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Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious Hardcover – November 6, 2012
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“Christians like me have heard lots of ‘testimonies’—how I once was lost but now am found, was blind ... and so on. We've heard how atheists converted to Christianity, how backsliders came back to piety, and how heretics returned to orthodoxy. What we haven’t heard enough of is testimonies about how a Christian became an atheist or how an atheist became a faitheist or how a gay Evangelical came out of the closet and out of the church. I’ve never read, heard, or met anyone better suited to this task than Chris Stedman. His beautiful writing voice, his poignant story-telling skill, his clear-eyed insight, his humane and humble empathy uniquely equip him to bear witness to everyone—especially Christians like me. Rigid anti-theists and theists alike will be challenged as they read—challenged to greater humanity, empathy, and understanding. Wholeheartedly recommended.”—Brian D. McLaren, author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?
“Smart. Funny. Heartening. Inspiring. Faitheist is the perfect book for those seeking a middle path between the firm, opposing certainties of religious fundamentalism and intolerant atheism.”—Reza Aslan, author of No god but God and Beyond Fundamentalism
“If Chris Stedman had become a pastor, he’d have a big, big church. Instead, he’s a humanist hero, a compelling writer whose efforts to build bridges between non-believers and the faithful will leave a lasting mark. Faitheist should be required reading in Sunday schools and Richard Dawkins’s house alike.” —Kevin Roose, author of The Unlikely Disciple
“Agree or disagree with Chris Stedman (and there will be many who do both), no one can deny that he has written a deeply human book—human in its description of his own pilgrimage and human in its call to theists and non-theists alike to seek out common ground. The world would be a better place with more Chris Stedman’s in it and fortunately he has provided us a roadmap to just such a world.”—The Rev. William F. Schulz, President, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
“Who can we be together? Chris Stedman asks in this powerful book. Faitheist reveals that it’s not what we believe that matters, but how our beliefs shape what we do with our lives—a timely reminder for both atheists and the religious that the goal should be neither conversion nor the destruction of religion, but rather to make a better world.”—Sarah Sentilles, author of Breaking Up with God: A Love Story
“Stedman the atheist pays God the ultimate compliment: He provides a vigorous, amusing dissent to the all-too-glib magical ‘thinking’ both most Americanized big time religion and most so-called New Atheists are selling. Unlike the New Atheist stars and America's blathering religious fundamentalists Stedman lays the groundwork for constructive engagement between all of us—no matter what we believe...or don't.”—Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy For God
“Chris Stedman’s remarkable work has spanned from advocating for LGBTQ rights among Evangelical Christians to, in his current role at Harvard, founding the first-ever atheist-led interfaith initiative -- and he's only twenty-five. Part memoir and part blueprint, Faitheist not only recounts his personal journey (which would be a riveting story on its own), but also shows -- sensitively and humorously -- how Humanists can live out our values with both empathy and honesty. This book represents the growing secular movement at its very best.” —Greg M. Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, author of Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe
“The searching, intelligent account of a gay man's experiences growing away from God and into a thoughtful and humane atheist… Brave and refreshingly open-minded.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Enter Stedman, avowed atheist, former Fundamentalist Christian, and current interfaith activist whose heartfelt and thought-provoking account of his struggle with God and religion serves as a call to arms for those seeking to bridge the gap between the religious and the secular… To that end he paints an intimate and deeply affecting portrait of his own life, one characterized by the sort of staggering dissonances—gay Christian teen, religion-degree-seeking atheist—that could cripple a person. But Stedman is nothing if not determined, and his resulting journey toward personal reconciliation through service work and interfaith dialogue is inspiring. Stedman’s story is motivational, his thoughts on interreligious dialogue insightful, and in this short memoir, he proves himself an activist in the truest sense and one to watch.”
—Booklist, Starred Review
"Faitheist, a new memori by local author Chris Stedman, promotes a warm, loving, and witty serving of intercultural dialogue."—Scott Kearnan, Boston Spirit
“An enlightening and engaging memoir.”
