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Coming Out Atheist: How to Do It, How to Help Each Other, and Why Paperback – April 1, 2014


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Witty, wise, helpful, and humane, this clear and engaging book is most timely. Coming Out Atheist is a great resource for the many Americans out there who have rejected religious faith and are moving towards embracing, acknowledging, and proclaiming their atheism."
-Phil Zuckerman, Ph.D., author of "Faith No More: Why People Reject Religion" and "Society Without God: What the Least Religious Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment"

"Greta Christina's guide to 'Coming Out Atheist' is chock-full of useful ideas; but above all it is wise and compassionate."
-Alan Sokal, Professor of Physics, New York University

"There's no doubt that it's hard to be an atheist in America, but Greta Christina's message will make you rethink keeping your beliefs to yourself. There's an optimistic truth that ties her book together: By coming out publicly as non-religious, we are doing something courageous, powerful, and important. Given the choice between simply handing someone a copy of The God Delusion and telling that person you don't believe in God, Greta reminds us that the personal message may be the most powerful weapon in the atheist arsenal."
-Hemant Mehta, blogger at FriendlyAtheist.com and author of "The Young Atheist's Survival Guide"

"What an accomplishment! In 'Coming Out Atheist,' Greta Christina has pulled together a great resource for emerging atheists. She very thoroughly captures the reality that atheists are people too, including non-believing clergy."
-Catherine Dunphy, Acting Executive Director, The Clergy Project

"Greta Christina knows that the philosophy of atheism is incomplete without practical and sensible advice about how to live in a world full of believers. Her fascinating life experience and astute observations of atheists, in or out of the closet, offers readers some of the most potent testimony for why coming out as an atheist will make a godless life better."
-Hector Avalos, professor of Religious Studies at Iowa State University, author of "The End of Biblical Studies" and "Slavery, Abolitionism, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship"

"Millions of Americans are discovering that life without religion and superstition can be rewarding, fulfilling, and joyful. Greta Christina has done that growing demographic a great service, with this thoughtful and entertaining book that will inform and inspire those who embrace personal secularity."
-David Niose, author of Nonbeliever Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans

"This is an important book at the right time by a clear thinker, elegant writer, and passionate human being. Greta Christina is one of a small handful of atheist authors I can count on to bring that happy combination home, time after time."
-Dale McGowan, Atheism For Dummies

"Greta Christina is unmatched in passion and clarity of thought. Her writing manages to be both friendly and confrontational. Why Are You Atheists So Angry? quickly became the #1 book that I recommend to atheists and curious believers alike, and I can't imagine a better or more complete guide to telling someone that you don't believe than Coming Out Atheist."
-Gem Newman, Life, the Universe & Everything Else Podcast

"Old and new atheists alike will find this book invaluable as a road map through the often murky waters of coming out as a nonbeliever. As an out atheist, I was struck by how much I learned about the coming out process and its intricacies. There is no doubt that it has made me a better advocate and voice in the movement. BUY THIS BOOK IT'S AMAZEBANANAS!"
-Lauren Lane, Skepticon Co-Founder

"With her trademark mix of clarity, passion, and empathy, Greta Christina has produced the definitive guide in 'Coming Out Atheist.' More than just a how-to, 'Coming Out Atheist' also empowers those already out in making our movement a more welcoming place."
-Neil Wehneman, Development Director, Secular Student Alliance

"With this work, Greta Christina makes a sensible and reasonable case for coming out of the closet as an atheist. She points to a wide range of excellent real cases focusing on the many positive aspects of doing so. She is clear in saying that no one is looking for martyrs, but contends instead that coming out typically brings one a sense of well-being, happiness, and self fulfillment. As a popular author, Greta’s direct and to the point exceptional arguments are second to none among current authors for the secular communities. One great thing about this book is that it also takes into consideration minorities and other already marginalized groups, helping them deal with the subject of coming out as non-believers. This book offers something for everyone and Greta Christina’s unrelenting positivism makes it a pleasure to read both for the seasoned atheist as well as for the person still in the atheist closet. I strongly recommend getting two copies of this exceptional book: one to keep and one to give as the perfect present for a good friend."
-David Tamayo, Founder and President, Hispanic American Freethinkers

