My Interview with Lindsay Beyerstein at “Point of Inquiry” Podcast!

point of inquiry logoPodcast fans — check out my interview on the Point of Inquiry podcast, with Lindsay Beyerstein! We talk about some of the ideas in my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God — the tendencies we have to avoid and deny death and how it affects our abilities to cope; how the concept of an afterlife may actually be failing to prepare people for the end of their lives; and how we can use our humanism and skepticism to find comfort in the midst of mortality and grief.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPG

The Kindle edition of Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God 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; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99. (The audiobook version is scheduled for publication on December 30; plans for a print edition are in the works.)

“Greta’s done a fantastic job”: Simon Davis on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPG“It’s not often that two of my favorite subjects — atheism and death — get written about in one book. Greta’s done a fantastic job of combining them. Death happens folks. It behooves us to ponder the matter and Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God is a great way to do that.”
-Simon Davis, “Post Mortem” columnist, VICE Magazine (@SimonKnowz)

Got a nice blurb about my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God (now available in ebook). Thanks, Simon!

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; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99. (The audiobook version is scheduled for publication on December 30; plans for a print edition are in the works.)

Here’s the description of the book:

*

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-book 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 natural philosophies of death. She shows how reality can be more comforting than illusion, 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. [Read more…]

Ugly Renaissance Baby Jesuses

In honor of the birth of Jesus — or rather, the supposed birth of the very-likely-entirely-imaginary Jesus character in the New Testament myth — I bring you, from my visit last fall to the Art Institute in Chicago: Ugly Renaissance baby Jesuses. (Jesi?)

Ugly Renaissance Baby Jesus 1

Ugly Renaissance Baby Jesus 2

Ugly Renaissance baby Jesus 3

Really fills you with a deep sense of reverence and awe, doesn’t it? Or something.

Greta Live on “Atheists Talk” Radio, Sunday Dec. 21!

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGI’m going to be live on Atheists Talk radio, Sunday December 21, at 9:00 am Central time. We’ll be talking about my new book, “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing To Do With God,” and about atheist and humanist approaches to death and mortality.

Atheists Talk is produced by Minnesota Atheists. You can listen live in Minneapolis or thereabouts on AM 950 KTNF. The show is also streamed, so you can listen live online. You can call in to the studio with questions, 952-946-6205, or send an e-mail with questions to radio@mnatheists.org during the live show. The show will also be recorded for later podcast, if 9:00 am Central time on Sunday isn’t a good time for you.

Here’s what the Atheists Talk folks are saying about the show:

Whether we call ourselves atheists, agnostics, nonbelievers, freethinkers or none of the above, we have likely all given some thought to the consequences of our non-belief. One of those consequences is the way that we view the concept of death, and more specifically the knowledge that we will one day die, as will every living being in existence. It can be quite a daunting topic to think about. As we well know, there are many ways that human beings comfort and protect themselves against the idea of death, but many of them are focused on the idea of an afterlife, reincarnation or other supernatural ideas, which leaves nonbelievers and skeptics out in the proverbial cold.

Here to continue the conversation of how non-believers perceive the ideas and field the existential questions surrounding death and the meaning of a finite life is Greta Christina with her newly published book Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing To Do With God. Greta Christina tackles hard philosophical questions in a relaxed, conversational tone, and one cannot help but be…comforted…by the thoughts and ideas that she lays out.

Listen in, and give us a call! It’d be great to hear from you.

“It levels the playing field”: Sixo Kyu on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

In spite of my familiarity with Greta’s previous work, I still found myself concerned that this would be a book filled with wishy washy philosophies as to why death isn’t scary, but I was also secretly hoping that maybe it would have some sort of information that helps assuage the fear of death human beings experience…

…this book does neither of those things, and thankfully so! Because what it does do is even better. It levels the playing field when it comes to Theist VS Atheist ideas surrounding the topic of death.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGGot a nice, thoughtful review of my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God (now available in ebook), from Sixo Kyu on the Atheist Analyis blog. Here’s the full review. Thanks, Sixo!

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; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99. (The audiobook version is scheduled for publication on December 30; plans for a print edition are in the works.)

