What people are saying about Faitheist...

"Current discussions about atheism seem to be defined as much by the caustic and confrontational manner of its proponents as by the actual examination of its characteristics. Enter Stedman, avowed atheist, former Fundamentalist Christian, and current interfaith activist whose heartfelt and thought-provoking account of his struggle with God and religion serves as a call to arms for those seeking to bridge the gap between the religious and the secular. Stedman believes wholeheartedly in storytelling and its power to not only communicate values but also engender action. This book, then, is his attempt to use his own story to highlight the values of fellowship, equality, and “engaged religious diversity,” which he believes can bring about true social change. To that end he paints an intimate and deeply affecting portrait of his own life, one characterized by the sort of staggering dissonances—gay Christian teen, religion-degree-seeking atheist—that could cripple a person. But Stedman is nothing if not determined, and his resulting journey toward personal reconciliation through service work and interfaith dialogue is inspiring. Stedman’s story is motivational, his thoughts on interreligious dialogue insightful, and in this short memoir, he proves himself an activist in the truest sense and one to watch." —Booklist, Starred Review

"The searching, intelligent account of a gay man's 
experiences growing away from God and into a thoughtful and humane atheist… Brave and 
refreshingly open-minded." —Kirkus Reviews

"As atheists and the religious debate how to engage one another, [Stedman's] is a very important story to tell... It moved me to tears. Incredibly, the message of the book and [Stedman's] professional life is one of tolerance; a call for dialogue, not division, between believer and non-believer. Confident now in his atheism, Chris wishes to use his story to highlight intolerance of all kinds—and this includes intolerance within the atheist community for the religious... The world is simply too complex to divide along the tribal lines of religious and atheist, us and them. In making active efforts to reach across this faith divide we stand not only to make useful allies in fighting the homophobia, sexism and anti-science behind religious extremism, but to build real relationships and gain real friendships. This is Stedman's challenge to his readers and I'm with him on it. Atheists and religious people have too much to gain from sincere dialogue to wallow in lazy stereotyping. ★★★★★ out of ★★★★★" —New Humanist magazine (UK)

"Smart. Funny. Heartening. Inspiring. Faitheist is the
 perfect book for those seeking a middle path between
 the firm, opposing certainties of religious 
fundamentalism and intolerant atheism." —Reza Aslan, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Zealot

"Who can we be together? Chris Stedman asks in this
 powerful book. Faitheist reveals that it's not what we
 believe that matters, but how our beliefs shape what
we do with our lives—a timely reminder for both 
atheists and the religious that the goal should be neither conversion nor the
 destruction of religion, but rather to make a better world." 
—Sarah Sentilles, author of Breaking Up with God: A Love Story

"Christians like me have heard lots of 'testimonies'—how I once was lost but 
now am found, was blind … and so on. We’ve heard how atheists converted to
 Christianity, how backsliders came back to piety, and how heretics returned to
 orthodoxy. What we haven't heard enough of is testimonies about how a Christian 
became an atheist or how an atheist became a faitheist or how a gay Evangelical
 came out of the closet and out of the church. I've never read, heard, or met anyone
better suited to this task than Chris Stedman. His beautiful writing voice, his 
poignant story-telling skill, his clear-eyed insight, his humane and humble empathy 
uniquely equip him to bear witness to everyone—especially Christians like me.
 Rigid anti-theists and theists alike will be challenged as they read—challenged to
 greater humanity, empathy, and understanding. Wholeheartedly recommended." —Brian D. McLaren, author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed
 Cross the Road?

"Agree or disagree with Chris Stedman (and there will be many who do both), no
 one can deny that he has written a deeply human book—human in its description of
 his own pilgrimage and human in its call to theists and non-theists alike to seek out
 common ground. The world would be a better place with more Chris Stedman's in 
it and fortunately he has provided us a roadmap to just such a world." —The Rev. William F. Schulz, President, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

"Chris Stedman's remarkable work has spanned from advocating for LGBTQ 
rights among Evangelical Christians to, in his current role at Harvard, founding the first-ever atheist-led interfaith initiative—and he's only twenty-five. Part memoir
 and part blueprint, Faitheist not only recounts his personal journey (which would
 be a riveting story on its own), but also shows—sensitively and humorously—how Humanists can live out our values with both empathy and honesty. This book 
represents the growing secular movement at its very best." 
—Greg M. Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, author of Good Without 
God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

