For Immediate Release: January 13, 2014
Contact: Paul Fidalgo, Communications Director
press@centerforinquiry.net - 207-358-9785

Journeys From Faith to Atheism: Readers Tell Their Personal Stories in a Special ‘Free Inquiry’

Behind every decision to leave one’s faith, there is a story, often filled with self-doubt and great personal sacrifice. Free Inquiry, the leading secular humanist magazine, called upon its readers to tell their stories, and now lends its pages to sharing them with the world. 

Last spring, Free Inquiry asked its readers to share their personal journeys from religious belief to atheism — whatever that original belief system happened to be — with all of the trials and triumphs experienced along the way. Taking inspiration from Bertrand Russell’s 1927 book Why I Am Not a Christian, essays would be framed with the statement “Why I am not a…”

“We had no idea what a torrent of impassioned writing our request would unleash,” writes Free Inquiry editor Tom Flynn in an introduction, noting, “Often (but not always) their partings from their original worldviews demanded deep reflection and emotional struggle.”

In this first collection of essays, we hear from a former born-again Christian, beset with feeling “like a fraud” for doubting that Jesus could be his savior. A former Seventh-day Adventist recalls the terror that overwhelmed him as a child about the horrors prophecy said would soon be visited upon him and his family. A one-time follower of “New Thought,” such as the kind espoused by the likes of Deepak Chopra, recounts her feeling of liberation after freeing herself from all forms of magical thinking. A former Muslim discovers a universality to the rejection of superstition and the embrace of reason, writing, “Change only the names and this story is about you.”

In all, nine stories are included in the April/May issue of Free Inquiry, with 17 others to be published in future issues, all of it concluding with a collection of these essays in book form, to be published by Inquiry Press. The issue is available on newsstands now. Visit www.secularhumanism.org/fi/ for more.

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Free Inquiry is a bimonthly magazine featuring thoughtful and provocative commentary from such leading political and social commentators as Richard Dawkins, Arthur Caplan, Wendy Kaminer, and Nat Hentoff. Launched in 1980, Free Inquiry has a paid circulation of approximately 34,000 worldwide. The Free Inquiry website is at www.secularhumanism.org/fi/.

The Council for Secular Humanism—housed at the Center for Inquiry—is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization promoting rational inquiry, secular values, and positive human development through the advancement of secular humanism. The Council, publisher of the bimonthly journal Free Inquiry, has a website at www.secularhumanism.org.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit educational, advocacy, and research organization based in Amherst, New York; it is also home to both the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism. The mission of CFI is to foster a secular society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values. CFI‘s web address is www.centerforinquiry.net.