“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” at O’Hare Airport Bookstore!

I’m going to be at Skepticon for the next few days, and I probably won’t be blogging much. So here’s a cool picture that makes me happy. It’s a picture I took a few weeks ago of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless — at Barbara’s Bookstore in O’Hare Airport!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry at O'Hare Barbara's Bookstore

If you see a copy of any of my books in a bookstore or a library — take a picture, and send it to me! It always makes me happy. (And if my books aren’t in your local bookstore or library — ask them to carry them! They’re distributed by major book distributors, including Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and IPG.)

And yes, I know I’m next to Deepak Chopra. I’m always next to Deepak Chopra in the Religion section in bookstores. Fucking alphabet.


Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Godless Perverts Social Club, Thursday Nov. 20! Discussion Topic: Public Sexuality — Where Do We Draw the Line?

Godless Perverts Banner

The next Godless Perverts Social Club is this Thursday November 20 — and the discussion topic is “Public Sexuality — Where Do We Draw the Line?”

The Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers — and the Godless Perverts Social Club is our socializing/ hanging out branch. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever-you-want-to-call-it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us — we meet at Wicked Grounds, San Francisco’s renowned BDSM-themed coffee house, 289 8th Street in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART), the first Tuesday and third Thursday of every month. Our next meeting is this Thursday November 20!

We’re doing slightly different formats for the two clubs. Our Third Thursday Social Clubs are a little more structured — we’ll pick a topic, let people know what it is ahead of time, have a moderator/ host who leads the discussion, maybe even get in special guests to guide discussions on particular topics. In November, that’ll be Thursday November 20. The topic for this Thursday: Public Sexuality — Where Do We Draw the Line? How open about your sexuality should you be in public? Where’s the line between being proudly out of the closet and creating a hostile environment for people who haven’t given their consent to be involved in your sexuality?

This month, the great accomplishment of the Philea probe touching down on a comet was marred by one thing: When Matt Taylor, the head scientist went on-air to talk to the press, he was wearing a shirt covered with fetish imagery and semi-nude women. The shirt not only sparked controversy not only about whether it was appropriate, but conversation about how many problems women have being taken seriously in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers.

This Thursday, let’s talk about the ethics and etiquette of being open about your sexuality. When is necessary to live honestly, and when is it a violation of consent? [Read more…]

Notes from a Pornographer on Sexist Sexual Imagery and Behavior – UPDATED

Please note: The comment policy for this post is somewhat different than usual. It’s at the end of this post.

Bending coverSo, I’m a pornographer. I have written pornography, produced it, published it, edited it, sold it, bought it, reviewed it, modeled for it, narrated it, read it publicly, and performed in it. I have written/ produced/ published/ edited/ sold/ bought/ reviewed/ modeled for/ narrated/ read/ performed in pornographic fiction, video, photography, comics, and probably other media I can’t remember now. (I’ve even written about erotic cave paintings. No, really.) I was a sex writer for decades before I was an atheist writer: in fact, my first several pieces of professionally published writing were for On Our Backs, the by-lesbians-for-lesbians sex magazine. I started working in pornography in 1989, and I’ve been doing it in some capacity, more or less constantly, ever since.

So. Please bear that in mind.

I am sick to death of hearing that feminists are sex-hating prudes because we don’t want imagery of women in videogames to be overwhelmingly sexual. I’m sick of hearing that we’re sex-hating prudes because we want conferences to have rules and guidelines about sexual conduct at conferences, so people are not harassed and groped and assaulted against their will. I’m sick of hearing that we’re sex-hating prudes because we think there are times and places where explicit sexual imagery is not appropriate — such as, oh, say, just for example, the public media announcement of a major landmark in scientific discovery.

Repeat for other issues, as appropriate.

The idea that sex-positivity and sexual liberation means everybody expressing every sexual thought and acting on every sexual desire, the minute it pops into our heads — this is bullshit. [Read more…]

“Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God” Ordering Info

Where can you buy my book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God?

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 300This page has the most current ordering info for my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God — in ebook, audiobook, and print editions. The page will be updated as ordering info changes.

Ebook 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.
All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99.

Audiobook edition:

The audiobook version is scheduled for publication on December 30. It will be available on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. And yes, I did the recording for it!

Print edition:

Plans for a print edition are in the works, but there’s currently no publication date scheduled.

Here is the description of the book. Watch this space for future announcements! [Read more…]

Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God – Mini-Book Scheduled for Publication in December!

I’ve put together a mini-book collection of my essays about death and mortality, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. It’s scheduled for publication in audiobook and ebook in December!

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong copy

Here’s the description:

***

If you don’t believe in God or an afterlife — how do you cope with death?

Accepting death is never easy. But we don’t need religion to find peace, comfort, and solace in the face of death. In this mini-collection of essays, prominent atheist author Greta Christina offers secular ways to handle your own mortality and the death of those you love.

Blending intensely personal experience with compassionate, down-to-earth wisdom, Christina (“Coming Out Atheist” and “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”) explores a variety of naturalistic philosophies of death. She shows how reality can be more comforting than wishful thinking, shatters the myth that there are no atheists in foxholes — and tells how humanism got her through one of the grimmest times of her life.

***

The artwork is by Alex Gabriel, of the Godlessness in Theory blog. He writes here about his thought process in designing the cover art. Alex also did major copy editing work on Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why. If you’re looking for a graphic designer or a copy editor, I can recommend him unequivocally.


Coming Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina’s books, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why and Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, are available in print, ebook, and audiobook. Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More is available in ebook and audiobook.

