Edited by Karen Garst
I am so happy that this book has come on the literary scene – particularly the religious and feminist literary scenes. There are a plethora of books written on the subject of religion, the vast majority of which have been authored by men (which is just another symptom of the patriarchal society we continue to live in).
A collection of essays written by an array of women from different walks of life, these pages tell the deeply personal stories of how religion has impacted the lives of these people, both as individuals and specifically as women. Since the time that men put pen to parchment claiming that Eve was created for Adam and that she was the source of original sin, religion has been used to repress and subjugate women and girls. Actually, since even before that time; most religions that existed before Christianity also viewed and treated females as wicked, as the property of men, as less than men. And because religion is so deeply ingrained in humankind, perceptions, and treatment of women and girls continue to be based on ancient and deeply disturbing beliefs stemming from superstition and a quest for power and control.
These stories also tell how rejecting religion and superstitious beliefs has impacted the lives of these women: in some ways painful, but ultimately liberating.
I related to every story in this book in some way, and a few moved me more than others. This isn’t a book meant to persuade anyone; rather, it offers empathy to those of us who have walked the path of rejecting religion and supernatural belief, and a sense of perspective to anyone who cares how religion – both practicing and rejecting – impacts women, and why so many people (women in particular) end up denouncing religious belief. That said, there are definitely some very well-articulated essays based on obvious exhaustive study contained in this book that should give any believer pause.
I am grateful that there are more and more female atheist voices telling their stories and sharing their views. I highly recommend this book to non-believers and believers alike.
2 thoughts on “Women Beyond Belief by Karen Garst”
[…] Women Beyond Belief by Karen Garst: an anthology of personal essays written by women from all backgrounds and walks of life who have left religion in favor of personal discovery and liberation. This book is a study of how religion has always, and continues to subjugate and oppress women and girls. If I could get everyone I know – male and female alike – to read this book, I would. Read my review in its entirety here. […]
[…] Women v. Religion: The Case Against Faith – and For Freedom is an excellent follow-up to her Women Beyond Belief. Like Women Beyond Belief, Women v. Religion is a collection of essays by women from various […]