“There are some things about having a secular lifestyle I wish were easier. My son is now eight years old. He has friends, and he loves science and reading. I am very proud of him. I wish he had some of the community that church provides. We do not live in a big city that can provide secular options to the group activities that church can provide. This is of course changing. Groups like the Sunday Assembly have moved toward being a church without the God-bits and have kids’ classes.
“Overall, it can still be an issue for many people who do not have groups like this in their area. Without belonging to a church, they lack community unless these groups exist for them. It is possible, however, that our society could be realizing that with fewer and fewer people attending churches, we need alternatives. By the time my son is my age, his kids may be going to an alternative place that supplies community in new and fantastic ways.
“Until then, I hope to provide him the tools to think critically. I feel a freedom having made a decision to call myself an atheist instead of staying on the fence. I can always incorporate new ideas. Being able to learn new ideas tells us that we are still alive. And maybe that is all we can truly know.” – Jackie Burgett
Jackie Burgett is a single mother who was raised as a Christian. One of the focuses of her story is how she is raising her son in a secular environment. She is one of 22 authors who wrote an essay about her journey away from religion.
Karen L. Garst has compiled these essays into a book titled Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Dr. Garst became incensed when the U. S. Supreme Court issued its 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which said that because of its owners’ religious views, the craft store chain Hobby Lobby would not be obligated to follow the dictates of the Affordable Care Act and provide certain forms of birth control to its employees. “Will we never end the fight for women’s reproductive rights?” Garst asked. Once again, religion has influenced the laws of our land. Politicians cite their religion in supporting restrictions on abortion, banning funding for Planned Parenthood, and a host of other issues that are against women.
The first leaders of the New Atheism movement that arose after 9/11 were men: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett being the most prominent. They came with backgrounds of science and philosophy. They launched a renewed effort to show people how destructive religion can be and how all Abrahamic religions are based upon an Iron Age mythology, borrowing from other mythologies of the time.
Dr. Garst wants to add a focus on women and the role this mythology has played in the culture of many countries to denigrate and subordinate women. She states that “Religion is the last cultural barrier to gender equality.” And she is right. More and more women atheists are speaking out – and as we all know, if women leave, the churches will collapse.
She has received support with reviews by Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Sikivu Hutchinson and other atheist authors.
I encourage you to check out Dr. Garst’s blog at www.faithlessfeminist.com and to pre-order this excellent book.