Audiobook of “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God” Now Available!

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 300The audiobook edition of my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, is now available!

You can get the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The audiobook price is $2.99 (discounted slightly on Amazon, of course).

And yes, I did the recording for it!

The book is also available as an ebook — on Kindle at Amazon (that’s the link for Amazon US, it’s available in other regions as well), on Nook at Barnes & Noble, and at Smashwords. All ebook editions and formats cost just $2.99.

Plans for a print edition are in the works, but the publication date is not currently scheduled.

Here’s the description of the book:

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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.

“In this book Greta Christina tackles the subject of death with the insight of a philosopher and the relaxed candor of a friend — that really cool, intelligent friend who understands and cares.”
-David Niose, author of Fighting Back the Right: Reclaiming America from the Attack on Reason [Read more…]

“To those of us for whom traditional messages of comfort during grief do not work”: Sapphoq Reviews “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Like many atheists, I prefer to deal with the here and now rather than any promised reunion in some unnamed future [pre-rapture or post-rapture, it matters not to me] date. Advising me that “He’s in a better place,” or “Someday you’ll see him again,” feels like a denial of the totality of the loss of my father even though people don’t mean to discount my grief.

Those who identify as people of faith will find much to argue with in this book. I hasten to gently point out that this book was not written for believers. Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God was written for the rest of us– the atheists, agnostics, agnostic atheists, non-theists, free-thinkers, nones, brights. And so yes, I highly recommend Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God to those of us for whom traditional messages of comfort during grief do not work.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPG There’s a very touching, thoughtful review of Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, on the sapphoq reviews books and more blog, from an atheist whose father died less than a week ago. You can read the complete review here. sapphoq, I am so sorry for your loss. I’m touched that you would take the time to write this review at this terrible time, and I’m so glad the book has been helpful to you. That’s exactly why I wrote it.

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 best book on the atheist philosophy of death you are likely ever to read”: Richard Carrier on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

In less than eighty pages, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God covers every essential base, and is really the book for an atheist to get for building a usable philosophy of death. I couldn’t think of anything she didn’t address, and she even addressed some aspects of the question that would never have occurred to me!

This little book cuts right to the essential ten or so questions that we should have answers to, and models how to figure those answers out. And all in thoroughly practical terms. This is a book about the philosophy of death that actually confronts the practical reality of it, and helps you come to practical terms with it.

In short, this is the best book on the atheist philosophy of death you are likely ever to read.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGRichard Carrier has written a really nice, concise-but-thorough review of my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God (now available in ebook). You can read the full review on his blog. Thanks, Richard!

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 True Meaning of Christmas

I’m reposting a bunch of my holiday posts, as a part of a holiday tradition thing. Enjoy!

So what does Christmas really mean?

war on christmas book coverAmong all the traditions of the holiday season, one that’s becoming increasingly familiar is the War on the Supposed War On Christmas. In this tradition — one that dates back to the sweet olden days of overt anti-Semitism — the Christian Right foams at the mouth about the fact that not everyone has the same meaning of Christmas that they do, and works themselves into a dither about things like store clerks politely recognizing that not everyone is a Christian by saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Because in the mind of the Christian Right, it somehow disrespects their faith and impinges on their religious freedom to share a country with people who feel and act differently than they do.

Okay. Insert rant here about how the Christian Right isn’t actually interested in religious freedom and respect for their faith. They’re trying to establish a theocracy. They don’t care about religious and cultural plurality. They don’t care about the fact that winter holidays mean different things to different people, and that different people celebrate different ones and in different ways. They don’t care about the fact that not everyone in the country is Christian, and that lots of people who do call themselves Christian are actually pretty secular in both their everyday life and their celebration of the winter holidays.

No, scratch that. They do care about it. They think it’s bad.

But that’s not actually what I want to talk about today.

In the face of Bill O’Reilly and company screaming hatefully about the true meaning of Christmas, I want to talk — in true grade-school essay form — about what Christmas means to me.

Because I actually like Christmas.

lighted treeChristmas; Solstice; Hanukkah; Kwanzaa; Festivus; “the holidays”; whatever. I don’t have a strong attachment to any particular name or date or occasion. Any mid-winter holiday around the end of December will do. Lately I’ve been calling it either “the holidays” or “Santamas” (in honor of what Bart Simpson has described as the true meaning of the holiday: the birth of Santa). I was brought up culturally Christian, though, with Christmas trees and Santa and all that, and I do tend to refer to it as Christmas at least some of the time.

And I love it. I always have. I know it’s fashionable to hate it, and I get why people get annoyed by it — but I don’t. I love it. It’s one of my favorite times of the year.

And here’s what it means to me. [Read more…]

On Grief, Winter, and Kindling Lights

There’s a thoughtful and touching piece up by Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University, about winter sadness, winter celebration, and finding joy and meaning in the face of grief and loss. It’s from a speech he gave at the annual Candle Lighting Service Mount Auburn Cemetery, and it’s titled On Grief, Winter, and Kindling Lights. Here’s an excerpt:

With darkness and cold, as with the loss of love’s presence, naturally come feelings of sadness. We can’t change the season any more than we can change the reality of why we’re here. And yet, we light lights, both to physically warm and brighten our days, and also to symbolically remind ourselves: the light returns. Warmth returns. Love remains. The darkness is worthwhile and beautiful because it is part of a cycle that includes so much illumination.

