“Wherever there are conversations about racism”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"Wherever there are conversations about racism, white people need to listen."

“Wherever there are conversations about racism, white people need to listen.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 17: “The Part About Black Lives Mattering Where White People Shut Up and Listen”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of a person’s ear and side of head, seen from behind.)

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!

“Wherever there are conversations about racism”: 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

“As valuable to the brand new atheist as it is the longtime atheist”: Dan Arel on The Way of the Heathen

Way of the Heathen cover

“The Way of the Heathen opens the doors to a new way of thinking post-faith but stands as a book that is as valuable to the brand new atheist as it is the longtime atheist.

“This is the type of book that leaves me feeling proud to be an atheist and proud to be a part of a community that produces such works that work to improve the betterment of not just oneself, but society as a whole.”
-Dan Arel, author, Parenting Without God: How to Raise Moral, Ethical and Intelligent Children, Free from Religious Dogma

Some people I like and respect greatly have said some really nice things about my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Dan Arel has written a review of the book on his blog at the Patheos Atheist channel, Danthropology. You can read the full review here. Thanks, Dan!

The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and 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!

“As valuable to the brand new atheist as it is the longtime atheist”: Dan Arel on The Way of the Heathen

“We matter because we matter to each other”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"There’s no immense, eternal, perfect being watching our every move, elated at our triumphs and devastated by our failures. We matter because we matter to each other, in our own short time span, on our own small scale. We make each other important."

“There’s no immense, eternal, perfect being watching our every move, elated at our triumphs and devastated by our failures. We matter because we matter to each other, in our own short time span, on our own small scale. We make each other important.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 5: “Atheist Meaning in a Small, Brief Life”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed above image of six people, seen from behind, silhouetted against ocean sunset)

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 matter because we matter to each other”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

I Do Not Consent: The Murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

Content note: racist violence. Graphic violent images at some of the links.

Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police on July 5. The police pinned him to the ground and then shot him. I have not watched the video: it has been described as gruesomely brutal, even by police killing standards.

Philando Castile was shot and killed by Minnesota police on July 6 during a traffic stop.

Two black people, killed by police, in two days. And these are not isolated incidents.

There’s some good, important writing about Alton Sterling’s death. (Philando Castile’s death had just happened at the time I wrote this.) Here’s writing by Shaun King; by Lilly Workneh; by Breanna Edwards; by Kirsten West Savali. I don’t have much to add to this. I’ll just say some of what I said when the grand jury failed to Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s murder:

No.

This is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that millions of people live in a police state, afraid for their safety and their lives on a daily basis, because their skin is black or brown.

I know there’s a limited amount I can do about this. But I can say this, as clearly as I can: I do not consent to this. No, no, no, no, no.

the word no

The comment policy on this post is the same as it was on my posts about Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin: I am not willing to host a debate about this on my blog. I am willing to host many debates on my blog, about many issues. I am often willing to make my blog into a place for people to express many ideas and opinions with which I passionately disagree. This is not one of those issues, and this is not one of those times. If you have anything at all to say about this that even remotely hints at implying that these murders were justified or that the police response has been reasonable and proportionate — do not comment in my blog. Now, or ever. Do not read my blog. Do not follow me on Facebook or Twitter. Do not attend my talks. Do not buy my books. Get the fuck out of my life, now. Thank you.

I Do Not Consent: The Murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

“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

“I’m Not Being Sexist Or Racist! You’re Defining The Word Wrong!”

dictionary photo

Content note: sexism, racism, other systems of oppression, gaslighting, passing use of racist and sexist language

Tl;dr: Rejecting the definitions of sexism and racism don’t make them disappear.

“I’m not being sexist or racist! My friend isn’t being sexist or racist! That person I admire isn’t being sexist or racist! Sexism and racism means being consciously, deliberately bigoted. It means consciously believing that women or people of color are inferior. I don’t care how the words are defined by the thousands of researchers who have been studying this for decades — I looked the words up in a dictionary, and that makes me an expert. So stop saying we did something sexist or racist unintentionally, that our stubborn refusal to listen to women and people of color is sexist or racist, or that there are systems of oppression we’re perpetuating and participating in. You’re only sexist or racist if you openly say you are!”

When we talk about sexism, racism, and other isms, we hear this stuff a lot. It’s been coming up a lot in the shitty defenses of TJ Kirk, a.k.a. the self-styled “Amazing Atheist” (see Martin Hughes’ extraordinary takedowns for context). There are lots of arguments against it: I could rattle off a bunch in my sleep. But there are times when I want to throw up my hands and say, “Fine.

“Let’s concede the terminology. For the sake of argument, let’s say the words ‘sexism,’ ‘racism,’ ‘classism,’ ‘ableism,’ etc., only mean conscious bigotry and oppression. And let’s give another name to that other stuff. Let’s give another name to unconscious bias, to systems of oppression, to the stubborn refusal to acknowledge them. Let’s give another name to people who deny that they’re sexist and call women cunts; to people who deny that they’re racists and call African-Americans lazy thugs. Let’s call it (goes to random nonsense word generator, hits ‘refresh’ until she finds a word she likes) grimprom. Strenaviction. Yurity, Ooo, ‘yurity.’ I like that.

“Can we now have a conversation about yurity? Continue reading ““I’m Not Being Sexist Or Racist! You’re Defining The Word Wrong!””

“I’m Not Being Sexist Or Racist! You’re Defining The Word Wrong!”

“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

“I don’t want to make desperate, futile attempts to appease my god”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"When bad things happen, I don't want to make desperate, futile attempts to appease my god. I'd rather have reasonable expectations and wisdom about what I can and cannot change."

“When bad things happen, I don’t want to make desperate, futile attempts to appease my god. I’d rather have reasonable expectations and wisdom about what I can and cannot change.”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 21, “Bad Luck and the Comfort of Reason”)

(Image description: above text, juxtaposed next to image of a cemetery statue of a person praying)

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 don’t want to make desperate, futile attempts to appease my god”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

“What’s great is that Christina doesn’t tell the reader exactly what to think”: Zack Ford on The Way of the Heathen

Way of the Heathen cover
Some people I like and respect greatly have said some really nice things about my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Here’s the blurb from Zack Ford:

“If Richard Dawkins is best known for helping people figure out that they are atheists, Greta Christina is the community’s leader who holds their hand from that point forward. Following up on her thorough guide on Coming Out Atheist, she now offers an exploration of how to take that secular identity and apply it throughout a person’s life. The Way of the Heathen covers everything from a person’s day-to-day experiences and interpersonal interactions to the universe’s big questions and the most vexing moral, political, and social justice issues facing 21st Century society. What’s great is that Christina doesn’t tell the reader exactly what to think, but offers a convincing perspective from which to orient their own positions. This is the perfect book for anyone who has gotten a taste of skepticism and now hungers to make even more meaning out of their brief existence — despite living in a world that privileges religious beliefs and practices.”
-Zack Ford, LGBT Editor, ThinkProgress.org

The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and 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!

“What’s great is that Christina doesn’t tell the reader exactly what to think”: Zack Ford on The Way of the Heathen