Similar authors to follow
See more recommendations
About Hemant Mehta
Hemant has appeared on CNN and FOX News Channel, served on the boards for Foundation Beyond Belief (a charity organization targeting non-theistic donors) and the Secular Student Alliance (which creates and supports college atheist groups nationwide).
His blog can be read at FriendlyAtheist.com.
Customers Also Bought Items By
Jehovah's Witnesses, well known for their enthusiastic evangelism, are a global religious movement boasting over 8 million members. Despite being a familiar sight on doorsteps and street corners, little is known about their doctrines and practices. What are their expectations regarding Armageddon, and who do they believe will survive? How do they justify their ban on blood transfusions? What happens to members who decide to leave?
In this remarkably candid part-memoir, part-history guide, former Witness Lloyd Evans comprehensively explores the religion of his upbringing, charting the organization's metamorphosis from unassuming 19th Century brethren to global brand in the modern age.
The Witness rules on sex are dissected, as are their far-reaching ramifications on the private lives of millions of devotees. Evans also delves into the controversies surrounding child abuse and the prohibition on blood transfusions with the aid of first hand accounts from those who have been personally impacted.
Intertwined with the historical narrative and commentary is the story of the author's journey from devout Witness youth to outspoken ex-Witness activist and atheist.
Evans lays bare the circumstances leading to his "awakening" with startling honesty and reveals how the heartbreaking loss of his mother played a profound role in keeping long-held doubts suppressed.
In the final chapters, the author discusses the various means by which Witnesses are controlled by their leadership. Evans analyzes the role of shunning (disfellowshipping) and the stigmatization of "apostates" in enforcing loyalty among Witnesses, and reflects on the indifference of society in general to human rights violations by high-control groups. The phenomenon of fundamentalist brainwashing, or "undue influence," is also scrutinized, and those in search of a new life free from its pervasive effects are given reasons for hope.
Rather than being a sensationalist rant by an embittered ex-member, The Reluctant Apostate offers a relaxed, good-humored tour of Witness history and teachings supported by extensive references (to be found in the "Notes" section).
Though written predominantly with the non-Witness reader in mind, special boxes are also provided for Jehovah's Witness readers.
"Both memoir and reference book, Lloyd Evans' work is an extensive compilation of Jehovah's Witness history and theology. In his honest and exhaustively researched expose, Evans has written what is sure to be the most important book on the religion in this century. The Reluctant Apostate is a must-read for Jehovah's Witnesses and anyone else who has been touched by the faith."
—Scott Terry, author of Cowboys, Armageddon and the Truth
"Insight only an 'insider' can bring to a subject difficult to understand for those who have never been part of this world, and unthinkable to contemplate for those inside its bubble. Lloyd does a magnificent job of speaking to both audiences and everyone in between. Compassion for the plight of those still held captive bleeds through every page."
—Mike Rinder, former senior executive of the Church of Scientology, as featured on the A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath
"A compelling and informative window on the world of the Jehovah's Witnesses that will be a vital and life changing resource for former members and many others too in forming an authentic understanding of this group, its beliefs, methods and effects on individual
You’ll hear some of their stories in this book, whether they’re protesting their school’s public prayers at football games and graduations or sitting out the “under God” portion of the Pledge of Allegiance. These atheist students know their rights and have fought for them, sometimes at tremendous personal cost. Their examples serve as inspiration for all the young atheists out there who live in communities where school often feels no different from church and teachers are no different from preachers.
This handbook is a resource for parents, teachers, friends, and young atheists themselves. Hemant Mehta, “The Friendly Atheist” blogger at patheos.com, discusses how to deal with teachers and administrators who promote faith in public schools, handle the peer pressure and ostracism that may come with being an outspoken atheist, and create successful student groups that encourage conversation over conversion.
What people are saying about this book:
“A paean to young atheist heroes, sung and unsung, combined with a common-sense guide to organizing in your local area, The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide is the perfect handbook for an atheist teenager looking for direction, resilience, and pride.”
-- Zach Weinersmith, creator of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
“The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide will inform and inspire the secular and the religious alike. As young people today are increasingly identifying openly as nonbelievers and challenging longstanding societal assumptions about religion and secularity, Hemant Mehta provides valuable insight into this important phenomenon.”
-- David Niose, author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans
“Is bigotry toward atheists the last socially acceptable form of religious prejudice? In his stimulating exploration of youth and atheism, Mehta documents numerous instances of hostility and institutional bias high school-aged students have encountered when they embraced conscience over conformity. The conclusion is clear: When freethinkers seek to express their beliefs or exercise their “rights” in the same way as members of religious majorities, they are often stymied, if not by law, then by prejudice and social convention. Mehta offers a persuasive call to action, and his book should be of interest to all those who want to keep the public sphere open to all forms of belief and nonbelief.”
-- Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club
“A quiet revolution has begun in America’s high schools: godless students are coming out of the closet and standing up for their rights. Since 2010, the number of Secular Student Alliance groups at high schools has grown fivefold. Mr. Mehta brings you their stories and helps you understand the unassuming courage and patriotism of these extraordinary students, teachers, and administrators.”
-- August E. Brunsman IV, executive director of the Secular Student Alliance
“The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide is a true-to-life picture of what it’s like to be a young atheist in our society, and a call to action—not just for students, but for parents, teachers, administrators, and freethinkers at large. We’re standing on the edge of an unprecedented opportunity for secularism in this country, and Hemant points the way to get out there and make it happen.
When Hemant Mehta was a teenager he stopped believing in God, but he never lost his interest in religion. Mehta is “the eBay atheist,” the nonbeliever who auctioned off the opportunity for the winning bidder to send him to church. The auction winner was Jim Henderson, a former pastor and author of Evangelism Without Additives. Since then, Mehta has visited a variety of church services–posting his insightful critiques on the Internet and spawning a positive, ongoing dialogue between atheists and believers.
I Sold My Soul on eBay tells how and why Mehta became an atheist and features his latest church critiques, including descriptions of his visits to some of the best-known churches in the country. His observations will surprise and challenge you, revealing how the church comes across to those outside the faith. Who better than a nonbeliever to offer an eye-opening assessment of how the gospel is being presented–and the elements that enhance or detract from the presentation.
Mehta announced prior to his churchgoing odyssey that he would watch for any signs of God’s existence. After spending Sunday mornings in some of the nation’s leading churches, what happened to the man who sold his soul on eBay? Did attending church change his lack of belief? The answers can be found inside.