Because The Orbit is still new, and for various reasons related to that, I’ve temporarily set my comment settings so people who haven’t commented before will need to have their comments approved by me before they go up. I hope to discontinue this soon: in the meantime, please be patient if you post a comment and it doesn’t get posted while I’m asleep, in therapy, rubbing cat bellies, or otherwise engaged and away from my computer. I’ll get to it as soon as I can. Thanks.
Here’s the official press release announcing the launch of The Orbit.
March 14, 2016
For immediate release
The Orbit: Atheist Social Justice Blogging Site Launches
A new atheist blogging site, dedicated to working on social justice both in and out of organized atheism, launches today. Located at the-orbit.net, The Orbit is being created by bloggers from all corners of progressive atheism, including the Freethought Blogs network, the Patheos Atheist channel, Skepchick, and independent blogs.
“The word ‘orbit’ resonates with what we’re doing, on many levels,” says Greta Christina. “We love the connection with science and astronomy, with Galileo and other heretics who changed the world — and we love the reminder that we all orbit something and none of us is the center of the universe.”
The Orbit is a diverse collective of atheist, humanist, and other non-religious bloggers who are committed to social justice, both within organized atheism and outside it. “It’s not just atheism that’s struggling with social justice,” says D. Frederick Sparks. “Organizations across the board are neglecting the needs of marginalized people, and aren’t willing to look at the ways they make those people feel unwelcome. We plan to be one of the outposts for social justice atheism — but also for social justice in every community we care about.”
Bloggers at The Orbit include Alex Gabriel, Alix Jules, Alyssa Gonzalez, Ani, Ania Bula, Aoife O’Riordan, Ashley F. Miller, Benny Vimes, Brianne Bilyeu, Chris Hall, D. Frederick Sparks, Dana Hunter, Dori Mooneyham, Greta Christina, Heina Dadabhoy, Jason Thibeault, Luxander Pond, Miri Mogilevsky, Niki M., Sincere Kirabo, Stephanie Zvan, Tony Thompson, and Zinnia Jones, with a lineup that is continuing to grow. “We’re extremely proud of our team,” says Tony Thompson. “They represent some of the strongest, most insightful voices in atheism.” The Orbit is structured as a collective, with all bloggers having a voice in decisions and contributing to day-to-day operations. The site is launching a Kickstarter campaign to cover operating costs and pay bloggers for their work.
The network plans to continue a friendly, collegial relationship with bloggers at Freethought Blogs, Skepchick, Patheos Atheist, and elsewhere. “There’s room for lots of blog networks and media sites in organized atheism,” says Luxander Pond. “This is a fast-growing community.” Recent major changes at Freethought Blogs provided many Orbiters with the impetus and opportunity to rethink what they wanted from a blog network. “Ultimately,” says Stephanie Zvan, “we decided to seize the opening to build something new, with a new structure and vision.”
Once upon a time, a veiled girl grew into a decidedly bare-headed young woman. As criticisms based on sexual pleasure were usually levied against, rather than by, the religious, she paid attention when religious folk criticized atheism in that way. Namely, certain theists claimed that without taboo, sex couldn’t possibly be as much fun. If they had been serious, she would have pointed out that the argument was the more benign cousin of the notion that sex is only good and healthy within the confines of monogamous, heterosexual marriage (her old religious, pedantic habits had yet to truly die).
As they were generally being playful, her mind went in a more pleasant direction. This isn’t to say that all of her religion-tinged sexual memories were good ones. She felt no goosebumps on her skin, just a wry smile playing upon her lips, when she recalled how her first partner once insisted she wear a headscarf during sex. She ended up feeling overheated and annoyed, not aroused. Darker were her memories of a tortured adolescence, one where an injunction against masturbation was delivered to her all too late to break the habit but soon enough to instill guilt. Flick, fret, flick, fret.
But she didn’t want to dwell on that. She recalled how lovely it was to feel the gentle warmth of the spring sunshine on the back of her neck and shoulders as she awaited a date for the first time. The accompanying breeze added to the tingling already coursing its way up and down her spine as she waited for her date to show up. Later, the fear of being caught fed the hunger with which her mouth tore into the one against it as the movie credits rolled.
Suddenly, she realized that she hadn’t violated a sexual boundary in years. Well, fuck, she thought. How could she get her spine to tingle like that again? She had no boundaries left that weren’t truly based on ethical considerations. Her feminism couldn’t provide any for her, either, since it was intersectional and sex-positive. It was clear that she needed to go on a quest for answers.
Here’s the deal: I’m doing a blog tour for my new erotic fiction collection, “Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More.” Today’s installment in the tour is an awesome, fun, iconclastic, and frequently sexy essay by Heina at Skepchick, Why Atheists Say “God” When They Have Sex.
