From veteran journalist Seidman comes a straightforward guide for the teen interested in contemplating atheism.
Through an impressive amount of research that encompasses case studies, polls and interviews with teens, the author explores the process of becoming an atheist and the many difficulties that some “unbelievers” might face. Stories demonstrate the myriad reasons teens turn to atheism: discomfort with perceived religious intolerance, the guilt and shame associated with “immoral” acts, unforgiving doctrines—even the downright boredom some feel attending church. Seidman gives voice to teens who, because of their atheism, have faced bullying, ostracism and threats—but he’s also careful to include those whose nontheist beliefs have been met with tolerance and respect. Practical tips include when and where to tell parents and/or relatives and friends about atheist beliefs as well as how to calmly and respectfully handle religious arguments. Teens discuss how atheism can coexist with spirituality, morality and even religious holidays. There are quotes from famous unbelievers, including Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Daniel Radcliffe. Seidman also includes a list of U.S. universities where atheists are likely to feel welcome as well as those that are explicitly religious. Appropriately included are examples of teens who turned from being unhappy, unfulfilled atheists to contented believers.
A superbly written, smart and sensitive guidebook. (Nonfiction. 12-18)