Despite our many beliefs and philosophies, what I think this season and this occasion can both mean is that in the coldest, darkest times in life, we can make light for one another. We can acknowledge the cold, be realistic about the dark. This gives us more, not less of an ability to clearly see the hours of light. And at every moment, even in the darkest moments, there is something or someone being born that can give hope, even if not directly to us then to someone else, and maybe eventually, when we’re ready, that someone will give hope to us or to someone we love so much we’d rather they feel the hope than feel it ourselves.

Greg is more interfaithy than I am, but I like this piece a lot. I think some of you might like it as well.


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

Should Atheists Celebrate Christmas? The Social Justice Angle

why-believe-in-a-god-santa-bus-adSo I’ve been thinking about the question of atheists and Christmas, or other religious holidays that get folded into cultures and subcultures. And I’ve been realizing that there’s a social justice angle.

Context: Tom Flynn, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism and editor of its flagship magazine Free Inquiry, wrote an essay and a book a few years back, arguing that no atheist should celebrate Christmas ever ever ever — yes, he uses the words “should” and “shouldn’t,” repeatedly. He’s opined about this topic many times, including comments (on Facebook and elsewhere) that atheists who do celebrate Christmas aren’t “real atheists,” are “hypocrites,” and are giving “aid and comfort to the enemy.” He doesn’t even approve of secular Solstice celebrations. In the last couple of weeks, Beth Presswood, of the Godless Bitches podcast and the Atheist Community of Austin, has been ripping him a new one about it on Facebook.

My overall angle on this is that every atheist has to find their own ways of coping with religion’s intrusion into everyday life. Some of us push back on it with everything we’ve got. Some of us are fine with secularized versions of religious traditions — sincere or mocking or both. Some of us are fine going along with religious traditions. And many of us mix and match: pushing back against some religious incursions, accepting or creating secularized versions of others, going along with still others. I have zero problem with this. I’m finding my own way of handling Christmas, a balance of festivity, mockery, tradition, and resistance that works for me, and it does not trouble me in the slightest that other people are more traditional about it, while others are more oppositional, or are simply not interested.

I was thinking about this, and it occurred to me:

Oh. There’s a social justice angle to this.

Yes, different atheists have different ways of handling religion and its intrusions into everyday life. There are lots of reasons for that. But one of the big ones is: How much do they rely on a social support system that’s structured around religion? Are they in a culture or subculture or family that’s very religious? Would refusing to participate in traditions like Christmas — traditions that are religious, or semi-religious, or quasi-religious, or secularized religious — mean alienating people they can’t afford to alienate, for practical reasons or emotional ones? Would refusing to participate mean isolating themselves from the continuity that people get from traditions, the sense of connection to something larger?

And certain forms of marginalization can play into this.

African-Americans are more likely to have deeply religious families and communities, who they can’t afford to alienate or simply don’t want to. Poor people are more likely to have deeply religious families and communities, who they can’t afford to alienate or simply don’t want to. For women, the social costs of disconnecting from family traditions are often greater than they are for men, since the job of perpetuating these traditions is commonly seen as women’s work. Many LGBT people, who have been cut off from their families, find much-needed practical and emotional support in LGBT-friendly churches or other religions, and a much-needed sense of continuity and connection.

So insisting that no true atheist would celebrate Christmas is pretty damn insensitive to the different realities of different atheists — black atheists, poor atheists, women atheists, LGBT atheists, any atheists in other marginalized groups — who are more dependent on religious structures, or whose lives are just more intertwined with religious people.

Atheists with other forms of marginalization are often treated as traitors to their race, their gender, their culture. Why on earth would we want to pile onto that from the other side? Many black atheists already get a bellyful of, “You’re not really black.” It’s messed-up to pile onto that with, “You’re not really an atheist.”


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

My Interview with the “Secular Nation” Podcast!

atheist alliance of americaAre you a podcast listener? If so — check out my interview on the Secular Nation podcast! Secular Nation is the publishing arm of Atheist Alliance of America (they have a magazine as well as a podcast).

In this interview, we talk about some of the ideas in my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. More specifically, we discuss questions such as: Is the religious view of death truly the most comforting view? How does atheists’ knowledge of death affect attitudes toward ourselves and others?

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.)

White Wine in the Sun

For the 5% of you who aren’t familiar with it, here is Tim Minchin’s lovely and touching atheist/ humanist Christmas song, “White Wine in the Sun.”

Okay, yes, these days I personally would much rather break bread with Desmond Tutu than Dawkins. But I love the song anyway. This is the animated version of the video, which I’m very fond of. For those who celebrate it — have a happy Christmas! And for those who don’t — have a happy End of December!


Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPGComing Out Atheist Bendingwhy are you atheists so angryGreta Christina is author of four books: Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.

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…]