Synopses & Reviews
Most atheists have little in common, save one thing--that they do not believe in God. There is, however, a growing population of atheists united by another belief: that religion is the root of all evil, and that atheists and the religious have conflicting and irreconcilable goals.
In Faitheist, one atheist shares the story of his secular upbringing and how his search for meaning led to a "Born Again" conversion to Evangelical Christianity at the age of eleven. Shortly after converting, his realization that he was gay resulted in an inner struggle that eventually led to his becoming an anti-religious atheist. But after continued exposure to the diversity of religious expression, he realized that his narrow definition of religion was unfair and that his bitterness and hostility toward religion was not only making him just as unhappy as being religious had--it was also holding him back from engaging in meaningful work with people of faith.
Faitheist is an introduction to the idea that one doesn't need to stand in opposition to religion just because one isn't religious, through the eyes of a young man who has stood on both sides of the divide. Drawing on his life experiences, his academic study of religion, and his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, Stedman speaks to a generation that is increasingly nonreligious and offers a new way forward for atheists: one that prioritizes cooperation and understanding with the religious over division and shouting matches.
The story of a former Evangelical Christian turned openly gay atheist who now works to bridge the divide between atheists and the religious
The stunning popularity of the “New Atheist” movement—whose most famous spokesmen include Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens—speaks to both the growing ranks of atheists as well as their vehement disdain for religion. In Faitheist, Chris Stedman challenges the orthodoxies of this movement and makes a passionate argument that atheists should learn to respect religious identity while remaining secular. Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and secular communities, his academic study of religion, and his experiences as a former born-again Christian who struggled with his homosexuality and became, for a time, a New Atheist—until he saw its shortcomings. As someone who has stood on both sides of the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious to find common ground.
About the Author
Chris Stedman is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, the emeritus managing director of State of Formation at the Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue, and the founder of the first blog dedicated to exploring atheist-interfaith engagement, NonProphet Status. Stedman writes for the Huffington Post, the Washington Post’s On Faith blog, and Religion Dispatches. He lives in Boston.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Eboo Patel
Chapter 1: There's Nothing Worse Than a Faitheist
Chapter 2: Starting Secular, Seeking Substance
Chapter 3: Conversation and Confusion
Chapter 4: Losing and Finding My Religion
Chapter 5: Unholier Than Though: Saying Goodbye to God
Chapter 6: Putting My money Where Other People's Mouths Are
Chapter 7: In Search of the Secular Soul
Chapter 8: Fact or Friction, Engage or Enrage