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Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious

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  • Posted November 7, 2012

    As a follower of Chris Stedman's work, I've come to know a bit o

    As a follower of Chris Stedman's work, I've come to know a bit of the path he's taken over his short yet full life and how that path has brought him to the space he now occupies. I, too, am of the "kinder, gentler atheist" ilk and knowing for over a year this book was forthcoming has been an almost agonizing wait, exacerbated even further by the tantalizing snippets posted on his blog.

    I understand how Chris strives daily to promote constructive pluralistic discourse among all belief systems and have heard how moments in his past have shaped the ideals of his work. But I also had to wonder: what could a 24 year old possibly have accrued in life experiences that would warrant an entire book? Was this ambition wrought from naiveté, conceit, or both? After consuming its pages in just over a day of reading, how wonderful to discover that neither virtue weighed very heavily in its conception.

    Part of the plight of an atheist is the pervasive, incessant discomfort we feel at being open about who we are. Nearly every revelation of this identity is in some small measure akin to a gay person coming out of the closet. Over time we grow weary and often find ourselves avoiding the subject altogether. In Faitheist though, Stedman bravely blows down the proverbial door of his own closet and invites the reader in, leading us along the winding path of his journey, intent on baring naked all the missteps and lighted tunnels that molded the Humanist he is today. Without taking the professor's lectern, he pushes us to consider finding ways in our own lives to listen, question, and even embrace different ideas for what good they can do and how they relate to our own.

    But in the end, Faitheist really isn't a Humanist "manifesto" nor is it a directive of action. Its intent is to get us to look inward and reflect on our own choices, past and future. Stedman asks "Given that we are here, what will we do? What is the greatest value of our action?" This is the message, the goal, the endpoint. Ultimately, it's a story, Chris's story. Raw, heartbreaking, beautiful, challenging, and (most importantly) hopeful.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted November 13, 2012

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    Posted November 23, 2012

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    Posted December 2, 2013

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