I'm currently reading this book, and am writing a fairly lengthy piece on it (maybe a couple of thousand words) that I'll be submitting to Free Inquiry.
Just a few quick thoughts here, though. I've enjoyed Faitheist as the memoir of a life that has been interesting so far (though, alas, with its share of pain during the author's adolescence), and Stedman can certainly write lucid, concise, enjoyable prose. There are some small (seeming?) oddities, as when John Berryman is referred to as "a deceased gay Minnesotan poet". I don't know what that's all about, since Berryman was well-known for being heterosexually predacious. Even if it turns out he was bisexual (which would be news to me!), he seems an odd person to refer to as Stedman does. Could someone please enlighten me about this? Does Stedman know something I don't? Anyway, the memoir parts of the book make for a solid read ... sometimes even a poignant one.
I'm less impressed by Stedman's analysis of how we should talk about religion and the religious. I actually agree with him that some more civility might be in order as the default. But that's because we see some material on the internet (in particular) that is totally undiscriminating and unnuanced, mindlessly hostile, and even vilifying. This is not something we should aspire to. The atheist blogosphere is not always a pretty sight.
But Stedman goes too far in his denunciations of authors such as Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett, and to a lesser extent of Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. In my opinion, none of these authors violates ordinary standards of civility that are accepted in, say, political debate. Perhaps they could be argued to have "given permission" (as they say) to others to be more offensive and less nuanced. Really, though, I encourage my readers to go and read any of these people carefully. See for yourself how they develop their critiques of religion. You'll see that their styles are calm, rational, and suitably varied to the topic. These are all fine writers with skilled control, in each case, of the "voice" that comes through.
None of that is to deny an element of moral indignation in some of what they write (some engage in this more than others). But we do not see incivility for its own sake.
In the past, I've disagreed with Harris, in particular, about some issues, but it is all too easy to demonise people. Unfortunately, there's that tendency in Faitheist. I wish the author had torn out a few pages on reflection (or rather, deleted them from the manuscript). The strength of his argument in favour of more civility will tend to be lost on many people because he overreaches. Yet, surely he has a point,and it's unfortunate that it might get lost in the inevitable kerfuffle.
[Edit: One sentence above is badly worded and conveys something rather different from what I actually had in mind: it's the sentence beginning, "But Stedman goes too far...". See comments below for explanation of what I was trying to convey.]