The South Will Not Rise Again

Last year, I wrote about the continuing exodus of members from the Catholic church, and apologists' fumbling suggestions for how to reverse the trend. I noted with amusement that there was an elephant in the room - the church's retrograde doctrines which drive away young people - which the apologists were carefully tiptoeing around while they made minor suggestions about the decor and the color scheme.Well, as they say, history rhymes. The Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: Deconverting from Hinduism

Krishna

Living in a culture where Christianity is the dominant religion, I don't often come into contact with former Hindus or ex-members of other Eastern faiths. But there are atheists in every culture and society in the world, and they all go through the same intellectual and emotional struggles. I got a reminder of that in an e-mail the other day from an ex-Hindu atheist named Vikram who was seeking some advice on handling his own deconversion:Dear Mr. Lee,I have greatly enjoyed your book … [Read more...]

The Church Isn’t Too Good at Introspection

AbandonedChurch

While doing research for another post, I came across a slew of articles with a common theme: young people are leaving the Catholic church at a high rate, and the church's apologists are trying to figure out how they can stem this tide.They're not wrong about this, either. A 1999 survey found that only 14% of Catholics born after 1960 say the church is "very important" in their lives, and a 2009 Gallup poll found that church-going among Catholics has declined dramatically since the 1950s. A … [Read more...]

Breaking the Surface

Abyss

Imagine what it's like to drown in deep water.I've never had the experience, but I can guess what it must be like: the silence, the darkness closing in, the crushing pressure. It's not a fate I would wish on anyone. But when I look around at the world, I'm convinced that there are millions of people who are suffering something like this every day of their lives. What's more, they've chosen it for themselves.I've written about how religion creates imaginary crimes, turning a vast … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: From Conservative Christian to Progressive Atheist

We may have heard about one notable religious conversion this week, but in the more than ten years I've been writing about atheism (yes, it's been that long!), I've found it's still far more common for things to go the other way. Here's one dramatic example that landed in my inbox this week. The author of this e-mail, whose name is John, gave me permission to share it with you:I have been on a journey for three years that started with a simple "mid-life" commitment to read the bible and be … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 3

There are a couple of stories from this past week that I wanted to mention: • A three-judge panel on the First Circuit Court of Appeals, two of whom are Republican appointees, have struck down part of DOMA, ruling that it violates the Constitution for the federal government to deny benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their home state. • You may remember a notorious net kook named Dennis Markuze, who engaged in a longstanding campaign of harassment and threats against … [Read more...]

Creating a Safe Harbor for Nonbelievers

In my essay "Into the Clear Air", I wrote about how people leaving religion often go through a stage of profound darkness. In the end stages of deconversion, there's acceptance and peace - even a sense of joy at rediscovering the world. But to get there, people from intensely religious backgrounds often have to leave behind everything they knew and believed, deconstructing their own value system down to the foundations. To people who have to make this journey on their own, it's an emotionally … [Read more...]

An Interview with Mary Johnson, Author of “An Unquenchable Thirst”

Last month, I posted my review of "An Unquenchable Thirst", Mary Johnson's luminous and enlightening memoir about the twenty years she spent as one of Mother Teresa's nuns. After writing that review, I reached out to her to ask if she'd be interested in an interview. To my delight, she was! Please welcome Mary Johnson to Daylight Atheism as she discusses her book and her extraordinary life story, and if you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. —Adam Tell us a little … [Read more...]

Book Review: Unorthodox

(Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with my policy for such reviews.) Summary: A memoir of escape from the overbearing, oppressive life of ultra-Orthodox Judaism, but the appalling details are somewhat clouded by doubts raised about the narrative's veracity. Like many other books that I've reviewed, Deborah Feldman's Unorthodox is an autobiography that tells the story of escape from a suffocating religious community. In her case, it's a story of escape from Satmar … [Read more...]

Book Review: An Unquenchable Thirst

Summary: The Roman Catholic equivalent of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "Infidel". A luminous, extraordinary account of one woman who devoted her life to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, saw the organization from the inside out, and decided to walk away after twenty years of service as a faithful and obedient nun.The "deconversion memoir" is seemingly fast becoming the most common genre of atheist book. In just the last few years, I've read Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel, William Lobdell's Losing … [Read more...]


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