“If religion is just a story”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

If religion is just a story, why does it upset people so much when atheists say it isn’t true?

“If religion is just a story, why does it upset people so much when atheists say it isn’t true?”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed above image of unidentified book)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“If religion is just a story”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“Perspective is more than an intellectual discipline”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Perspective -- stepping back and examining our beliefs -- is more than an intellectual discipline. It's a moral obligation.
“Perspective — stepping back and examining our beliefs — is more than an intellectual discipline. It’s a moral obligation.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 2, “Skepticism as a Discipline”)

(Image description: above text, superimposed over image of New York City buildings seen from above)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Perspective is more than an intellectual discipline”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“So you’ve decided to be an atheist”: Introduction to The Way of the Heathen

Way of the Heathen cover
This is the introduction to my new book, The Way of the Heathen. It’s available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99; the audiobook is at Audible; the print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore.

So you’ve decided to be an atheist.

Okay, that’s silly. No, you didn’t “decide” to be an atheist: you decided to ask questions, look at evidence, prioritize reality over wishful thinking, and quit pushing your doubts to the back burner. And you’ve concluded that there are no gods. We don’t “decide” what to believe: atheists can’t decide whether we believe in God, any more than we can put our hand over a flame and decide whether we believe in heat. But we can ignore doubts and difficult questions — or follow our ideas to their logical conclusion. You’ve done that. And you’ve come to the conclusion that there are no gods — not Jehovah, not Shiva, not Zeus. Zip squat in the “gods” department.

What now?

Living without religion is not always so different from living with it. Atheists and believers are all human: we laugh at jokes, listen to music, care about our loved ones, get angry at injustice, grieve when people die, try to be good.

But there are real differences. When you think the meaning of your life is handed to you by Zeus or whoever, you’re going to live differently than if you think we create our own meaning. When you think God is your co-pilot and your life is planned by this perfect, all-knowing creator (who still gave you sinuses for no apparent reason), you’re going to live differently than if you think nobody’s driving the bus and you’d better grab the wheel. When you think you and your loved ones are going to live forever in a blissful afterlife where everyone somehow magically gets along, you’re going to live differently than if you think this short life is our only one. There are differences between a religious life and a godless one, and they’re not trivial.

These differences can be unsettling, whether you’ve just started questioning religion, or have already rejected it and are grappling with non-belief. Even if you’ve been an atheist for a while, these questions may trouble you. Many atheists were brought up with religion, and were brought up framing life and death in religious terms. Many customs, rituals, and daily habits are rooted in religion, so when atheists reject these, we often don’t know how to replace them. When we’re confronted with a situation that our culture typically handles with religion — birth, death, marriage, coming of age, suffering, gratitude, sneezing — we sometimes feel stymied.

This book may help.

I’ll get this out of the way right now: Yes, the title is a joke. There are approximately 57,852 books titled The Way of the Something: The Way of the Pilgrim, The Way of the Master, The Way of the Warrior, about 57,849 more. This title is a slightly snarky joke at the whole idea of one person telling another, “Here’s the one right way to live your life.” A more accurate title (although a crappier and less funny one) would be Some Ways of Some Heathens. If you disagree with some of this book — awesome. Ten years from now, I probably won’t agree with all of it. I want people to think for themselves, using the best evidence, rationality, and compassion they can muster. There isn’t a right way to be an atheist, and this is not an atheist bible: take what you need, and leave the rest.

This book is aimed at — well, pretty much anyone, atheist or otherwise, who’s interested in atheism. But in particular, it’s aimed at four groups: Continue reading ““So you’ve decided to be an atheist”: Introduction to The Way of the Heathen

“So you’ve decided to be an atheist”: Introduction to The Way of the Heathen

“Atheist activists aren’t just building communities…” Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Atheist activists aren't just building communities and fighting bigotry. We're changing the terms of this conversation. We're putting religion on the table. Simply by being out and proud atheists, simply by keeping our integrity and refusing to be treated as second-class, we are changing the game.

