“Should be in the hands of every hospital and military chaplain”: Darrel Ray on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God” (Now In Paper/Print!)

Greta Christina continues to provide unique advice and information to the growing community of seculars. We all need to consider our mortality and learn positive and productive ways to deal with our inevitable deadline. Thanks for this little book of wisdom. Christina has written a handbook we can all use. But it should be in the hands of every hospital and military chaplain, every hospice care giver, even ministers, etc. No secular person should be subjected to supernatural ideas and wishful thinking when they are dealing with death, dying and grief.

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 200 JPG
Got a really nice blurb about my new book, Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God, from Darrel Ray, founder of Recovering from Religion. Thanks so much, Darrel!

The print/ paper edition of the book is now available! You can get it at Powell’s or Amazon, or order it from your local bookstore (if they don’t already have it)! The cover price is $9.95. The ebook is available at Kindle/Amazon (that’s the link for Amazon US — it’s available in other regions as well), Nook/Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. The audiobook is available at Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. All ebook and audiobook editions are just $2.99. And yes, I did the recording for the audiobook.

Here is the description of the book, and some other very kind blurbs:

*

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

“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… The best book on the atheist philosophy of death you are likely ever to read.”
-Richard Carrier, author of On the Historicity of Jesus and Sense and Goodness without God

“When I was very young, I lost someone close to me in a car accident. Almost more painful than the loss was the way by which those around me attempted to find meaning in the senseless death of a young person. This is the book that seven-year-old me needed instead of the endless religious tracts that assured me that everything happens for a reason.”
-Heina Dadabhoy, Heinous Dealings blog

“Reading this book felt like one of those moments, standing in a dark and silent room, when glass powder strikes red phosphorous and turns a little of it into white phosphorous, which causes a match to light up in a warming flame. I want to show it (the book, not the match) to all my friends who are dealing with death, which is of course all of my friends. Thank you for writing it!”
-Greg M. Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University

“From the time our daughters were little, one of my husband’s goals and mine has been to help them deal with grief without resorting to false hope or superstition. When small pets died, we created a simple family ritual about the natural cycle of birth and death — and we celebrated the life, however brief. When a friend’s suicide left them in anguish, we talked through the pain that can make living unbearable. When a companion animal’s suffering became obvious, we released that life together. We talk together often about the relationships, wonders, and sense of purpose that make life meaningful to us. When Greta Christina’s small, thoughtful book of musings about death becomes available, each of our girls will receive a copy.

“Cheeky, smart, unflinchingly honest, and deeply personal (as always) — Greta Christina is a perfect guide for nontheists who are looking for clear-eyed conversation about death and grief. The comforts she offers are powerful because they require no denial or self-delusion and instead are rooted in gratitude and wonder at the gift of life — and the precious opportunities made all the more acute by their transience.”
-Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., psychologist, and author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light

“Bravo, Greta Christina. Your book is a feat of logic, wisdom, compassion, insight, humor, and lived experience presented in the most accessible way. Your ideas are compelling and I wish your words could be made available in hotel rooms everywhere, tucked into the drawer of the nightstand, in addition to hospital waiting rooms, train and bus stations, airports and classrooms. Death is certainly a Big Deal but humanism and non-belief have plenty of comfort to offer, as you so eloquently have put forth. In short, ‘What she said.'”
-Nina Hartley, author of Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex

“Greta Christina’s book is blunt, honest and doesn’t shy away from hard truths. Yet it is also gentle, compassionate and reassuring. It is as much a guide to how to face death as it is a guide to finding meaning in life. In it, she makes the argument that atheists and other non-believers are more prepared to understand and accept the practical realities and emotions that come with death than their religious counterparts, and she makes it convincingly. And they almost certainly will be even more prepared after reading this book.”
-Kayley Whalen, Digital Strategies and Social Media Manager, National LGBTQ Task Force.

