Boston, Church & State, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, July/August 2014.

“Questioning America’s Christian Roots,” Interview with Brook Wilensky-Lanford, The Boston Globe, July 4, 2014.


“The Heterodox Republic Part I: The Religion of Nature” and “The Heterodox Republic Part II: The Two Voices of Liberalism,” in Barbara McGraw, ed., The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S., May 2016.

Extraterrestrial Thoughts on Independence Day. July 4, 2015.

“The Original Tea Partier Was an Atheist,” Politico Magazine, September 1, 2014.

“Hobby Lobby and the Separation of Church and Business,” Harvard Business Review, July 21, 2014.


As discussed in the Preface and Notes of Nature’s God, Wim Klever’s provocative paper, Locke’s Disguised Spinozism, can be found here.

Fatwas, Partisan hack-jobs, Evidence of fear & loathing among conservative “intellectuals,” etc.

Robert Tracy McKenzie, Wheaton College, “America’s Founding May Not Have Been Christian, but It Sure Wasn’t Anti-Christian,” Christianity Today, July 3, 2014.

Barton Swaim, “How Radical were the Founders?”, Wall Street Journal, July 26, 2014.

James Hutson, “The Unmasker Unmasked,” Claremont Review of Books, Fall 2015.