Get Your Skepticon 5 T-Shirt Now — Get a Free Goodie!

Skepticon — the totally awesome, entirely FREE atheist/ skeptical conference in Missouri — is already starting to sell T-shirts for the upcoming Skepticon 5! Order yours now, enter the code “AngryAngryAtheist” in the Special Code section, and get a free goodie! (I refuse to call it a “free gift,” since the word “gift” automatically means that it’s free. So there.)

Skepticon is, as I mentioned, an ENTIRELY FREE conference — which means they’re supported entirely by donations, fundraising, and swag sales. So buying a T-shirt doesn’t just mean you have an excellent conference T-shirt — it means you’re helping keep Skepticon going. T-shirts will go into production by July or whenever they reach 75 shirts ordered (the sooner everyone orders, the sooner everyone gets their shirts!) Last year they sold out of almost every size long before the event. Some sizes sold out within the first two weeks! Pre-order to ensure you get your size.

Shirts are $20 each with free shipping. Sizes go up to 5XL, with additional cost starting at 2XL. And no, they don’t have them in women’s styles. Sigh. Somebody’s going to get smacked. Still. Cool shirt, awesome conference, worth supporting. Order yours now. And remember to enter the code “AngryAngryAtheist” in the Special Code section to get your free gift goodie!

What I May Do With My Naked Body: A Reply to Azar Majedi About the #NudePhotoRevolutionaries Calendar

April is the first month of the #NudePhotoRevolutionaries Calendar, created by Maryam Namazie in homage to Egyptian atheist, student and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy who posted a nude photo of herself on her blog. Not surprisingly, the calendar has come under attack — not just from Islamicist theocrats, but from some feminists, including Azar Majedi. Namazie has written her response to Majedi (UPDATE: LINK CORRECTED). Here is mine.

Dear Azar Majedi,

I want to be sure I understand you correctly. It seems that you’re saying that there is no way a woman can choose to display pictures of her naked body, and offer those pictures for money, without it being commodification, and therefore being Bad.

Even if the images are being made available for free as well as for sale, and anyone who’s uncomfortable with the idea of paying to see naked women (or who simply doesn’t want to) has access to them. Even if the tremendous variety of ages and races and body types in the calendar are in direct defiance of the typical expectations for female bodies, and are being displayed and celebrated on their own terms rather than for male pleasure and consumption. Even if the money is being gathered, not for personal profit, but to raise money for feminist causes that all the participants collectively care about. Even if the women being photographed are donating the images of their naked bodies, and are not in any way being economically pressured to do so. Even if the project is being done with the full endorsement and support of the woman it’s honoring.

If there were ever a situation in which selling naked pictures of one’s self should be considered acceptable, I’d think it would be this one. But according to you, even this situation is unacceptable. It’s still commodification, and therefore, it’s still Bad.

Yeah. See, here’s the problem with that. (Some nude images below the jump, including a nude image of me.) [Read more...]

“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” To Be Published As Audiobook!

It’s official! Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless is going to be published by Audible.com as an audiobook! It’s currently available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords; it’ll be available soon in print… and in about three months, it’ll be available on audio. Read aloud by, yes, me.

So now that the deal is signed, I can finally tell the story: This audiobook deal is actually what got me to self-publish Why Are You Atheists So Angry? in the first place. My friend and mentor of many years, the brilliant and hilarious Susie Bright, was recently hired as an editor by Audible (she’s been doing a radio show for them for many years, In Bed With Susie Bright). A couple of months ago, she approached me to find out if I had any books that could be turned into audiobooks — and if not, why the hell not. This lit the fire under me to get up off my ass, quit whinging about how I couldn’t get a conventional publisher… and just freaking self-publish the book already. (In time for the Reason Rally. An outrageously ridiculous deadline, but one which turned out to be do-able. At the cost of sleep and sanity and having any semblance of a life, but do-able.)

So to everyone who’s been asking about the audiobook — in about three months or so, your wishes will be answered! As soon as it’s done and ready to download, I’ll announce it here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (my Twitter handle is @gretachristina). And here, once again, for those who have missed previous announcements about the book, is the description, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs. Watch this space for future announcements! [Read more...]

Why Are You Atheists So Angry? Now For Sale On Smashwords!

And the book is now available on Smashwords!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Thing That Piss Off the Godless is now for sale on Smashwords! It’s already for sale on Kindle and Nook. All ebooks are only $7.99! And yes, the print version will be coming out soon as well — as will the audiobook! (Announcement about the latter is coming tomorrow.)

For those who missed the previous announcements about the book, here’s the description, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs.

