Thoughts about Nothing!

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  1. Podcast Episode
  2. Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God by Greta Christina
  3. 13 Quotes for a Positive Life
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I love Greta Christina, and this little book is as great as you'd expect her work to be. Because it's composed of a number of essays that appeared separately, there's a lot of repetition in phrasing that got on my nerves, but I think I'm just being picky. Some great t I love Greta Christina, and this little book is as great as you'd expect her work to be. Some great tidbits in this very short collection, and I think it would have the biggest impact on someone who hasn't thought all that much about atheism, or who might be on the fence. Feb 06, John de' Medici rated it liked it.

Some folk have it worse than you do, that is undoubtedly a fact. Is it comforting to remind yourself of this when you're down? Maybe that's the issue I had with this book, Yes! I don't know Maybe someone finds comfort in them, maybe I'm just not so easily comforted, Maybe it's just as Woody Allen put it: Whatever Works!

Apr 14, Ryan Smith added it. For a buck 50 one audible it was the the shortest but maybe most important books to help cope with with death in a world where I am conscious about reality. Sep 09, Justin Tapp rated it it was ok Shelves: philosophy , psychology. This review and my review of Lewis' book should be read in parallel.

The author has two missions with this book, the first is to put forth an atheist philosophy on death and grief and to be critical of Christian approaches to death and Christian disrespect toward atheists who are mourning. She definitely has an axe to grind as far as Christians are concerned. I think the book is shallow on the philosophy side because the author never bothers to engage with the vast amount that has been written by philosophers over the ages.

Wouldn't one want to quote Aristotle, Aquinas, anybody? But she does little of this, reasoning on her own and making logical errors along the way. At least show your manuscript to someone with a degree in philosophy for editing Christina writes that loss and death mark the passing of time, they're necessary for progress. If things stayed as they were then we would have no new technology, no new points of view. Death, then, is essentially the opposite side of the coin of progress.

We want a progressive world that changes, and death is what makes it possible. There is "no meaning" to death, and the atheist can "take comfort" in this. To an atheist there is no objective meaning to life-- we are all just a collection of molecules which will one day be spread about the universe. There is no soul, no afterlife, no eternity that we'll consciously be a part of. She writes that "We create our own meaning for life. Maybe I think your meaning for life is incorrect, when we all create our own "meaning" then there is no objective measure.

Why do we bother trying to rescue or resuscitate someone we've found in a suicide attempt? To follow Christina's logic, the proper thing to do would be to allow that person to assign their own value and meaning to life and allow them to die since they obviously assigned less value to living than they did dying. Similarly, perhaps I have power and deem you to be a threat to my value of life, your molecules are not as good as mine.

Then why shouldn't I simply scatter your molecules abroad without consequence? Christina does not seem that well-read or have had a course on logic, she doesn't understand that not all ideas are equally valid. She, like Lightman, writes that "life is precious" but does not explain why-- if life and death have no absolute meaning then how can she call it "precious?

She mentions Christian philosopher William Lane Craig but appears not to have read him. Yet, somehow for the author the "finality of death gives meaning and motivation to life. Is the goal to mark as much off your "bucket list" as possible? But again, life is absurd if we're simply a random collection of molecules who happen to exist in a state we consider "consciousness" for a brief moment of time. Why obey anyone's laws if I think I know better than they do? What right do you have to tell me otherwise?

If I truly have no fear of the consequences of my actions because there is no eternity to deal with them, then I am likely to take actions that Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins argue radical Christians and Muslims take in the name of religion. Christina is correct to point out that Christians seem logically inconsistent in their grieving, which is one reason I wanted to explore a theology of mourning and found C.

Lewis' book rather satisfying. Why do Christians mourn the loss of fellow Christians if they think they're in a heavenly paradise? Why do they take such extreme measures to keep people like Terry Schiavo alive? In some cases, the author suffers from fundamental attribution error-- the sample of Christians she has seen may not be representative of the whole.

Christians know that we do not mourn as those who have no hope 1 Cor. We can grieve because we see daily reminders of the consequence of sin-- that is why death exists in the first place. But we ultimately embrace the promises of Romans 8, that God is working everything for His glory, our good, and that He knows best. But she cites an interesting study suggesting a negative correlation between after-life belief and end-of-life medical expenditures, wills, and living wills. If true, it suggests hypocrisy among believers, a callousness toward the costs their deaths will impose on loved ones.

