Chris Stedman

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As I tried to understand my desire to “do good” and where it came from, I decided I did it because Jesus commanded that we care for the needy. But after I lost the faith, I remembered that I had always tried to do good and help others, and that the deisre to act selflessly for others transcends religion.

Chris Stedman (born April 9, 1987) is an American writer and interfaith activist.

Quotes[edit]

Faitheist (2012)[edit]

All page numbers are from the hardcover edition published by Beacon Press ISBN 978-0-8070-1439-4
  • I was consumed by a sea of people with heaven-bound hands, their eyes full of adoration for the guitar-carrying man on stage who, from his gentle doe eyes to his scraggly brown beard and flowing hair, served as stock-image white Jesus placeholder.
    • Chapter 3, “Conversion and Confusion” (p. 37)
  • I couldn’t pray the gay away, no matter how hard I tried.
    • Chapter 3, “Conversion and Confusion” (p. 46)
  • I didn’t come to the personal conclusion that God probably didn’t exist because I was angry....It wasn’t merely a reaction to the problems I saw in many religious beliefs and communities, or to the negative experiences I’d had—I had already made my peace with my past and saw that religious communities were making progress on addressing dehumanizing beliefs and practices. Rather, it was a conclusion I came to through intellectual and personal consideration. As I studied religion, I took a step back and reflected on the arguments for and against the existence of God, and was underwhelmed by the evidence. Recalling my nontheism in childhood, it suddenly seemed odd that I had adopted a theistic worldview after not having had one in my youth. It became apparent that believing in a divine force simply didn’t resonate with my experiences or how I understood the world.
    • Chapter 5, “Unholier Than Thou: Saying Goodbye to God” (p. 84)
  • Some theologians and religious practitioners tell me that dry spells happen and that perhaps I gave up on God too quickly, but years later I am surer than ever that I don’t believe in God, and struggle to recall why I did in the first place. To be honest, the question no longer intrigues me—I’m much too interested in the complexities of being human to spend much time thinking about anything beyond that.
    • Chapter 5, “Unholier Than Thou: Saying Goodbye to God” (p. 86)
  • Chance is a funny thing and it is easily mistaken for portent.
    • Chapter 5, “Unholier Than Thou: Saying Goodbye to God” (p. 93)
  • I imagine that a desire for purpose is innate for many of us. We presuppose that learning occurs within larger, cosmic narrative structures. Things matter because there is an implicit reason behind their occurrence, and it is our job to discern the organic meaning within. Constellating and creating our own sense of meaning from such moments can feel insufficient; discovering some preordained answer seems more compelling. In that moment I wanted to be handed a fate, not fashion my own.
    • Chapter 5, “Unholier Than Thou: Saying Goodbye to God” (p. 93)
  • As I tried to understand my desire to “do good” and where it came from, I decided I did it because Jesus commanded that we care for the needy. But after I lost the faith, I remembered that I had always tried to do good and help others, and that the desire to act selflessly for others transcends religion. Though I didn’t have the words for it at the time, I was beginning to cultivate my Humanistic worldview.
    • Chapter 6, “Putting My Money Where Other People’s Mouths Are” (p. 109)
  • In a universe where I believe meaning and purpose are not gifted from a divine source but are instead collectively assembled by humans, learning to live alongside and love others—all others—is perhaps our greatest task.
    • Chapter 8, “Fact or Friction, Engage or Enrage” (pp. 162-163)

External links[edit]

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