*

Why are atheists angry?

Is it because they’re selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God?

Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry — and are ready to do something about it?

Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it.

This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but to believers who want to understand the so-called “new atheism.” “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” drops a bombshell on the destructive force of religious faith — and gives a voice to millions of angry atheists.

“Greta Christina’s analysis of religion is acute and witty, and at the same time fair and compassionate. And I’m jealous: I sure wish I could write as well as she does.”
-Alan Sokal, Professor of Physics, New York University

“Greta has done something truly impressive with this book: She explains in a calm, reasonable, and thoughtful way exactly why she’s a pissed-off, angry atheist. She’s not alone, though, and it’s not only other atheists who will agree with her. In fact, I *dare* religious people to read this book and not come away furious at the often awful impact faith has had on the world, even if they don’t believe they’re responsible for it. I may be a ‘friendly atheist’ online, but Greta definitely speaks for me in this book.”
-Hemant Mehta, Friendly Atheist, author of I Sold My Soul on eBay

“If only more people could channel their anger into something so inspiring! Greta Christina has written the perfect book for anyone who wonders about the true impact of religious dogma on women’s health, gay rights, science education, and the daily lives of those who have no faith. Her concluding chapter, which contains solid advice for how to make a positive change in the world, will ensure that you’ll have an outlet for all that rage you’ll build up by the end of the book. Trust me — you’ll need it.”
-Rebecca Watson, Skepchick.org

“I found this book informative and enraging! Leave it to Greta to inform and elucidate like no other. I highly recommend this book to everyone, everywhere. And I hope never to get Greta angry at me. :)
-David Silverman, President, American Atheists

“Greta Christina’s book offers a passionately lucid explanation of the reasons for atheist anger and its connection to the energy behind all movements for social justice. It is both informative and inspiring.”
-Ophelia Benson, Butterflies and Wheels

“They say if you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. Well, Greta Christina is definitely paying attention — and in this book, she delivers a clean, bracing blast of atheist anger, like a refreshing cool breeze in a stifling hothouse of faith, that offers compelling reasons why all rational people of conscience should oppose religion and the harm it does.”
-Adam Lee, Daylight Atheism

“Greta Christina is one of the best writers on religion out there, period. I’ve been waiting for this book for a long time.”
-Chris Hallquist, The Uncredible Hallq

“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, author of Sense and Goodness without God

*

Once again — Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Thing That Piss Off the Godless is now for sale on Smashwords, as well as on Kindle and Nook. All ebooks are only $7.99. If you’ve already read it — help me spread the word! Tell folks about it on Twitter, Facebook, G-Plus, blog discussions, Internet forums, church picnics. And if you haven’t read it — check out the glowing customer reviews on Amazon (along with the handful of douchey ones), and get your copy today!

Women in Secularism Conference – With Me And Other Awesome Women!

So if you were at the Reason Rally and are all pumped-up and thinking, “What other awesome atheist events can I go to now?” — or if you missed the Reason Rally and are thinking, “Damn, I hate that I had to miss that, what other awesome atheist events can I go to now?” — start making plans now for the Women in Secularism conference! Washington, D.C., May 18-20. All the speakers at the event will be women — but the conference is open to anybody, of any gender.

Given the role religion has played in the repression of women, they would seem to be natural allies, and, indeed, many feminists have been outspoken and influential secularists. However, the relationship between secularism and women’s issues remains largely unexamined. Sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, this historic conference will discuss and celebrate the many contributions women have made to the secular movement, while critically examining both the successes and failures of secularism in addressing women’s concerns.

The speaker list is pretty freaking incredible. In addition to the obvious awesomeness of MEEEE, there’s going to be Susan Jacoby, Wafa Sultan, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Rebecca Watson, Jennifer McCreight, Ophelia Benson, Sikivu Hutchinson, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Debbie Goddard, Lauren Becker, Jamila Bey, Elisabeth Cornwell, Margaret Downey, Bernice Sandler, and Melody Hensley. Daycare services will be provided for any registered conference participants who needs them. There’ll be smart, thought-provoking talks and panels — plus plenty of time for fun hanging-out. The conference is Crystal City Marriott at Reagan National Airport, which is on the Metro line, and hotel discounts are available.

It promises to be a barn-burner. Come check it out!

What Do You Say to Grieving Non Believers?

This piece was originally published on AlterNet.

If you know someone who’s grieving a death, and they don’t believe in a God or in any sort of afterlife… what do you say?