The author ultimately errs, like many Americans, in making her starting point theologically to be herself. The Bible that Christians read says that God does things to bring glory to Himself and that man exists to glorify God and by enjoy ing Him forever. The starting point our theology should be God and not ourself. The author clearly errs and accuses God of being a "cosmic jerk," to put it mildly-- she's pretty profane in her accusations.

Podcast Episode

This extends to her understanding of the Christian afterlife, she agrees with Christopher Hitchens that heaven "sounds like North Korea," where people must be brainwashed to be ignorant or unmindful of their loved ones who supposedly are burning in hell for eternity. This, again, makes our comfort and happiness above that of God's.

It is difficult to comprehend, I agree, but the Bible shows us that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. Our love for Him and satisfaction in His glory, is such as to outweigh the pain we might feel-- here in this life or there. God wipes away every tear Rev There is also much written about eternally learning and exploring the new earth, it's not like we're not still growing holistically after we die. The author fully acknowledges the fear of death by atheists as "natural," it's biological instinct towards self-preservation.

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But atheists ultimately have it easier, death is just death and there are no consequences to think about. But she rejects her understanding of the Christian view of the afterlife. She cites many examples of Christians who were callous towards atheists who had died, ignoring their explicit written wishes not to be eulogized by a pastor, for example. She does show a misunderstanding of the Gospel, that we do nothing to merit God's grace and our sins are forgiven because of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. He has conquered death, so it has no "sting" 1 Cor. So, in many areas she is attacking a straw man of a false gospel.

Paul wrote in Romans 1, and Christians therefore believe, that creation is evidence of God's power and provision for all, so that no man has an excuse for not believing in God. Christina admonishes the Christian that this simply isn't true-- the "no atheists in foxholes" bit is a lie. When she is grieving the loss of someone, she simply does not want some rude Christian to tell her what he thinks she's actually thinking.

I respect her statement, my own youthful callousness comes to mind. Lewis writes, grief is not a state but a process, and that process deserves respect and not a sermon. But I have to side with Romans 1, ultimately. If your statement that "life is precious" logically contradicts your statement that life has no objective meaning or value and therefore "death has no meaning," then I think you are ignoring the contradictions-- suppressing truth.

In all, I give this book 2 stars out of 5. I might give it to someone to illustrate an example of shallow and incomplete philosophy with logical contradictions and whose conclusions are unsatisfying to me. It doesn't matter if it comes from a physicist with a PhD or a well-meaning woman who makes valid points about the logically inconsistent behavior within the sample of religious people she has encountered.

I'd love to invite her to experience life for a while with those who believe they have found it more abundantly John Aug 05, Rachel rated it liked it Shelves: audiobooks. My main criticism is the author seems to spend more time pulling apart reasons why religion is in her view, falsely comforting to people than focusing on the comforts that can be found outside of religion. If it brings another comfort, whether or not it is in fact true, it just seems mean to poke holes in the logic.

Apr 29, Jenna Owens rated it really liked it. Half about seeking comfort from death as a non-believer, and another half debunking the argument that religion offers comforting thoughts about death. Really enjoyable and comforting - though I think a bit repetitive at times.

Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do with God by Greta Christina

I particularly like the idea of death as being a deadline and how this way of thinking can motivate us to reach our goals faster and stop procrastinating. More motivation for moving to Madagascar :. Jan 10, Joe Farhaven rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction. This is an incredible book with enormous depth of comfort and perspective.

13 Quotes for a Positive Life

While it is unabashedly atheist, it presents ways of looking at our existence that I had never considered. If you are an atheist, you must read this book. If not, you may find it interesting if you can look past the atheist bent. Jun 09, Amanda Brent rated it liked it. I found the execution and writing style rather poor, but the main ideas good. May 25, Todd Martin rated it liked it Shelves: atheism-religion-philosophy. Those of us who are atheists have no illusions that our consciousness will survive the death of our bodies. All the laws of physics and chemistry point to the fact that our all too brief time in the world is all that there is, and that following our deaths we will return to the same state as that which preceded our births … non-existence.

