Can You Help an Author Writing About Young Atheists? April 13, 2010

Can You Help an Author Writing About Young Atheists?

David Seidman has written books all over the young adult spectrum ranging from one about an American Idol contestant to a Spider-Man story to more serious subjects such as teenage life in Iran and South Africa. He has also written for the Los Angeles Times.

His latest project is one that I am really optimistic about.

Seidman wants to write about life as a teenage atheist (or Agnostic, non-theist, etc.) and he needs your help. He would like to talk to some of you about your lives and experiences.

The book would be directed to teenagers who are realizing their own atheism and for people who want to understand them better.

Among the questions he’d like to hear your responses to:

  • If you were raised with religion, how did you become an atheist?
  • If you were raised without religion, how have you dealt with being part of a minority group? For instance, how have you handled relationships with believers, religious holidays like Christmas, and other aspects of growing up without a church?
  • If you’ve told your family and friends that you’re an atheist, how did you tell them, how did they react, and (if the reaction was unfavorable) how have you dealt with their reaction?
  • Has being an atheist affected your life in school, in dating and in other areas?
  • What do you like most about being an atheist, and what’s the biggest problem that you’ve faced?

If you would like to participate in this project, you can contact David directly.

I imagine a lot of you are past the teenage years and that’s fine, but there is a caveat for those of you under the age of 18:

Anyone under 18 who would like to be a part of this book must give me parental permission first. Parents can e-mail me their permission (or their questions about my book).

I know that makes it tough for teens to participate if they haven’t come out to their parents yet, but there are hopefully enough of you who are able to help out so that this project can come to fruition.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Dave B

    I hope I can help him out. I look forward to it.

  • Roxane

    I’m too old to participate, but I sent a link to my daughters.

  • Ryan

    I am 17 but there is no way I am going to tell my mother I’m Atheist, she will probably tie me down and pour holy water on me while she reads bible verses…
    I’d Love to help with out her permission.

  • Richard Wade

    David Seidman asked me for some input several weeks ago. He showed me an overview, and I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the project. I think this will be a very useful resource for young people who are dealing with these issues. I hope readers here can offer their experience and insight.

  • Would he be interested in interviewing a theist in his mid thirties from an agnostic family about the alienation and mockery he experienced when he announced he was an evangelical?

    Just kidding…

  • ihedenius

    He seems to look for atheists in a minority position. Which is fine, just remember that that isn’t always the case. In my Scandinavian country I believe the majority are atheist without thinking or talking about it. This is an accurate description (to my own experience):

  • fsfasfsfasf

    my whole family are atheists(Norway) but when we die we have burial stuff at church..that is just weird

  • Lgirl

    My 12 yo can tell stories about how she was told by a classmate at 5yo that she is “going to hell” and at 11 how a boy yelled at her in class pointing and screaming that because she doesn’t believe in God that she is a racist and that she must hate Muslims too? How her Evangelical cousins write her letters about the Bible knowing full well they are trying to alienate her and her non belief.
    Every one of these incidents solidifies her belief that religion does not make to a better person.
    We are in what I thought was progressive Nova Scotia…

  • Leena H.

    Cool 😀
    I’ll do that.

  • Brian C Posey

    It seems that the teens with the most interesting and compelling stories would be the ones who probably can’t/haven’t come out to their parents yet.

  • Ally

    I’m totally writing to this guy, given that my teens were just 2 years ago.

  • Kit

    I also wrote to him, since my teens were also only a few years ago. Unfortunately I think I am comparatively boring. 🙁

  • David D.G.

    I would rather that he write about me becoming Spider-Man!

    (Darned comic books — they build up your expectations of acquiring super-powers, and then the real world lets you down.)

    ~David D.G.

  • Catie

    “It seems that the teens with the most interesting and compelling stories would be the ones who probably can’t/haven’t come out to their parents yet.”

    Seconded. In fact, I’m in this position myself- I’d love to contribute to this book and my “story” might be interesting, but since I can’t exactly go to my parents and say “Oh by the way, I’m atheist, can you sign this permission slip?”, I can’t be of any use. I think there are probably many people in my same position.

  • Danny

    Why all the permission nonsense? Will the sources be named in the book?

  • I remember being nine or ten (1981 or 82) and my parents trying to reason me into belief in a higher power. (Besides physics)
    It did absolutely no good but though I am atheist I don’t really think of myself as an Atheist because I don’t think a lack of supernatural belief is a unifying world view.

  • David Seidman

    Everyone who’s responded, both here and via e-mail: Thank you. Your comments have been terrific.

    Danny, about permissions: It’s mostly a legal thing. Interviewing minors, particularly about a topic so sensitive as religion (or non-religion), can be a touchy area according to my lawyer, so I plan to be as careful as possible. Even if I didn’t have to ask the parents, I’d want to do it anyhow, because I don’t want to get them angry at their kids (“Junior, you talked to WHO about WHAT?”). And just as a matter of ethical journalistic practice, I’ve found that being completely open and honest with both kids and parents works out best in the long run. By the way, I do plan to name my sources (both adults and kids) unless they ask to be kept anonymous.

    Ihedenius, I’m not deliberately trying to make the book about atheists as a minority. But as an American writer working with an American publishing house, I’m expecting that the country of first publication and largest readership will be the United States, where atheists are a minority. Still, the book will include atheism in other countries. I’m eager to hear from anyone in any nation who can help make the book as good as possible.

    Keep the responses coming, folks.

    All best,

    David Seidman

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