The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God - Alom Shaha


I love this book. It feels like a conversation. There are moments of wry humour that made me grin, some utterly heartbreaking bits that had me in tears and as a whole it is never less than warm, compassionate and intelligent in the discussion of why someone might choose to identify themselves as an atheist and the strange feeling of freedom that comes from accepting sole responsibility for one's own happiness and fulfillment. 

You do not need to be an atheist to enjoy this book, and it would be a real shame if people of faith were put off reading this because the word "Atheist" appears in the title. You also don't need to be young, but the title makes sense in that anyone who is questioning their belief in the god they have been raised with will find understanding and reassurance in it's pages. Reassurance that it is not necessary to have faith in order to live a good life, that atheism does not make you a bad person and that following any religion should be an informed choice, made willingly and not imposed.


I thought I might as well leapfrog onto Jackie's post about the same book, otherwise I suspect I'd end up having to set up an entire book review blog just devoted to it. So, here's a little extract from a post I wrote back in October 2012 entitled 'On thinking about God'. I've left out the most blush-worthy bits, you'll be relieved to know.

"Now, I would absolutely love to write an eloquent, concise review of his book but I doubt I'd do the genre of book reviewing justice. I'd just like to say that it's very beautiful, and that you all should buy it, if you haven't already. I've found that since reading it, I'm a whole lot more confident and vocal about not needing belief in god now and in discussing this with other people without having fear of offending anyone. At least I know my own lack of belief now stands up in the face of my own questioning. And, in the face of that, I started reassessing a fair bit about the rest of my life- how I feel about love in the wake of my divorce, for example. It sounds a bit far-fetched that one little purple book can do that sort of thing but I guess sometimes the most profound moments appear very unexpectedly."

(Sparkle Wildfire)

Backlight note: If you've read this book, or our reviews, it would be great if you could consider donating to the Young Atheist's Handbook for Schools campaign, which is raising money to ensure that a copy of the Young Atheist's Handbook is available in every school library. 

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