Greta Christina

'How can you be moral?': Here are 9 questions you don't need to ask an atheist

Asked of Hispanic-Americans: “Are you in this country legally?” Asked of gays and lesbians and bisexuals: “How do you have sex?” Asked of transgender people: “Have you had the surgery?” Asked of African Americans: “Can I touch your hair?”

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7 things people who are 'fiscally conservative but socially liberal' don't understand

"Well, I’m conservative, but I’m not one of those racist, homophobic, dripping-with-hate Tea Party bigots! I’m pro-choice! I’m pro-same-sex-marriage! I’m not a racist! I just want lower taxes, and smaller government, and less government regulation of business. I’m fiscally conservative, and socially liberal.”

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Here Are the 10 Scariest States to Be An Atheist

Let's be clear. It's not like it's easy to be an atheist anywhere in the U.S. Atheists are the most distrusted and disliked of all minority groups -- more than blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, and gays and lesbians -- and polls show that Americans are less likely to vote for an atheist than they are for a person in any other minority or marginalized category. And this hostility can have serious consequences, in the form of harassment, bullying, ostracism, vandalism, alienation from family, loss of jobs, and more.

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8 Great Reasons to Take Some Pleasure in Activism

There's a nasty strain of dourness in leftist politics. All too often, we run into the idea that activism is only valuable if it's solemn, focused entirely on the harsh realities of the present or the grim possibilities of the future. This attitude was encapsulated perfectly in a Washington Post column by Petula Dvorak, opposing the pink pussyhats in the Women's March after inauguration day. "This is serious stuff," Dvorak said. She argued that the Women's March was about serious issues of suffering and danger, so the imagery shouldn't be playful or fun. "The Women’s March needs grit," she said, "not gimmicks." (Note: Many trans women and women of color found the pussyhats exclusionary, and there are good arguments against them. Dvorak's column isn't one of them.) Dvorak's attitude is common. And it needs to be loaded into a cannon and shot into the sun. Pleasure, fun and joy are enormously valuable in activism. Pleasure isn't a requirement for everyone, of course: different people pursue activism in different ways, and that's a good thing. But of the many tools in our collective toolbox, pleasure is one of the most powerful. Here are eight reasons why.

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7 of the Less-Noted But Still Very Sexist Attacks on Hillary Clinton

It's entirely reasonable to criticize Hillary Clinton. She's running for president of the United States, after all. If she's elected, she's going to be representing all U.S. citizens: we should tell her what we want from her, and speak out when she lets us down.

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10 Pop Culture Characters Who Stayed Friends or Lovers With Their Rapists

"Well, sure, he raped her. But it's not a big deal. Rape, shmape. All friendships and relationships have their ups and downs. They can still be friends, or get married. Heck, maybe the rape could be the start of a beautiful love story."

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12 Things Not to Say to Grieving Nonbelievers

When you talk with people who are grieving, you want to make them feel better. At the very least, you don't want to make them feel worse. This isn't always true (as you'll find out in some of these stories). But in general, in the face of grief, the point of comfort and consolation is to relieve some small part of the grieving person's pain. And I'll assume that the last thing you want to do is add to that pain.

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8 Awesome Atheist Leaders Who Aren't Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris

If you've read anything about the blossoming atheist movement, there's a good chance it was about Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris. And if you're a reasonably progressive person who cares about sexism and racism, and you've read about Dawkins or Harris, there's an excellent chance that the top of your head came off.

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7 Things People Who Say They're 'Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal' Don't Understand

"Well, I'm conservative, but I'm not one of those racist, homophobic, dripping-with-hate Tea Party bigots! I'm pro-choice! I'm pro-same-sex-marriage! I'm not a racist! I just want lower taxes, and smaller government, and less government regulation of business. I'm fiscally conservative, and socially liberal."

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6 Unlikely Developments That Could Convince This Atheist to Believe in God

If I'm such an open-minded atheist -- if I really am an atheist because I think the God hypothesis is unsupported by the evidence -- what evidence for God would I accept? What would it take to change my mind?

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Why Should Atheists Have to Show Respect For Religion?

"Can't we all just get along?"

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Why Religious Believers Are So Desperate for the Atheist Seal of Approval

If you hang around the online atheist world long enough, you'll notice an interesting pattern. Many religious and spiritual believers who engage with atheists seem very intent on getting atheists' approval for their beliefs.

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Why It's Not a 'Safe Bet' to Believe In God

"Why not believe in God? If you believe and you turn out to be wrong, you haven't lost anything. But if you don't believe and you turn out to be wrong, you lose everything. Isn't believing the safer bet?"

