You will want this book. I’ll say why in a mo. But I’m talking about Greta Christina’s first, and quite sensational, book that came out earlier this year but is now available at Amazon for the great price of just $9: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless (or to get the kindle edition click here). I’ve been sitting on this review until that happened, in the hopes of helping boost her Amazon sales rank. Because with this book, she deserves it.
I usually don’t recommend books on my blog unless they are the very best on their topic and I know I can probably defend everything in them (thus many a book I haven’t had time to read carefully is just out of luck, even if it happens to be great). Generally, it has to be a “must have” in its category. And this is one of those. I loved it. In fact it’s awesome. I’ve given her a promotional blurb that accurately describes my opinion and reaction to the book, so I’ll lead with that:
This just became my number-one book to recommend to all believers and new atheists alike. I thought the field of atheist literature was all just rehashing the same stuff by now. But this is an original, visceral, and ultimately complete defense of not just atheist outrage, but atheism itself. Greta sticks to the undeniable facts-on-the-ground and articulates it all correctly and well, heading off every possible rebuttal with brilliant economy. She never gets bogged down in abstract philosophy, yet still hits every key abstract point, leaving you by the end with no rational reason not to agree, and finally kick to the curb that useless old religion, or get off your bum and really do something for the cause. — Dr. Richard Carrier
And I mean it. This really is the best atheist book to give to a new inquirer about atheism (whether already an atheist or a Christian or anyone else), precisely because it leans so well on hard facts all the way through, so it is very informative and illuminating. It also has the standard chapter on why we don’t believe god exists, and it’s one of the most economical presentations of a solid case I’ve seen. A perfect starter for anyone who needs an intro; it’s a model even for veterans to follow.
But the bulk of the book is about why religion should not get a pass; why atheists really do have something to be angry about. And not just something. But nearly a hundred things. Greta even covers liberal Christianity and woo just as much as conservative religion, something that often doesn’t get done in atheist lit. But the liberal goddies get a fair thrashing here. Indeed this is a model example of how to do that. Christina even tied this into a consistent framework about epistemology and consequentialism (and all without using those boring words). I found that cool.
I am not aware of anyone doing a book like this before. Like my blurb says, I would have thought the field of atheist lit was saturated by now, just rehashing the same stuff, or breaking new ground only in specialized topics. But though her initial “list-of-outrages” approach builds on what is a part of many books (usually just a short list or scattered things in an intro or here and there), no one has put it all in stark, complete order like this, hammering it home item after item. It’s really enraging when you see it all in one place; and there really is just no other response possible. That’s especially because of the way she ordered the list–it stymies every standard defense by heading it off before it can brew. I love books that do that. I kept going, “Yeah! Right! And that!” And of course all very well written. Then she just gravy trains it through the rest of the book, knocking down every shibboleth the godists have to try and dodge that main chapter’s devastating point.
There is a great deal in this book that hasn’t been done before, yet should have been. It’s a necessary and useful fighting manual, and should be on every activist’s bookshelf. It will also get you pumped. And arm you with facts and talking points to wield at parties. So I think every atheist, new and old, should read it.