Fernando Alcántar, a Former Christian, Explains Why Breaking Up with Faith Hasn’t Left Him Bitter

Fernando Alcántar grew up as a poor Catholic boy in Mexico and soon became a rising star in the Christian world… that is, until he came out as a gay atheist. That didn’t go over so well.

His new memoir, with a foreword by Dan Barker, is called To the Cross and Back: An Immigrant’s Journey from Faith to Reason (Pitchstone Publishing, 2015):

In the excerpt below, Alcántar details all the difficult “divorces” he’s gone through, but says he’s not angry about it:

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The Best Atheist Books of 2015

For the past several years, we’ve seen a large number of atheism-related books hit the market. Unlike the books written by the “New Atheists,” however, the more recent releases aren’t just about why you should stop believing in God or how religion is bad. They cover different aspects of atheism and cater to a variety of audiences.

I compiled a list of my favorites in 2013 and 2014, and I’m excited to do it again now. These are the books I’ll be referencing for years to come and the ones I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to explore faith with a critical eye.

I should mention this right now: I’ve covered many of these books on the site, I’ve been asked to write back-cover blurbs for some of them, my name appears in a few of the pages, and I know some of the authors personally. That’s inevitable when you do the sort of work I do. None of that, however, has any bearing on this list. I picked these books because I found them both fascinating and useful. You don’t have to believe me, but I just wanted to put that disclaimer right up front. So there you go.

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Jeff Sparrow Misses the Point: Atheism Doesn’t Need Saving

Jeff Sparrow has one of those holier-than-thou articles in The Guardian in which he goes after Richard Dawkins for his comments about Ahmed Mohamed (the kid whose clock was mistaken from a bomb), Sam Harris for saying that Ben Carson understands the threat from Muslim extremists better than Noam Chomsky, and Christopher Hitchens for supporting war in the Middle East a decade ago. You’d think he’s writing for Salon the way he throws everything about atheism under the bus because he finds reason to critique its most popular cheerleaders.

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Senator Orrin Hatch: The Wall of Separation Between Church and State Must Come Down

In an essay for the Washington Times, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) explains why the separation of church and state needs to end:

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Friendly Atheist Podcast Episode 83: Ask Me Anything

Our latest podcast guest is, well, me. I answered your questions for the full episode!

The questions include:

– How can we help the “victims of religion”?

– What are the differences between atheists who were once religious and those who have never been religious?

– Are there any original atheism-related thoughts left to have?

– How has the pressure to generate content changed the way that you interact with people and respond to issues?

– Am I less “friendly” than I used to be?

– How did I go from math teacher to full-time atheism blogger? And how much does that pay?

– What tips do I have for young atheists trying to start a secular school group?

– Have I ever been discriminated against due to my beliefs?

– What are the positives of religion and the negatives of atheism?

– How can “Nones” organize better to leverage our increasing numbers into political and social action?

– What do I do to produce so much content?

– Will I be speaking at the upcoming Reason Rally and how should it be different from the first?

– Why bother with YouTube and podcasting?

– Since the religious demographics are shifting so rapidly right now, will we continue heading down the “right path” as a country?

– Why do you talk over your guests during podcasts?

– Why do I post so many articles and videos on marginal preachers and religious people?

– Do I always read the comments?

– How do I select guest bloggers?

– Will religion ever disappear completely?

– How will my wife and I deal with religion with regards to our child?

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