Support Grief Beyond Belief, and Help it Expand to Offline, In-the-flesh Secular Grief Support

This is a guest post from Rebecca Hensler.

grief beyond beliefSince I founded Grief Beyond Belief three-and-a-half years ago, members of the community have asked for referrals to in-person secular support groups, somewhere to talk about their grief and sorrow face-to-face, without risking responses about heaven or “God’s plan.” The longing for a real-life secular grief support group is both our community’s most frequently-voiced need and the one that plagues me most in its difficulty to meet.

The problem is that the places in which secular support is most needed are the very places where it is hardest for grieving nonbelievers to find each other. In cities, on the coasts, and outside the US, a grieving freethinker is likely to already have a support network made up at least partially of other nonbelievers; in the southern and midwestern US, a grieving freethinker is likely to be surrounded by believers who — however caring and well-intentioned — cannot understand the way a nonbeliever grieves. And while members in urban areas may be made uncomfortable by periodic references to heaven or psychics at mainstream grief-support groups, members in the bible belt and rural areas are way more likely to find that the in-person grief support group in their area is faith-based, provided by a church, or held at a church, and thus cannot be a place of comfort.

Online grief support for nonbelievers solves the problem of a low concentration of secularity in certain geographic areas by taking physical proximity out of the equation. But that is only one of its advantages; the other is that it is easy to provide for free.

Grief Beyond Belief is a labor of love, and one that is remarkably inexpensive, as long as our compassionate, rational, and devoted volunteers are willing to contribute substantial time and effort to maintaining the safety and secularity of the online spaces. I have so far been able to pay the minimal web-hosting costs out of pocket with help from a few donors. The Facebook-based Grief Beyond Belief public page and GBBGroup (the confidential group where most community members seek support), cost nothing but time.

But when it comes to emotional support, there is really nothing like meeting face-to-face. So bringing Grief Beyond Belief from the internet into the real world — particularly in places where it is difficult for grieving atheists and other nonbelievers to find grief support — is one of my long-term goals.

I took the first step last year at Skepticon, a free secular conference in Springfield Missouri, by running a grief support workshop for conference attendees and others who traveled to the conference site for the workshop itself. So many participated in the workshop that we could barely seat everyone in a circle. It was a moving experience to be able to talk about our grief with other freethinkers and share comfort face-to-face for the first time with the Grief Beyond Belief community. I would like to hold this kind of grief support workshop at more conferences and events, especially in the midwest and southern states where the need seems particularly great. Eventually I would like to train others to facilitate similar meetings, creating even more opportunity for grieving nonbelievers to share support in person.

I will be facilitating another grief support workshop at Skepticon on November 21 and I am very happy to have the opportunity. But the travel costs verge on prohibitive, even without factoring in the missed days of work. I have never expected to make a living from providing secular grief support, but it is currently costing me more than I can afford to expand Grief Beyond Belief offline. I need to suck it up and ask for help.

So I am requesting donations to Grief Beyond Belief. Absolutely anything will help bring secular support to more grieving atheists and other freethinkers. So if you can afford to give a little – or even a lot – please click here to donate.

I’m also looking for additional opportunities to lead grief support circles wherever they are needed. If your secular organization, Humanist society, Sunday Assembly, or other group of freethinkers would like to host a Grief Beyond Belief Workshop, and are either in the SF Bay Area or can provide for travel, please contact me at griefbeyondbelief@gmail.com.

I’ve Looked At Cats From Both Sides Now

I need a break from the serious topics for a day or two. Here are some cat pictures.

Cats are so weird multi-faceted. One minute, they’re ridiculously snuggly-wuggly, like a Hallmark card. (I love how the tabbies in this one look like conjoined twins, joined at the butt. Also I love Comet’s paws on Houdini’s back.)

all three cats snuggly

And then a minute later, they look like the Clanton Gang.

all three cats suspicious and scary

Houdini especially. Those eyes are like daggers. Back away… slowly… hands in the air… leave the tuna on the floor…

The Pros and Cons of Caring Deeply about Others’ Suffering

First, the cons:

When you care deeply about other people’s suffering, you suffer too. Not as much as they do, generally, but you still suffer. You feel a small piece of what it feels like to be homeless, to be a suicidal gay teenager, to be sexually assaulted, to be beaten for being transgender, or to have your teenage son shot for the crime of existing while black.

You don’t get to go for the big bucks. Unsurprisingly, there’s not a lot of money in caring about other people’s suffering. Unless you’re very, very lucky (like if you write a song about other people’s suffering that goes to number one on the Billboard chart), the best you’ll probably do financially is to be reasonably comfortable. And even if you do get lucky, you’ll probably turn around and plow a good chunk of your good fortune into alleviating the suffering you care about.

You waste a lot of time arguing. Indeed, much of your time is spent trying to persuade other people that the suffering right in front of their faces is real; that the people who are suffering shouldn’t be blamed for it; that working to alleviate suffering isn’t futile. (When I was writing about misogyny recently and asked people to say something about it, many of them argued that speaking out against misogyny was a waste of time; that nobody’s mind would ever be changed by it.) Arguing certainly can be effective, and it does amplify the work you’re doing and gets other hands on deck. But it’s a waste of time in the sense that it’s valuable time spent arguing for what should be obvious. It’s valuable time that all of you could have spent doing the damn work.

And when you’re persuading people that suffering is real and that they should give a damn, you get to feel just a little bit guilty about it. As you’re desperately trying to pry open other people’s eyes, you feel a little bad about the life of suffering you’re exposing them to.

*****

Thus begins my latest column for The Humanist, The Pros and Cons of Caring Deeply about Others’ Suffering. To read more — including the pros, of which there are many — read the rest of the piece. Enjoy!