Hi there, I am writing a book for Columbia University Press on "coming out as atheist" and am still looking for submissions that can speak to aging as atheist. Please consider submitting a piece!

More details here:http://faculty.tc.columbia.edu/upload/meb2222/CALLFORSUBMISSIONS-Au...

Thank you!


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I'd love to submit something; I'm 69 and have leukemia. I used to write for a living, but now I practice law. I tried going to the call for submissions page but it does not parse for me.

Wonderful, thank you! Essentially, narratives should speak to issues of confronting mortality and finding community as an older adult who is also a nonbeliever. I uploaded the pdf to this reply - hopefully that will work. If not, please shoot me an email at the address below and I'll send you all the information.

Atheists in America: Narratives from an Invisible Minority
Melanie Elyse Brewster, Ph.D
Email queries and submissions to: melanie.brewster@tc.columbia.edu

Atheists in America: Narratives from an Invisible Minority is a book that aspires to tell the stories of diverse
individuals who identify as atheist in the increasingly conservative religious climate of the United States. As discussed by
Cimino and Smith (2011), the practice of “coming out” as atheist has never been a matter of publicly identifying as
atheist along a well-worn and legitimate path; instead, coming out involves emerging from invisibility to claim a personal
and social identity that carries widespread stigma. There are few examples of “out” atheists in political offices, on sports
teams, or within popular media and celebrity culture—leaving atheist individuals little opportunity to model their coming
out process on the experiences of others. Thus, Atheists in America has two main objectives:
The primary objective of the book is to present personal narratives that will illustrate how people from
different cultures, religious backgrounds, cities, ages, sexual orientations, and family structures have reached their
identities as atheist. Beyond identity development processes, the second objective of the book is to elucidate some of
the many coming out routes for atheist individuals and shed light on how atheist people navigate social systems and
decisions to conceal or reveal their beliefs to others.

Extended submission deadline: August 1, 2012
I am gathering personal narratives that speak to the “coming out as atheist” journeys of diverse nonreligious
individuals across the United States. I have received an overwhelming number of submissions for narratives on some
topics (THANK YOU!), but still need narratives that address the topics listed below!
Atheists in America: Narratives from an Invisible Minority is under contract with Columbia University Press, one
of the most well-established and prestigious academic presses in the world. Your submissions may be edited for
length/content. Please email melanie.brewster@tc.columbia.edu with the prospective topic of your essay and with any
questions. Feel free to be open, creative, and conversational in crafting your narrative essay. The “coming out” stories of
contributing writers should each be about 1,500 to 4,000 words with content that aligns closely with one of the themes


Who's calling me an old Atheist ?

I never really had to "come out."  I have always BEEN out (as an atheist).  I was never any religion, and from the time I was a child, my neighbors knew (and accepted) that my parents were non-believers, and that my brother and I were, as well!

I'll have to ask my dad for the quote, but at one time, one of the neighbors told him that whenever someone asked her whether atheists could be moral, she would use my brother and me as positive examples.

Melanie, I believe you have it backwards.  It should be the other way around:  believers in the Holy Scripture and organized religions should be the ones coming out of the closet.  Picture a teenager leaving his room and sitting down at the family dinner table. 

“Mom, dad,” he says grinding his teeth a little and wiping sweaty palms in front of the tableware.  “Mom, dad, I feel I oughta tell you.  I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Virgin Mary, the resurrection of the body and our Lord Jesus Christ the legitimate son of God.”  

Shocked, his parents gasp for air and reel back, mouths open and tears in their eyes. “Oh, no, how could you do this to us?  Have you no shame?  Don’t you know the damage the churches are doing to people?” 

“I don’t care.  I flunked out of science class and this is the only thing that makes sense.  Jesus, our Lord, is redeemer, the lamb of God.”

“Whaaa!  What have you been smokin’?”


I’m appending “A Compilation of Biblical Quotes” to show how whacky and bizarre these beliefs are.  These were compiled by the feminist atheist writer and friend of mine, Barbara G. Walker.  The material is copyrighted; it’s the epilogue to Mirror Reversal, but you’re welcome to use any part of it if you can see an appropriate spot in your anthology. 

I once mentioned to Barbara, “It’s like hitting them on the head with their own belief system.”


To wit: 

BIBLE MORALITY (compiled by Barbara Walker, author of Man Made God.)

Barbara asked me to add that this is from the King James Bible, as modern-day evangelicals have expurgated much of the really stupid and hostile quotations. 

This compilation is incontrovertible, conspicuous proof that the Bible is a book written by idiots for idiots. 

Read on, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.  As always, comments are encouraged and welcome. 