"If Chris Stedman had become a pastor, he'd have a big, big church. Instead, he's 
a humanist hero, a compelling writer whose efforts to build bridges between non-
believers and the faithful will leave a lasting mark. Faitheist should be required
 reading in Sunday schools and Richard Dawkins's house alike." —Kevin Roose, author of The Unlikely Disciple

"Faitheist is the winsome story of a working-class white kid growing up amidst fragments of other people's religions, who as a teenager latches onto the energy of evangelical Christianity, then comes to terms with his sexuality, leaves Christianity for atheism, and goes to theology school where he joins the movement for interfaith justice... as an atheist. It is the story of Christopher Stedman, who at 25 years old is now assistant humanist chaplain at Harvard University and a surprising and influential new voice in the interfaith justice movement and American atheism. Stedman models an atheism that while uncompromising in its principles is also warm towards and respectful of religious believers—a striking shift from the hard-hitting argumentation of the New Atheist movement—and ends up humanizing atheism while he's at it." —Joanna Brooks, author of The Book of Mormon Girl: A Memoir of an American Faith, in Religion Dispatches

"One [of the] best religion books of the year… an exciting and boundary defying introduction to a new world… an amazing book that could potentially change the game." —Ken Chitwood, Houston Chronicle 

"Enlightening and engaging... Stedman's memoir calling for civil discourse between atheists and the religious couldn't come at a better time. Is it possible in today's roiling culture to cogently argue against engaging in civil dialogue, using social action to build a better world, and learning from others, even if we feel their ideals are incorrect?" —Julie Foster, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"[One] of the best books of the year... Stedman's journey from fundamental Christian to atheist to interfaith activist is a brave and fascinating one." —Matthew Aaron Browning, author of Blades of Grass

"Moving, thought-provoking... Stedman’s work embodies what humanism is, in my view. But he does something more when he positions his work not only as humanism, but as 'atheist interfaith activism.' He makes a place in atheism for atheists like me. Perhaps for the first time." —Daniel Loxton, editor of Junior Skeptic Magazine and author of Evolution: How We and All Living Things Came to Be

"[Faitheist] promotes a warm, loving, and witty serving of intercultural dialogue... [A] smart, funny, and insightful look at a twist- and turn-filled life story that saw this former born again Christian become a seemingly unlikely poster child for cultural pluralism." —Scott Kearnan, Boston Spirit magazine

"It's a tall task to change the public discourse on religion... A self-avowed atheist with a theological education, Stedman's unique background makes him the perfect conduit for constructive discussion on the issue, and he does it with aplomb in his new book Faitheist... He's still passionate about the community outreach that his initial leap of faith allowed him to pursue, and while he's firm in his current unbelief, his own experience with intolerance has taught him the importance of avoiding the all-too-easy name-calling and divisiveness that society gratitates toward. Funny and insightful, you could almost say that Faitheist is a sermon on the importance of finding common ground with one another, differences be damned." —Christian Williams, Utne Reader magazine

"Faithiest resonated with me in many ways—not only because, like Chris, I am a gay former-Christian atheist who still thinks of my religious neighbors as fellow truth-seekers—but also because I deeply appreciated the book's nuanced approach to contentious issues. This is an important contribution to current debates, one which should be read not only for its valuable content but also for its exemplary tone: warm, engaging, optimistic, and humble." —John Corvino, "The Gay Moralist," author of What's Wrong with Homosexuality? and Wayne State University Philosophy Department Chair

"[Chris Stedman is] the millennial who's busting every stereotype about atheists. The [negative] words [that people] associate with atheists... underline the importance of the message in Stedman's recently released book, FaitheistWhile providing intimate insights into his own spiritual journey, Stedman makes a compelling case in his book for non-religious and religious groups to develop better understandings of each other through interfaith initiatives instead of antagonizing one another... His words can offer guidance to any young person who is seeking to gain a better understanding of religion." —Usaid Siddiqui, PolicyMic

"[Faitheist] is part memoir, part plea for dialogue between the atheist and the religious. It’s a plea both communities would do well to consider... [Stedman] is aware that he is only in his twenties and possibly too young to write a memoir, but his life experience is significant, and his insight into both the worlds of the religious and the atheist is invaluable to both. Faitheist is a bold, empathetic, and sensible challenge to faith and nonfaith communities to think compassionately and to seek common values in a shared world. Stedman has had plenty of reasons to disown both the religious and the atheist, but rather than travel down that bitter, twisted path he chose the road of graciousness. Many of the Christians I know, especially those whose worldviews are fueled by phobias of atheism or the LGBT community, should read this book. Perhaps they will manage to see beyond the stereotype and find the human being." —Brandon G. Withrow, The Discarded Image

