Hemant Mehta is the founder of and an ongoing contributor for the The Friendly Atheist blog, which resides in the “Atheist Channel” of Patheos.com — a vast online resource for balanced information about religion and spirituality. Hemant has worked with the Center for Inquiry, the Secular Coalition for America and is on the board of directors for Foundation Beyond Belief. And, he’s the author of I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist’s Eyes.
As a part of our “Many Voices” Q&A series, we had the fortunate opportunity to ask The Friendly Atheist a few questions:
Progress Planet: What do you do for a living? (if, that is, you’re not making your living from blogging!)
Hemant Mehta: I teach high school math. Love it!
PP: How long have you been blogging?
HM: Around 5 years? I think 5 years. Let’s say 5 years.
PP: Why did you start blogging? Why do you continue to do it?
HM: I thought it was a great way to talk about religion and get feedback from others… and along the way, I realized, I could help highlight some of the awesome things atheists are doing as well as the injustices they have to deal with. Now, it’s a mixture of opinion, analysis, and news.
PP: Why did you choose the name of your blog?
HM: Every time atheists are mentioned in the media, you hear the word preceded by “angry” or “militant”… I wanted people to get used to the word “friendly atheist” because that’s what just about all of us are!
PP: What are your personal goals for your blog? What do you hope to achieve with it?
HM: I want it to be a calm, rational place to talk about issues important to the atheist community. I hope it lets other atheists know they’re not alone and there’s a voice for them out there.
PP: What is one of the greatest things that’s happened to you as a result of being a blogger?
HM: Lots of cool things… being able to write articles for “mainstream” publications and websites like Washington Post, being interviewed on FOX News and CNN for things I’ve written about, being able to speak at conferences about some of the topics I’ve covered before.
PP: What are some other blogs/websites you love to read for general interest and/or inspiration?
HM: My favorites: Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (funny), Kottke (interesting), Rachel Held Evans (a Christian perspective), Religion Clause (church/state legal issues), Joe. My. God. (LGBT news), and nearly 1000 other blogs in my RSS feed that keep me up to date and completely insane as I sift through the glut of information out there.
PP: Anything else you’d like to add?
HM: Atheists don’t have to blog, but I hope everyone finds some way to get their voice heard. It’s important to hear the atheist perspective in all arenas of Internet and non-Internet life!