“A work/life balance means you get to have a life”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"Yes, as humanists, we should be driven by compassion. But the targets of our compassion should include ourselves. A work/life balance means you get to have a life."

“Yes, as humanists, we should be driven by compassion. But the targets of our compassion should include ourselves. A work/life balance means you get to have a life.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 57: “Work/Life Balance”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of an unbalanced seesaw-type scale with a silver ball on one end and a golden ball on the other.)

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!

“A work/life balance means you get to have a life”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“A counterweight to the assumption that I’m right”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"If I want a counterweight to the assumption that I'm right, one of the weightiest ones I can think of is to assume I'm wrong -- and see where it leads me."

“If I want a counterweight to the assumption that I’m right, one of the weightiest ones I can think of is to assume I’m wrong — and see where it leads me.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 11: “Starting With the Assumption That I’m Wrong”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of an unbalanced scale.)

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!

“A counterweight to the assumption that I’m right”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“I want to decide my own purpose”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"I don't want my entire reason for existing decided by a manufacturer, like I'm a memory chip in some cosmic video game. I want to decide my own purpose."

“I don’t want my entire reason for existing decided by a manufacturer, like I’m a memory chip in some cosmic video game. I want to decide my own purpose.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 6: “Why Are We Here?)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of inside parts of a computer.)

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!

“I want to decide my own purpose”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Subjective Tastes and Character Judgments — Two Great Tastes that Taste Lousy Together

In light of Pokemon Go, and the phenomenon of people harshing on it, I thought it would be a good time to reprint this. This piece was originally published in The Humanist.

basketball high heeled shoe race car big for fb

“All I hear about these days is the NBA finals. Who are these brainless yahoos who get so obsessed about a ball going into a net?”

“I hate those ditzes who care so much about fashion. They’re so superficial.”

“What is it with selfies, anyway? Who are these self-involved twerps who keep taking pictures of themselves?”

“You know the kind of guy. He likes NASCAR, country music — total fool.”

Why do people do this? Why do we make character judgments about other people, based solely on their personal, subjective tastes in entirely consensual activities?

To be very clear: I’m not talking about subjective tastes that genuinely do have a moral component. I understand that there are moral issues with, for instance, food (eating meat or not?); consumer items (were they made by exploited labor?); choices in transportation (does it pollute?); lots of other examples. I’m also not talking about subjective choices that actually do immediately infringe on other people, like playing loud music at three in the morning and keeping the neighbors awake. And I’m not talking about making our own aesthetic judgments, and mouthing off about them. Of course we’re free to like or dislike any food, art, or entertainment that does or doesn’t strike our fancy — and we’re free to say so.

I’m not talking about any of that. I’m talking about making character judgments about other people, making assumptions about people’s lives and values and relationships, even making moral judgments about them — based on their tastes in music, food, art, entertainment, or other activities that are entirely subjective and consensual. I don’t get it. Why do people do this? Continue reading “Subjective Tastes and Character Judgments — Two Great Tastes that Taste Lousy Together”

Subjective Tastes and Character Judgments — Two Great Tastes that Taste Lousy Together

“We need to be willing to see evil”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"We need to be willing to see evil, not as something people are, but as something people do. We need to be willing to see evil as something we might do."

“We need to be willing to see evil, not as something people are, but as something people do. We need to be willing to see evil as something we might do.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 9: “Two Different Ways to Be a Good Person”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of military helicopter)

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!

“We need to be willing to see evil”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

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

"If we care about being good, if we genuinely want to know when we hurt people, we have to listen when they tell us about it."

“If we care about being good, if we genuinely want to know when we hurt people, we have to listen when they tell us about it.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 12: “Should We Care What Other People Think?”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of closeup of person’s ear and part of face)

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 being good”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“The frivolous bits of life”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"The frivolous bits of life are the universe knowing itself, experiencing itself, and taking joy in itself."

“The frivolous bits of life are the universe knowing itself, experiencing itself, and taking joy in itself.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 60, “In Praise of Frivolity”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to an illustration of a woman in a colorful outfit and a large cocktail glass filled with bubbles)

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!

