So I just finished Greta Christina’s new book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things that Piss Off the Godless this morning and damn, I’m pissed. Not to say that I wasn’t pissed before. Also not to say that I’m letting it interfere with my ability to function and be happy but goddammit I’m pissed and I’m going to tell you about it. We’ll get to that later though. Right now I’m just going to tell you about this book.
For those of you that haven’t bought this book yet, go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait…
She could have easily made it 1,000 Things that Piss Off the Godless and I would still be reading chapter one, but get this, I would still be reading chapter one. She has managed to take the feel and emotion she brings to her other work and slap it down on the page without sacrificing a shred of integrity. Her words are honest and she doesn’t shy away from anything. As I told WilloNyx earlier, I felt influences bleeding through her words; there was a passage that made me think I was reading Hitchens, a couple of moments when it could have been Sam Harris talking, but most of all it seemed like me. These were my thoughts and feelings. I know. I’ve heard a lot of talk and posturing about how no one can speak for everyone in this movement. I’m fine with that but I won’t let that get in the way of the truth. When I read this book she was speaking for me. I am angry about these things. I’m not afraid to say so. I have made many of the same statements a dozen times, had believers and non-believers alike ask me exactly the same questions. I’m sure many of we heathens can say the same thing.
Greta gets all 99 things out of the way in chapter one. If you get through the first chapter and you aren’t pissed then you might need to see a specialist. Many of her reasons are classic talking points between atheists and believers. Some of them are rarely mentioned in polite company. Some are nuanced and others are in-your-face, good, old fashioned assholiness. She goes on to anticipate and answer some very common objections to atheist anger, pointing out in many cases just how asinine some of these objections truly are. For those who might be new to the subject she includes a very concise list of reasons she and many of us remain Godless. She finishes up the book with a very well put together list of atheist resources and a great reading list to boot.
If you have ever been perplexed and horrified at the indignity and ignorance levied at your fellow humans by the faithful, if you sometimes feel yourself fighting hard to not give up on humanity altogether for it, if you are pissed off about it and rightfully so then read this book. You aren’t alone. If you haven’t noticed the indignity, injustice, and ignorance that faith manages to bring along with it then you need to read this book, and get out of the house more often, and maybe watch the news or read a paper. You might live under a rock.
I realize it might seem like I’m gushing here. I’m not. I’m not calling this an instant classic or a monumental work of literature. I don’t really say that about anything. I like dialogue and I like books that feel like they will facilitate it. This is one of those books. This book feels like having a conversation. It’s real. No pomp. No frivolity. The kind of conversation you could expect to emerge among friends at an all-night diner. I have no qualms about recommending this book to anyone, regardless of what they believe. I plan to get a print copy when they become available. I will tuck in on my shelf with the best of company.
So buy it, borrow it, read it, take what it says and go further. If you aren’t out of your closet, come on out. There are plenty of us waiting to welcome you. If you are out already, hold your head high. Take another step. Don’t be afraid. There are more than enough of us to support you. Maybe I’m wrong but I feel like we’re on the cusp of a major change. We are the kid in the back with his hand up who gets ignored until we find our voice. It’s a voice getting louder every day. Add to it. The time is now.