About the Book

Coming out as an atheist is a powerful, liberating act. It makes life better for you, for other atheists, and for the world. But telling people you’re an atheist can be risky. What are the best ways to do it? And how can we help each other take this step?

    In this compassionate, friendly, down-to-earth how-to guide, popular author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless and blogger Greta Christina, offers concrete strategies and guiding philosophies for coming out as an atheist. Based on hundreds of coming-out stories, the book offers a map of the territory atheists are likely to encounter and ideas on how to pick the path that’s best for you.

    This accessible, empathetic guide reflects a wide range of coming-out experiences. It includes dedicated chapters on:


    Family

    Friends

    Spouses and Partners

    Work

    The Internet

    Parents

    Students

    Conservative Communities

    The Already Marginalized

    and much more.


    For atheists who are already out, it gives practical ideas on how to help others join you in the sunlight. And for atheists who are on the fence, it offers guidance on making that decision—and gentle encouragement to take that step.

    Inspiring and realistic, kind and powerful, Coming Out Atheist is the much-needed guidebook atheists have been waiting for.


Author Greta Christina is donating 10 percent of her income from this book to atheist organizations, charities, and projects.

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 the author of Why Are You Atheists So Angry? and Bending.

Details

ISBN: 978-1939578198 (paperback)

SRP: $17.95 (paperback)

Page count: 440 pages

Trim size: 6 x 9

Pub date: April 2014

PART ONE: WHY COME OUT AS AN ATHEIST Making Your Own Life Better. Helping Other Atheists. Cultivating Other Atheists. Creating a Better World. Should You Even Come Out at All?


PART TWO: COMING OUT

The Basics. The “No Big Deal” Method. A Few Words About Language. Family. Spouses and Partners. Friends. Work. Strangers. The Internet. Conservative Communities. Progressive Communities. The U.S. Military. The Clergy. Theocracies (Overt and De Facto). Students: College, High School, and Earlier. Parents. The Already Marginalized: People of Color, Women, LGBT People, and Others. Arguing About Religion. My Own Coming. Out Story.


PART THREE: HELPING EACH OTHER COME OUT

Visibility and Role Models, or, Step One: Come Out. Your Own Damn Self. Support or Pressure? How to Tell the Difference. Don’t Out People. Understanding Our Differences. Building Community. Diversity, or, Making Communities Welcoming to People. Who Aren’t Just Like Us. The Snowball Effect. Coming Out Is Fun.


Afterword. Acknowledgments. Resource Guide. Endnotes. About the Author.

Contents

“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, author of 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


“Greta Christina has written the ultimate handbook for coming out. I read this book with an eye for detail, since there are so many nuances in the process of coming out. Greta addresses each one of them with thoughtfulness and compassion. I actually think this book has something for every atheist, not just those coming out. Her insight, understanding, and knowledge mark a new path I have not seen in this kind of book before. As the Chairman of the Board of Recovering from Religion, this book is now on our list of ‘highly recommended’ for all our members and facilitators.”

Darrel Ray, author of The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture and Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality




Advance Praise

“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

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“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


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