Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon – Pics of the Cat Bath!

SSA Week logo

My mini-blogathon for Secular Students Week is almost over!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

Two more donations have come in since the last round of cat pics — so as promised, here are more cat photos! I’m feeling generous, so you get the full five-photo series of The Cat Bath!

cat bath 1

cat bath 2

cat bath 3

cat bath 4

cat bath 5

Remember — each donation, no matter how small, gets a new cat picture!

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 8: Really Cool Street Art Van

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

This hour’s post: photos of a really cool street art van.

I like street art. I like art cars. This art van, painted in a graffiti-art style, is two great tastes that taste great together. Especially of interest for the squid-oriented among you. I haven’t posted street art pics in a while: this seemed like a good time to do it.

sea van 2

sea van 4

sea van 7

sea van 8

sea van 9

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 7: Parks & Recreation, and the Myth that Happy Love is Boring

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

This hour’s post: Parks & Recreation, and the Myth that Happy Love is Boring. (Note: This post contains spoilers about Parks & Recreation.)

There are a lot of things I love about the show Parks & Recreation. Leslie Knope is an awesome character, a fierce icon of passion and compassion and determination and success, who is also very human and flawed and identifiable-with. The characters and stories are just exaggerated enough to be absurd and funny (and to let the audience not worry too much about whether they’re believable), while not being so absurd that they don’t resonate. I could gas on at great length.

But there’s one particular thing I like about Parks & Recreation: It explodes the myth that in narrative art, happy love is boring.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the standard arc of televised sexual tension and romantic love, exemplified by Moonlighting and Cheers: The couple CANNOT GET TOGETHER. The romantic and sexual interest is all loaded into the question: Will they get together? Will they find love? If the couple actually gets together and stays together, all that bickering and bantering, all those comic misunderstandings and missed signals, the whole dance of almost getting together and then not quite getting there, goes into the toilet. (Of course, after a few years the dance itself gets tedious and predictable, leaving the writers with pretty much nowhere to go. And if they do finally let the couple get together, the story often does tank — because they loaded all the interest into “Will they or won’t they?”, and they forgot to make the people themselves interesting.) Typically, the only time you get to have happy love on television is if it’s a family story, and the couple is already together and married at the start of the story. (In romantic comedy movies, you see this trope play out by having the arc of the movie be about falling in love and all the comic missed signals, with them finally getting together in the happy ending.)

Parks & Recreation shows this to be complete and utter bullshit, a catastrophic failure of imagination. The show goes on for several seasons after the central couple, Leslie and Ben, get together. And it makes it clear that there’s plenty of drama and conflict and tension and hilarity in a happy relationship. We get to see them meeting, getting to know each other, falling in love — and we get to see then stay in love. We get to see their relationship unfold. And it’s interesting. It’s funny. It’s dramatic. It’s entertaining.

Yes, falling in love is interesting and funny. Being in love is also interesting and funny. Happy ongoing relationships have conflicts and dramas and misunderstandings — between the people in love themselves, and just with their lives and with the rest of the world. Good for Parks & Rec for showing how it’s done.

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon – More Cat Pics, With Snuggling And Bonus Yawn!

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

Two more donations have come in since the last round of cat pics — so as promised, here are two more cat photo! With a bonus one this time, just because. In this series, you’ve got the head resting on the fuzzy belleh; you’ve got the upside-down gaze; AND you’ve got the yawn! It’s the whole package, people!

comet and talisker snuggling plus head resting on fuzzy bely

comet and talisker snuggling plus upside down gaze

comet and talisker snuggling plus yawn

Remember — each donation, no matter how small, gets a new cat picture!

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon – Another Cat Photo!

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

Another donation has come in since the last round of cat pics — so as promised, here’s another cat photo! Here is Comet, giving the adoring upside-down gaze. Comet loves you so much — and she especially loves it when you support the Secular Student Alliance!

Comet upside down

Remember — each donation, no matter how small, gets a new cat picture!

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 6: Student organizers know how to get bang for their buck

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

This hour’s post is another in the “Why I support the SSA” vein: Student organizers know how to get bang for their buck.

I’ve visited a lot of student atheist groups in the last few years. Most of my speaking gigs are with student groups. And I have found that, as a rule, student groups are extraordinarily good at stretching their money. If you donate $50 to a secular student group, they will make it go very far indeed. They know how to get cheap food, cheap supplies, cheap entertainment. And they often have access to their school’s resources — meaning that your donations are almost like a matching grant. (And when your donations have a matching or challenge grant — like the Secular Students Week donations do — that makes your matching grant even more doubled!)

There are a lot of good reasons to support the secular student movement. But one of those is that it’s a very, very efficient use of your atheist donation money. If there’s a student group in your area, please help them out — and please support the national Secular Student Alliance, and help them support the students!

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon – More Cat Pictures!

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

Two more donations have come in since the last round of cat pics — so as promised, here are two cat photos, this time with Comet and Talisker snuggling.

Comet and Talisker snuggling 1

Comet and Talisker snuggling 2

More donations will almost certainly get more snuggle shots. They are some of the snuggliest cats that ever snuggled.