Previous stops on this blog tour:
Ozy Frantz’s Blog: Is Erotic Shame Real Shame? (guest post by me)
Ozy Frantz’s Blog: Christian Domestic Discipline (extended excerpt)
Ozy Frantz has taken down their blog. These posts have now been reprinted on my own blog:
Is Erotic Shame “Real” Shame? (essay)
Excerpt from Christian Domestic Discipline (extended excerpt)
Brute Reason: Greta Christina on Writing Dirty Stories (interview with Miri)
Lusty Lady, Rachel Kramer Bussell: Excerpt from Craig’s List (extended excerpt)
Charlie Glickman’s Blog: “Discover just how far sexy goes” (brief review/ blurb)
WWJTD? JT Eberhard: On Being an Atheist Writing Religious Porn, plus Excerpt from Penitence as a Perpetual Motion Machine (guest post by me, plus extended excerpt)
Passions and Provocations, Pam Rosenthal (a.k.a. Molly Weatherfield): How to Read a Remarkable Work of Erotica (review/ essay)
Curvacious Dee’s Blog: Bent Fiction, plus Excerpt from Doing It Over (review, plus extended excerpt)
Susie Bright’s Journal: Pain, Kink, Shame — and a Unicorn Chaser. Greta Christina’s New Erotic Epic! (brief review and extended excerpt from “The Shame Photos”
En Tequila Es Verdad, Dana Hunter’s blog: Why Is Kink Fun? (guest post by me)
Under His Hand, Kaya’s blog: Excerpt from “This Week” (extended excerpt)
I picked up a nasty cold bug on my last round of travels; plus I’m exhausted from my last round of travels; plus I’m in the final stages of getting my porn collection ready for publication. So I’m taking a couple/few days off from blogging. Will be back soon.
I was doing a little writing — working on the introduction to my next book, if you want to know — and I thought of a whole new Catch-22 about atheism and atheist activism that hadn’t occurred to me when I’ve written about this before.
When atheists criticize religion, or argue that it isn’t true, we get accused of being negative. We’re told about all the wonderful things religious communities provide for people — ritual, social support, continuity, etc. — and we’re told that atheism isn’t going to get very far without providing these.
But when atheists talk about the positive aspects of atheism and secular humanism, we’re told that we’re turning atheism into just another belief system. And when we do work to create atheist communities, we’re told that it’s ridiculous to organize a community around the things we don’t believe in.
I’m just sayin’, is all.
This piece was originally published on AlterNet.
A lot of religious and spiritual believers find themselves stymied, at a loss for words, when the atheists and other non-believers in their lives are grieving. The comforts and consolations they’re used to offering, and that they rely on themselves, don’t do much good with atheists and other non-believers. “It’s all part of a plan.” “I’m sure they’re smiling down on you now.” “You’ll see them in the afterlife.” Etc. At best, these notions are useless for atheists: at worst, they’re actually upsetting.
Some believers behave very badly indeed at these times. It’s all too common for religious believers to use death and grief, and the heightened vulnerability that comes with it, as an opportunity for proselytizing. And when confronted with the reality that non-believers usually aren’t comforted by religious sentiments, believers often get churlish and defensive: insisting that grieving non-believers should be comforted when believers offer religious platitudes, and getting irritated or even outright hostile when we don’t.
But many believers are entirely sincere in their desire to console the non-believers in their life. They care, they sympathize, they mean well. They genuinely want to help. They just don’t know how.
Which is understandable. Even some non-believers have a hard time knowing what to say to the grieving non-believers in their life. Many atheists were brought up in religion: they’ve been brought up framing death and grief in religious terms, and dealing with it with religious customs. And in American culture particularly, our social customs around death are very much rooted in religion. So when atheists reject those customs, they often don’t know what to replace them with.
So what, specifically, can people say — or do — to comfort and console the non-believers in their lives who are grieving? Continue reading “What Do You Say to Grieving Non Believers?”
Ahhhhh. So happy to be home again… with KITTENS!
So happy to be snuggling with kittens! So happy to be in my beautiful house, with my beautiful wife. So happy to be sleeping late on the weekend, listening to “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” walking in my neighborhood, buying fresh-baked bread, eating fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, tasting cardamom ice cream, re-reading Harry Potter, watching Project Runway, reading Vogue… So happy to not be traveling, not be desperately trying to write and self-publish a book in time for a ridiculous self-imposed deadline. And so happy to be snuggling with our cute, playful, mischievous, trouble-making, adorable KITTENS!
Can feel rage melting away. “Why Are You Atheists So Snuggly? 99 Things That Calm Down The Godless.” Ahhhhhhhh.
First, in the You Didn’t Ask But I’m Telling You Anyway department: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? is, as of this writing, the #1 book on Amazon in the Atheism category. Not just the #1 Kindle book in the Atheism category — although it’s that, too. The #1 book in the category, period. And as of this writing, it’s the #120 best seller among all Kindle books. Yowsa. That doesn’t suck. Thanks so much to everyone who bought a book, and everyone who told their friends about it!
And now, to your questions. Continue reading “"Why Are You Atheists So Angry?" – Answers To Some of Your Questions”
Natalie Reed takes my piece on “Shut Up, That’s Why” arguments against atheism, and expands it to show how these arguments get used to silence feminism, queer rights, and other demands for social justice.
I am so proud to be in a blogging network with this woman, I can’t even tell you.
No time for a full photoset today, so instead I’m firing a single, well-aimed shot of lethal kitten cuteness:
All three kittens, curled up together, with one yawning.
Puny mortals, you are no match for the awesome power of the yawn!