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Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason Paperback – December 4, 2012
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About the Author
A former religious radio host raised in the cradle of Christianity, Seth Andrews battled his own doubts for many years. His attempts to reconcile faith and the facts led him to a conclusion previously unthinkable, and this once-true believer ultimately became the founder of one of the most popular atheist communities on the internet.
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"Deconverted" is a great read, not very long, yet very powerful. It's not just an atheist story, but a human one. It does more than take us one on man's journey through emotional ups and downs; it makes us think.
Mr. Andrews and I are both Generation X and therefore experienced many of the same Christian rites of passage, such as being scared towards God by the apocalyptic "Thief in the Night" cheese-fest series of movies and rocking out in a holy way to righteous acts like Petra and the Imperials. He got saved at a much earlier age than I did due in no small part to the influence of his Christian parents, but our post-conversion result was the same: a passion for all things Jesus and a quest to become a "man of God" via the Scriptural use of spiritual gifts and natural talents.
In the author's case, coming of age during the big boom of contemporary Christian music in the 80s and 90s led Mr. Andrews to his calling as a Christian radio deejay. At first life seemed divinely ordered, but as time went on he began to question his beliefs as he grieved over the senseless deaths of devout Christian musicians Keith Green and Rich Mullins, cringed at the excesses of evangelical luminaries such as Oral Roberts, and recoiled from the horrifying actions of religious fanatics during 9/11. Mr. Andrews' once fiery faith began to sputter and he settled into what a more zealous believer would call a "lukewarm" mindset.
But as the saying goes: "when the student is ready, the master will appear." This fateful event happened for Mr. Andrews (and me as well) when the New Atheists began releasing their controversial and hard-hitting tomes. In particular, raconteur Christopher Hitchens made a strong impression on the author with his witty and articulate demolition of all things religious. The last of Mr. Andrews' Christianity fell before the onslaught of Mr. Hitchens and his rational comrades, and he was reborn with a new mission as founder of The Thinking Atheist and producer of podcasts and video resources for non-believers.
Each chapter of "Deconverted" begins with an encouraging quote from a member of The Thinking Atheist Internet community. In addition to his personal tale, Mr. Andrews has gathered some of the gorier and more contradictory aspects of the Bible that are usually ignored or rationalized by believers (provided they actually read their holy book, which is less common than you might expect). His categorization of Christian apologetic archetypes was familiar and insightful as well (check out Bill Maher's fine documentary "Religulous" for real-life examples in the wild).
After finishing the book I was inspired to hit the Web and investigate Mr. Andrews' organization and other atheist-related websites and Facebook groups. Turns out I'm not so alone - "Deconverted" is now one of many ex-Christian memoirs, blogs, and groups where the newly rational can find fellowship and encouragement. Although lifelong unbelievers will enjoy "Deconverted", those of us who did time in Christianity will deeply appreciate and relate to Mr. Andrews' pilgrimage to atheism.
While I enjoy and admire the work of atheists like Hitchens or Harris, I personally needed to hear from people who had spent many years as devoted Christian believers and learn how they found themselves moving away from the faith they once held so dear. Andrews is clear, smart and painfully honest throughout this book.
I read it in a few days and, coincidentally, was finishing it on my Kindle while out of town for a funeral last weekend. Watching how people react and behave following the death of a fellow-Christian was almost surreal for me, as I was turning the last few pages of this book! With all due respect to the departed, I was suddenly awash of all the hypocrisy, cliches and uncertainty that inevitably swirls around such an event.
Anyway, great book.
Well written with short chapters, this book tells of his upbringing in a Christian household, his work in contemporary christian radio to where he is now. He discusses some of the points of Christianity and religion in general he now questions or finds absurd, but does so not to confront, but merely to tell a story of where he was an where he is now.
An excellent book. For those of you who are non-believers, it's a great read, and for those who have started to come out of the slumber, and rising to fully opening your eyes this book will be a great way to approach your questions and fears.