“Required reading for anyone alive. Greta Christina’s clear, bold, gentle and endlessly thought-provoking writing style constantly reminds me why I love her. She provides elegant proof that the even the hardest truths can be as beautiful, wonderful and uplifting as any other facet of our existence.”
-David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion

“Greta Christina continues to provide unique advice and information to the growing community of seculars. We all need to consider our mortality and learn positive and productive ways to deal with our inevitable deadline. Thanks for this little book of wisdom. Christina has written a handbook we can all use. But it should be in the hands of every hospital and military chaplain, every hospice care giver,even ministers, etc. No secular person should be subjected to supernatural ideas and wishful thinking when they are dealing with death, dying and grief.”
-Darrel Ray, founder, Recovering from Religion

“Greta Christina’s new book transcends merely ‘enjoyable.’ Joy, tranquility, truth — I feel these while reading it.”
-Brianne Bilyeu, Biodork

“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

“Atheism frees us to craft our own meaning for life, but we must still confront the specter of death. In this brief-yet-essential volume, Greta Christina presents an array of humanist perspectives that provide very real comfort and meaning in the face of death.”
-Neil Wehneman, Development Director, Secular Student Alliance

Comforting Thoughts book cover oblong 100 JPG
Coming Out Atheist
Bending
why are you atheists so angry
Greta 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.

{advertisement}
“Should be in the hands of every hospital and military chaplain”: Darrel Ray on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God” (Now In Paper/Print!)

2 thoughts on ““Should be in the hands of every hospital and military chaplain”: Darrel Ray on “Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God” (Now In Paper/Print!)

  1. 1

    This should be in the hands of any chaplain — especially non-atheist chaplains, who don’t have the first-hand experience — who actually wants to do their job of providing comfort and counsel. Unfortunately, this means that a large number of chaplains in certain circles (I’m thinking certain branches of the military in particular) will not only not read this, but will try to take action against any of the conscientious and ethical chaplains (and they do exist — hell, I’ve met Christian chaplains and ministers, admittedly of a rather universalist bent, who have been nothing but respectful to my atheist ass) who could learn something productive from this book.

    So I guess that just makes it more important that all of us non-chaplains read this kind of thing.

  2. 2

    I wanted to thank you so much for this book. I just purchased a copy from Amazon in digital form and just finished it. (It was suggested by someone on Grief Beyond Belief). My son passed away at age 25 this past July 15th due to Sudden Unexplained Death in EPilepsy (SUDEP).

    It is very hard finding material for those of us who are humanist/atheist and grieving the death of someone we loved. (I even read one book written by a psychologist that said you could not come to terms with your grief unless you had faith!). Our family are all humanist/atheists as are our closest friends (we live in Canada), nevertheless there seems to be very little to help those of us who are not believers. After my son’s death, I joined several online grief support groups for parents who have lost children. After a while, I found seeing so many pictures of their children being posted with photoshopped angel wings and talk of signs (rainbows, hummingbirds & butterflies) got to me. I had to leave one group immediately because it stated in the rules “that if you don’t believe in God, keep it to yourself!” (I never said anything to criticize believers for what helped them but this group implied I should be ashamed of being a nonbeliever! Grief Beyond Belief is the only online group I’ve found that addresses this need.

    I appreciate that you believe accepting the bleakness of life and death is not the only way of coping with death for humanists/atheists. (I’ve also read what Carl Sagan’s widow said and also found it comforting).

    In my son’s case. I’ve thought the following: that although his death had no meaning (it was Sudden Unexplained Death in EPilepsy), that his life was full of meaning. Even though his life was much too short (he was 25), how his legacy is all the people he touched and taught (our family & friends and all the professionals who worked with him – he was severely disabled). We talked about how his postmortem donations (of his brain) will help increase understanding of autism and SUDEP and that’s is also part of his legacy. It is somewhat comforting to think when we scatter some of his ashes, of how some of his remains will be returned to the basics of earth, sea and sky. My son-in-law’s comes from India. They don’t have the cultural taboos about death we have (theirs is sex) & he said parents talk to their children openly about death and how it can happen in a moment. His dad (who is also an atheist) said that we exist in a fragile bubble that can burst at anytime and we need to focus on what we do in this life

    Anyway, thank you again,
    AM (mother of Graham, age 25)

Comments are closed.