Secular people – including atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and nonreligious people – are everywhere. They are your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers – even your loved ones. But they often can’t be open about who they are.
Openly Secular is changing that. Toolkits, resources, and videos help break down barriers and help secular people live full, honest, and open lives. Tell Your Story. Speak Your Truth. Together we can eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance. https://openlysecular.org/
Killah Priest is Openly Secular! In this interview with Mandisa Thomas of Black Nonbelievers, Killah Priest (aka Walter Reed) talks about how he became secular, and how religion and the imagery of various religions throughout history have informed his art.
Penn Jillette and Teller are Openly Secular and think that becoming Openly Secular is getting much better and much easier.
There is no God. Now what? If this is the only life we have, how does that affect how we live our lives, how we treat each other, and cope with death.
In this fascinating documentary, join filmmaker Chris Johnson as he introduces us to people from all walks of life and backgrounds who challenge the false stereotypes of atheists as immoral and evil. From Daniel Dennett and A.C. Grayling, to Julia Sweeney and Robert Llewellyn —learn the various ways many atheists have left religion to a better life filled with love, compassion, hope, and wonder.
A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God
Director: Chris Johnson
Featuring: A.C. Grayling, Adam Pascal, AJ Johnson, Alex Honnold, Andrew Copson, Cara Santa Maria, Dan Barker, Daniel Dennett, Donald C. Johanson, Helena Guzik, Julia Sweeney, Matt Dillahunty, Nahla Mahmoud, Patricia S. Churchland, Robert Llewellyn, Sean Carroll, Tracie Harris.
Available Formats: Streaming rental, HD Download, DVD
Explore the meaning and joy of life with 100 atheists in this book of photos and commentary featuring Richard Dawkins, Dan Dennett, Steven Pinker, Penn & Teller, Julia Sweeney, Alex Honnold, Derren Brown, and more!
The myth persists. Even in our modern world, countless people believe that without God, one’s life has no purpose or meaning — that the lives of atheists are devoid of joy and happiness because they are not religious.
Starting out as one of the highest-grossing publishing projects on Kickstarter, A Better Life highlights the various ways that those who are not religious find joy, meaning, and purpose in life. Photographer Chris Johnson spent two years traveling the world speaking with and photographing atheists from all walks of life to create this hardcover photography coffeetable book.
Subjects in the book include:
A.C. Grayling, Philosopher
Adam Pascal, Musician/Actor
Alex Honnold, Rock climber
Cara Santa Maria, Television personality
Carol Blue & (the late) Christopher Hitchens
Charles Strouse, Broadway composer
Daniel Dennett, Philosopher and cognitive scientist
Derren Brown, British illusionist
Donald C. Johanson, Paleoanthropologist
James Randi, Magician
James Watson, Molecular biologist/co-discoverer of the structure of DNA
Janet Asimov, Psychiatrist/Author
Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of physics, author and broadcaster
Julia Sweeney, Actress, comedian & author
Lawrence M. Krauss, Physicist
Michael Shermer, Founder/Publisher of Skeptic magazine
Patricia S. Churchland, Neurophilosopher
Penn & Teller, magicians
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Philosopher and novelist
Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary biologist, and author
Robert Llewellyn, Writer, TV presenter, actor
Sean Carroll, Theoretical Physicist
Steven Pinker, Cognitive scientist
Yau-Man Chan, Contestant; Survivor: Fiji
…and many, many more!
Release Date: January 1, 2014
Author: Chris Johnson
Publisher: Cosmic Teapot/Chris Johnson; First Edition (December 2013)
In this new podcast, join Chris as he revisits with some of the people from the book and the film, as well as introduces you to people he’s met since doing the project that would have been great additions.
Sample podcast guests include:
Cara Santa Maria
Chris Johnson is a New York-based photographer and filmmaker. He received his undergraduate degree in film production (along with a minor in religious studies) from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. His photography has been seen in various outlets, including The New York Times. He is the author of the coffee table photography book, A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out on Joy & Meaning in a World Without God as well as the documentary film version, A Better Life: An Exploration of Joy & Meaning in a World Without God. He has travelled the world on a screening/lecture tour about A Better Life, speaking and screening the film in over 60 cities on four continents — from Reykjavik to Shanghai.