"Greta's new book gives advice on how to come out atheist to pretty much everyone you know -- and even to those you don't. Greta's take-away message from reading and hearing thousands of coming out-atheist stories? Most of the time, despite the initial awkwardness or fear, it turns out all right. This is a great how-to-guide for cautious nonbelievers who may fear the consequences of coming out godless."
-Annie Sapucaia, New Books in Secularism podcast

"Coming out is one of the most important decisions a person can make. Greta walks readers through that decision in a straightforward step by step process: if, when, how, to whom, and -- perhaps most importantly -- why. A guide for atheists and allies alike."
-Lyz Liddell, Director of Campus Organizing, Secular Student Alliance

"Make the world a better place. Start living your life. Greta Christina shows you why and how (and how not) to escape the atheist closet. A must read for every new atheist and anyone who is considering becoming one."
-David Fitzgerald, author of "Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All" and "The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons"

"Not only is 'Coming Out Atheist' a valuable compendium of information on the how and why of coming out, it is also a unique book on the importance of living an authentic life. Beautifully woven within its pages is a priceless collection of deeply touching coming out stories. It's one of those rare books that is both an essential resource and a fantastic read. I highly recommend it."
-Bill Lehto, editor of "Atheist Voices of Minnesota"

About the Author

Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and of Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, and is editor of Paying For It: A Guide for Sex Workers for Their Clients. She has been a public speaker for many years, and is on the speaker's bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance and Center for Inquiry. She is a regular contributor to AlterNet, Salon, The Humanist, and Free Inquiry. Her writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, and Skeptical Inquirer, and anthologies including Everything You Know About God Is Wrong and three volumes of Best American Erotica. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid. She tweets at @GretaChristina, and has been writing about atheism on Greta Christina's Blog since 2005.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 439 pages
  • Publisher: Pitchstone Publishing (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939578191
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939578198
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989, on topics including atheism, sexuality and sex-positivity, LGBT issues, politics, culture, and whatever crosses her mind. She is author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless, and of Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More, and is editor of Paying For It: A Guide for Sex Workers for Their Clients. She has been a public speaker for many years, and is on the speaker's bureaus of the Secular Student Alliance and Center for Inquiry. She is a regular contributor to AlterNet, Salon, The Humanist, and Free Inquiry. Her writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Ms., Penthouse, Chicago Sun-Times, On Our Backs, and Skeptical Inquirer, and anthologies including Everything You Know About God Is Wrong and three volumes of Best American Erotica. She lives in San Francisco with her wife, Ingrid. She tweets at @GretaChristina, and has been writing about atheism on Greta Christina's Blog since 2005.

Customer Reviews

When I heard Greta Christina had picked "coming out" as an atheist as a topic for her new book I knew it had to be great.
Deuce
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to come out and even to people who have had friends/loved ones come out about their godlessness to them!
Lori Fazzino
Her writing is a pleasure to read, both for that easy style and because she has a talent for organizing her thoughts on a topic into a clear progression.
Brian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Deuce on April 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I heard Greta Christina had picked "coming out" as an atheist as a topic for her new book I knew it had to be great. For one thing, she is an engaging, compassionate writer who always emotionally moves me. Second, she has experience in coming out personally due to her passion and activism within both the LGBT and atheist movements.

Coming Out Atheist" contains hundreds of stories (including the author's) about their experiences with telling their families, friends, and loved ones that they don't believe. You will enjoy this book if you read her book "99 Things That Piss Off The Godless".

The book is broken down into three sections. The first section discusses reasons why to expose your godless self, including reasons to stay hidden. Why to come out (or not) will be different for each person.

The second section, and bulk of the book, contains chapters on coming out to different groups including friends, family, the military, and both conservative and progressive communities. The chapters are not exclusive - I learned and enjoyed something from each one, even when I didn't think it would apply to me.

