Women Beyond Belief by Karen Garst

41tlozs0el-_sx331_bo1204203200_Women Beyond Belief

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.

Why There Is No God by Armin Navabi

whythereisnogod Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God

by Armin Navabi

This short book (it can easily be read in a day) takes twenty of the most common arguments believers make for the existence of God and deconstructs each one in a concise, matter-of-fact way – without condescension or snarkiness.

The author, a former Muslim who attempted suicide as an adolescent in order to guarantee his place in Heaven in accordance with the religion into which he was indoctrinated, and the founder of Atheist Republic, a growing online community of non-believers, explains in the introduction that this book is for non-believers and believers alike: for non-believers, it provides a concise framework with which to work when confronted with the most common arguments made by the believers in their lives (most of which non-believers already understand but may not have been able to articulate); and for believers who are interested, insight into where, exactly, the non-believers in their lives are coming from.  Why don’t they believe?  This is why.

I really loved this book, and wish all of my friends, believers and non-believers alike, would read it.  Also, as a self-published book, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the writing and the editing; there are a handful of minor typos, but overall it’s extremely well written and well presented.  Highly recommend.