Godless Perverts is Not for Everyone: What Inclusivity Means to Us, and What It Doesn’t Mean

I Love Feminism, by Jay Morrison

This is a joint statement by Greta Christina and Chris Hall, originally posted on the Godless Perverts site.

Godless Perverts is not for everyone.

We mean that in the gentler, more informal sense of the term: Not everyone is going to like it. Not everyone is going to enjoy discussion groups, entertainments, or parties centered on godless views of sexuality. They may not enjoy our frank, explicit explorations of sex, including a wide variety of unconventional sexualities; they may not enjoy the views of religion that come up in our meetups and entertainments — some of which are harshly critical and mocking, others of which are sympathetic. That’s okay. We can’t be all things to all people, and we’re fine with that.

But we’re also not for everyone in the somewhat harsher sense of the term: We are not open to everybody. There are going to be times when we have to tell people they’re not welcome.

This is hard. Almost everyone has had painful experiences with being told, openly or otherwise, that they’re not welcome in a group. Almost all of us have had painful experiences being picked last for a team at school, or being treated like an outcast at a social event. The two of us certainly have. It’s a difficult thing to experience, and it’s not an experience we dole out lightly. (The Geek Social Fallacies can be very seductive, including Geek Social Fallacy #1: Ostracizers Are Evil.) But the unfortunate reality is that if we want to create a welcoming space for people who support and value our mission, we will sometimes have to ask people to leave. [Read more…]

“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” On Religion News Service Holiday Gift Guide!

Why Are You Atheists So AngryWhy Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless has made the Religion News Service 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.

No, really.

It’s right there alongside the interfaith ugly Christmas sweater, the seven deadly sins shot glass set, the recycled bike chain menorah, the Jesus toaster, and more.

I’m not sure what to think about this. I mean, I guess it’s not totally bizarre — the RNS does cover atheism a fair amount — but it’s a little bizarre. I’m not complaining or anything, I’m always happy to get more eyes on my books. It’s just… unexpected. (I also wish their “buy it here” link didn’t link to the Richard Dawkins Foundation bookstore. But whaddya gonna do.)

And yes — the interfaith ugly Christmas sweater does include atheism. At least, I assume the atoms are meant to represent atheism.


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 Holiday Fun Time Saturday December 13 — With Burlesque and Boylesque Performances!

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It’s the most blasphemous time of the year!The Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time party was giant fun last year — so we’re bringing it back this year! And this time, were livening things up with burlesque performance from Cinnamon Maxxine, and boylesque performance from Camryn Obscura!

Cinnamon-and-Camryn

Who says that the holidays are only for the believers? Just as families don’t stop giving presents after the kids realize that Santa is a fake, the godless can have a great time during the holidays even without any gods, deities, angels, or spirits watching over them. And Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time at the Center for Sex and Culture is just the place to do it!

Join us for:

  • Singing holiday songs that celebrate the improper, twisted, and just plain silly;
  • Hot burlesque and boylesque performances from Cinnamon Maxxine and Camryn Obscura;
  • Door prizes! Blasphemous sex toys will be provided by the good folks at Divine Interventions; Maybe you’ll be the lucky person who takes home a Jackhammer Jesus for some unholy pleasures. Plus we’ll be giving away atheist books, dirty books, and porn from Greta’s years as a porn reviewer.
  • Good eats! We’ll be having a potluck, so feel free to bring food to contribute.

Blasphemous costumes, sexy costumes, awesome combinations of the above, and other festive garb are encouraged, but by no means required.

The Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time is happening at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART), on Saturday December 13, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm. It’s a benefit for the Center for Sex and Culture. Admission $10-$20 OR a yummy holiday treat to share. We’ll provide food, but we’d love to add your holiday specials to the buffet. No-one turned away for lack of funds or cooking skills. Hope to see you there!

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.

Death and Injustice: How Can Humanists Respond?

Protests

(Note: the following contains references to racist, transphobic, and misogynistic violence.)

In the face of unjust death—what can humanists say and do?

I have a new book out called Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, a short collection of essays offering secular ways to handle your own mortality and the deaths of those you love. [It comes out December 11 in ebook and audiobook; print edition will come later.] In it, I talk about some humanist ways of coping with death and highlight philosophies that might provide some consolation and meaning—including the idea that death is a natural part of the physical universe; that mortality makes us treasure our lives; that we were all astronomically lucky to have been born at all; that religious views of death are only comforting if you don’t think about them carefully; and more.

But when Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, and when his body was left in the street for over four hours, and when a grand jury decided that the questions about his death didn’t warrant a jury trial and declined to indict his killer on even the most minor charges—I found myself with very little to say. And when, a week after that grand jury announcement, another grand jury in New York City declined to indict another police officer (Daniel Pantaleo) in the death of another unarmed black man (Eric Garner)—I was almost speechless.

Of course I’ve had plenty to say about racist policing, about prosecutors deliberately tanking cases, about how over 99 percent of grand juries indict but less than five percent will do it to a cop. (Although mostly what I’ve had to say about that has been, “Go read these pieces by black writers, they know a lot more about this than I do.”) But when it comes to any consolations humanism might have for people grieving for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the injustice surrounding their deaths, I’ve been coming up largely empty.

