“One of the best books I have ever read”: Amazon Customer Review of “Why Are You Atheists So Angry?”

I’ve gotten some nice Amazon customer reviews for Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and I thought I’d repost some of them. Here’s a good one, five stars out of five. (As of this writing, the book has 154 customer reviews, averaging 4.4 out of 5 stars.) Here’s what Korkio had to say:

Best Book

This is one of the best books I have ever read. If anyone ever asks me what my views are on religion I just tell them to read this book.

Thanks, Korkio! And if any of you have read Why Are You Atheists So Angry?, 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!

Why Are You Atheists So AngryEbook editions:
The Kindle edition is available at Amazon.
The Nook edition is available at Barnes & Noble.
Smashwords has the book in multiple formats, including iBooks, Sony Reader, Kobo, Kindle (.mobi), Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, any other reader that takes the Epub format, Palm Doc (PDB), PDF, RTF, Online Reading via HTML, and Plain Text for either downloading or viewing.
All ebook editions and formats cost just $7.99.

Print edition:
The print edition is available at 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 record: Powell’s employees are unionized.) Again, that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well.
The print edition is available at Last Gasp.
The print edition is $14.95 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 at Audible.
The audiobook version is available on iTunes.
The audiobook version is available on Amazon.
And yes, I did the recording for it!

Here is the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs. [Read more…]

The “Coming Out Atheist” Donation Recipient for January-April 2015: Secular Avenue!

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.

I 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.

I took a break from this donation project for the first few months of 2015, when I was taking a break from blogging and the Internet and just from work generally. I feel bad about this, though — I made a commitment which I should have kept. So this catch-up donation isn’t just 10% of my Coming Out Atheist income for the period in question — it’s 10% of all my income from that period.

secular avenue banner

The recipient for January – April 2015, chosen by Heina Dadabhoy, is Secular Avenue.

Secular Avenue is a 501(c)(3) organization formed to help secular people in need to achieve safety, stability, and autonomy. The initial focus of Secular Avenue is SAFE, a program to assist people who are unsafe at home due to leaving religion, religious extremism, domestic abuse, or coming out as LGBTQ. Services include financial assistance, counseling, legal assistance and resource coordination. As Secular Avenue grows, additional programs will be created to serve other groups of people in need within the secular community.

Secular Avenue is a 501(c) nonprofit, and donations to them are tax-deductible. If you want to support them too, here’s their donation page!



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.

“Warmth, humor, honesty”: Amazon Customer Review of “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Got a really nice customer review on Amazon of Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. Five stars out of five. (In fact, the book now has 20 Amazon customer reviews, and 17 are either four five stars.) Here’s what Butterfly had to say:

Do Check It Out!

Greta Christina does it again; tells it like it is with warmth, humor, honesty and the one-of-a-kind personality all her own. This a great book for believers or non-believers. For me, the fact that the talk of death is being had is what makes this book unique. Plus, I just love Greta’s style; I feel as if she were right in front of me having this discussion with me personally.

Thanks, Butterfly! And if any of you have read Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGThe Kindle ebook 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 are $2.99. You can get the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The audiobook is $2.99 (discounted slightly on Amazon, of course). (The print edition is scheduled for the fall.)

Here’s the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs: [Read more…]

Why Do There Need to Be “Special Interest” Atheist Groups?

black nonbelievers logo“Why do there need to be atheist groups for specific kinds of atheists? Why should there be black atheist groups, Ex-Muslim atheist groups, women’s atheist groups? Why should there be local groups, national organizations, online forums, dedicated to atheists with these specific identities or experiences? Doesn’t that splinter and divide our community? Isn’t that segregation, discrimination — exactly the things we’re fighting against? Why can’t these folks just join the regular atheist group?”

This question comes up a lot. In almost every discussion of diversity in the atheist community that I’ve seen, it’s come up at least once. A lot of people have written and spoken with good, clear, specific answers to these questions. (Here are just a few links.)

But I had a conversation recently at an atheist event that gave me a new perspective on the answers, one that will hopefully help shed some light for some people who have a hard time with this.

So. If you’re wondering why there need to be special-interest atheist groups, ask yourself this:

Why do you need an atheist group?

Why don’t you just join “regular” groups? Why don’t you just join the Elks Club, the bowling league, the knitting circle, the book club, the Democratic Club, the Socialist Workers’ Union, the PTA?

