The Interview With Alom Shaha

Alom Shaha was born in Bangladesh but grew up in London. A teacher, science writer, and filmmaker, he has spent most of his professional life sharing his passion for science and education with the public. Alom has produced, directed, and appeared in a number of television programmes for broadcasters such as the BBC, and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for Science, Technology, and the Arts (NESTA) and the Nuffield Foundation. Alom has represented his community as an elected politician, and has volunteered at a range of charitable organisations. He teaches at a comprehensive school in London and writes for a number of print and online publications.

AP: Why did you write this book?

 

AS: The book was inspired by the discussions I’ve had with my students about life, god, the universe and everything. It’s my way of putting down all the answers to their questions in the kind of detail I don’t have time for, and which might not be appropriate, in my Physics lessons. I wanted to write a book which conveyed some of the key ideas of atheism whilst also emphasizing the very personal nature of belief. I hope the inclusion of a personal narrative will make it more readable than, say, some of the other texts out there that cover the same material about religion and faith. 

 

AP: At some point in your life were you a believer? If so, what changed your mind?

 

AS: I was brought up by religious parents so I must have believed in a god at some point in my childhood, but I can’t recall what it was like to really believe. I don’t think there was any one thing that “changed my mind”; I think that the idea of god I was presented with as a child, that is, an anthropomorphic one, just never rang true for me. Growing up, as I read and learned about the world from other sources, the idea that there probably isn’t a god simply made more sense to me. 

 

 

AP: Who will your book help most?

 

AS: I’d be delighted if my book “helped” even one person. I guess I’d like the book to fall into the hands of people, young and old, who may just be starting to come to the conclusion that they don’t believe in god and who may be feeling a little scared or alone as a result. I hope my book will help such people realise that they are not alone and that it is perfectly possible to lead a happy, fulfilling and moral life without god. 

 

 

AP: What was it like taking your personal beliefs (or non-beliefs) and making them public?

 

AS: So far, the reaction has mostly been positive, especially from other “ex-Muslims” who have contacted me to say how glad they are to come across my work. However, I’ve also had a few people express the view that I am some kind of “traitor.”

 

AP: What advice do you have for parents?

 

AS: Make sure your children know, really know, that you love them, be honest with them when they ask questions and instill in them a love of reading.

For more information please visit Alom Shaha's web site  http://alomshaha.com/

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