Two years ago I began writing about free-expression, atheism, and equality. My passion for these issues was aroused by reading works from individuals like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bertrand Russell, and Sam Harris. Furthering my interest in matters of state-church separation, humanism, and sexuality, came books from Sean Faircloth, Greg Epstein, Darrel Ray, and many more. Books change our perspectives. They force open our collective eyes to injustices, and unbind us from the shackles of apathy.
We are awash in a stream of books flowing into stores and libraries, ready to soak up. I’m thrilled to be involved with the Friendly Atheist Book Club, as this will be an opportunity to sort through the waves of books, and present them in a way that you will find both interactive and inspirational. With your participation, this will become more than merely a place to examine the content of select books, it will create a space to foster questions, motivations, and passion for issues that will make a positive difference in our global future. In the course of my time with the book club, I hope we immerse ourselves in books that assist us all in creating better relationships and communities, both educational and entertaining.
So, let’s continue where Steven began the conversation about the preface of our first book, The Ebony Exodus Project—author, Candace R.M. Gorham.
2) The Ebony Exodus Project is subtitled Why Some Black Women Are Walking Out on Religion – and Others Should Too, but Gorham devotes some time in the preface to her own issues with depression and anxiety. “I prayed and tried to depend on god to help me lose weight. But the church to which I belonged did not do anything to help.” Is she saying that if it did help her, she might still believe? Is this the best tactic in general, or the best for her audience? Is she setting up too personal a context for what she intends to be a broad statement? Why or why not?
3) Two main things that steered Gorham away from her religious beliefs were additional knowledge—studying her own religion, and empathy—entering a counseling program. Based on the preface, what other motivations might you infer were going on with her? How universal are they? In your culture, if it’s different than Gorham’s, how might some of the issues she touches on in the preface—dealing with family, relationships—be similar or different?