Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Guest Post: Dr. Karen Garst On Women Beyond Belief

Today I have a guest post by Dr. Karen Garst, author of the forthcoming book Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion:

“I proceeded with my confirmation, and a few weeks later, my cousin passed away. How could god do this? How could god take a wonderful, fun, free-spirited fifteen-year-old and make her go through a horribly painful journey toward death? How could he have not heard the prayers? Seen the recovery Masses? Received the healing thoughts and the good vibes? Everyone said god had dropped an angel on this earth and was claiming her back—as if it were a blessing. As ridiculous as it sounds now, it was what people spoke about every time her death came up in a conversation. In those few months I went from believer, to doubter, to hater. The summer of 1998 was the last time I believed in the anthropomorphized concept of the Catholic god. The handsome white, blond, bearded man with a heart on fire in a white, red, and green gown could no longer shield me from reality.”                    
—Mathilde Reyes

Mathilde Reyes grew up Catholic in Peru. She is one of 22 authors who wrote an essay about her journey away from religion.

Karen L. Garst has compiled these essays into a book entitled “Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life without Religion,” which can be pre-ordered on Amazon. Dr. Garst became incensed when the U. S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby in 2014. This decision said that because of its religious views, Hobby Lobby, a craft store, would not be obligated to follow the dictates of the Affordable Care Act and provide certain forms of birth control to its employees. “Will we never end the fight for women’s reproductive rights?” Garst stated. Once again, religion has influenced the laws of our land. Politicians cite their religion in supporting restrictions on abortion, banning funding for Planned Parenthood, and a host of other issues that are against women.

The first leaders of the New Atheism movement that arose after 9/11 were men: Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett. They came with backgrounds of science and philosophy. They launched a renewed effort to show people how destructive religion can be and how all Abrahamic religions are based upon an Iron Age mythology, borrowing from other mythologies of the time.

Dr. Garst wants to add a focus on women and the role this mythology has played in the culture of many countries to denigrate and subordinate women. She states that “Religion is the last cultural barrier to gender equality.” And she is right. More and more women atheists are speaking out. And as we all know, if women leave the churches, they will collapse.

She has received support with reviews by Richard Dawkins, Valerie Tarico, Peter Boghossian, Sikivu Hutchinson and other atheist authors.

I encourage you to check out Dr. Garst’s blog at and to pre-order this excellent book.

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