Remember — each donation, no matter how small, gets a new cat picture!

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 5: If atheism were true, why do cats have pretty stripes on them?

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

This hour’s post: If atheism were true, why do cats have pretty stripes on them?

A reader sent me this picture a few months ago. They didn’t know where it came from, but they thought — very much correctly — that it would spark my interest.

if atheism were true why do cats have pretty stripes on them

It’s a flyer with Christian propaganda. The readable part reads thus (it’s cropped, so not all of it is readable):

…doctrine of evolution, was enough to spawn a Hitler, a Stalin, a Margaret Sanger, the horror of Columbine, etc. Imagine what evil will come of atheism if it is allowed to blossom in society! It is foolish as well as sinful to attribute the beauty, order, design, intelligence, conscience, etc. of the universe to a mere “nothingness.” If atheism were true, why do cats have pretty stripes on them? Why do the millions of insect species have such startling beauty? Why does man feel guilty when he sins? Why does anyone have a will? Where did personality come from? On top of all this, it is considered (of course!) scientifically impossible for nothing to create anything, much less, for nothing to create everything!

There’s a lot here to unpack. But I’m going to go straight to the heart of the matter: If atheism were true, why do cats have pretty stripes on them?

Well, the obvious answers are obvious. Cats have stripes on them because of evolution: cats with stripes are harder to see in tall grass, making it easier for them both to hunt and to evade being hunted. The stripes on cats are pretty because of both evolution and cultural training. Human brains evolved to find certain kinds of images pleasant, especially images with balances of regularity and irregularity (such as cat stripes); then different cultures and sub-cultures have different standards of beauty, so if we’re brought up to think of certain kinds of images as pretty (such as cat stripes), and to have pleasant associations with them (such as pleasant experiences of petting or playing with cats that have stripes), we’re more likely to see those images as pretty.

But that’s evading the key issue here. The real reason cats have pretty stripes is that Talisker is a cat — and Talisker has all the stripes. All of them! It stands to reason: Talisker is our stripey baby; Talisker has all the stripes — and this means all the stripes. Every stripe. Therefore, cats have pretty stripes as a natural consequence of Talisker having all the stripes. My logic is unassailable. Check and mate!

Talisker yawning and looking fierce

I’ve explained this before, people. I really expect you to keep up.

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon – Cat Pictures!

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

The first two donations have come in — so as promised, here are two cat photos! Plus a bonus photo of the two cats snuggling.

Comet close-up

Talisker

Comet resting chin on Talisker's back

Remember — each donation, no matter how small, gets a new cat picture!

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.

Greta’s Secular Students Week Blogathon! Episode 4: Why The Secular Student Alliance Means So Much To Me, Anyway

SSA Week logo

I’m doing a mini-blogathon today for Secular Students Week!

This week is Secular Students Week, when people around the Internet are celebrating the fantastic work the Secular Student Alliance is doing to empower students. Their goal is to get 500 donations now through June 17th: if they do, they’ll receive a $20,000 challenge grant! Help them keep up their amazing work by giving this week. A gift of $5, $10, or $20 will go a long way towards helping them reach this goal and empower secular students: please give today!

In today’s mini-blogathon, I’ll post a new blog post once an hour, from now (a little after 9:00 am Pacific time) until 5:00 pm Pacific time. In addition, for every donation that’s made today via my blogathon, I’ll post a new cat photo!

For this hour’s blogathon post: Why The Secular Student Alliance Means So Much To Me, Anyway.

When people in the atheist movement talk about the importance of secular students, it’s often cast in terms of the future. Student leaders are being trained to be future leaders. Student atheists will build future atheist communities. The large number of non-believing students means rates of non-belief will continue to rise. Etc.

All of that is certainly true. Assuming that most non-believers continue to be non-believers throughout their lives, the high percentage of non-religious young people does mean that, as older and more religious generations die off, the total rate of non-belief will continue to rise, and rise dramatically. And it’s definitely true that student groups are a great training ground for future leaders: many of today’s “professional atheists” were once involved in their secular student groups, and that will almost certainly continue to be true. As the years and decades pass, and as older organizers retire, I would expect that a very large proportion of atheist organizers will be Secular Student Alliance alumni.

But as Lyz Liddell has often said (Liddell is Director of Campus Organizing for the Secular Student Alliance), students aren’t just the future of this movement. Students are the present of this movement. Yes, young people are leaving religion in record numbers — and student organizations are there for them, providing support, pushing back against bigotry, creating opportunities for charitable and social justice work, letting them know that non-belief is an option in the first place. Many people in organized atheism are talking about how important it is to build atheist communities, to replace the social and practical support people often get from religion — and the student organizations are doing exactly that.

Student atheists aren’t just future atheists — they’re atheists right now. Student communities aren’t just the building blocks for future communities — they’re communities right now. Student leaders aren’t just future leaders — they’re leaders right now.

Once again — please support the Secular Student Alliance! Help them get their challenge grant of $20,000 by reaching their goal of 500 donations now through June 17th. Even small donations help. Please support them today!


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.