"A gifted writer... he has become a beacon of understanding and kindness in the usually choppy, murky waters of interfaith dialogue... Stedman's journey [is] fascinating and beautiful [and] his experiences have equipped him with a special blend of empathy, humility, and patience... Overall, Stedman’s book is fantastic. If it sold like The God Delusion, then atheist and Christian dialogue would be much better off." —Mike Lehmann, Jesus & Dawkins

"Intense and intelligent... Must atheism be the enemy of religion? ...['Faitheist' offers] balance in a conversation often marred by mutual condescension... Religion has reformed, mobilized and liberated cultures; it's also destroyed them. Stedman, a former Evangelical Christian turned atheist bridging faith-based divides 'between two communities that are so often pitted against one another' acknowledges such in his memoir, 'Faitheist'... It's in his struggle to reconcile reason with belief while embracing his identity that the reader aches in familiarity... It's rare for people to reach out to an institution that's rejected them, but Stedman is a big-picture thinker: for any belief system to succeed, all that's required is compassion and the willingness to listen." —Biographile

"[One of] the best religion books of the year... I am in awe. This is a captivating, inspiring, must-read book, whether you are a believer or an atheist. Get it now." —Lee Harmon, author of Revelation: The Way It Happened and John's Gospel: The Way It Happened

"[Faitheist] is a far cry from the typical run of embittered atheist faith-bashing manifestos. The word 'faitheist,' for instance is Stedman's term for atheists who have a tolerance for the religious beliefs of others. Stedman is aware of what he calls 'the false dichotomies that keep us apart,' and he wants no part of that... A refreshing counter polemic to the angry atheist screeds of recent history. Read the author's story and you'll come away with the feeling that he really is the nice guy who lives next door." —Lambda Literary

"In a country where polarized views come standard, none is more contentious than religion. As an atheist, Chris Stedman understands this very well. Yet he still believes religious people will respond well to his message that we can all work together toward our common goals even when our core beliefs may come from very different places. What separates Chris from so many other atheists is that he succeeds. By focusing on conversation instead of conversion, Chris has helped many religious people realize that belief in God is not a prerequisite to being good. Building on his activism, Faitheist models why and how this approach can work for others, too." —Hemant Mehta, author of The Young Atheist's Survival Guide and I Sold My Soul on eBay

"Faitheist moved me as few books have lately. Chris Stedman’s honesty and courage spurred me to examine my own hesitancy to talk with believers about my atheism. This is a book, and an author, that people of goodwill everywhere need to pay attention to." —Mary Johnson, author of An Unquenchable Thirst

"My work in alternative relationships and Chris's in theology seem on the surface to have little in common, but in fact they share a common enemy within: the tempting, tantalizing need to be right. This need, as compelling and addictive as any other street drug, is the source of untold pain, conflict and hatred between individuals, nations and faiths. In Faitheist, Chris sets forth his own life path as he has relinquished his addiction to certainty (first as a Christian and then as an atheist), replacing it with kindness, respect and a dedication to mutual growth and happiness. Anybody who has ever been tempted toward fundamentalism of any stripe—by which I mean the belief that one worldview is right and all others are wrong—should read this book." —Janet W. Hardy, co-author of The Ethical Slut

"A fine, compelling book... In clear prose, with often disarming honesty, Stedman chronicles his sometimes turbulent and anguished journey toward a self-identity he can embrace... Woven throughout his story is Stedman's passion for constructive, life-affirming, boundary-crossing community, a compassion for those that mainstream society marginalizes, a high ethic of service, and a deep commitment to building a [better] future. This stance in life would be praiseworthy in anyone. In a person whose identities – as a gay man and an atheist – make him the target of indescribable bigotry that all too often explodes in hatred, this stance is both unexpected and inspirational. Stedman is a courageous pioneer... If you're someone who is concerned about the increasingly polarized state of our world and the serious challenges that face our Earth community – poverty, environmental calamity, and the wanton disregard for life evident in the escalation of militarism and violence, to name a few – I urge you to read Chris Stedman's book. Beyond that, I urge you to follow his example and reach out to those you are inclined to view as the 'other.' If you do, I guarantee you’ll discover there are no other people in this world, only a marvelously and confoundingly diverse humanity waiting to be discovered, respected and invited to travel together on a shared journey whose destination is our fullest humanity and the good of all." —Rev. Charles Gibbs, Executive Director of United Religions Initiative