I know many of the answers. Because in those “regular” groups, you’re likely to encounter anti-atheist bigotry and discrimination.
Because in those “regular” groups, even if people aren’t overtly and consciously anti-atheist, they may unintentionally say or do things that are bigoted against atheists, or ignorant about us — and sometimes that ignorance can be very stubborn, even willful.
Because you don’t want to always have to do Atheism 101.
Because even if nobody ever says or does anything bigoted or ignorant against atheists, you still sometimes want to spend time with people who have similar experiences to yours.
Because atheists’ experiences and perspectives can be really different from those of religious believers — we often handle things like death, suffering, political and social change, sexuality, and other issues in ways that are very different from believers, and it can be helpful to socialize and organize with people who share those experiences.
Because our needs and interests are often different from those of believers — and groups that aren’t atheist-specific can often show a complete lack of concern about those needs and interests.
Because even if nobody ever says or does anything bigoted or ignorant against atheists, intentionally or unintentionally, you can still sometimes feel like the Other, like an outsider, if you’re the only atheist in the group, or one of the few.
Because we sometimes want a place to strategize, or just to vent, about anti-atheist bigotry and ignorance, or even about religion itself — and we often don’t feel comfortable doing that around religious believers.
Because having an atheist group creates atheist visibility: it lets other atheists know they’re not alone, it helps us find each other, it pushes back against anti-atheist stigma, it does all the other good things that increased atheist visibility does.
Because the whole idea that an atheist group somehow isn’t a “regular” group is insulting.

So. Keep all that in mind. Remember the reasons you want and need an atheist group. And now ask yourself again: Why do there need to be atheist groups for specific kinds of atheists?

I hope I don’t have to spell this out. But I’m going to anyway:

Every single one of these answers also applies to “special-interest” atheist groups.

exmna-logoBlack atheists, women atheists, ex-Muslim atheists, other specific sub-groups of atheists, want and need their own groups because they/we often encounter bigotry and ignorance in the “regular” atheist groups — usually unintentional, sometimes intentional, often stubborn and even willful in its ignorance. (And don’t tell me that this never happens just because you’ve never seen it. You don’t always know what to look for. In fact, you’re almost certainly doing some of this yourself, without knowing it: unconscious racism, sexism, etc. is pretty damn near universal. This is thoroughly documented: if you’re an evidence-loving skeptic, you shouldn’t be denying it.) Because they/we don’t always want to do Race 101, Feminism 101, Islam 101. Because even if, by some miracle, there were absolutely zero prejudice and ignorance in your atheist group, they/we still sometimes want to spend time with people with similar experiences. Because even if there were no prejudice or ignorance in your atheist group, being the only black person, the only woman, the only ex-Muslim, can still make them/us feel like the Other. Because…

…You get the idea. I don’t need to fill in every search-and-replace. Or at least, I hope I don’t have to.

The parallels aren’t exact, of course. This kind of “search and replace” that substitutes one kind of marginalization for another can be tricky: not all marginalizations are the same, and while these parallels and analogies can help create understanding, sometimes they do the opposite. Saying things like “I understand what it’s like to be black in the United States, since I’m an atheist and we’re oppressed too” can be seriously off-putting, to say the least. (Yes, atheists in the U.S. are at the bottom of the list of who people would vote for. We aren’t getting killed by cops every four days.) So I’ll spell this out: There are reasons atheists form groups that don’t apply to “special-interest” atheist groups, and vice versa.

secular woman logoBut a lot of the reasons are the same. If you understand why atheists want and need an atheist group, you should understand why black atheists, women atheists, ex-Muslim atheists, other specific kinds of atheists, want and need their groups. So if you want them to feel welcome in your atheist group as well — support them in that.


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.

“Unlike any erotica I’ve previously read”: Amazon Customer Review of “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More”

The print edition of my erotic fiction book, Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, is now available! I’ve gotten some nice Amazon customer reviews for it, and I thought I’d repost some of them. Here’s a good one, five stars out of five. (As of this writing, the book has nine customer reviews, and eight are 5-star reviews, with one 4-star.) Here’s what Lori had to say:

Good. Very good.

An exquisite exploration of boundaries. Finding them, testing them, and sometimes brutally crossing them. Unlike any erotica I’ve previously read, it is thought provoking as well as orgasm inducing. A nice combination.

Thanks, Lori! And if any of you have read Bending, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

***

Here, by the way, is ordering info for the book! [Read more…]

Godless Perverts Social Club Tuesday May 5: Religion and Gender Roles

godless-perverts-social-club-gender-and-religion-blog-banner

The next Godless Perverts Social Club is Tuesday, May 5! We’re picking a discussion topic ahead of time — and this week, the Godless Perverts enter the world of chaste maidens and chivalrous knights. No, we’re not playing Dungeons and Dragons, we’re talking about the various religious dogma governing gender roles.

