I invited author Dan Riley to write for this blog to tell us about his latest book Generation Atheist:
“People think in narratives. Personal stories stick. They’re personal, emotional, relatable. Stories about the human journey — about finding truth and meaning — are integral to the way we think about our world and our place within it.
Right now, I can walk into any bookstore and have no problem finding books that tell stories like these, but they’re often about people finding God, Jesus, or some other higher power. One might find, for example, 100 Stories: Finding God in Everyday Life, Finding God: A Treasury of Conversion Stories, Finding God in the Shadows: Stories from the Battlefield of Life, Bumping into God Again: 35 More Stories of Finding Grace in Unexpected Places, Our Lives As Torah: Finding God in Our Stories, Finding God in the Graffiti: Empowering Teenagers Through Stories, or, last, but certainly not least, Stories of the Supernatural: Finding God in Walmart and Other Unlikely Places. To date, I have yet to find one book that documents the personal journeys of people who have come to view life from the opposite perspective.
For the past three years, I have worked to create such a book. I am incredibly honored and proud to announce the release of Generation Atheist.
I want this book to put a human face on atheism — more specifically, a young human face. While the book includes discussions of philosophy and religious texts, these are stories, first and foremost, about people and the lives that they’ve lived. In Generation Atheist, the reader will find personal liberation from fear and cognitive dissonance, a purpose-driven life of secular activism, a struggle to reconcile Christianity and homosexuality, a journey into music to reveal and work through childhood indoctrination, a near suicide caused by the loss of faith and family,ostracism from communities in Louisiana and Rhode Island, and a former medical-student-turned-high-school-teacher-and-blogger. According to recent polling data the people in this book are part of a growing demographic within the United States and around the world.
This book asks and seeks to answer the following questions: how and why do young people become atheists in the world today? What books, people, scientific theories, or ideas have influenced their worldview? Do any — or most — young atheists receive backlash from their friends, family, or community? Do Generation Y atheists view their atheism as having a positive or negative influence on their lives? Has atheism influenced their social relationships? Are they confident in their belief that this world and everything within it was created without deistic intention or cosmic oversight? Do they wish they could go back and change the way they think?
I hope you will check out the abbreviated introductions of the people in the book on the book’s website. If this book speaks to you or someone you know, I hope you’ll consider sharing it with them.”