"In Faitheist, Chris Stedman tells his gripping personal saga of leaving his evangelical faith for work as an atheist interfaith community organizer, and ties his tale to the larger American story. The result is a deeply moving account of one young man's struggle for meaning, as well as a prescription for the many ways the religious and nonreligious can come together. I was reminded of Franz Kafka's quote: 'A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.' For me, this book was that axe, and the voice, the story, and the humanity evident on each page will stay with me always." —Katherine Ozment, prolific journalist and editor, and author of the forthcoming Losing Our Religion: The Quest For Grace Without God

"This is a very human story... [and] an extremely valuable story to have out there, because it’s a perspective that’s all too often missing from what passes for discussion of religion and society on the Internet... As Stedman shows, the reality is far more complex and subtle, as ought to be expected for anything as inherently human as religion. If anybody has a right to be bitter and spiteful toward the whole idea of religion, it’s Stedman, given the torment he went through trying to reconcile his homosexuality with fundamentalist Christianity. Remarkably, though, he’s gotten past that to a place where he can recognize the good in religious people, without bending his atheist convictions. [He also shows], through his work with interfaith groups and the Harvard Humanist Chaplain, that it’s possible to fill the need for good deeds and a sense of community that drove him and many others to religion through secular organizations. That’s an essential message to have out there, to weaken the default assumption that good deeds and community only come from religious organizations. There’s also a lesson to be taken from the fact that Stedman and his interfaith colleagues find community in spite of their different beliefs, thanks to their shared belief in the importance of volunteer service and the like." —Chad Orzel, physicist and author of How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog

"[Faitheist] has inspired me to be less judgmental of people of faith... The kindness one exhibits, the empathy one feels, the integrity with which one lives their life - these are the qualities that we should be concerned about, not where he or she spends their Sunday mornings... No one has all the answers. And just because we're reading different books doesn’t mean our stories won't overlap at times and that we can’t find strength and solace in our similarities." —Actor and LGBT activist Darryl Stephens (star of TV's "Noah's Arc")

"Faitheist, a spiritual autobiography with a nontheistic ending, traces Stedman's journey... As his commitment to atheism deepened, so did his interest in understanding religious people, their stories, and their beliefs... Some atheists' aggressive hostility toward religion frustrates Stedman (although he notes that as a small minority in the U.S., atheists also receive some hostility). For Stedman, secular humanism intrinsically involves care for people and service to society—goals that are incompatible with bigotry of any kind. And so his book is a hand of friendship offered to people of faith and no faith. Not just to make nice, but to make ways for people with very different motivations to serve others and build justice together. The message of combining passionate, principled belief with humility, love, and respect toward others is not new. But in this contentious age, [that Stedman chooses] to deliver it is notable, and perhaps a sign of hope." —Julie Polter, Sojourners magazine

"Faitheist is both memoir and manifesto, chronicling [Stedman's] life in and out of faith as a young gay male and calling for common ground and dialogue between non-believers and the religious. His life story is fascinating and engaging and his arguments crisp and intelligent in this timely, important book." —David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy: Music and Literature

"[Chris Stedman] is doing a radical job of helping atheists and religionists see the value of being better neighbors... His book made me want go out and hug an atheist, or better yet, have a table full of them over for dinner. Faitheist is a beautiful book... Chris reminds us of our shared values, our need for mutual education, and the love that dialogue can bring into lives that need it... Thank you Chris Stedman, for a great telling of your story, and making us better, more loving people for being so honest with the need to love each other." —Lorna Dueck, creator, host and executive producer of Listen Up TV and president of Media Voice Generation

"An honest and bright testimony... [Faitheist] effectively (and entertainingly) highlights challenging aspects of the human condition from a young person’s perspective – it should be on every youth pastor’s bookshelf. Young people, especially Christian boys questioning their sexuality, will find a thoughtful, courageous, and hip ally in Stedman... The closing line to Spinoza’s “Ethics” is Sed omnia praeclara tam difficilia quam rara sunt (“but everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find”). While this is certainly true about God, I think it also applies to this book and to Chris Stedman, as a person – at least as portrayed in the pages of the book. He is gentle, kind, honest, and forthright. He hid too long in the open to hide now in his heart. This book comes from his heart and should be praised and promoted as a course charter for the next generation. Do yourself a favor and read it." —Keeva Kase, Tip or Tithe

