This is a book for anyone who thinks about what they should believe and how they should live. It’s for those who may need the facts and the ideas, as well as the courage, to break free from inherited beliefs. In this powerful narrative, Alom Shaha shows that it is possible to live a compassionate, fulfilling, and meaningful life without God.
What if no one’s watching?
What if when we’re dead
We are just dead?
What if it’s just us down here?
What if God is just an idea
Someone put in your head?
– Ani DiFranco
‘A very special book.‘ — Stephen Fry
‘A book that destroys the cliche of the atheist as joyless rationalist and shows the humanity, love, and concern that often lies behind godless thinking.‘ — Robin Ince, writer and comedian
“More than just a great handbook, this is an honest and often very moving story about valuing truth over hope, even in the face of grief.” — Tim Minchin, comedian
‘Illuminates the route to a better destination for all those who seek what Alom found, namely, that precious liberty of mind which makes its possessor open to all good things.‘ — A.C. Grayling, philosopher and author
‘A touching personal account that makes for a courageous and compelling read. This is among the most powerful and convincing arguments against religion that I have come across, and it is written in a way that is never patronising or trivialising.‘ — Professor Jim Al-Khalili OBE, physicist and broadcasterRead more reviews Buy the book
The Young Atheist’s Handbook is a book for anyone who thinks about what they should believe, and how they should live their life. It may outrage some, disgust others, but I hope it will inspire and help many more to make up their own minds.
I grew up in a strict Bangladeshi Muslim community in South-East London in the 1970s and 80s. I was expected to go to mosque regularly and recite passages in Arabic from the Quran, without being told what they meant. I spent my teenage years juggling two utterly different worlds: my chaotic, sometimes funny, sometimes tragic family life on a council estate, and that of a student at a privileged private school set amongst the idyllic green playing fields of Dulwich.
In the years since I realized I neither had nor wanted faith in the religious sense, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the world and how to develop my own moral and ethical compass. The Young Atheist’s Handbook is the result of that thinking.
The roots of my beliefs are based not in the religion of my birth but in the science I learned at school and the books I devoured at home. I was lucky to find a way to think for myself about how the world works, about God and faith and doubt, and how to live my life in the best possible way without necessarily being tied down to what my parents, priests or teachers might have told me to believe.
The book is made up of a series of “lessons”, which explore religion in the context of knowledge from science and philosophy, as well as ideas from the greatest minds in history. Along the way, I’ll tell the story of how I came to question the beliefs that were handed down to me by my parents, how I encountered the ideas that I now hold dear and how I came to define myself as an atheist. Combining factual content with a personal narrative, I’ve created a handbook for others who, like me, may need the facts and the ideas – and the courage – to break free from the beliefs they have simply inherited, and to decide for themselves what they believe and who they want to be.
The Young Atheist’s Handbook is published in Australia by the lovely people at Scribe Publications and in the UK by Biteback Publishing. It is also available in a Turkish language edition. Rights for the US and Canada and other international territories are still available. For any further information, drop me a line or contact my agent Catherine Clarke at the Felicity Bryan Literary Agency.
Check back for updates on the book’s progress and for sample chapters.Read more about the book