I also suspect that many if not most religious observers have trouble swallowing this fiction as well. In their heart of hearts they surely suspect the end is the end. Truly, knowledge of our own mortality is the cruelest of realities. I think most of us deal with this inevitability by ignoring it much of the time, or at best, not thinking about it too deeply read The Denial of Death for an extended treatment of this topic. But perhaps there are some ways of viewing our mortality that can bring comfort to those with a naturalistic world-view?

Christina does a serviceable job given the subject matter. The finality of death can certainly help us prioritize the time allotted to us in life and some may perhaps find solace in the idea that we will live on in the memories of others for a time after we die. The weather was marginal with gusty winds that were considered risky for a parachute that could potentially collapse. Feb 08, Lance Schonberg rated it really liked it Shelves: philosophy. This is a collection of short essays blog posts gleaned from her website.

And another.

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In fact, one of the primary missions of this book seems to be to point out the inconsistencies in Christian belief around death and the application of their teachings and scriptures. Christina in particular, has an opinion of you that you might find surprisingly low. The author makes a number of great observations about the religious desire to tell you that you need religion to deal with death and tragedy, completely ignoring how inappropriate and even insulting the mindless repetition is to a non-believer.

But a lot of the essays in the book also talk about her personal experiences with the loss of loved ones and pets which, for you non-companion animal folks, is absolutely a big deal. Not so much the gritty details of the deaths themselves, but her thought processes in working through them. These are the areas the book really shines, the places where the reader can actually learn to see that there is comfort and compassion to be had and given. For me, I think the most important point she makes in the book is the first one, and something we should all be aware of anyway: life is limited and change is inherent in the passage of time.

Death is a big change, and one we all have to wrap our heads around at some point. Probably at many some points. Overall rating: 4 stars. For less recent atheists, it may help you find the words and concepts to deal better with the well-intentioned or not religious people around you when a death affects your life. Jan 27, Sierra rated it it was amazing. After the passing of my father two years ago, I was faced a challenge I didn't expect - I struggled with my beliefs.

I was inundated with religious words from people in my life "Just pray. He's with God now. I watched as some of my family members turned to their faith for strength, like my grandmother who looked at my father, bearded and with long hair, and said he looked like Jesus as he laid still on his deathbed.

I was given religious material from t After the passing of my father two years ago, I was faced a challenge I didn't expect - I struggled with my beliefs. I was given religious material from the funeral home in an attempt to help guide my brother and I through what would be an incredibly emotional time for us. Despite the good intentions behind these encounters, they did not help.

She enjoys painting, a hefty taco and discovering new music. The best Positive Quotes I have come across in the recent times!!! Related: 15 Uplifting Quotes for Positive Vibes You can train your mind to embrace the bright side of things. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything. Saint Teresa of Avila. Love Alone Best God. With integrity, you have nothing to fear, since you have nothing to hide.

With integrity, you will do the right thing, so you will have no guilt. Zig Ziglar. It's such a funny thing when you see your daughter transitioning from your baby, your little girl, to suddenly being a young woman. If you're not really looking for it, you can miss it, and Lily-Rose is on that road already, and there's nothing I can do to stop it. Johnny Depp. Funny Girl Daughter You. The most important thing is God's blessing and if you believe in God and you believe in yourself, you have nothing to worry about. Mohamed Al-Fayed.

Blessing Yourself God You. We are not a typical family that goes for a movie on Sunday or has dinner together every night. But we are strong as the Great Wall of China. Nothing can stop us from supporting one another and enduring each other's pain as well. Alia Bhatt. Family Together Pain Great.

The point is that when I see a sunset or a waterfall or something, for a split second it's so great, because for a little bit I'm out of my brain, and it's got nothing to do with me. I'm not trying to figure it out, you know what I mean? And I wonder if I can somehow find a way to maintain that mind stillness. Chris Evans. Sunset Me You Great. I'm just going to go live life. I'm going to go enjoy life. I have nothing left to hide. I am kind of a free person, a free soul. Caitlyn Jenner. In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Theodore Roosevelt. Best Moment You Decision. Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude. Lou Holtz. Positive Attitude You Mind. Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong. Narayana Murthy. Change You Growth Painful. I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed. Robert H. Motivational Great Succeed Than Fail.

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