Hi David. What's your story (if you feel like opening up)? How'd you become an atheist? Do you face any struggles being godless? What's your favourite sugary breakfast cereal? :)=
I'm not quite atheist, which I think worked to my advantage in writing the book. I was able to approach it as a journalist (which is my professional background), not an advocate.
But I'm certainly nowhere near as religious as I used to be. It was a gradual process that required plenty of thought and plenty of emotion. It may have started when I realized that I didn't much like the prayers that constantly praised God; I just couldn't buy that the creator of all existence was so insecure that he needed constant compliments about his greatness.
Regarding struggles, they were mostly inside myself as I thought things through. My family and friends are, fortunately, loving and supportive.
And sorry, no sugary breakfast cereals for me.
Good to talk to you.
"I'm not quite atheist, which I think worked to my advantage in writing the book."
What has you still "sitting on the fence?" Is there any experience or evidence that would move you back towards deism/theism? The inconsistencies of religious belief are so overwhelming while an understanding of the evolutionary development of religious thought leaves one with really only one informed choice to make about it's plausibility.
I suppose it's emotional. I have great fondness for many of the customs that I learned at my mother's knee, and I'm proud of my heritage, which is Jewish. I could never reject it entirely.
Also, I have to admit that I don't know who created the universe, what happens after death, and other questions without answers.
Ah, emotion. Therein lies one of the greatest frustrations faced by anyone of the atheistic position who tries to reason with the archaic notions of a believer. It (emotion) is often the roadblock that prevents logic and reason to be tools for a more informed understanding of our world.
If you are “not quite atheist” then you are not an Atheist, you are an Agnostic.
“I don’t know who created the Universe”.
If you were an Atheist you would not have used the word “who” in that sentence. “What caused the Universe to be created or come to exist” is a better question.
The same can be said for not knowing “what happens after death”. Do you believe somehow that we are different to other species in that regard? When we are dead we will feel the same way as we felt in 1861 or 1523 or 1901.
Good luck with the book.
Welcome - sounds like an interesting book.
When you say get into the community you have been covering - presumably as research for the book you have spoken to lots of atheists. How did you seek them out?
Is there anything you felt to be particularly pertinent to teenagers rather than atheists in general? I am curious.
I found a lot of young unbelievers via Hemant Mehta's Friendly Atheist blog. He spread the word that I was looking for people to interview, and they responded wonderfully.
As regards teenagers in particular: Telling one's parents is a big, big hurdle. It might be hard for adult unbelievers, but at least adults don't usually live under their parents' roof and depend on them for income and just about everything else.
I would add that emotionally formative years are especially significant in anyone's life. That's when one is most indoctrinated by culture, and feels the strongest needs to fit into the culture.
I agree, Pope Beanie.