A lot of religious and spiritual believers find themselves stymied, at a loss for words, when the atheists and other non-believers in their lives are grieving. The comforts and consolations they’re used to offering, and that they rely on themselves, don’t do much good with atheists and other non-believers. “It’s all part of a plan.” “I’m sure they’re smiling down on you now.” “You’ll see them in the afterlife.” Etc. At best, these notions are useless for atheists: at worst, they’re actually upsetting.

Some believers behave very badly indeed at these times. It’s all too common for religious believers to use death and grief, and the heightened vulnerability that comes with it, as an opportunity for proselytizing. And when confronted with the reality that non-believers usually aren’t comforted by religious sentiments, believers often get churlish and defensive: insisting that grieving non-believers should be comforted when believers offer religious platitudes, and getting irritated or even outright hostile when we don’t.

But many believers are entirely sincere in their desire to console the non-believers in their life. They care, they sympathize, they mean well. They genuinely want to help. They just don’t know how.

Which is understandable. Even some non-believers have a hard time knowing what to say to the grieving non-believers in their life. Many atheists were brought up in religion: they’ve been brought up framing death and grief in religious terms, and dealing with it with religious customs. And in American culture particularly, our social customs around death are very much rooted in religion. So when atheists reject those customs, they often don’t know what to replace them with.

So what, specifically, can people say — or do — to comfort and console the non-believers in their lives who are grieving? [Read more...]

No, JT Is Not Leaving Freethought Blogs

No, JT Eberhard is not leaving Freethought Blogs to start a Christian rock band. And no, I’m not leaving Freethought Blogs to go blog for Vogue because I got all the rage out of my system from writing my book. (Although it’s funny to contemplate. What would be the opposite of “rage-quitting”? “Happy-quitting”?) And no, Jen McCreight is not leaving Freethought Blogs to join the Men’s Rights Activist movement. And no…

The Atheist Experience has a complete rundown of yesterday’s April Fool’s activity on Freethought Blogs. 21 of us were in on the round-robin. I personally nominate Biodork for the funniest and best-written entry in the proceedings; but the whole circuit was pretty darned entertaining. If you haven’t already, check them out!

This Is Not Okay, JT

This is not okay, JT.

I’ve known JT Eberhard for close to two years. We met at the Secular Student Alliance conference in 2010, and he immediately impressed me with his passion, his joy, his bulldog determination, his fearlessness about other people’s opinions of him, his willingness to throw himself headfirst into the projects he cared about — and most of all, his ferocious defense of the truth. (His talk at that conference about how Skepticon got started should be required watching for anyone who thinks they don’t have the know-how to do organizing and activism.) He’s become one of my most trusted colleagues and allies in the atheist movement — and he’s become one of my closest friends.

I want to support my friends in doing what they most want to do with their lives. So when JT began talking about the possibility of quitting atheist blogging — of quitting professional atheism altogether — and going back to pursuing a professional singing career, I tried to swallow my disappointment. I knew it would be a huge loss to atheism to lose such a hard-working and extraordinarily skillful voice, and his absence at conferences and events would be a great personal loss to me… but I know we have to follow our dreams, and I tried to support him as whole-heartedly as I could.

But this is not okay.

When JT first started talking about getting back into music, his idea was to pursue a career as an atheist musician. He loves atheism more than almost anyone I know, and he wanted to stay in the movement and support it with this new direction. But he quickly began to get discouraged about whether he could ever earn a living as an atheist musician. I tried to be encouraging — Tim Minchin! Roy Zimmerman! Thousands at the Reason Rally! Hundreds of new atheists every day! — but he floated a few test baloons on Twitter, and he just didn’t think it would fly.

So he dropped the bombshell.

JT Eberhard is becoming a Christian musician.

He is departing Freethought Blogs, and is forming his new Christian Rock Band, Heart of Glory, beginning tomorrow, April 2.

I am baffled, and appalled. Especially since JT has acknowledged to me that he hasn’t, in fact, converted to Christianity. He’s as much of an atheist as he ever was. In a moment of honesty — something I always used to be able to count on from JT — he acknowledged that this was entirely a business decision. “Christian rock bands clean our clocks,” he said. “And they’ll eat up the ex-atheist angle.”

So overnight, the ferocious defender of the truth has changed his tune. And not just singing five-chord power ballads. “Does it really matter what people believe?” he asked me. “As long as people are happy, isn’t that the important thing?

“I just want to sing, Greta,” he said, tears in his eyes. “Is that okay?”

I feel like a bad friend saying this. I want to support my friends in pursuing their dreams. But no, JT. That is not okay.

UPDATE: If you want to talk to JT and try to persuade him out of this disastrous move, please go comment on his blog.

SECOND UPDATE: Happy April Fool’s Day!