Dale McGowan is an author and executive director of Foundation Beyond Belief, a nontheistic charitable organization. He was recently enlisted to write “Atheism for Dummies,” the first book about nontheists from the “Dummies” series of books.

He spoke recently with Religion News Service about religious doubt, what religious believers and atheists have in common, and what “dummies” need to know about atheism. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: There hasn’t been an “atheist” book in the “Dummies” line yet. Why?

A: It’s only been about eight to 10 years since the freethought movement (atheists, agnostics, humanists and skeptics) began to move off the cultural margin in a significant way, and fewer since most of the public has become aware of atheism as an organized presence in the United States. Between the explosive growth of nonreligious self-identity and the more regular presence of the organized religious voice, people naturally have questions about what atheism is and what this growing presence means for them.

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