Everybody who is an Atheist has a story as to how they got that way. In the United States, it is probably more common for people to come from a religious background and then to become an Atheist later on for some reason or another. Many of these stories are very interesting, and all are important to those who experienced them. Atheist Voices is a carefully chosen set of essays that tell personal stories like this. Even though I was involved in the project of making this book happen (mainly as an author of one of the chapters) I’m not entirely sure of who the real audience for this book is, or should be, but I think it might be people who are NOT atheists but who have Atheists in their lives (in their families, at work, etc.). The point of this would not be to convince those folks to cast aside their religious views and become Atheists. Rather, the point would be to help them understand that atheists are real people with real stories and that many misconceptions about Atheists are wrong. Atheists, for example, do have morals and ethics, and they hardly ever eat babies.
I just came back from the launch party for the book, attended by most of the authors and the dedicated folks who helped with the publication. There was a bit of joking around about the social dangers involved in getting one’s relatives to buy the book, or giving it out to everybody in one’s family for Christmas, that sort of thing. But actually, that’s not funny. Not at all. Imagine writing a chapter for a book, getting it published, seeing it in print, and one of the first things you think is “I home my mother doesn’t ever see this.” If you write something and get it in print, you should be thinking “I can’t wait until my mother sees this!” because it is something accomplished, interesting, part of you, and a thing to be proud of.
(Substitute various terms for relatives, friends, and co-workers for the word “mother” in the above paragraph as needed.)
And that is what the book is for. It is for your religious family members or friends so they can find out that Atheists hardly ever eat babies.
The book was edited by Bill Lehto, and the authors include Elizabeth Becker, Kenneth Bellew, Ryan Benson, August Berkshire, Donald L. Boese, Ryan Bolin, Jill Carlson, Justin M. Chase, Linda Davis, Andrew Downs, Shannon Drury, Anthony Faust, Paul Gramstad, Mike Haubrich, Kori Hennessy, Peter N. Holste, Michelle M. Huber, Eric Jayne, George Kane, Greg Laden, Bill Lehto, M. A. Melby, PZ Myers of Pharyngula, Robin Raianiemi, Rohit Ravindran, Jason Schoenack, Kim Socha, Chris Stedman, Elizabeth Stiras, Todd N. Torkelson, Timothy Wick, Norman Barrett Wiik, Rob Young, James Zimmerman, Jennifer Zimmerman, and Almost Diamond’s Stephanie Zvan. There is a forward by Greta Christina.
Net proceeds from sales of the book will support Minnesota Atheists.