The Infidel Interviews: The Value of Storytelling

I asked on my Vine account recently,

and I got a lot of really great answers:

My answer, is that the biggest issue facing atheists today is the image people have of us and the resulting discrimination. I don’t think the non-atheist world understands to what extent we experience discrimination. For some, it’s subtle and of very little concern, but for others, it’s serious, terrifying and even life-threatening.

The more people I tell I am an atheist, the more I realize… some people have us so dehumanized in our minds, that they barely see us as the same species.

I truly believe the biggest hurdle atheists face, is getting the world to see that we’re just like everyone else. We have the same problems, the same triumphs. We have the same hopes and dreams. We can be hardworking, compassionate and fun. We can be clumsy, idiotic and foolish. We are humans, just like everyone else. We are no better, and no worse.

Hemant Mehta recently posted a video on the Atheist Voice about the importance of storytelling:

and I fully agree. As I surf the atheist blogosphere, or listen to podcasts and watch Youtube videos, I see much of the same: debunking this argument, debating that theist, and pointing out contradictions in holy texts. While these are very important and need to continue, the one thing that seems to be lacking, is storytelling. One hardly has to wonder long, why most of the world sees us as different. Sometimes, we appear as though we are nothing but debate-driven robots spewing,

“Logical fallacy! Error! Does not compute!”

You can’t deny, we have our ace debaters. We have Sam Harris. We have Matt Dillahunty. We have Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss and David Silverman. We have so many people who are fantastic at poking holes in religion, and so, so many more who are on their way up. We’ve got that angle covered, I think it’s safe to say.

What we don’t have covered, is storytelling… and yet, all of us have a story about our deconversion, or some experience with discrimination as an atheist. All of us have stories that make us human. All of us have stories that theists can relate to, understand or feel something about.

So, that’s why I, with the help of Godless Dad, am hoping to be able to launch a series of interviews with atheists who have incredible stories. The stories will be about:

  • Severe discrimination or abuse as a result of being openly atheist.
  • Triumph and success as a result of being atheist.
  • Deconversion stories that resulted in some form of loss, either family, career, church community, etc.
  • Stories of atheists helping people.

 

If you think you have a story that fits one of these descriptions, I want to hear from you. You can email me at mommy@godlessmom.com

I am beginning this project by collecting stories to see if we can collect enough to continue forward with The Infidel Interviews. If we can, we’ll move on to the next phase, which I am hoping, will be face to face interviews with atheism’s future storytellers. You can help by sending me your story, even if you’re unsure it fits the bill, or by sharing this post as far and as wide as possible, so I can reach as many potential storytellers as possible.

One of my favourite storytellers of all time:

Gene Roddenberry

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes – Gene Roddenberry

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  • Coincidentally enough, yesterday I sent you the story of how I became an atheist *shy wave* I wrote it because I wanted to encourage and help others who might be going through similar experiences. I haven’t been abused as a result of embracing atheism, not really, but my deconversion led to a number of losses. My deconversion process began when I was a depressed, traumatized adolescent (and was told I might not be “saved” by the church authority). The process involved going to university (I have a degree in Religious Studies), a variety of other religions and Christian denominations (I was an Orthodox Christian for almost a decade), anguish, disillusionment, confronting gender identity issues, learning about evolution, skepticism, and secular humanism… When I at last became an atheist, it was a momentous victory for me: liberation. I’d been writing and lecturing for years about love and hope, and that I’d pick up my pen to share this story, the story of how I freed my mind and heart, was inevitable. I had to do it. So I wrote a book called There’s a Hula Girl on my Dashboard: How I Left Faith Behind and Embraced Life. Basically, when I finally extirpated myself from faith, that’s when I truly began to live. A friend of mine called the book my “un-testimony” 🙂

    • Justin Christopher Pursley

      I know how you feel. When I finally came to grips with the fact that Christianity was just a scam it was an incredible moment for me as well. It seems, more and more, people are coming out of the closet and acknowledging that they were born into a scam.

      • I hear you… And the thing is, it’s amazing how easy it is to live without it, religion, woo, all that… Once you shrug off the fetters and they fall at your feet, you can see them for what they really were: imaginary bonds designed to keep you constrained and fearful and basically defenseless. And they disappear right before your eyes, because they never truly existed (even though their effect was so damaging). I’ve never been happier, and life has never had such depth and meaning, since I left faith behind at last. *high five* 🙂