Were you taught that men shouldn’t express emotion?
Were you taught that women were to submit to male authority?
Did you attend a purity ball (and have a class in high school that taught you how to curtsey with a stack of books balanced on your head?)
Do you identify as someone who completely wrecks the notion of a gender binary?

We want your stories!

Our co-moderator for the evening, Ember Atwell, is in the odd position of being an atheist attending divinity school, and she’s extremely knowledgeable about many of the odder aspects of religion and sex, such as purity balls and Christian Domestic Discipline.

The Godless Perverts Social Club meets on the first Tuesday and the third Thursday of every month, 7-9 pm, at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). Admission is free, but we ask that you buy food and/or drink at the cafe if you can: they have beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion.

Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this. Please let the moderators or other people in charge of any event know if you encounter harassment, racism, misogyny, transphobia, or other problems at our events.

If you want to be notified about all our Godless Perverts events, sign up for our email mailing list, or follow us on Twitter at @GodlessPerverts. You can also sign up for the Bay Area Atheists/ Agnostics/ Humanists/ Freethinkers/ Skeptics Meetup page, and be notified of all sorts of godless Bay Area events — including the Godless Perverts. And of course, you can always visit our Website to find out what we’re up to, godlessperverts.com. Hope to see you soon!

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.

Help Get Student Leaders to the Secular Student Alliance Leadership Conference!

secular student alliance logoThe Secular Student Alliance has a nice problem. There are too many students who want to go to their leadership conference — and there’s not enough money to get them there. The SSA keeps their conference registration fee very low — but students still have to get there, and depending on what their financial circumstances are and how close they are to Columbus, Ohio, that can be a big hurdle.

So please support the SSA travel grant fundraiser, and help train the new generation of secular leaders! Student leaders aren’t just the future of the movement — they’re the present of the movement as well. They’re doing a huge amount of the atheist community-building and visibility that we all keep saying we need — and they’re doing it for a population that’s proven highly receptive to our message. (Rates of religious non-belief among young people are skyrocketing.)

The SSA travel grant fundraiser is really close to their goal. Even small amounts make a difference — they really do add up — and spreading the word on social media makes a big difference as well. Please help out. Thanks!


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.

Pride and Prejudice and Class Warfare: An Homage to Mallory Ortberg’s “Texts From Jane Eyre”

Okay. Longish preface with short but hopefully worthwhile payoff.

So. In order to share my snarky class-warfare analysis of Pride and Prejudice, I need to briefly preface with two things.

texts-from-jane-eyre1: If you haven’t read Texts from Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg of The Toast fame, I passionately suggest that you stop whatever you’re doing and get a copy right this minute. It is hilarious — and it is incisively, snarkily brilliant. It’s a collection of imagined text-message conversations involving famous writers, philosophers, artists, literary characters, and mythological figures — and it does a brilliant job of skewering these figures and characters and stories, stripping them of their pretensions, and bringing them down to Earth. It’s also got some amazing social and political commentary: in putting these stories and ideas into a modern framework, Ortberg shines a merciless spotlight, not only on the casual oppression and clueless privilege of the past, but on how it resonates into the present.

And did I mention hilarious? Ingrid will testify to this: I have been giggling and poking her and reading her bits from the book pretty much every day since I got it. And the first time I read the Edgar Allen Poe chapter, I laughed so hard I could barely breathe. I have now re-read that chapter probably thirty times, and it still makes me laugh out loud. Even just thinking about it now is making me chuckle. Get it. (Here, btw, is a very good Serious Literary Review of the book, by Sarah Mesle at Los Angeles Review of Books. There are also “Texts From” on The Toast site itself.)

2: In my last re-reading of Pride and Prejudice, I was thinking (not for the first time) of an oddity of the Regency class system. In the Regency class system, being in trade, or having a job, automatically cut you off from the higher levels of society. You could be in the aristocracy if you had land and investments, of course — those were pretty much de rigeur — but you couldn’t actually make stuff, or sell stuff, or provide a service. Among the gentry and gentry-adjacent, having a job or being in trade — or having relatives who had jobs or were in trade — was gauche, almost shameful. If you had social ambitions about being in the aristocracy or the gentry, the best you could hope for was that your children or grandchildren might marry into it. (As long as they didn’t make stuff or sell stuff or have a job, that is.) There were a couple of exceptions — being a military officer or a clergyman — but even with those, there was a social glass ceiling. Not glass, actually. Just a regular ceiling that everyone could see.

