2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Illustrative about how many former Xians must feel,
This review is from: Reasons to Believe: One Man's Journey Among the Evangelicals and the Faith He Left Behind (Hardcover)
I've read lots of books criticizing (not necessarily in the negative sense) religion. Marks has written a book looking critically at religion, and Christianity in particular, but unlike most of the books on the atheist's shelf, does so with sympathy and longing. Based on my own friends' (and interviewees') accounts, many former Xians who are now atheists miss the faith they left behind, particularly the heaven that they wouldn't go to. (Many don't miss religion, though, and find lack of it a relief. I feel the need to point that out.)
What makes Reasons to Believe so readable is the personal accounts of both the author and his interviewees, particularly their sex lives, in the sense of homosexuality, feelings on sex before and after marriage, etc. One account describes boys experimenting with gay sex at a church youth group camping trip (chuckle). Marks quotes secular and religious sex surveys. "Anal sex is now the firewall." Food for thought.
If I have anything negative to say about this book, it's my own personal bias that Marks's book is perhaps kinder on religion than it deserves. Yes, religion has done some good, but I think we'd be better off without it. Marks misses an opportunity to point this out when he discusses a survivor of the September 11th attacks whose faith was affirmed by the tragedy. Marks reports that Christianity is a greater force in the US because of the attacks. This, Marks says, is a cause for fear, despite his positive feelings about religion... but he really should have mentioned that religion *caused* the attacks, too.