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…]

No, No, No, No, No: Ferguson, Michael Brown, and the Failure to Indict Darren Wilson

No.

No, no, no, no, no.

When major world events happen, I don’t always comment. I have a tendency to not say anything unless I have something unique to say, something I haven’t seen anyone else say yet.

But sometimes, that doesn’t matter. Sometimes, I just have be one more voice. Even though other people will no doubt have things to say that are more perceptive, more informed, more eloquent, sometimes I have to add my voice to the chorus. This is one of those times.

No. This is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that millions of Americans live in a police state because their skin is black or brown. It is not acceptable that police can shoot unarmed black men who have their hands in the air, and not even fucking get indicted. Forget about getting convicted — Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, and did not even get fucking indicted.

I do not consent to this decision.

I may say more later. Right now, I need to say this:

No. No, no, no, no, no.

NO.

no

“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…]

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.