By Chris Stedman
The lovely acclaim for the “New Atheist” movement—whose most famed spokesmen comprise Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the past due Christopher Hitchens—speaks to either the starting to be ranks of atheists and the common, vehement disdain for faith between lots of them. In Faitheist, Chris Stedman tells his personal tale to problem the orthodoxies of this flow and make a passionate argument that atheists should still interact non secular range respectfully.
Becoming conscious of injustice, and yearning group, Stedman turned a “born-again” Christian in past due formative years. the assumption of a group certain by means of God’s love—a love that used to be undeserved, endless, and guaranteed—captivated him. It was once, he writes, a spot to belong and a framework for making feel of ache.
But Stedman’s non secular group didn't include this concept of God’s love: they have been staunchly homophobic at a time whilst he used to be slowly coming to achieve that he was once homosexual. the nice soreness this triggered him may have grew to become Stedman right into a life-long New Atheist. yet over the years he got here to understand extra open-minded Christians, and his curiosity in provider paintings introduced him into touch with humans from a large choice of non secular backgrounds. His personal spiritual ideals may have fallen away, yet his wish to switch the realm for the higher remained. Disdain and hostility towards faith used to be preserving him again from carrying out significant paintings with humans of religion. And it was once maintaining him from complete relationships with them—the different types of relationships that holiday down intolerance and increase the area.
In Faitheist, Stedman attracts on his paintings organizing interfaith and secular groups, his educational learn of faith, and his personal reviews to argue for the need of bridging the growing to be chasm among atheists and the non secular. As a person who has stood on either side of the divide, Stedman is uniquely situated to give a manner for atheists and the spiritual to discover universal flooring and interact to make this world—the one global we will all agree on—a larger position.
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Extra info for Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious
What’s within us needs no validation from the starry heavens—its signiﬁcance is internally certiﬁed. So there’s no guarantee good will triumph over evil, and we must be the authors and creators of our own signiﬁcance. That we can be the ground of our own signiﬁcance—and, I would argue, have always been, though we hid it from ourselves behind a veil of mythology—is really a profound miracle in its own right, worthy of Kant’s wonder and awe. Once we rid ourselves of the veil imposed by religious ideology and practice, we face formidable challenges: We must face our own death without comfort of an afterlife; we must endow our pro- from yeshiva bochur to secular humanist 31 jects with signiﬁcance from within; we must ﬁnd it in ourselves to ﬁght for justice though the odds may be against us; and we must self-consciously build a new sense of community based on recognition of our and others’ autonomous choices.
But his own philosophy proper bristles with appeals to God: his benevolence, his inﬁnity, the way in which he sustains the world from moment to moment. Leibniz directed his philosophy at learned Europe, of course, but he also directed it at the communities of the faithful (or, at least, at their leaders). His reform of philosophy was intended to be a reform of the religious life of Europe as well, giving it the basis for a reuniﬁcation of the churches that had been torn asunder during the Reformation.
6 However, one aspect of the process by which I came to this conclusion does bear elaboration. Talmud study, as I’ve said a number of times, involves acute and subtle forms of reasoning. As my admiration for Rabbi Wasserman makes clear, 26 jo urn eys I was especially sensitive to signs of intellectual honesty and authenticity, values I saw embodied in him and other Talmudic scholars I encountered. But there was always a tension between this value of intellectual honesty and the constraint that the Torah had to be right and you couldn’t question God’s word.
Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious by Chris Stedman