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Atheists Are Becoming a Force to Be Reckoned With (and We Need Them On Our Side)

Why would any organization or social change movement want to ally itself with a community that's energetic, excited about activism, highly motivated, increasingly visible, good at fundraising, good at getting into the news, increasingly populated by young people, and with a proven track record of mobilizing online in massive numbers on a moment's notice?

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Why Atheists Have to Fight for Their Rights

"You atheists are just taking on the mantle of victimhood. There are laws protecting you -- especially the First Amendment. Therefore, you're not really discriminated against. And it's ridiculous for you to claim that you are."

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10 Christmas Songs That Atheists Will Love

It's widely assumed that atheists, by definition, hate Christmas. And it's an assumption I'm baffled by. I like Christmas. Lots of atheists I know like Christmas. Heck, even Richard Dawkins likes Christmas. Plenty of atheists recognize the need for rituals that strengthen social bonds and mark the passing of the seasons. Especially when the season in question is dark and wet and freezing cold. Add in a culturally- sanctioned excuse to spend a month of Saturdays eating, drinking, flirting, and showing off our most festive shoes, and we're totally there. And we find our own ways to adapt/create/subvert the holiday traditions to our own godless ends.

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Major Threat to Religion? Clergy People Coming Out as Atheists

What happens when a clergy person -- a minister, a priest, a rabbi, an imam -- realizes he doesn't believe in God?

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5 Things Society Unfairly Expects of Men

A while back, I wrote a piece called 5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men, about how sexism damages men as well as women, and how men as well as women get pressured to fit into narrow, rigid, impossibly self-contradictory gender roles. I argued that people who care about feminism ought to care about how sexist gender roles hurt men; partly because we're human beings, with a sense of justice and compassion for one another regardless of gender, and partly because the cause of feminism can only be helped by convincing more men that it'll be good for them, too.

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5 Reasons to Stop Talking Sh*t About People From the South and Midwest

"If I ever hear another elitist jerk use the term flyover people, I'll punch him in the mouth." —John Waters, Carsick: John Waters Hitchhikes Across America

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5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men

If you have a scrap of progressive politics in your bones, it's no surprise to you that sexism hurts women. Like, duh. That's kind of the definition of the word.

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Why You Can't Reconcile God and Evolution

"Of course I believe in evolution. And I believe in God, too. I believe that evolution is how God created life."

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Why Do Many Religious Believers Want to Silence Atheists?

Why do so many religious believers want atheists to lie about our atheism?

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Are Addicts and the Mentally Ill Responsible for Their Behavior?

Are people with mental illness responsible for their behavior, and for how their behavior affects others? If so, to what degree? Does the degree of mental illness affect how we answer this question?

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The Tragic Assassination of One of the World's Most Prominent Atheists

A great skeptical leader has been assassinated.

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The Trials of Coping with Life Under a Cloud of Medical Uncertainty

"If we don't know the answer to a question, it's better to just say, 'We don't know.' And then, of course, investigate and try to find an answer. We shouldn't jump in with an uninformed answer based on our cognitive biases. And we definitely shouldn't assume that, because we don't know the answer to a question, the answer is therefore God, or something else supernatural."

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How a Pentecostal Preacher in Small-Town Louisiana Became an Atheist Activist

Try to imagine: You're a Pentecostal preacher in small-town Louisiana. Your public reputation, your connection with the people you love, indeed your own sense of self-worth, not to mention your livelihood, are hugely dependent on your passionate faith in Christ.

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7 Things Atheists Turn to When They Have Problems Without Resorting to God

"But people need religion for community! For social support! People get so much from religion—counseling, emotional help during hard times, financial help during hard times, rituals and rites of passage, day care, even job networking. Why do atheists want to take that away?"

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9 Questions That Atheists Might Find Insulting (And the Answers)

Asked of Hispanic-Americans: "Are you in this country legally?" Asked of gays and lesbians and bisexuals: "How do you have sex?" Asked of transgender people: "Have you had the surgery?" Asked of African Americans: "Can I touch your hair?"

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Gay Bishop Comes Up With the Worst Argument to Support Same-Sex Marriage

How do we convince religious believers to accept same-sex marriage?

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6 Outrageous Incidents of Discrimination Against Nonbelievers

"Oh, you atheists are always whining about how put-upon you are. You don't experience real discrimination: not like African Americans, or gays, or women, or immigrants. So knock it off with the pity party."

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