So. That being said. Here’s the short but hopefully worthwhile payoff: my own “Texts From Pride and Prejudice,” an imagined text-message conversation between Caroline Bingley and Jane Bennet.

so your uncle is an attorney
and your other uncle is in trade
well that’s just
well you’re such a sweet girl
i’m sure you’ll do fine
it’s such a shame though

yes
it’s so shameful
i have relatives who provide goods and services that people need and want
who don’t leech off other people’s labor
whose wealth wasn’t inherited
from people who inherited
from people who inherited
i have relatives who aren’t parasites
i don’t know how i can hold my head up
i might as well go lie in the gutter
oh, maybe with your brother
that sounds like a good idea
i’ll go do that

brb

“A magnificent and powerful book”: Amazon Customer Review of “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God”

Got a really nice customer review on Amazon of Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God. Five stars out of five. (In fact, the book now has 20 Amazon customer reviews, and 17 are either four five stars.) Here’s what Anthony Reaves Jr. had to say:

Greta Christina’s book will change lives and challenge perspectives.

I purchased the audiobook tonight and listened to it. This is a magnificent and powerful book that is refreshing because of how honestly it deals with mortality and what we as human beings can do to make our awareness of it matter to how we live now. Greta Christina understands how both secular and religious individuals are capable of mishandling and trivializing what Shakespeare calls “that undiscovered country” of death, and what we can do to acknowledge it’s reality and finality without losing hope and the need to develop what our lives mean to us. Everyone, believer or not, will learn something from this book and it will be cherished for generations to come. Greta Christina has shown herself yet again to be one of the most intelligent, sympathetic and wise secular authors of her generation and she should be proud of what she’s accomplished here.

Thanks, Anthony! And if any of you have read Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, it’d be awesome if you’d post a review.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPGThe Kindle ebook 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 are $2.99. You can get the audiobook on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. The audiobook is $2.99 (discounted slightly on Amazon, of course). (The print edition is scheduled for the fall.)

Here’s the description of the book, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs: [Read more…]

The Pros and Cons of Caring Deeply About Other People’s Suffering

This piece was originally published in The Humanist.

The Pros and Cons of Caring Deeply About Other People’s Suffering

Minuses:

Symbol_thumbs_down.svgYou get to suffer. 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, 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), 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 get to waste a lot of time. You get to spend a lot of time 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 was asking people to say something about it, I saw people seriously argue that speaking out against misogyny was a waste of time, and that nobody’s mind would ever be changed by it.) This isn’t a waste of time, in the sense that it often is effective, and it does amplify the work you’re doing and get 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 just 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 get to feel just a little bit bad about the life of suffering you’re exposing them to.

You get to feel guilty. You get to worry about whether you’re doing it right, whether you should be working on something different, whether you could do better. You get to feel vividly conscious of the ways that you, yourself, contribute to other people’s suffering: buying products made by exploited labor, banking with banks that exploit the poor, driving cars that spew greenhouse gas. Every time you don’t take action, every time you don’t help, every time you don’t donate money or don’t volunteer time or don’t hit “Share” or “Retweet” on the fundraising letter, you get to feel bad about it. And every time you do donate or volunteer or spread the word, you get to worry about whether you could have done it better, or whether you could have done more.

You get to feel helpless. A lot. Once you open yourself up to other people’s suffering, you quickly become aware of just how much of it there is, and how little you personally can do about it. You get to feel overwhelmed. You get to be vividly aware of the fact that no matter what you do, no matter how much you work and sacrifice, at the end of your life there will still be a massive amount of suffering in the world. I sometimes think the helplessness is worse than the guilt, that the guilt is a defense mechanism against the helplessness. Feeling like you could have prevented suffering gives you a sense of control, makes you feel like you can prevent it in the future. As crappy as it is to feel like you could have done something and didn’t, I think it’s sometimes harder to feel like there’s nothing you could have done.

And you never, ever, ever get a break. You never really get a vacation; you never get to retire. When you do go on vacation, you think about the lives of the people who clean your hotel rooms and wait on your tables. You leave generous tips, and feel how inadequate that is. It’s like the red pill in The Matrix: once you’ve swallowed it, you can’t un-swallow it. Once you know, really know, about other people’s suffering, you can’t un-know it. You have to care about it, and feel it, and feel guilty about not doing enough about it, and feel helpless over how little you can do about it — for the rest of your life.


Symbol_thumbs_up.svgPlusses:

You get to have a life that matters. [Read more…]