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"His book about being religious and being secular, together, offers his hope for a better world"
More About the Author
Photographer Copyright Credit Name: Alex Dakoulas, 2012.
Top Customer Reviews
Chris Stedman is a gay atheist who, unlike many atheists, is not anti-religion. In fact he spent many years as a fundamentalist Christian even though it often filled him with loneliness and self-loathing because of his sexuality. He studied religion in university (as did I) even as he was coming to terms with his own atheism (just like me!). He even went on to study theology at the graduate level which would essentially make him a minister if he were Christian (okay, I never did that, but I did consider studying to be a high school religious education teacher in Quebec even though I'm an atheist).
So there's a lot I can relate to personally in this book. I came to atheism from a place of religious searching and although I am critical of many aspects of religion, I still sometimes long for the community, charity and sense of sacred time that religion provides. So maybe I'm a faitheist too.
One thing I'm not sure Stedman quite got right is his portrait of atheists whom he believes are "anti-religion." He cites many examples of those atheists whose goal is to dismantle religion completely, eradicate it from society completely. Yes, I understand that this viewpoint exists, but I would argue that there are a large number of atheists who are more concerned with churches getting things like tax exemptions and government funding and then being allowed to create policies that are exclusionary and discriminatory.Read more ›
The important thing to note is that he does not leave the church or God because of this. He simply realizes that what he believes does not match up with the ideas of the church. He is unable to find a way to believe in God anymore. He says it's like he came home one day to find that God was no longer there; that he had packed a bag and not even left a note. He was simply not a part of his life anymore.
A lot of atheists have a bad reputation because the loudest voices are ones that people find offensive (Hitchens, Dawkins, etc). There is finally a voice telling a story of not religion bashing, but wanting to work together to find a way to better the world regardless of religious affiliation. I enjoy reading the other atheists' works, but this is necessary as well. We can't be constantly bickering or nothing will change for the better.
What I liked: This was the easiest biography I've ever read. I was sucked into his life story and wanted to know more about him. I loved his explanations of how he was raised without religion and still turned out to be a good moral person.
This is a call to action not to erase religion but to find common ground. There are enough calls to end religion already.
He is so young and has already figured this much out, and is working to put his words into action.Read more ›
Throughout my life I have been involved with believers on a number of projects involving environmental issues, health, and social justice. I found that, despite our religious differences, on these matters we had a great deal in common.. I'd therefore most strongly endorse Stedman's eloquent exhortation to us unbelievers to speak and act in such fashion that we not alienate people whose religious beliefs we do not share but with whom we have many interests in common. Admittedly there are some who are so intensely hostile to any beliefs (or lack of belief) than their own that cooperation with them is not possible.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a good book. I find atheism interesting and at times a bit disturbing, especially with the rhetoric of the new atheists. Read morePublished 27 days ago by James Watrous
Being CHristian improved be very challenging. It is unfortunate they no need for forgiveness. Evil and sin is not a part of their thinking.Published 3 months ago by Kindle Customer
It is easy to get caught up in our own beliefs and in defending them without taking the time to realize that understanding others is more important than most anything else. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Unkamengifts
An excellent read. Whether you agree with the author or not you can tell he's coming from an honest place in himself and that alone is worthwhile.Published 5 months ago by Indigo
Chris Stedman is not only one of the most eloquent and thoughtful voices in the modern secular movement, but also one of its most ground-breaking young activists. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Chelsea S Link
Stedman is a skilled storyteller of high Emotional Intelligence. The first section of this book, in which he tells his own story of being a young gay man growing up in a mostly... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ellen H. G. Culpepper
I had really wanted to read this book for a number of reasons but two of the biggest are that 1. I have always wanted a way of connecting with others regardless of their beliefs... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Colleen
I bought this book not really knowing what to expect; I am not an atheist but I respect their views and believe that we can all learn fron each other. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Gary A. Mongillo