"Stedman’s narrative is aching... Through it all he chronicles his growing awareness that our shared commonality is in humanist values. [Faitheist] is a highly readable memoir and Stedman is an engaging and sometimes disarming writer. The honesty he brings to this account is inspiring, as is the simplicity and hope of his final message: we bridge the differences between us every time we demonstrate faith in humanity through dialogue. The most important message we can draw from Faitheist may be from its very existence. Stedman writes that 24 is an incredibly young age to write a memoir, but its easy to recognize that his age is not the most remarkable part of this book. Instead, it is that his experience and story, while personal and powerful, are also universal." —Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Ministries

"I would highly recommend Faitheist. If you are religious, this book is a great way to not only hear some new perspectives but also to understand what this whole interfaith thing is about. If you are an atheist, you may find a renewed hope and passion for humanity and a find reason to get involved in your community. If you are someone in a faith community wanting to understand the heart of LGBT youth, Chris' story is a great one to begin with. Chris' storytelling will get down inside your skin and heart; his descriptions make you feel like you are in the room as the story is happening... This book has something for everyone. Chris' myriad of experiences speak so deeply into the human experience and are wildly relevant to the ever-diversifying culture we live in. If we want to create a better world together, this is an awfully good place to start." —Deanna Ogle, The Good Men Project

"Chris Stedman became an evangelical Christian in his teens. But when he came out as gay, and that community turned its back on him, he began to question his beliefs. Eventually he decided he was an atheist. Change a detail here and there and you’ve got the story of many an atheist. But Stedman’s story takes a different turn once he’s left the fold. Instead of diving into his new secular life without a backward glance, or glancing back only to berate, Stedman recognized that not everything he’d lost had been bad. He also became aware that for all of the obvious differences, there was a lot of common ground between the religious and nonreligious, more than either side usually saw. Unlike many of the other books [on atheism], Faitheist isn’t a collection of arguments or a work of history. It’s a story, specifically a memoir of Stedman’s own complicated path through religion and into atheism... As he engaged in the atheist community, he began to feel that something was missing. They had the intellectual side of life managed really well. But the more emotional, humane side of life, the side that religion had fulfilled for him, seemed to get very little attention. The last chapters of the book describe Stedman’s re-engagement with religion – not for its beliefs, which he still rejected, but for what it seemed to know about satisfying human need – and his breakthrough work as an atheist in the interfaith movement." —Atheism for Dummies

"[Faitheist] is as frank and raw as any personal account I’ve read. He talks about things that most of us actually exert energy to avoid talking about... Is Chris Stedman the only Secular Humanist in America? Not by a long shot. Nor is he the only one to advocate for harmony and pluralism in our society. But he is one of very few writers who have been willing to humbly lay himself out and share the deeply personal (sometimes painful) aspects of his struggle as he has come to terms with religion, sexuality and his family. Using artful storytelling, Stedman generously allows us to see his vulnerability. We read about him challenging his own beliefs, which simultaneously comforts and challenges us to do the same... Considering the truly desperate state of public dialogue in America today, Faitheist could be the most important book all of us read right now." —Amanda Quraishi, Tikkun Daily

"I'll be honest: This was a challenging book for me... [But Stedman offers] a gleaming alloy of grace and honesty... Stedman's engaging combination of a great story and gentle invitation to understanding gives all of us, myself included, a much-needed reminder to focus on [understanding] instead of our intangible differences about invisible things." —Ed Suominen, author of An Examination of the Pearl and co-author of Evolving Out of Eden

"What makes his story engaging is that he has lived the extremes of two vastly different communities and found an understanding of the grey areas in both... Stedman draws on a number of influences in his writing and shows the depth of his knowledge gained from his work studying and interacting with religious and nonreligious communities. The strength in his story comes from the uniqueness of being able to illustrate the thought processes involved in being both religious and atheist. He believes that “to be understood, we must work to understand…we must be willing to challenge the beliefs we have about those who seem differentand the result is often life-​​changing for all parties involved.” Faitheist provides some of that challenge. If you feel like you don’t understand the religious or if you feel you don’t understand the atheist movement, it’s worth reading Faithest. You might struggle to understand his personal story with religion and atheism, but this perspective is important because it’s complicated. It’s an insight into the grey areas that we don’t see in similar texts, which are too often the cheering squad for narrowly defined black and white perspectives. Faitheist is an attempt to switch the monologues about atheism and religion into a dialogue. Stedman doesn’t have all the answers [and] you may or may not agree with him, but hopefully his story can deepen your understanding of why people believe what they believe and open some conversations." Jonathan Brown, Young Australian Skeptics

