How an atheist found common ground with the religious.
Chris Stedman is the Assistant Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and an interfaith activist. He will be speaking on his recent book, Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious Meet at the Billy Bishop Legion in Kitsilano at 7PM and stay for Skeptics in the Pub afterwards.
The event is free and copies of Faitheist are available for $15 by emailing [masked] or at the event.
About the book:
The stunning popularity of the "New Atheist" movement—
whose most famous spokesmen include Richard Dawkins,
Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens—speaks to
both the growing ranks of atheists as well as the
widespread, vehement disdain for religion among many of
them. In Faitheist, Chris Stedman tells his own story to
challenge the orthodoxies of this movement and make a
passionate argument that atheists should engage religious
Becoming aware of injustice, and craving community,
Stedman became a "born-again" Christian in late
childhood. The idea of a community bound by God's love—a love that was undeserved, unending, and guaranteed—captivated him. It was, he writes, a place to belong, and a
framework for making sense of suffering.
But Stedman's religious community did not embody this idea of God's love: they were
staunchly homophobic at a time when he was slowly coming to realize that he was gay.
The great suffering this caused him might have turned Stedman into a life-long New
Atheist. But over time he came to know more open-
minded Christians, and his interest in service work
brought him into contact with people from a wide
variety of religious backgrounds. His own religious
beliefs might have fallen away, but his desire to
change the world for the better remained. Disdain and
hostility towards religion was holding him back from
engaging in meaningful work with people of faith.
And it was keeping him from full relationships with
them—the kinds of relationships that break down
intolerance and improve the world.
Stedman draws on his work organizing interfaith and
secular communities, his academic study of religion,
and his own experiences to argue for the necessity of
bridging the growing chasm between atheists and the religious. As someone who has stood on both sides of
the divide, Stedman is uniquely positioned to present a way for atheists and the religious
to find common ground and work together to make this world—the one world we can all
agree on—a better place.