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Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion Paperback – October 1, 2016
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I found this book fascinating because of the very personal writings of these women. Their journeys were sometimes heartbreaking because of the reactions of their families and friends. But none of them regret making the decisions they did. While I have moved from Christianity to some sort of a belief in a higher power, I haven't made the leap to atheism. I don't know that I ever will, but I am glad that atheists are becoming more vocal and that there are organizations where they find acceptance.
One issue I have with religion, and especially religion in America is that we put so much emphasis on politics and religion. The idea that god favors us because we are a "Christian" nation is appalling. This reasoning excuses our extermination of indigenous people, our treatment of slaves and women. This issue is addressed by many of the authors.
The idea of living each day to the best of our ability, taking care of our earth and treating others as we want to be treated should be - but in practice are not - what are supposed to be basic tenents of most religions. The authors in the book subscribe to this belief and practice it much better than many believers. I learned much from this book, and I plan on reading it more than once. This is well worth purchasing and is very thought provoking.
perspectives of male non-believers has skyrocketed, often overshadowing
appraisals of the lived experiences of women nonbelievers. Karen Garst’s
Women Beyond Belief is an insightful addition to the small but growing
body of work on women who are questioning organized religion. These
essays underscore why the process is more onerous for women, who must
negotiate the sexist discrimination, respectability politics, and stifling
norms of gender and sexuality imposed by religious dogma and tradition.
Providing rich testimony from a variety of world views and walks of life,
Women Beyond Belief is a refreshing snapshot of the cultural and social
issues that inform women’s transition to secularism and nonbelief.
We learn from others; we gain compassion and understanding of not
just them, but also of ourselves. This book invites us into the hearts and
worlds of women who have made the life-changing journey from believer
to nonbeliever. Each story is unique, filled with anguish, brilliance, pain,
and joy, not unlike having a child. And, yet, each story is the same. Each
woman was in a very real sense reborn as they shed the cocoon of their old
religion for the wings to take flight into fresh air. Women Beyond Belief is
a testimony to the inner call for truth and the strength of these women to
find it for themselves. I found them awe-inspiring.”
—Rebecca Hale, President of the American Humanist Association and
cofounder of EvolveFISH.com and the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs
gender scripts, all manner of daring thoughts and adventures become
possible. Sometimes funny, sometimes fierce, often sad and exuberant
in turn—these essays invite us along on twenty-two journeys into and
out of religion—many from the vantage of a woman who at some point
in her life tried to live by a biblical script and then discovered something
better. As atheists and freethinkers congregate around shared values and
experiences, brave intelligent voices like these will help ensure that the
unique experience of women shapes the secular spiritual communities of
—Valerie Tarico, psychologist and author of Trusting Doubt: A Former
Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other