“Atheist activists aren’t just building communities and fighting bigotry. We’re changing the terms of this conversation. We’re putting religion on the table. Simply by being out and proud atheists, simply by keeping our integrity and refusing to be treated as second-class, we are changing the game.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 35: Atheists in the Pride Parade: Churlishness and Integrity)

(Image description: above text, on black background next to red letter A, symbol of atheism)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“Atheist activists aren’t just building communities…” Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“If we’re going to be open to reality…”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

If we're going to be open to reality, we have to be willing to say no to the overwhelming majority of things we can imagine about it.

“If we’re going to be open to reality, we have to be willing to say no to the overwhelming majority of things we can imagine about it.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 1: “Caring About Reality: Why It Matters What We Don’t Believe”)

(Image description: above text, superimposed on image of sky, fields with grass and trees and houses, mountains in distance)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“If we’re going to be open to reality…”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“If we care about reality”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Stories and imagination are essential parts of our human lives. But if we care about reality, we need to not fool ourselves into thinking our stories are true.

“Stories and imagination are essential parts of our human lives. But if we care about reality, we need to not fool ourselves into thinking our stories are true.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 1: “Caring About Reality: Why It Matters What We Don’t Believe”)

(Image description: above text superimposed on image of two silhouetted people looking at ocean horizon, one of them pointing)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“If we care about reality”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life,” Available Today!

Way of the Heathen cover

My new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life, is available today! You can buy it, plug it on social media, and tell your friends about it! It’s available in ebook, print, and audiobook. The ebook is on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords, for $7.99. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore. The audiobook is at Audible. It’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing.

Here’s the description, and some wonderfully flattering blurbs.

*****

So you’re an atheist. Now what?

The way we deal with life — with love and sex, pleasure and death, reality and making stuff up — can change dramatically when we stop believing in gods, souls, and afterlives. When we leave religion — or if we never had it in the first place — where do we go?

With her unique blend of compassion and humor, thoughtfulness and snark, Greta Christina most emphatically does not propose a single path to a good atheist life. She offers questions to think about, ideas that may be useful, and encouragement to choose your own way. She addresses complex issues in an accessible, down-to-earth style, including:

Why we’re here
Sexual transcendence
The meaning of life
The meaning of death
Frivolity
Sensuality
How humanism helps with depression — except when it doesn’t
Stealing stuff from religion
Why atheism demands social justice
Different ways to be a good person
Joy

and much more.

Aimed at new and not-so-new atheists, questioning and curious believers, Christina shines a warm, fresh light on the only life we have.

REVIEWS
“A glorious celebration.”
-Dan Barker, author of Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning

“Over the years, and through a variety of publications, Greta Christina has helped us better understand atheism and atheists. With The Way of the Heathen Greta has done it again. Greta’s hallmark insights, biting humor, and straight-talk will lead you through some of the most important issues and practices shaping what it means to be an atheist in the 21st century. But, whether you are an atheist, a theist, or something in between, this book provides ‘aha moments’ that will challenge and inspire. You really should read it. I recommend it highly.”
-Anthony B. Pinn, author of Writing God’s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist Continue reading ““The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life,” Available Today!”

“The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life,” Available Today!

Frivolous Friday: Peter Pan, and Killing Fairies

Frivolous Fridays are the Orbit bloggers’ excuse to post about fun things we care about that may not have serious implications for atheism or social justice. Any day is a good day to write about whatever the heck we’re interested in (hey, we put “culture” in our tagline for a reason), but we sometimes have a hard time giving ourselves permission to do that. This is our way of encouraging each other to take a break from serious topics and have some fun. Enjoy!

Peter_Pan_and_Wendy_book_cover_1911 200
Okay, maybe this is a little macabre for Frivolous Friday, but it was on my mind and was making me chuckle, so I thought I’d share.

You know the bit in Peter Pan, where Peter explains that every time a child says, “I don’t believe in fairies,” somewhere a fairy falls down dead? I read this when I was a kid. And afterwards, I started to go around saying under my breath, “I don’t believe in fairies, I don’t believe in fairies, I don’t believe in fairies,” and imagining fairies dropping like flies, one by one, all over the world.

