REVIEW: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? by Greta Christina

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars, Genre: Non-Fiction/ Skepticism/ Religious Criticism, Pages: 184, Level: Intermediate

Description from Barnes & Noble:

Why are atheists angry? Is it because they’re selfish, joyless, lacking in meaning, and alienated from God? Or is it because they have legitimate reasons to be angry- and are ready to do something about it? Armed with passionate outrage, absurdist humor, and calm intelligence, popular blogger Greta Christina makes a powerful case for outspoken atheist activism, and explains the empathy and justice that drive it. This accessible, personal, down-to-earth book speaks not only to atheists, but also to believers who want to understand the so-called new atheism. Why Are You Atheists So Angry? drops a bombshell on the destructive force of religious faith- and gives a voice to millions of angry atheists.

I’m not saying that religion should be outlawed; I’m just saying we’d all be better off without it. This could have been the sub-sub-title. And Christina is not just talking about organized religion, she actually has a chapter titled “Yes, This Means You: “Spiritual but Not Religious.”” So according to her, even being spiritual is harmful and makes her angry. Yes, you read that correctly- spirituality makes her angry.

And talk about repetition. And talk about repetition. Reality check! Let’s just say there is an abundance of recycled arguments. The book would have been shorter, and more enjoyable, if she had labeled the arguments and wrote, “Insert position A here.”

Something else that is completely lacking- footnotes and sources. Christina makes assertions such as, “Moderate religion is in the minority. The oppressive, intolerant, reality-denying forms of religion are far more common, and far better at perpetuating themselves,” but then doesn’t provide statistics to back her claim or her source of information. I’m not saying that the above is not accurate; I don’t know if it is because I haven’t looked it up. There’s a reason God invented footnotes.

I would like to comment on her arguments, which did have a little affect on the rating. Christina frequently resorts to the same flawed logic- God doesn’t exist because religion is messed up, diminishing, inconsistent, etc. And it amazes me how often this argument is used as if it holds any water. Newsflash- pointing out the inconsistencies in the Bible or the flaws of religion does not prove God does not exist. I am surprised that so few recognize this flawed logic. And since most of this book concentrates on religion and the Bible, it pretty much invalidates a good portion of her arguments against the existence of God. Religion and the existence of God are not interchangeable, yet that is exactly what Christina does. In all fairness, she is not the only one; It is still no excuse.

Then she tries to simplify things for those of us who are just too dense to understand her intellectual arguments, by making an analogy to Santa. It is one of the absolute worst analogies I have ever heard. In fact, it is the first time I have heard this argument and I understand why. It’s embarrassingly awful.

To be fair, I guess I should comment on what I did like about Why Are You Atheists So Angry. I did enjoy the Project Runway line. I like that it is an equal opportunity complaint; even Buddhism is not safe. I like the long list of the resources and books at the end. I like the idea; it was a good one. And the thing I like most about this book is the following quote, which is also one of my favorite quotes of all time (thanks for that Christina, along with the laugh): “It’s one gigantic mutual admiration society.” She’s talking about atheism, right? I just couldn’t resist.

Look, I’ll be honest with you. I feel cheated. I wanted succinct, intelligent points. I wanted reasons for atheist anger, not whining. I was even interested in how she proposes atheists attempt to convert believers. I originally addressed this section but decided to just let it go. I do have one suggestion- instead of asking converts, maybe she should have tracked down some open minded true believers and asked them what would convince them. We are out here you know. What I felt I got was a book that should have been 100 pages and ended up with 80 pages of filler because the editor said it was too short. I would have preferred short.

I could go on and on, but when I add together the time I spent reading the book, making notations and writing this review, not only have I done this book justice, but I think I dedicated more time to it than it deserves. So I’ll wind it up and get back to Hitchen’s The Portable Atheist. Even though I think Christina botched the execution, she had a few really good points in Why Are You Atheists So Angry. So she gets a couple of stars for that, for the initial idea and for providing me with another quote to add to my list of all time favorites. Despite these two stars, I will recommend that readers continue to focus on Hitchens and Dawkins (I haven’t read Harris yet) and pray that someone else covers this topic better.

Reviewed by Christina

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