So, in the face of unjust death—what can humanists say and do?

*****

Thus begins my latest piece for The Humanist magazine, Death and Injustice: How Can Humanists Respond? To read more, read the rest of the piece.

(Note: Some of the comments at the link are okay, but some are appalling. The next time someone says, “You shouldn’t call yourself an atheist, if you care about atheism plus social justice you should call yourself a humanist” — or the next time someone says, “Humanism already means caring about racism and sexism and all that, so why should I call myself a feminist or anti-racist, I just call myself a humanist and that covers it” — I’m pointing them to these comments. Self-identified humanists can be total fucking assholes.)

“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” at Hillsboro Library!

This makes me so happy! It’s a picture of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless — at the Hillsboro Library, part of the Washington County Library outside of Portland, Oregon!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry at Hillsboro Library in Oregon

Why Are You Atheists So Angry at Hillsboro Library in Oregon closeup

I do sort of wish they hadn’t put the bar code right on my face. But I understand that librarians have hard jobs and are sometimes rushed. And mostly I’m just supremely happy to see that my books are in libraries. It means that people who can’t afford to buy books can still read them. (My books are pretty affordable if you get them as ebooks — and no, you don’t need an ebook reader to read ebooks, you just need a computer or a smartphone — but I understand that even the cost of an ebook will stretch the budget for many people.) It means that my books are available to people who are doing research. And it means that people who are just browsing in library shelves can come across them.

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 my day. (And if my books aren’t in your local bookstore or library — ask them to carry them! The books are carried by standard distributors, including Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and IPG.) Thanks!


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.

The “Coming Out Atheist” Donation Recipient for November 2014: Atheist Community of Austin!

Coming Out Atheist coverAs some of you may already know, I’ve pledged to donate 10% of my income from my new book, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, to atheist organizations, charities, and projects.

Here’s why. I got lots of help with this book, and working on it felt very much like a collaboration, a community effort. (To some extent that’s true with any book, but it was even more true with this one.) Because coming out is really different for different atheists, it was hugely important to get detailed feedback on the book, so my personal perspective wasn’t completely skewing my depiction of other people’s experiences. So I asked lots of friends and colleagues to give me detailed feedback on the book: either on the book as a whole, or on particular chapters about atheists with very different experiences from mine (such as the chapters on parents, students, clergy, people in the U.S. military, and people in theocracies). Many people were very generous with their time helping out: they put a whole lot of time and work and thought into a project that wasn’t theirs, because they thought it would benefit the community. And, of course, I had the help of the hundreds of people who wrote in with their coming-out story, or who told their coming-out story in one of the books or websites I cited, or who just told me your coming-out story in person.

atheist community of austin bannerI want to give some of that back. So I’m donating 10% of my income from this book to atheist organizations, charities, and projects: a different one each month. Each month, one of the people who helped with the book gets to pick the recipient. The recipient for November 2014, chosen by Jen Peeples, is the Atheist Community of Austin. [Read more…]

Intransitive Gratitude: Feeling Thankful in a Godless World

I first published this on Thanksgiving 2011, and have decided to make it a Thanksgiving tradition.

thank youIf you don’t believe in God, what does gratitude mean?

I don’t mean specific gratitude towards specific people for specific benevolent acts. I mean that more broad, general, sweeping sense of gratitude: gratitude for things like good health, having food to eat, having friends and family, the mere fact of being alive at all.

I started thinking about this when I was watching the “Thanks for Skepticon” video that the Fellowship of Freethought Dallas put together, where they asked participants at Skepticon 4 to say what they were thankful for. Most of the folks in the video — myself included — took the question at face value, and spoke of our intense gratitude: for science and medicine, for friends and family, for jobs in an unstable economy, for trees, for the very fact that we exist at all.

But some participants — specifically PZ Myers and American Atheists president David Silverman — questioned the entire assumption behind the project. Silverman simply reframed the question: instead of saying what he was thankful for, he spoke about who he was thankful to. And Myers took on the entire enterprise directly. He said that asking people to be thankful for something was an attempt to “anthropomorphize the universe.” He said there were lots of things he liked — being alive, his wife, his kids, squid — but he wasn’t going to express gratitude to the universe, since the universe wasn’t capable of expressing any gratitude back.

Hm. Interesting point.

So this video — and the subsequent discussion of it on my blog — got me thinking: If you don’t believe in God, does it even make sense to say that you’re grateful for stuff? Not to specific people who did specific nice things — that kind of gratitude makes sense, obviously — but just general gratitude for the good things in our lives? Does the emotion of gratitude have to have a specific object, a conscious actor who made choices that affected our lives in positive ways? Or can we feel grateful without an object?

Is there such a thing as intransitive gratitude? [Read more…]

“Why Are You Atheists So Angry?” at Upper Arlington Public Library!

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 the Upper Arlington Public Library in Ohio!

Why Are You Atheists So Angry at Upper Arlington Public Library
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!)


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.

“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…]