"Stedman has a mission to include people of no faith in the work of interfaith bridge building... His relative youth is an asset to the book. He tells of coming into his own person, finding how to be welcoming to others, and taking the first steps of being a figure in interfaith relations. He gives a good picture of developing a new attitude [and] his book about being religious and being secular, together, offers his hope for a better world: 'I see interfaith engagement as the key to resolving the world’s great religious problems — and they are many.' Faitheist will help in the engagement." —TK Barger, Toledo Blade

"The belief that equality for religious and nonreligious people alike depends on mutual dialogue and cooperation drives Stedman's activism. His debut book, Faitheist, argues that sharing personal stories can bridge gaps between groups that appear to have little in common, create space for working towards shared goals, and ultimately transform society. What Stedman calls Faitheism is very like what we would call intersectionality—and it holds important lessons... Stedman paints an intimate portrait... Faitheist is an exercise in the very act of sharing story and working towards human connection that grounds Chris Stedman’s interfaith humanism. It’s an atheist manifesto for respectful dialogue about faith, and a secular work written in the time-honored genre of spiritual testimony and confessional." —T.F. Charlton, Bitch Magazine

"'There and Back Again' may be a subtitle to The Hobbit, but it could also be applied to Chris Stedman's new book about his journey from born-again Christian to openly gay atheist. In [Faitheist] he discusses how some atheists have demonized religion and how he hopes to enlighten believers and nonbelievers with his view from both sides of faith." —The Advocate magazine

"It seems every year I read a book which challenges my views, my preconceptions, and changes my paradigm; this year, Faithiest was that book. Stedman's memoir is beautifully told with rich and vivid storytelling, and I'd bet most would benefit from hearing his story. Throughout his journey, we painfully realize just how much words can hurt—but also how they can heal. The world could do with more people like Chris Stedman, and Faitheist is a great place to begin the conversation. I couldn't recommend it more highly." —James Galea, star of Discovery Channel series 'Breaking Magic'

"A wonderful story of [Stedman's] deeply sincere journey through sexual self-acceptance, faith, atheism, humanism, and finally the simplistic and easy caricatures of 'the other' that destroy our humanity... His goals are spot on [and his] wealth of personal experience, genuine humanism, and honest engagement with the issues are a model for the way forward... I highly recommend reading Chris's personal journey. We have a chance to get this right. Chris is showing us the way." —Paul Thibodeau, author of The Call: Moving from Science vs. Religion to a Better World

"This slice-of-life memoir from former born-again Christian Chris Stedman chronicles his sojourn into the atheist movement. Stuck in the divide between the staunchly religious and followers of pop atheists like the late Christopher Hitchens, Stedman decides instead to search for common ground. His writing challenges our orthodoxies, making room to respect both religious and secular identities." —United Church Observer

"Chris Stedman has written the book I didn't know I needed to read... [A] spirit of generosity, curiosity, humility, and compassion pervades Stedman's book and I am grateful for it. His leadership in bringing atheism to interfaith dialogue and public service will be essential for us to learn to live with and love each other." —Prof. Caryn D. Riswold, author of Feminism and Christianity: Questions and Answers in the Third Wave

"The first thing I tell people about [Faitheist] is that it made me cry, and books don't make me cry... Chris humanizes atheism by sharing his life and his values; he aims to end the cycle of isolation and tribalism by encouraging others to contribute their own story to our collective narrative. The more we get to know each other, the more our prejudices will dissolve... Faitheist isn't just a memoir; it's a continuation of the biographical heritage established by Roots, The Diary of Anne Frank and Hiroshima—the books that informed Chris about the radical depths of human suffering and inspired his dedication to justice—but it is also the predecessor to a new generation of compassionate voices articulating their beliefs while serving humanity." —Stephen Goeman, The Huffington Post

"Stedman traces his [path] through harrowing accounts of his personal struggles and his encounters with bitter opponents of homosexuality and atheism to his present service [at] the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard... [Compared to another book on atheism, Faitheist] offers most to the interested reader... Stedman's account of his journey, a lively but often painful narrative, [is] enlivened with accounts of insight often gained in unusual encounters." —Mary Barbara Agnew, Journal of Ecumenical Studies

"Faitheist comes from an author who moved from being a true believer to a nonbeliever... His questions and perceptions make for an outstanding survey of not only his personal evolution, but the life changes affecting spiritual belief, and makes this an important title for general and spiritual holdings alike." —The Bookshelf, Midwest Book Review

"Chris Stedman is gay. If that proves an uncomfortable introduction, the rest of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious will continue to unsettle you... [But] what struck me the most was how relatable Stedman’s experiences are to me, as a straight evangelical... Like a modern Holden Caulfield, Stedman chronicles his journey through evangelical culture, disillusionment and disenchantment, college, first loves, and the screw-ups of the early twenties. But unlike The Catcher in the Rye, Stedman possesses the requisite maturity to make meaning of the chaos." —Randall Frederick, The Hillhurst Review

