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May 19 2014

“Engaging, accessible and a treat to read”: Amazon Customer Review of “Coming Out Atheist”

Got a nice customer review on Amazon for Coming Out Atheist: How To Do It, How to Help Each Other Do It, And Why! Five stars out of five. (In fact, the book now has eleven customer reviews — and they’re all five stars out of five!) Here’s what Book Shark had to say:

An Important Reference Guide

“Coming Out Atheist” is a handy reference guide on how to come out that covers a wide spectrum of situations. The book is based on over four hundred “coming out atheist stories”, data gathered from other sources and Christina’s astute observations. Iconic voice of the atheist movement and widely read blogger Greta Christina provides a much-needed coming-out guide for the masses, a great tool for coming out. This 396-page book includes thirty-two chapters and it’s broken out in three parts: 1. Why Come Out As An Atheist?, 2. Coming Out, and 3. Helping Each Other Come Out.

Positives:
1. Christina is a gifted writer. Well-written and well-reasoned book. Engaging, accessible and a treat to read.
2. A great topic; how to come out as an atheist depending on the specific situation and circumstances. True to her title, Christina never loses focus. “The focus of this book is on telling people you’re an atheist, not on becoming one in the first place.”
3. A very reasonable and sound approach. Christina never bites more than she chews.
4. The appetizer is released before the entrée is served. “Coming out atheist can make your life better. Coming out helps other atheists. Coming out cultivates other atheists. And coming out creates a better world.”
5. Compelling reasons to come out. “But ultimately, what changes people’s minds about atheists is simply coming into contact with us: seeing that someone they know, someone they love or respect or just think is a basically decent person, is an atheist.” Bonus, “Religion relies on social consent to perpetuate itself. And coming out atheist denies it that consent.”
6. This book covers a lot of specific situations on coming out as an atheist in: conservative communities, progressive communities, theocracies, U.S. military, the Internet, etc.
7. The reality of coming out. “There isn’t one magical coming out formula that’s right for everyone. So while it’s great to encourage each other to come out, we all need to do it on our own timetable, and in our own way. And we need to support each other in that.”
8. There are many parallels between coming out LGBT and atheist and many of those experiences are shared here.
9. The book is loaded with examples. One or multiple examples are bound to resonate with you. Funs stories too. “’Oklahoma tornado survivor Rebecca Vitsmun became a national atheist hero when CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked if she was thanking the Lord for her family surviving the tornado, and she replied, ‘I’m actually an atheist.’”
10. Coming out to your family provides a number of very interesting situations.
11. The impact of the Internet.
12. Quotes of wisdom, “I would rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I’m not.”
13. The chapter on U.S. Military presents some eye-opening challenges for our atheist soldiers. “Atheists in the U.S. military have the right to have “Atheist” recorded as their official religious preference, on official records, ID tags, and military headstones. But it’s common for atheists to be pressured to list “No Religious Preference” instead—or even for their preference to be ignored.”
14. Facts. “According to a 2013 Harris poll, 36% of Americans under age 35 don’t believe in God—a number that’s going up rapidly, and a trend that seems to be true around the world.” There is hope after all.
15. Personality comes to play. “Depending on your personality—and on your school culture—a “Why should I care what you think of me?” attitude can be a powerful shield against hostility. Ostracizing atheists is unacceptable and messed-up—but it has less power if you make it clear that you don’t want their society in the first place.”
16. An outstanding chapter on “The Already Marginalized: People of Color, Women, LGBT People, And Others”. I always learn something new. “For many women, coming out as atheist doesn’t just mean upsetting people’s view of us as good Christians or Jews or Muslims or whatever. It means upsetting their view of us as women.”
17. Find out Christina’s favorite story.
18. The importance of social justice. “And it’s especially important for men to talk about gender, and for white people to talk about race. I know that’s hard. Believe me, I know. It can feel like you’re walking in a minefield; it can feel like you’re going to put your foot in your mouth every ten seconds. It’s uncomfortable for me, too. We have to do it anyway.” Thank you.
19. The snowball effect. “I would argue that the snowball effect is even more powerful for atheists than it is for LGBT people. After all, coming out gay isn’t going to turn anyone else gay. It’s just going to make people who are already gay feel more comfortable saying so. But coming out atheist does make other people atheist.”
20. The Resource Guide provided is worth the price of the book alone!

Negatives:
1. Not necessarily a negative but a matter of preference. This is a more professorial Christina not the fiery, out-spoken Christina from her first digital book, “Why Are You Atheists So Angry.” I just so happen to prefer the fiery version, which resonates with my Puerto Rican roots.
2. Repetitive. Though to be fair, this book appears to be constructed to allow readers to jump into their favorite topic. Those of us who read books from cover to cover will find the repetition in say how JWs treat apostates.
3. Christina does share her personal story but I wanted to know more about what atheist arguments resonate most with her versus her disdain for the childish Pascal’s Wager.
4. I would have added a chapter on people with high-visibility/celebrities who came out while in the public eye. Atheist comedians…something to that effect.

In summary, a very solid reference guide on how to come out atheist. Christina does a wonderful job of covering a number of situations and provides guidance on how best to come out. Her advice is sound and optimistic. The reference material alone is worth the price of the book. If you are looking to help somebody come out atheist including yourself this is the book to get. I had more fun with Christina’s first book because it was an emotional experience but this one may in fact be a more important one to a movement that is dear and near my heart. I highly recommend it!

Further suggestions: “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?: 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless” by Greta Christina, “A Manual for Creating Atheists” by Peter Boghosian, “The Friendly Atheist” by Hemant Mehta, “God Is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, “The God Virus” by Darrel Ray, “Godless Americana” and “Moral Combat” by Sikivu Hutchinson, “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry A. Coyne, “Atheism for Dummies” by Dale McGowan, “Nonbeliever Nation” by David Niose, “Good Without God” by Greg Epstein, “Freethinkers” by Susan Jacoby, “Nailed” by David Fitzgerald, and “Think” by Guy P. Harrison.

Thanks, Book Shark! And if any of you have read Coming Out Atheist, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book in all three formats — print, ebook, and audiobook!

Coming Out Atheist cover 150Ebook edition:

The Kindle edition is available on Amazon. (That’s the link for Amazon US, btw — it’s available in other regions as well.)

The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.

The Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. Right now, it’s only available on Smashwords in epub format: I’m working to make it available in other formats.

All ebook editions and formats cost just $9.99.

Print edition:

The print edition is now available through Powell’s Books.

The print edition is also available at Amazon. However, be advised (if you haven’t been already) that seriously abusive labor practices have been reported at Amazon warehouses. Please bear that in mind when you’re deciding where to buy my book — or indeed, where to buy anything. (For the records: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.

You can also buy the print edition at your local bookstore. If they don’t currently carry it, you can special order it. (Bookstores can get it from standard wholesalers; wholesale info is below.) Support your local bookstore!

The print edition is $17.95 USD. It is published by Pitchstone Publishing.

Wholesale sales of the print edition:

Bookstores and other retailers can get the book from Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and other standard wholesale distributors. It can also be purchased directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is available on Audible.

The audiobook is also available through Amazon.

The audiobook is also available through iTunes.

And yes, I did the recording for it!

1 comment

  1. 1
    moarscienceplz

    Maybe I’m an oddball (OK, I AM an oddball), but I generally ignore 5 star and 1 star reviews. I presume they have an ax to grind. I much prefer reviews that are more phlegmatic and describe both the strengths and weaknesses of the item in question.

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