“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” Ordering Info »« Edwina Rogers

Greta’s Podcast Interview with The Angry Atheist

UPDATE: There was a temporary problem accessing this interview, due to traffic overloading the site. It’s been fixed now, and the interview is available once again.



Hey, all you podcast fans! I’ve just done a podcast interview on The Angry Atheist podcast show. We talk about marriage, anger, atheists, attitude, my book (Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless), and more.

Good times. Check it out!

Comments

  1. John Horstman says

    The difference between inter-racial marriage and gay marriage as a states’ rights issue is that (constitutionally) marriage is up to the states, and sex/gender, UNLIKE race, is not a constitutionally-protected class, protections for which are extended to state law by way of the 14th Amendment. This is part of why we need an Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution. Obama’s position is legally-accurate; it’s the ONLY legally-accurate position. I think sex/gender SHOULD be protected from discrimination on the basis of Constitutional law, but it isn’t presently.

    Also, marriage as an exclusive, monogamous pair-bond is absolutely a religious concept (of course, it’s a relatively recent one – the Yahweh-worshipping religions were all big fans of polygamy historically). In feudal Europe, marriage as a legal concept only applied to the aristocracy, as the law didn’t care much about heritability or dowries of property-poor serfs; if we’re going to play the historical precedent game, our aristocracy-devoid society shouldn’t have a legal concept of marriage anyway. I think the bigger question is why the hell atheists are so attached to the term “marriage” that they don’t want to simply rip it out of the law books and replace it with civil unions for everyone. Also, even if “marriage” wasn’t universally religious historically or presently, it was always sexist, which also makes me question the attachment to the term. Ditching the term is a discursive tactic that preempts religious objections; it useful. Because it’s useful, you need to make an actual case for NOT ditching the term.

  2. Godlesspanther says

    Greta, Thank you for providing this interview for us. There are some things in it that I found to be quite valuable. One thing that struck me was your observations of the atheist movement in a historical perspective and how it aligns with its predecessors.

    I have also been looking at this in a historical point of view recently. I am a few years younger than you are, we were born right into the era of great civil rights movements and we have watched the atheist movement start from a seedling.

    At this point the atheist movement has shown enough longevity and growth that we now have the opportunity to examine it in comparison to the gay-rights, feminist, civil-rights, anti-war etc. movements. I totally agree that a clear sign that we have gained power and recognition is the intensity of the backlash. Also efforts to weaken and discredit the movement. (I, personally see Edwina Rogers as being one, then again, I may just have too much COINTELPRO history in my head.) There is no doubt that we are a genuine threat. The number of young people who are abandoning religion is a very seriously frightening thing for the religious power structure that has enjoyed such an obscenely privileged status in society.

    The ex-members of various religious groups have become communities in and of themselves. People don’t alienate themselves from all their cultural strongholds unless they are really serious. We can also see the fundie rhetoric getting crazier — really out there. There is no indication that it will ever turn back the other way. That is one reason that we are seeing many Christian zealots turning to dominionist ideology. They have failed at trying to rationalize an insane belief system and so their only options are to either dump it — or pull out all the stops into utter madness.

    The other thing that really hit home with me is the complex issues in how the atheist communities deal with the New Age, Neo-Pagan, Wiccan, liberal/progressive Christianity and Judaism. Because they are allied with the atheist movement on the political issues that affect the future of our country it seems that we ought not offend them. But goofy beliefs are goofy no matter how you slice them. The belief that quartz crystals have magical power is just as loony as the belief that Jesus is going to return from the dead. Why should I bite my tongue just because New Agers will never attempt to make Tarot reading mandatory in public schools and they happen to be much nicer people?

    Not easy questions, and they shouldn’t be.

  3. Tyrant of skepsis says

    I think the bigger question is why the hell atheists are so attached to the term “marriage” that they don’t want to simply rip it out of the law books and replace it with civil unions for everyone.

    Maybe because it 1) appears to be by far the path of least resistance in current western society and 2) if there is an institution by the name of marriage that grants a certain number of desirable rights to couples, and this is roughly the set of rights we would like everyone to have, it does not seem like the optimal strategy to first demolish this precedent rather than making it more inclusive.

    Also, even if “marriage” wasn’t universally religious historically or presently, it was always sexist, which also makes me question the attachment to the term.

    Why was marriage always sexist? (apart from the fact that women traditionally take on their husband’s name, a tradition which wife+me for example have not felt the need to honor). It certainly is cis-ist or heteronormativist, or whatever the correct term is.

    Ditching the term is a discursive tactic that preempts religious objections; it useful. Because it’s useful, you need to make an actual case for NOT ditching the term.

    As I said above, I think it is useful to have this precedent of an institution that is generally accepted to be important and “special” by the populace and thus automatically is attached to some “emotional momentum”, and then making this institution more inclusive. You may be in favor of a revolution (killing marriage and putting in its place something from scratch), but I just don’t think it’s going to work.

  4. says

    #3 provides the correct answer to #1. Actually, one could go farther. Why civil unions? Why should there be any interaction at all between the state and sexuality? Now, homosexuals are discriminated against. Even if gay marriage becomes a reality, polygamous people will still be discriminated against. The logical solution in a modern society is a complete separation of state and sexuality. But because this is a difficult goal, most people would rather go the “gay marriage” route because it requires less effort. One reason is that it is easier to demand something if it doesn’t involve taking it away from someone else.

    This can be a slippery slope. One of the worst evils in the world is FGM. Someone who has actually made real progress against FGM is Rüdiger Nehberg. However, his method is to convince people that FGM is against Islam (Nehberg himself is an atheist) and get the local sharia to forbid FGM. This is a question of whether the end justifies the means. In this case, I think it does. One has to weigh the long-term goal of eradicating religion (or at least its influence on people who have no choice in the matter) against the short-term goal of having fewer ruined lives.

  5. says

    I’m getting a “This site has been suspended” page on all the links. Same for those found on a google search.

  6. Andrew says

    On a totally non-Edwina Rogers related note, I was fascinated to discover in this interview that Greta’s experience of going under general anaesthetic was a formative one for her. It was for me also, although slightly differently so – I had never been much afraid of death to begin with, but after going under I had exactly the same sense she did, of having been simply turned off for a couple of hours. Like Greta I immediately related the experience to a foretaste of death for a couple of hours. And as that experience consisted of literally nothing at all, I’ve lost all sense that there’s anything to be afraid of, and been totally at peace with the idea of dying.

    Is it common for anaesthesia to trigger these sorts of experiences? It’s not something I’m aware of much and I don’t know if I’m an outlier – Greta is the first person I’ve come across who’s related an experience similar to mine.

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