About the Book

So you're an atheist. Now what?

The way we deal with life—with love and sex, pleasure and death, reality and making stuff up—can change dramatically when we stop believing in gods, souls, and afterlives. When we leave religion—or if we never had it in the first place—where do we go?

With her unique blend of compassion and humor, thoughtfulness and snark, Greta Christina most emphatically does not propose a single path to a good atheist life. She offers questions to think about, ideas that may be useful, and encouragement to choose your own way. She addresses complex issues in an accessible, down-to-earth style, including:

Why we're here

Sexual transcendence

The meaning of life

The meaning of death



How humanism helps with depression — except when it doesn’t

Stealing stuff from religion

Why atheism demands social justice

Different ways to be a good person


and much more.

Aimed at new and not-so-new atheists, questioning and curious believers, Christina shines a warm, fresh light on the only life we have.

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 and Coming Out Atheist.


ISBN: 9781634310680 (paperback)

SRP: $14.95 (paperback)

Page count: 272 pages

Trim size: 6 x 9

Pub date: June 2016

“Over the years, and through a variety of publications, Greta Christina has helped us better understand atheism and atheists. With The Way of the Heathen Greta has done it again. Greta’s hallmark insights, biting humor, and straight-talk will lead you through some of the most important issues and practices shaping what it means to be an atheist in the 21st century. But, whether you are an atheist, a theist, or something in between, this book provides 'aha moments' that will challenge and inspire. You really should read it. I recommend it highly.”

Anthony B. Pinn, author of Writing God’s Obituary: How a Good Methodist Became a Better Atheist

“Another bright gem from Great Christina—an engaging, conversational, thoughtful, frank, funny, and ever timely exploration of life lived well without religion. The array of topics addressed is as impressive as the pervasive insights throughout.”

Phil Zuckerman, author of Living the Secular Life

“Quick-paced irresistible logic laced through with Greta Christina’s humor, practical compassion, and love of life. In The Way of the Heathen, Greta Christina tackles topics that should feel like life's homework—justice, meaning, morality, death, love, struggle and sexuality—and somehow, by working her quirky magic, turns them into chunks of bedtime reading without losing nuance or depth.”

Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light

“Whether it’s politics, sex or Morris dancing, Greta Christina has the answers you've been searching for and the ones you didn't know you needed. She offers a succinct guide to life as a nonbeliever, describing all the joys and all the trials you're likely to face, from the mundane to the cosmic, and gives her patented and pithy wisdom on what to do when you’re in the midst of them. Whether you're a baby atheist or a secular elder, you'll find something here to amuse, enlighten, or change the way you think.”

Adam Lee, author of Daylight Atheism

“Engaged from the first page. While The Way of The Heathen abounds with anecdotes and analogies, what I take away most is Greta Christina’s nuanced, down-to-earth, around the breakfast table with a  cup of coffee manner of speech. As with her previous books, The Way of The Heathen speaks TO YOU, not at you—a gift not often bestowed upon readers by atheist authors. The book is dense with facts, but Greta Christina’s handling of scientific data, philosophical questioning doesn’t go over your head but instead moves you to question your current perspectives and beliefs in an abrupt but non-confrontational manner. It is an easy to read book that will challenge you in the most unexpected ways, whether you are a secularist, believer or somewhere in between.”

Bridgett Crutchfield, President and Founder, Black Nonbelievers of Detroit

“If you are a newcomer to atheism in America in the twenty-first century you will be glad to spend time with Greta Christina in her new book The Way of the Heathen. Written with clarity and humor, the book tours some of the key issues facing someone who has recently emerged from a life defined by Christian belief. Christina roots her exploration in her own experience of awakening from religious dogma, and her candor is one of the particularly strong aspects of this much-needed work."

Jennifer Michael Hecht, author of Doubt: A History

“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

“This is the best atheist book I've read. And no, I'm not just saying that because Greta and I are friends. How do atheists find meaning? How do we cope with death? Why does atheism demand social justice? Many books eloquently criticize religion, but far fewer attempt to tackle these types of tough questions. The Way of the Heathen doesn’t claim to be an atheist bible, but it does share invaluable insights and forces you to think deeply about a variety of difficult topics. Complete with Greta Christina’s sharp wit and humor, this thought-provoking book is a must-read for people all over the religious spectrum.”

Matthew Facciani, sociologist and activist

“An indispensible, fresh, fearlessly honest guide for new atheists, not-so-new atheists, and questioning believers for wrestling with the big questions, fighting the good fight and living the good life in our wonderful, terrible universe. From the subatomic world of the quarks in the atoms of your index finger to the enormous gigantitude of the known universe, take Greta’s hand and come learn why Augustine was full of crap, how to fall in love the atheist way, what 'Spock’s Brain' can tell us about religion, and the joy of creating meaning in your life.”

David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed and The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion series

Advance Praise


“A glorious celebration.”

—Dan Barker, author of Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning