Mom, Dad, I'm an Atheist - The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-Believer Paperback – Dec 12 2012
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This book does a fantastic job of analyzing non-belief and detailing the many issues that pop up when a person decides to go public about being an atheist. I was surprised to real that David even advises some times its not the best time, or the 'safest' time to come out of the closet and he is correct. I grew up 'gay' and I have to say that coming out as an atheist was much more difficult than coming out as a homosexual. I appreciated this careful advice for some one who might not understand that it could be dangerous depending on the situation.
This book also gives examples of various outcomes from people who went public with their non-belief. This shows how different the outcome can be depending on the circumstances.
There are so many great things to say about this book and I fear that I will run out of space for the review. In short, this book is exactly what I have been looking for as a guide for some one who is on the fence about coming out. There are many books out there about atheism but there don't seem to be any that specifically tackle this issue. I can't wait to share this with all of my friends and family who have asked me the question "Should I let people know that I don't believe anymore, or should I just keep quiet?"
Religious people suck, and I'm sorry, but all any book can really offer you here, besides ready-made arguments, is the sense that you are not alone. There really is no effective "coming out" algorithm to follow, so this book fails by making a false promise in its title. It has the reader looking for a usable tool when in fact all they are holding is an invisible pat on the back and some good intentions. That being said, if you are thinking about coming out of the atheist closet, you would do well to think deeply about what is at stake, what kinds of things will be said, and what some positive ways to respond might be. In this way-- as a primer-- as preperation for what probably lies ahead-- as a source of preemptive consolation-- as an emotional prophylactic-- I would recommend giving it a read, just don't expect to emerge with "The Answers."
-Guy P. Harrison, author of 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian, Race and Reality and other books
McAfee's perspective is also unique in that he's a life-long atheist. He went through many of the same issues that I did as a former Christian, and he elaborates that coming out is a continual process in our American religious culture. So besides this book...from a former Christian's perspective...I'd also recommend Seth Andrew's "Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason".
When I came out almost a year ago, McAfee's book and Andrew's book had just been published; so I didn't even know they were available. And I really wasn't prepared for what was to follow. Like McAfee tells you, coming out is not easy...not if you're a life-long atheist in an atheist family, and certainly not if you're like me...a former Christian still in a Christian family. You really should expect the unexpected. Most believers will probably not take it well that you're not one of them anymore. That was the biggest thing I wasn't prepared for.
So what are the best things you can before coming out?
1. read this book
2. read "Deconverted" if you're a believer
3. prepare yourself to answer questions by reading many of the great freethought works out there (I've recommended some.)
4. if possible try to connect with other atheist
5. prepare yourself to be patient once the word gets out
My biggest goal as an outted atheist is just to help others go through the process a little easier than I did. So I'll be recommending McAfee's book to everyone I come across.