1. KILLING.  (As in "Thou shalt not"???)

          The biblical god personally kills a total of 371,186 people, not counting his slaughter of every living thing in Genesis 7.   The biblical god also orders the killing of a total of 1,862,265.

Gen. 22:2 - God accepts human sacrifices (including that of Jesus, later).

Ex. 12:29 - God kills all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.

Ex. 15:3 - God is a god of war.

Ex. 21:15,17 - Anyone who strikes or curses a parent must be killed.

Ex. 22:18 - Every witch must be killed.

Ex. 22:19,20 - You must kill anyone who "lieth with a beast," or who

          worships any god other than Yahweh.

Ex. 31:15 - Anyone who works on the Sabbath must be killed.

Lev. 20:10,13,27 - You must kill adulterers, homosexuals, wizards, and

          spirit mediums.

Lev. 21:9 - Any priest's daughter who fornicates must be burned alive.

Lev. 24:16 - Blasphemers must be killed.

Deut. 3:4 - God is pleased that his warriors destroyed 60 cities.

Deut. 7:16 - You must kill all the people God delivers into your hands, and

          "thine eye shall have no pity upon them."

Deut. 13:5 - Any prophet or "dreamer of dreams," who serves another

          god, must be killed.

Deut. 13:6-9 - If your brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend tempts you to

          worship other gods, "thou shalt surely kill him."

Deut. 13:15 - If the people of any city worship other gods, you must

          slaughter them all, including their cattle.

Deut. 17:5 - Any man or woman who worships other deities of sun, moon,

           or stars must be stoned to death.

Deut. 18:20 - False prophets must be killed.

Deut. 20:16,17 - God commands complete destruction of all Hittites,

          Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and "thou

          shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."

Deut. 22:21 - A bride found not to be a virgin must be stoned to death.

Deut. 22:22 - Adulterers must be killed,

Deut. 22: 23,24 - A girl who is raped within city limits, and fails to cry out,

          must be killed.

Deut. 28:22-27 - If you don't obey God's commandments, he will punish

          you with consumption, fever, extreme burning, blasting, mildew,

          hemorrhoids, the scab, the itch, the botch of Egypt, etc., etc.

Josh. 6:21 - God's warriors destroyed Jericho and killed every man,

          woman, child, and domestic animal.

Josh. 8:25 - God's warriors killed 12,000 people in the city of Ai.

Josh. 19:47 - The children of Dan wanted more room, so they destroyed

          the whole population of Leshen and took their territory.

Judges 1:17,18 - Judah and Simeon utterly destroyed the populations of

          Zephath, Gaza, Askelon and Ekron.

Judges 11:39 - In accord with God's law, Jephthah was forced to burn his         virgin daughter to death as a sacrifice.

Judges 15:15 - God enables Samson to kill 1,000 men with the jawbone

          of an ass.

Judges 20:46 - At Gibeah, Benjamin's men killed 25,000 people and

          burned every town.

1 Sam. 6:19 - God kills 50,070 people for trying to peek into the Ark.

1 Sam. 15:3 - God commands the destruction of Amalek: "Slay both men

          and women, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

2 Sam. 6:7 - God kills Uzzah for touching the Ark, even though he was

          trying to save it from falling off its oxcart.

1 Kings 18:40 - God commands the slaughter of "prophets of Baal".

1 Kings 20:35 -  Because a man didn't "obey the voice of the Lord," a lion

          was sent to kill him.

2 Kings 2:24 - God sent bears to tear apart 42 children for making fun of

`        Elisha's bald head.

2 Kings 10:25 - God commands the killing of a multitude in the temple of


2 Kings 19:35 - God's angel killed 185,000 Assyrians in a single night.

1 Chron. 21:14 - God kills 70,000 Israelites with a pestilence.

2 Chron. 15:13 - Any man or woman who refuses to "seek the Lord God

          of Israel" must be killed.

Job 1 - God arranges the killing of Job's children, servants, and animals.

Isa. 13:16 - God promises that all the Babylonians' children will be

          "dashed to pieces before their eyes;" their wives will be raped.

Isa. 46:7 - God says "I create evil."

Jer. 48:10 - Killing for God is mandatory; God curses anyone who

          "keepeth back his sword from blood."

Jer. 50:21 - God commands that the people of Merathaim and Pekod be

          "utterly destroyed."

Ezek. 9:5,6,7 - God calls for purging in Jerusalem: "let not your eye spare,

          neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids and

          little children, and women... fill the courts with the slain."

Ezek. 35:8 - God promises to fill the mountains, hills, valleys and rivers

          with slain men.