I’m not sure why I did this. I didn’t actually believe in fairies, and I certainly didn’t think I could murder them from a distance by saying words out loud. In retrospect, I think I was annoyed by how saccharine and manipulative it was. It was like, “You’re going to guilt-trip me into believing something I have no reason to believe, by telling me my non-belief will destroy it? Yeah, screw you.” But maybe I’m reading too much into this, and putting too much of my adult interpretation on it. Maybe I was just a contrarian little fuck with a thirst for power. Strike that. I know I was.

I was thinking about this because of Tony Thompson’s HI-FREAKING-LARIOUS piece about the Catholic cardinal, who apparently thinks that the acceptance of TBLG people is killing God. No, really. Tony is very excite about his newly-discovered superpower, as well he should be. And it occurred to me: This is totally like the Peter Pan thing. Every time a queer person is happy and accepted, a little bit of God dies.

Let’s all say it together: “TBLG people are awesome. TBLG people are awesome. TBLG people are awesome.” And we can imagine a little bit more of God dying, every time.

If you read Peter Pan, did you have any reaction to the “I don’t believe in fairies” bit? Or was that just me, being contrarian and power-hungry and weirdly macabre?

Frivolous Friday: Peter Pan, and Killing Fairies

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, May 19! Discussion topic: The Orbit — Atheism and Social Justice

Social Club May 19 The Orbit for website
Godless Perverts is having a Godless Perverts Social Club in our wonderful new Oakland location, Thursday, May 19! 7-9 pm. We have a new location for the Oakland Godless Perverts Social Clubs — we’re now meeting at Rudy’s Can’t Fail Cafe, 1805 Telegraph Avenue, next to the Fox Theater (and right near the 19th St. Oakland BART station).

Our discussion topic for this evening: The Orbit: Atheism and Social Justice. The Orbit was launched in March: an atheist media collective dedicated to working on social justice, both in and out of organized atheism. How and why was this site founded? Why does the atheist community need sites and organizations that explicitly endorse social justice? What are some of the challenges and rewards of doing intersectional work within atheism? Godless Perverts co-founders Greta Christina and Chris Hall are both founding members of The Orbit, and will be introducing the site and answering questions about it.

Rudy’s Can’t Fail is a fun, friendly space that serves meals, small bites, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, and desserts. We’re meeting in the back room/ dining car, which is ridiculously cute: the dining car has somewhat limited space, probably enough for all of us, but it’s a good idea to arrive on time if you want to be sure to get a seat. The Oakland Social Clubs are on the third Thursday of the month (First Tuesdays are still in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds.) Continue reading “Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, May 19! Discussion topic: The Orbit — Atheism and Social Justice”

Godless Perverts Social Club in Oakland Thursday, May 19! Discussion topic: The Orbit — Atheism and Social Justice

The Way of the Heathen Advance Copies!

I got the advance copies of my upcoming book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Yay!

Way of the Heathen advance copies in box

I am super-excited about this book. I’ve spent many years thinking and writing about what it means to be an atheist: how it affects the meaning of our lives, how it shapes our morality, how we cope with suffering and death without religion, how we form godless communities, how we deal with believers, and how we experience pleasure and joy. The best of that writing is distilled into this book. It’s scheduled for publication June 1, in print, ebook, and audiobook (audiobook might be a little later). You can place an advance order for the print edition now!

And it looks so pretty! Cover designer Casimir Fornalski did an excellent job once again. I especially love how it looks with its companion books, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? and Coming Out Atheist.

Way of the Heathen Coming Out Atheist and Why Are You Atheists So Angry line

Way of the Heathen Coming Out Atheist and Why Are You Atheists So Angry fan

I really do think of these books as a set. They reflect the path that many people take when they become atheists — being angry about religion, deciding how to tell people about their atheism, and getting on with their atheist lives. The covers reflect that connection: you could even look at them as telling a story. So excited for June 1!

The Way of the Heathen Advance Copies!