The third section describes how to help yourself and others, including building community and support networks. Doing anything that is "against the majority rule" can be stressful to say the least. However, having others you can be yourself around and who support you is so important.

This book has appeal to non-believers, to those who want to read about our experiences, and those in other progressive movements who want to learn about the struggles of such a marginalized group. Don't think atheists are marginalized? Then frankly you haven't been paying attention. I recommend this book to anyone in its core audience (non-believers) and those who are open to learning something new.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Judy on April 17, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From page one you'll be drawn in to this easy read about how and why to come out as (you can pick any non-believer word you want) atheist, agnostic, freethinker, skeptic, humanist, etc. She lays out exactly why this is so important not only to you, but also in our country right now, and helps every level of reader, in whatever situation they find themselves, to better consider coming out as atheist. She helps the reader judge whether it's appropriate, and gives what seem like hundreds of actual stories to back up what she says. (Maybe it is hundreds.) The consensus is that coming out helps people live happier lives, despite some rough seas at first. It's worth it in most cases, though she does address situations where people might not want to come out for their own good. Her writing is well rounded to address everyone in a variety of scenarios.

She helps those who are confused about feeling a mismatch with their religion, with those who are afraid of the "a-word" (atheist), and those who are just curious about atheism. Her writing style invites you to feel like you're sitting down over drinks in a private booth somewhere, talking frankly with someone who has the case studies in hand. She never gets technical or statistical, but always is informative in a relatable way.

As I said in the title, if you're looking over these reviews, this book is for you. That's why you're here. I have whole bookshelves of atheist books, but hardly any on the topic of coming out, and not many as easily read and clearly stated. The topic is timely, and she does it well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Barbara A. Meissner on April 20, 2014
Format: Paperback
What I like about this book is that Christina has really considered a great many different situations that the atheist about to come out may face, even including when it might be best NOT to come out. She is acknowledges that the bias against and even fear of atheists may lead to real trouble in families, and her compassion for the distress of family members is striking, yet she also advises not taking too much abuse for being honest. She has collected stories from hundreds of atheists and used their experiences to inform her thoughts on the subject. The book is beautifully written. I can recommend it to any closeted atheists and also to those of us who are well and truly out.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By peter veitch on April 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been out as an atheist for four years, I still found stuff here interesting and useful. I would especially recommend this to anyone considering telling friends , family and /or others . For those already out as a non believer, there are many tips ( plus a wonderful resource section at the end ) that you might be able to share. five stars. not sure about recommending to believers unless they want to understand non believers a bit more (?). ie this is not selling atheism, rather it concentrates on the issue of coming out , and does a Great ( Greta anagram ! ) job at this.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Sara on April 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
Read this book.

If you are an atheist, or think you might be one and are contemplating telling someone about it, but not sure how to go about it, read this book. There are chapters on everything from talking to parents, other family members, spouses and partners, kids, friends, coworkers, bosses, and strangers. There are chapters specific to conservative communities, progressive communities, other marginalized communities, and even the US military. It's not a step by step guide; but it has lots of personal stories from people of a variety of backgrounds and situations and will definitely get you think about the factors that will be important to you when considering how - and whether - to come out. There's also a fantastic resource guide at the back of the book.

If you are an out atheist in some areas of your life but not others, read this book. It will give you some good ideas to think about and maybe help other people along.

If you are a fully or mostly out atheist with your atheism plastered all over your Facebook, Twitter, car, and wardrobe, read this book. It will give you some great insight on issues other people from different backgrounds can face when coming out, ideas to help others, and ideas on community building, if that's your thing.

If you're not an atheist and have no intention of being one, you might consider reading this book too. It won't talk you out of your theism. That's not the point of the book. But atheism is on the rise and it's very likely that there is someone in your life who you care about who is one and may want to talk to you about it, but won't for fear of rejection, not being taken seriously, or anger. If the idea that someone you care about is afraid to talk to you for those reasons makes you feel bad, reading this book and getting a feel for the issues they might be experiencing may make it easier on both of you.
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