I wrote the first draft of The Faith of an Atheist in 2001 and substantially revised it in 2012. It is available for $0.99 here for any device with the free Kindle software. It is not intended to try to convert believers. It is the result of my search for meaning in a universe without god.

Can one be an atheist and have faith? I am not speaking of faith in the sense that we all hope and believe the war of the moment will come to an end, or that one’s loved ones will make it through whatever crisis they may be experiencing, but faith of the sort that is usually ascribed to religious people. That is a faith that our lives and actions matter above and beyond their immediate impact on our fellow inhabitants of the planet. Can an atheist believe in a higher purpose (if not necessarily a grand design)? The ideas explored in answering this question are not new, but their application to answering the questions of the value of our existence in my own life helped me through a crisis of despair after the death of my father. Christians, I am told, take comfort from stories in the Bible. Atheists don’t get much from these stories (which generally strike me more like horror stories anyway, what with all the smiting, sacrificing, incest, and saltification). Where might an atheist turn for comfort about the meaning of life? Well, in this story, I take comfort from Star Trek (original series of course) and the youth and expanse of the universe. Maybe it will work for you too.

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3 thoughts on “”

  1. Dear Professor Colwell,

    I have just finished reading your book on my Kindle. I am a retired Anglican priest, but for years I have struggled with my faith. I have always been quite radical in my beliefs, but have moved more and more towards an atheistic position. I still help occasionally with services. I find that Christianity is so much a part of my make-up that I cannot entirely reject it.

    However, I think that I have found in your book a way through all the doubt and the way to a genuine faith. I find the idea that we can create “God” by the way we live – ie. to positively affect the evolution of our species for the better – albeit perhaps to an insignificant degree – an interesting and useful way to approach life. I have always found Pascal’s Wager unsatisfying, but I am much more attracted to your form of the Wager. Thank you very much for your insights.

    I suppose I would go a bit further than you in believing that the Christian way of life (ie Christ’s teaching rather than any doctrinal beliefs) can be a useful guide in how one should live one’s life. Strangely, this way of looking at things gives a completely new twist to the idea of Christ’s Second Coming -a notion I have found it very difficult to come to terms with until now. Instead of seeing it as a literal coming again it can give life a new future dimension and be seen as the ultimate goal of creating “God”.

    Your book has given me a purpose for my life which looks to the future, rather than concentrating on obedience to some past ideal and the acceptance of outmoded beliefs. Thank you for that. I am very grateful.


  2. Josh, is this book available in print form? I’d like to pass it around to friends who don’t read ebooks. Thanks

  3. Hi Helen! I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I have let the blog gather weeds, I’m afraid, but I’m hoping to be able to re-start regular updates. I have started working on a print-to-order version of this. It’s quite short, so it will only be worth it if I can make it quite cheap. If and when I manage that I will get it announced on FB and here. I hope you are well.

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