"[Faitheist helped me] discover a more effective and compassionate atheism... [An] important and affective book... Faitheist, for me, bridged the gap between the convinced atheism the New Atheists helped me find and the necessity of the kind of interfaith work that Neibuhr so rightly recognized as indispensable in the current religious and political climate. Stedman also demonstrates how, in practice, one is able to live a life as concerned with compassion as one is with truth. By sharing his own personal story, Stedman maps a landscape of valleys and peaks (to borrow a borrowed metaphor from Sam Harris) that portrays the true complexity of navigating the tension between upholding liberal values such as religious pluralism while maintaining an open and honest atheist worldview... A lot of the controversy surrounding Faitheist in atheist circles has to do with the prominent role Stedman attributes to interfaith work and religious pluralism in shaping his ethical perspective. What I found notable, though, was the strength of Stedman's atheism as he navigated the choppy waters of the largely religious interfaith world... It's a strong atheism that doesn't feel patronized in such an interaction and that states itself clearly and warmly. I am hoping such an atheism catches on and that this book finds itself in the hands of many more people eager to hear the story of how compassionate atheism is not only possible, but of how it's being done." —Marcus Mann, religion scholar studying atheist movements, at Patheos

"Stedman chooses to focus on what unites people, without compromising who he is. He works for a world that will recognize the right of each individual to determine his or her own identity, and he demands of himself that he respect others even when they don't respect him. I admire that—especially since I'm not always as brave. Reading Faitheist caused me discomfort in part because it brought to the surface some of my own pain and unrealized hopes. The book often insists on the importance of telling stories as a first step toward building bridges... These are the sort of stories that fill Stedman's Faitheist, stories of a world where our common humanity trumps our differences, where we don't have to ridicule the other side to feel good about ourselves, and where each of us will have to do the hard work of dealing with our personal histories in all their complexity if we're going to learn to speak more from our hopes and less from our pain." —The Humanist magazine

"Don’t read this book if you can’t take an edgy, prickly look at life and faith. Stedman presents a bold stance that challenges and may draw fire from both sides. He calls people from the religious side and the non-religious side to stop wasting life and time taking shots at each other. There is a world of beauty and suffering out there, where people need help, compassion, and honesty/ethics/integrity in business, government, and community life. Where are the places people put the luxury of their disagreement aside and act for the many suffering and hurting in the world?" —Dr. Bill Morgan, Senior Minister at Canterbury United Methodist Church, Birmingham, AL

"Stedman the atheist pays God the ultimate compliment:
 He provides a vigorous, amusing dissent to the all-too-glib
 magical 'thinking' both most Americanized big time religion and most so-called 
New Atheists are selling. Unlike the New Atheist stars and America's blathering
religious fundamentalists Stedman lays the groundwork for constructive 
engagement between all of us—no matter what we believe…or don't." —Frank Schaeffer, author of Crazy For God

"A highly personal memoir that will speak to a great many people... The author, Chris Stedman, is smart and passionate. He is also ruthlessly honest, even about his own faults. With this combination of brains, intensity, and candor, it's not surprising that he sometimes takes unusual risks... [It] takes courage to criticize both religious and non-religious viewpoints, running the risk of being sniped at from both directions... [Faitheist contains] remarkable stories of risk and (mostly) reward. It's a moving and readable memoir, highly recommended for theists, atheists, agnostics alike." —Dr. Roger Schriner, psychotherapist and author of Bridging the God Gap

"Faitheist is Chris Stedman's memoir about his relationship with religion and how that relationship has changed over the course of his life... Faitheist is more than just a memoir, though. Having been on both sides of the gulf that separates theists and atheists, Chris suggests ways for all of us to come together and find common ground that we can build meaningful relationships on... Faitheist is a wonderful book that I highly recommend to everyone, no matter your religious or non-religious affiliations. Chris is very down-to-earth (no pun intended), well spoken, and passionate about his beliefs and the work he does with the interfaith community. I think a lot of people (including myself) can learn from his example." —Heather Lindskold, Between the Covers

