Women Beyond Belief – A Book Review

Image: churchandstate.org.uk
Image: churchandstate.org.uk
In 2014, Hobby Lobby fought to exclude certain types of birth control coverage for women based on a religious belief that women shouldn’t have it. The dispute went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court where five justices, all men and all with connections to the Roman Catholic Church, ruled in favor of religious beliefs over the human beings who didn’t share those beliefs.

By Alexis Record | Church and State

Only one good thing would come from this “decision of startling breadth.” One woman would become inspired to seek out unbelieving women who were free from religion and share their experiences with the world.

The result is Women Beyond Belief: Discovering Life Without Religion.  

It’s a compilation of women’s stories by first time author and editor Karen L. Garst, Ph.D.

In the library of atheist literature there are countless male voices and authors. Now, twenty-two women add their human perspective and experience to the mix. And it’s about time.

I knew a bit of Garst’s story as we have both contributed to Removing the Fig Leaf, a blog on Patheos, and I follow The Faithless Feminist, Garst’s own blog, where I have learned more about the history of my own religion than I did in fourteen years of religious education. On Garst’s blog I saw that a new book about women’s experiences would soon be available and I pre-ordered it immediately.

The very first story is by Ann Wilcox, and I resonated with it thoroughly. There were just too many parallels between her story and my own, including her compulsion to list fundamentalist doctrines and describe each one. We don’t get indoctrinated from the womb to know this stuff and then just let it go when sharing our story.

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