“The frivolous bits of life”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Permanent Struggle

Silhouette of protesters under banner

This is a chapter from The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. I wrote it at an upsetting time: writing it helped me somewhat, and I hope it helps some of you.

I’m trying to make peace with permanent struggle.

I’m trying to make peace with the idea that, in almost every struggle I care passionately about, I am going to live the rest of my life without winning. The day I die there will still be hatred of women, disgust for queers, contempt for black people, revulsion for trans people, pointless poverty, grotesque inequality, stinking rich people who don’t give a damn about any of it as long as they’ve got theirs. I’m trying to make peace with the idea of survival as victory; the idea of harm reduction; the idea that shoving the world into a slightly better place, even a slightly less shitty and unlivable place, is a form of winning. I’m trying to let go of the entire idea of winning.

I’m obviously doing a lousy job.

I’m trying to make peace with how much of our progress isn’t really progress, so much as it is digging our way out of a hole. So much of progress means alleviating suffering, righting inequalities, pushing back against bigotry and hatred and brutality, which should never have been there in the first place. So much of progress isn’t building something new: it’s building a level foundation. It isn’t adding positive numbers: it’s struggling to get to zero. I’m okay with the idea of permanent struggle — well, no, obviously I’m not, but I’m beginning to see okay on the horizon. I am profoundly not okay with how much of the struggle is such a fucking waste of time. Of course the work is worth doing: the foundation is wildly uneven, there are a fuck-ton of holes to dig out of. But we shouldn’t have to do it. We wouldn’t have to do it if we didn’t have a terrible history, and if people weren’t terrible so much of the time. I’m trying to make peace with how much we could all build, how high we could all climb, if so many of us weren’t digging out of these pointless, poisonous, unnecessary holes — and if so many others weren’t digging more holes, digging deeper holes, so they can live high on the pile of dirt and bodies. Continue reading “Permanent Struggle”

Permanent Struggle

Learning By Arguing

Person A: “This thing is sexist, racist, classist, ableist, etc. Here’s a detailed explanation of why.”
Person B: “No, it’s not. Reasons, typically not responding to the detailed explanation, or even seeming to have read it.”
Person A: “Sigh. Yes, it is. Once again — here’s the detailed explanation of why. Warning you that my patience is wearing thin.”
Person B: “Gee, you don’t have to get mad. I’m just trying to learn and understand.”

If people want to learn, why do they think arguing is the best way to do it?

See, here’s another way this conversation could go: Continue reading “Learning By Arguing”

Learning By Arguing

Subjective Tastes and Character Judgments — Two Great Tastes that Taste Lousy Together

basketball high heeled shoe race car

This piece was originally published in The Humanist.

“All I hear about these days is the NBA finals. Who are these brainless yahoos who get so obsessed about a ball going into a net?”

“I hate those ditzes who care so much about fashion. They’re so superficial.”

“What is it with selfies, anyway? Who are these self-involved twerps who keep taking pictures of themselves?”

“You know the kind of guy. He likes NASCAR, country music — total fool.”

Why do people do this? Why do we make character judgments about other people, based solely on their personal, subjective tastes in entirely consensual activities?

To be very clear: I’m not talking about subjective tastes that genuinely do have a moral component. I understand that there are moral issues with, for instance, food (eating meat or not?); consumer items (were they made by exploited labor?); choices in transportation (does it pollute?); lots of other examples. I’m also not talking about subjective choices that actually do immediately infringe on other people, like playing loud music at three in the morning and keeping the neighbors awake. And I’m not talking about making our own aesthetic judgments, and mouthing off about them. Of course we’re free to like or dislike any food, art, or entertainment that does or doesn’t strike our fancy — and we’re free to say so.

I’m not talking about any of that. I’m talking about making character judgments about other people, making assumptions about people’s lives and values and relationships, even making moral judgments about them — based on their tastes in music, food, art, entertainment, or other activities that are entirely subjective and consensual. I don’t get it. Why do people do this?

Actually — that’s not true. I do get it. There are lots of reasons we do this. It’s just that none of them are good reasons. Continue reading “Subjective Tastes and Character Judgments — Two Great Tastes that Taste Lousy Together”

Subjective Tastes and Character Judgments — Two Great Tastes that Taste Lousy Together