Here’s the description of the book:

*

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-book 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 natural philosophies of death. She shows how reality can be more comforting than illusion, 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. [Read more…]

Seven Reasons for Atheists to Celebrate the Holidays

This piece was originally published on AlterNet. I’m reposting as part of my holiday tradition thing.

grinchIt’s often assumed that the atheist position on what is politely termed “the holiday season” is one of disregard at best, contempt and annoyance at worst. After all, the reasons for most of the standard winter holidays are supposedly religious — the birth of the Savior, eight days of miraculous light, yada yada yada. Why would atheists want anything to do with that?

But atheists’ reactions to the holidays are wildly varied. Yes, some atheists despise them: the enforced jollity, the shameless twisting of genuine human emotion to sell useless consumer crap, the tyrannical forcing of mawkish piety down everyone’s throats. (Some believers loathe the holidays for the exact same reasons.) But some of us love the holidays. We love the parties, the decorations, the smell of pine trees in people’s houses, the excuse to eat ourselves sick, the reminder that we do in fact love our family and friends. We’re cognizant of the shameless twisting and mawkish piety and whatnot — but we can deal with it. It’s worth it for an excuse to drink eggnog with our loved ones and bellow out “Angels We Have Heard On High” in half-assed four-part harmony. (In fact, when it comes to the holidays, atheists are in something of a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position. If we scorn them, we get called Scroogy killjoys… but if we embrace them, we get called hypocrites. Oh, well. Whaddya gonna do.)

So today, I want to talk about some of the reasons that some atheists love the holidays: in hopes that believers might better understand who we are and where we’re coming from… and in hopes that a few Scroogy killjoys, atheist and otherwise, might be tempted to join the party. (If not — no big. I recognize and validate your entirely reasonable annoyance at the holidays. And besides, Scroogy killjoys are an important holiday tradition.) [Read more…]

“Joy, tranquility, truth”: Brianne Bilyeu on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

“@GretaChristina new book transcends merely “enjoyable.” Joy, tranquility, truth – I feel these while reading it.”

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGGot a nice Tweet about my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God (now available in ebook), from Brianne Bilyeu of the Biodork blog. Thanks, Brianne!

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; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99. (The audiobook version is scheduled for publication on December 30; plans for a print edition are in the works.)

Here’s the description of the book:

*

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-book 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 natural philosophies of death. She shows how reality can be more comforting than illusion, 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. [Read more…]

The Great Gruesome Christmas Carols

Reposting this, as part of my holiday tradition.

christmas carols bookAnd now for something completely different.

I’m one of those freakish people who actually likes Christmas carols. Not the gloppy, cutesy, “Suzy Snowflake” modern variety so much (although I do have a soft spot for “Silver Bells”), but the soaring, haunting, gorgeous classic ones. “Angels We Have Heard On High,” “The Holly and the Ivy,” “The Angel Gabriel,” that sort of thing.

And one of the things I like about them is how totally freaky some of them are.

There’s this annual Christmas party I go to every year, at which the singing of Christmas carols and other seasonal and not- so- seasonal music is a centerpiece. A few years back, I went on the Internet and pulled together a lyric sheet, so we could actually sing all the songs all the way through instead of tapering off pathetically after the first verse.And you know what I found? Some Christmas carols are truly gruesome. Startlingly gruesome. Freakishly and hilariously gruesome.

So I thought I should share with the rest of the class. [Read more…]

“I want to show it to all my friends who are dealing with death”: Greg Epstein on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPG“Reading this book felt like one of those moments, standing in a dark and silent room, when glass powder strikes red phosphorous and turns a little of it into white phosphorous, which causes a match to light up in a warming flame. I want to show it (the book, not the match) to all my friends who are dealing with death, which is of course all of my friends. Thank you for writing it!”
-Greg M. Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University

Got a nice blurb for my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, now available in ebook. Many thanks to Greg Epstein! I’m really touched.

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; and the Smashwords edition is available on Smashwords. All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99. (The audiobook version is scheduled for publication on December 30; plans for a print edition are in the works.)

Here’s the description of the book:

*

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-book 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 natural philosophies of death. She shows how reality can be more comforting than illusion, 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. [Read more…]