I’d like to welcome you to Crab Fat Magazine’s Atheist Writers Issue! I’ll start by expressing my unending gratitude to the writers who submitted to our first call for atheist writers. I was absolutely floored by the overwhelming response. While we were showered with love & thanks for opening the floor to atheist writers, we stood back in awe of the work we received. We read each piece with love & felt less and less alone in the world. Everyone who submitted to this issue gave us life. The response was so incredibly positive that we’ve decided to make this an annual issue each July.
This issue contains 24 writers & poets proudly claiming their atheism. Being a convinced atheist myself, this issue is very dear to my heart. I am also a queer person who lives in the Bible Belt (Southeastern USA), so to receive work from other Southern queer folks who not only share my beliefs, but also relate to the struggles of being a Southern (queer) atheist as well seemed to turn on a light for me & illuminate the dark room I’ve been standing in for years. I’ve been told countless times that my atheism is “too aggressive” and “off-putting,” & for a long time, I bit my tongue & silenced myself–well, I won’t be doing that anymore. I’m a convinced atheist & I am proud to be a part of the godless minority. I’m proud to stand with those who choose reason & science over blind faith. I have become increasingly vocal in my atheism & in my distaste for any organized religion, in doing so, I question everything, take nothing at face value, & seek to educate those who want to know more about living without god.
It’s well known that atheists are among some of the most marginalized people on Earth; we’re heckled & discriminated against on a daily basis & typically no one bats an eye–this is because of religious privilege, but it’s time that the godless minority are able to have a voice & be heard. This issue is a safe space for the open discussion of living without religion or god. It is not an attack on the religious, but rather an opportunity to know that those of you who are not religious are not alone. This is a collection of work that is affirming, screaming “you are enough”! A reminder that you matter & that your beliefs are valid. It can be lonely & alienating to live in a theistic world, especially to those of us that live in more rural or conservative regions. Living without religion can be a liberating & freeing experience–but as it goes with so many other aspects of an individual’s life, religious affiliation is a personal choice, it is meant to provide safety, structure, community, & shelter–& those of us that live without it seek these things through different means. Ultimately, this body of work highlights the range of emotions, personalities, & experiences that atheists find themselves working through just to live in a world that is built to exclude or distrust them.
Lastly, if you’re an atheist, I hope that reading this collection will make you feel secure & included, & if you’re a religious person, I hope you’ll gain some positive insights about atheist people & see that we’re not Satanist, baby-eaters, or immoral.
I am just amazed at the huge response we received when we announced our intentions of publishing an atheist issue for Crab Fat. It has always been our mission to publish works and raise voices of marginalized people. Atheists the world over are oppressed, suppressed and discriminated against, and even murdered with government approval, for expressing their views and merely existing. I am so proud and honored to help provide a venue and safe space for these important voices.
Whether you’re atheist or not, I invite you to toss your assumptions aside and read these wonderful works from atheists and see how we experience life. It’s so important to remember that we are human above all else and deserve to be heard and respected.
Thank you for being vocal and visible.
We couldn’t do it without you,
X. Paul Lopez, Fiction Editor
Coming out as an atheist late last year was probably the most terrifying thing I have ever done. Atheists around the world are marginalized, stigmatized, and seen as corrupt or immoral. I knew that I wouldn’t be readily accepted by many, especially coming from a religious family in the Bible Belt. Seeing the positive response for this issue truly warmed my heart and has touched me—I don’t feel so alone anymore. It has been a joy working on this issue and I look forward to next year’s atheist issue and to a new batch of voices that will be heard.
Thank you so much for your love and support over the past two years,
Ella Ann (Willy) Weaver, Nonfiction Editor