Eating bacon was the 'defining moment' in author's departure from Islam

29 November 2022, 21:21 | Updated: 29 November 2022, 21:34

Author Alom Shaha says that eating bacon was the 'defining moment' in his departure from Islam

By Abbie Reynolds

After a Census report revealed that less than half of England and Wales are Christian, Andrew Marr spoke to Alom Shaha who wrote the 'Young Atheists Handbook: lessons for living a good life without God'.

Interested to know when Alom Shaha began to doubt his religion, after being brought up in such a devout Muslim community, Andrew Marr asked: "What sort of age were you when you started to question, do you think?"

"I can't tell you the age I was when I was starting to question but I can tell you the very moment when I said 'Okay I'm not even pretending anymore," Alom Shaha started.

"It was when I was eighteen, it was the summer holidays and I was working in a hotel and one of my colleagues who was a waiter...held out a piece of bacon and said 'This stuff's delicious! Why don't you try a bit?'"

He explained the importance of the gesture telling Andrew Marr: "Bacon was very taboo. [For] a lot of people from Muslim and Jewish backgrounds [their] last taboo is bacon, eating non-halal [or] non-kosher food."

"In that moment I thought 'You know what I am going to try it, I am going to eat it,' and I'm glad I did because bacon is incredibly tasty."

In 2012 Alom Shaha published his book Young Atheist's Handbook: lessons for living a good life without God, he also told Andrew Marr that he works with a company called 'Faith to Faithless' which "tries to help people" from backgrounds like his own, where they have been brought up in strict faiths more "difficult" to leave than others.

"That one act for me was a defining moment in saying 'You know what I'm not even going to pretend'," he declared.

Alom Shaha: atheism is 'not an intellectual journey' but 'an emotional response to the idea of God'

Andrew Marr began the conversation of faith after the latest Census report revealed, for the first time ever, that less than half the population is Christian.

READ MORE: Christians have become a minority in England and Wales for the first time, official data shows

Alom Shaha said on Tonight With Andrew Marr that he "never really brought into" his faith and that's why he came to the conclusion that he "could not believe" what he was being told about a God.

He described his journey to Atheism as an "emotional response to the idea of God" rather than an "intellectual journey".