Nahum 1:2 - God is jealous, full of vengeance and wrath.

Zeph. 1:3 - God threatens to destroy everything, man and beast, birds     and fishes.

Zeph. 1:18 - "The whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his


Zeph. 3:6 - God brags that he has destroyed many nations.

Zech. 13:3 - A false prophet must be killed by his father and mother.




Ex. 21:7,8 - A father may sell his daughter to be a "maidservant" (or sex

          slave) who must "please her master."

Num. 31:18 - God orders his warriors to kill every living thing in a

          captured city, except the virgin girls, who are to be raped and

          turned into sex slaves.

Deut. 21:11,12 - If a warrior likes the look of a female war captive, he

          can take her to be one of his "wives."

Deut. 22:28, 29 - A man who rapes a virgin may take her for a wife if he

          pays her father 50 shekels of silver. (Yet a bride found not to be a

          virgin must be killed - Deut. 22).

Judges 5:30 - The spoils of war include "a damsel or two" for every man.

Judges 21:12, 28 -  God's warriors killed all the inhabitants of Jabesh-      gilead except for 400 virgin girls, who were taken as slaves.

          If there are not enough girls to go around, God's warriors may raid

          neighboring towns for more to rape.




Gen. 9:25 - God cursed Ham, son of Noah, with perpetual slavery for the

          crime of seeing his father naked.  (Ham was formerly considered

          the ancestor of all Negroes.)

Ex. 21:4 - A male slave may marry and have children, and may go free    after six years; but his family remains the property (or hostages?) of     his master.

Ex. 21:7 - A man may sell his daughter as a sex slave.

Ex. 21:20,21 - A man may be punished for beating a male or female slave

          to death, but if the victim survives the beating for a few days, then

          there is no penalty.

Eph. 6:5 - Paul says slaves must obey their masters "with fear and


Titus 2:9 - Paul says slaves must obey and please their masters.

1 Tim. 6:1 - Paul says slaves must "count their masters worthy of all





Matt. 5:28-32 - Jesus says marriage to a divorcee is adultery; and a man           who ogles a woman has already committed adultery; and that you           must cut off your hand or pluck out your eye if it offends.

Matt. 6:19,34 - Jesus says don't save any money, and don't plan ahead.

Matt. 8:32 - Having no regard for private property, Jesus destroys a herd

          of someone else's pigs.

Matt. 10:34 - Jesus says he brings not peace on earth, but "a sword."

Matt. 19:12 - Jesus says the best way for a man to be sure of getting into

          heaven is to have himself castrated.

Mark 11:13 - Jesus destroys a fig tree for not bearing figs out of season.

Mark 14:4-7 - Jesus says it is more important to anoint him with precious

          ointment than to give to the poor.

Luke 12:47,48 - Jesus says it is permissible to whip slaves.

Luke 14:26 - Jesus says no man can be his disciple unless he hates his

          parents, siblings, wife, children, and himself as well.

Luke 19:27 - Jesus says anyone who denies his rulership must be killed.

John 15:6 - Jesus says anyone who doesn't believe in him must be


Acts 5:5-10 -  Ananias and his wife Sapphira  were killed for withholding

          money from the church.

2 John 1:10,11 - A Christian is forbidden to offer hospitality to a non-

          Christian, not even to wish him "Godspeed" on parting.




1 Cor. 11:3-10 - Women are inferior "because man was not created for    woman, but woman was created for man."  Every woman "while        praying or prophesying" must have her head covered "because of     the angels," meaning the spirits (it used to be believed that women's          hair attracts spirits).

1 Cor. 14:34,35 - Women must not speak in church.  If they want to ask

          questions, they must learn from their husbands at home.

Eph. 5:22 - Wives must submit to their husbands as they would to God.

1 Tim. 2:11-14 - A woman must not teach, or hold authority over a man,

          but must "learn in silence with all subjection," because "Adam was

          not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the

          transgression."  (So, being gullible is the original sin.)

1 Tim. 5:9 - Paul says the only women acceptable by the council of

          elders are devout, monogamous women over the age of sixty.





Gen. 1:11-12 - God made all green plants on the third day of creation,

          but neglected to supply the sun (on which both plants and "days"

          depend) until the fourth day.

Gen. 6:6,7 - Because a few people displeased him, God "repented"

          having made the world, and decided to destroy all life on earth.

Deut. 25:11,12 - A woman who seizes a man's genitals, even to defend   her husband from an attacker, must have her hand cut off.

James 5:14,15 - Prayer by the elders of the church is the only sure cure

          for sickness.  (Christian Science, anyone?)





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