How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps





Do you want the greatest challenges of the day to be addressed with thoughtful, reality-based solutions rather than with cherry-picked quotations from scripture? Do you want to shrink religion—especially fundamentalist religion—to the point that it plays no noticeable role in American public life? Do you want right-wing religious leaders to be so unpopular that politicians avoid them rather than pander to them for endorsements? Drawing on the latest social-scientific research on religion to help interested nonbelievers—and even progressive believers—weaken the influence of fundamentalist religion in society at large, How to Defeat Religion in 10 Easy Steps illustrates specific, actionable steps we all can take to facilitate fundamentalist religion’s decline. It covers topics as far ranging as education, welfare, sex, science, capitalism, and Christmas, and each of the 10 chapters focuses on a specific action that research has shown can weaken religion, detailing why and how, and concluding with specific recommendations for individuals, local groups, and national organizations.


What People Are Saying:

“Ryan Cragun gets to the heart of the matter in his eminently readable ’10 Steps’ book. Want a society free from religious dictates? Give people a real social safety net so they aren’t relegated to invoking a nonexistent deity for security, support science, art and education, the pillars of a progressive, cultured and worldly citizenry, and defend a secular education for all children, so kids have a foundation in science and the tools they need to critically assess the truth about religion. Add to these a few other ingredients Ryan helpfully offers, wait a generation and, viola, secularism flourishes. Most of us who are nonreligious could have come up with a similar list, but Ryan shortcuts the work for us, laying out a plan that he calls subversive but is largely just about building a better society for us all.”  –Robyn Blumner, Executive Director of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science


“Dr. Cragun makes a compelling case that secular activism must be more proactive than reactive, that we’re at our best when we’re united in purpose, organized and positive, and that many religious people can be nudged into discovering that (despite their outward professions of faith) they’re already living largely secular lives. ‘How to Defeat Religion’ speaks to the need for a cultural shift, and it provides useful ideas for creating one.”  -Seth Andrews, host of The Thinking Atheist and author of Sacred Cows and Deconverted: A Journey from religion to Reason


“This is a rare “How to…” book that actually provides wonderful ideas on—“How to.” Good books about atheism and humanism abound, but Cragun’s book is much more than just an excellent read. Based on his wealth of experience as a social scientist, he offers ample evidence for effective strategies to marginalize religion. Whether you want to become more engaged as an individual, or as part of a local or national group, Cragun suggests a variety of activities in each thoughtful chapter. And the good news is that it can be both easy and fun. You might find it difficult to do everything this book advises, but I think you will find it even more difficult to resist following at least some of the sage advice offered. ”  Herb Silverman, author of Candidate Without a Prayer: An Autobiography of a Jewish Atheist in the Bible Belt


“The book is written in a breezy casual style that is easy to read. But sometimes the tone is so facetious, that one wonders whether he is being serious or has his tongue firmly placed in his cheek. I would strongly recommend that you read the notes section at the end where he adopts a more serious and scholarly tone and provides data and citations to back up his assertions in the main text. It is written like an annotated bibliography and is interesting and useful. All I all, I can recommend this book as a guide to activists who want to do something practical and want to go beyond intellectual arguments against religion, because that battle has been pretty much won.” (full review here)  Mano Singham, theoretical physicist and author of three books: God vs. Darwin: The War Between Evolution and Creationism in the Classroom, The Achievement Gap in US Education: Canaries in the Mine, and Quest for Truth: Scientific Progress and Religious Beliefs.


Available on



Check out the Facebook page for the book for updates and discussions about the book.

Additional Recommendations for Secular Activists:

  • Local Groups:
    • Approach your local university and see if they have any students interested in doing an internship.  Many religions use interns to help them clean up membership lists and engage in outreach to increase membership.  Interns work for free and often have great ideas for how to attract young people to events.