I hadn't run across the name Chris Johnson before reading this article from Alternet/Salon, but Johnson published A Better Life last year, a coffee table book in which he details the lives of various atheists. This year he released a film with the same title and it's being shown around the world.
The whole article is here.
Some high points:
“Our public conversation about atheism is two dimensional,” says Johnson. “It’s time to open the next phase. For ten years we’ve talked about what we don’t believe in. The dialogue kicked off by the New Atheist movement was much needed, but after we strip away gods and superstition, what is left? How do we see ourselves and our lives and our relationships? That’s what we need to talk about next.”
. . . he is keenly aware of the stereotypes that make atheists one of America’s least electable minorities: male, white, hyper-intellectual, hedonistic, untrustworthy, and living empty lives devoid of purpose and meaning. By contrast with the common image, Johnson’s documentary reveals a diverse tapestry of people who live in “a world without gods.”
. . . Religion makes you worry about things for no reason–the concept of sin, etc. Or like all the money that gets put into opposing same sex marriage–and for what? To stop two consenting adults from being happy? It’s just crazy that people waste so much time on things that don’t affect them. When you strip away all of the unnecessary rules and worries, you can focus more on the things that really do matter in the short time that we have to be alive.
. . . Letting go of gods is just a starting point. A better life means embracing our sense of awe and wonder, our place in the universe and creating a new understanding of our most profound experiences—whether that is a glimpse of the night sky or an intimate relationship.