"What the author does best in this book, is remind us that there are two sides to every coin... that there's always a broader picture and that many times conversation is the best place to start to see where, and how, to move forward in solving the greater problems of the world... Although the religious aspect of this book broadened my horizons and made me think about things differently, what struck me most were the emotional passages about the author coming to terms with his sexuality... I honestly teared up... the way he described it was heart wrenching... Everyone should read this regardless of your religious (or non religious) beliefs. It's a great conversation starter and only serves to further cooperation of those who are different to help solve some of humanity's greatest social problems." —Geoff Whaley, The Oddness of Moving Things

"Faitheist advocates a new way forward... [that discovers] the difference between trying to destroy religion and being free of it... This book is part memoir, part spiritual autobiography and part advocacy for a new pluralistic way forward. These different dimensions come to us on the wings of a very personal and lyrical prose. He summarizes his argument with a quote from Diana Eck, Harvard scholar: 'Diversity is a mere descriptive fact; pluralism is an achievement.' So they are. And for people like me who nest more naturally on the religious side of that aisle, I am challenged to rise to that distinguished achievement with the same openheartedness Stedman has demonstrated for us all." —Timothy Carson, Columbia Faith & Values

"When a friend gave me blogger Chris Stedman's new book Faitheist, I was skeptical at first. The quick, attention-grabbing writing that makes for a good blog post or op-ed column can feel flippant and shallow when the author uses it for a couple hundred pages. However, Stedman makes the jump from screen to page with grace, managing to weave together an argument for greater interfaith engagement with his own life narrative... While writing a memoir in your mid-twenties could be written off as narcissistic, Stedman's experience is integral to the broader aims of the book... What would it look like if we took Stedman's advice? ...My hunch is that if we did, we would notice two things. First, we would define ourselves not by who is in and who is out, but by what we do. If we focused on our values as much as we focused on our identity, we would likely start working to help others, hopefully those who don't identify as part of our group. Second, we would likely find that we have more shared values with the [others] than we initially thought." —Joseph Paille, State of Formation

"Today books by and about nonbelievers—atheists, humanists, 'brights' and other 'freethinkers'—have taken a new turn. Books on the topic have matured... The changes in books on the topic are on full display with Faitheist." —Publisher's Weekly

"Many times atheists are perceived as more anti-religion (even anti-religious people) than pro-Humanism... But from the most unlikely of places a different approach among atheists has arisen... Whether you are an atheist, Christian, or identify with some other ideology, philosophy or religion, Faitheist is an important read and contribution for those looking for alternative ways to navigate the culture wars arising out of our growing pluralism." —John W. Morehead, Custodian of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy and editor of Beyond the Burning Times: A Pagan and Christian in Dialogue 

"If you are seeking an anti-religion screed or a scientific evisceration of religion, you will be disappointed... but when tied with his humanist viewpoint, [his] observations are on point... Whether you agree with him or not, Stedman makes valid points worthy of consideration, including one that may be the most important—the construction of an atheist image more in line with the tenets of humanism. ★★★★ out of ★★★★★" —Donald R. Barbera, Atheist Nexus

"In a country where it seems like Christians and atheists will never get along, Chris Stedman has a radical message: Those of different faiths should work together to create a better world for all of humanity." —MSU Exponent

"I found his story incredibly compelling; it is distinctly human, and distinctly millennial. At only 25 years old, Stedman has written the first memoir I've read that I feel fully takes place in the same world I know... Faitheist helped me resolve the conflicted feelings about religion and interfaith work I still, to a certain degree, hold. I would highly recommend Faitheist to anyone interested in interfaith work, or frustrated by the seemingly perpetual conflict between atheists and believers; Stedman's book is both funny and frank, while relaying an empathetic story of personal development and discovery." —Interfaith Youth Activist

"I loved Faitheist... [A great] approach [and] story.. I think it is a very important thing to humanize these discussions." —Greg Stevens, author and activist

"[Faitheist] really resonated with me... a very refreshing approach." —Disinformation

"Excellent... [It] left me deep in thought. Written by an ex-born again Christian, the book talks of the importance of community and how religious pluralism can be beneficial. A thought-provoking read." —Illini Secular Student Alliance

"Faitheist details author Chris Stedman's tumultuous and ultimately inspiring journey with religion." —Alex Nagorski, PopBytes

"Faitheist is a good place to start if you're interested in challenging your own position. It is a respectable first book by an author who has discovered an original niche for himself. His will no doubt be an indispensable voice on the subject." —Tony Houston, Humanists of Rhode Island

"Boundary-defying... While still in his 20s, Chris Stedman has written a brave and moving account of how he became an evangelical Christian, realized he was gay, left Christianity for atheism, and now devotes himself to interfaith dialogue with religious people." —Susan Katz Miller, author of On Being Both