For the book and film of A Better Life, he interviewed many prominent atheist figures such as Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Dan Dennett, Derren Brown, Pat Churchland, Julia Sweeney, Penn & Teller, and many more. He has given talks on atheism and his work at conferences, universities, non-profit organizations, and community groups. In addition, he has also been a guest on numerous podcasts and TV shows around the globe.
While Exodus is a film still in its funding stage, this promising project hopes to become a feature-length documentary about the growing number of African-Americans leaving religion and the prejudice and social problems they face as part of the most religious demographic in America.
Many people are surprised to learn that there are Black non-believers and while the numbers identifying as atheists are small, only 1 or 2 percent by the lowest estimates, the proportion of African-Americans who are not affiliated with a particular religion is about the same as it is for the general population of the United States, amounting to several million.
For Americans who are only slightly aware of the growing trend of African-Americans leaving religion the question is: who are the Black non-believers and where are they?
This important film will challenge stereotypes, promote dialogue, and provide a true insight into the lives of Black non-believers. Yet Black non-believers remain practically invisible in their communities and may be the most closeted group in America.
The church is a focal point of the African American community but many former adherents are declaring themselves non-believers and leaving the faith of their ancestors. They identify themselves as nonreligious, non-believers, Humanist, agnostic, or atheist but they all disassociate with the religion that is the focal point of their communities.
In this film, African American non-believers will tell us in interviews and conversation what caused them to leave the church, the social and personal problems that resulted, the ways their lives have been changed, and why identification as a non-believer is important to them. Pastors and theologians commenting on this trend provide a counterpoint revealing how the African American church and community are responding to this growing exodus.
The “sizzle reel” for Exodus features Alix Jules, Bridgett Bria Crutchfield and Pastor Lorenzo Neal.
Alix Jules: Jules is a secular activist in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area commonly involved in issues and topics regarding the role of diversity in the atheist community as well as atheism in diverse communities. He’s the chair of the Dallas/Fort Worth Coalition of Reason’s Diversity Council, Organizer for Black Nonbelievers of Dallas, and is a founding member of the largest family-based secular humanist organization in Texas, the Fellowship of Freethought. Jules is a regular co-host on Dogma Debate.
Bridgett Bria Crutchfield: Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bridgett (known as ‘Bria’) was raised, baptized and dis-fellowshipped from Jehovah’s Witness faith. She segued to Pentecostal Christianity and assumed leadership roles as Prophetess, Intercessory Prayer Warrior and Evangelist. After careful consideration, Bria realized she was an Atheist. In 2011, she Founded Minority Atheists of MI, and founded the Detroit affiliate of Black Nonbelievers in 2013.
Pastor Lorenzo Neal: Neal is pastor of the New Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Jackson, MS. He is also a licensed pastoral counselor and writes about Black Evangelical Christian issues and socio-political issues.
Producer/Director David Person is an accomplished professional journalist and consultant with more than 25 years of experience as a broadcaster, producer, and reporter. David Person has hosted and produced two nationally distributed public radio documentaries: Uncommon Courage: The Viola Liuzzo Story and The Afro: Personal Reflections. In addition, he has done feature reporting for National Public Radio. His most recent documentary project is The Biblical Prophets of the Qu’ran, an examination of the commonalities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Executive Producer Charles R. “Chuck” Miller is a secular activist and consultant. He was a founding director of the Secular Coalition for Alabama and served as that organization’s Executive Director. He is American Atheists Regional Director and a Life Member of that organization. His writing has appeared in American Atheist Magazine.
Dr. Dedrick Blue is Dean of the Department of Religion and Theology of Oakwood University. He also serves as a board member at that institution and was Senior Pastor of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in New York, NY.
Mandisa Lateefah Thomas is the co-founder and current President of Black Nonbelievers, Inc. a national social and activist organization founded in 2011.
How to support the film
Filmmakers are actively seeking financial support to fully examine this trend through a combination of crowdfunding, grant writing, and foundation support.
Follow @ExodusTheDoc on Twitter and retweet to your followers.