The Problem with Buying Atheist Books

This is why I never get to go on dates with the cute women who work at Borders:

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Next time I buy hardcore atheist books, I’ll just include a copy of The Shack to confuse the hell out of the cashier.

That’s when I’ll make my move.

(via The Redheaded Skeptic)

  • http://blaghag.blogspot.com/ Jennifurret

    Something Positive = Best Comic Evah

    But yeah, buying an atheist book is always awkward for me. Working up the nerve to buy the God Delusion in my town was a big step for me. Not that I was hoping to hit on the cashier or anything; I just didn’t want to get lynched.

    Hemant, I’m starting to feel an air of desperation in your posts, since about 70% of them now reference cute atheist chicks. I think someone needs to set you up on a blind date already or something.

  • ungullible

    Interesting. I had the opposite experience at a Borders Express in King of Prussia, PA. I bought a copy of The God Delusion, and the cashier girl was quite chatty and gave it a very favorable review.

  • http://hoverfrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Next time I buy hardcore atheist books, I’ll just include a copy of The Shack to confuse the hell out of the cashier.

    Don’t. It is the worst sort of nonsense imaginable and a waste of ink and paper.

    Funny comic though.

  • littlejohn

    I, too, have had very positive experiences in bookstores. I’ve worked in two bookstores, both in very red states, and bookstore employees tend to be very liberal about both religious and sexual matters. Lots of gays and/or atheists, in my experience. I’ve never felt self-conscious buying any book or magazine. After all, THEY’RE the ones selling it!

  • http://seantheblogonaut.com Sean the Blogonaut

    You think its hard trying to buy atheist books. I bought a book entitled the “porn report” luckily I knew the girl at the register :)

    Never have any trouble buying atheist books indeed my bookstore suggests stuff to me. It’s not Borders though :)

  • Todd

    Totally off topic, but I remember browsing through the woefully inadequate philosophy section at a local B&N and eavesdropping on some irate customer complaining to a poor employee that putting a display of books on Buddhism at the end of the Christian section was highly offensive and bigoted against Christians. I did my good deed for the day by interrupting her rant, excusing myself, and grabbing a copy the Diamond Sutra off the shelf in front of her. She stormed off in a huff, but the employee gave my a very nice look of gratitude.

  • medussa

    @Todd:
    Love it. So simple, non effective, so…. non-confrontational. I mean, what is she going to say? “How dare you?”

  • http://anotherguy.us AnotherGuy

    The Shack isn’t a Christian book…. It’s retarded.

  • Anne

    Now Hemant, you know it wouldn’t be 5 minutes before that cute chick started asking you what your sun sign was.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    Now Hemant, you know it wouldn’t be 5 minutes before that cute chick started asking you what your sun sign was.

    Haha — So true…

  • http://www.humanistmom.com Marf

    Fortunately I think the demographics of skeptics verses heavily religious people is more a division of age than gender. These days I meet more and more young women who are skeptics. And, incidentally, cute. ;-)

  • http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ Greta Christina

    I just want to say this:

    “Shut Up About Your God: How to Live Around Pushy Fundamentalists and Not Kill Them (If You’re Really Against Murder)”?

    Is anyone else bitterly disappointed that this book doesn’t exist?

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I WANT THAT BOOK!

  • http://www.anatheist.net James

    I wonder what the cashier would say if I tried to buy ‘[The God Delusion’ and ‘Mere Christianity’ at the same time. The only problem with this idea is that I do not want to buy Mere Christianity (and not just because I got a copy of it for free already).

  • Jeff Flowers

    I work part time at Barnes & Noble and I have two experiences that are personally funny to me. Here they are:

    1. A guy asked me to help him find a religious book. As we were walking to the section, he was telling me that it was a book about an atheist who found God. I said nothing and just smiled.

    He then asked me what kind of books I read. I told him the same kind of books, only going in the opposite direction (I was reading Losing My Religion at the time).

    2. I was helping a lady find a book when, for whatever reason, she felt compelled to tell me an atheist joke.

    “What do you get when you cross an atheist and a dyslexic?”

    “What?”, I asked.

    “A person who doesn’t believe in Dog!”

    We laughed together and I told her that, even though I was an atheist, I thought it was a pretty funny joke. She stopped laughing and didn’t ask for any further assistance.

  • http://newref.blogspot.com James W

    Is it that strange to buy books on atheism and religion at the same time? Am I the only one to do this? I recently re-read The God Delusion and Donald Miller’s Blue like Jazz at the same time. Before that, Dan Baker’s Godless and Shane Claiborne’s Jesus for President. Also had a book on Confucius in there somewhere.

  • Jeff Flowers

    I don’t think its strange, James.

  • MaleficVTwin

    The Shack looks like it would make me vomit.

  • http://hoverFrog.wordpress.com hoverFrog

    Is it that strange to buy books on atheism and religion at the same time?

    Isn’t buying a book on atheism the exact same thing as buying a book on religion? It is simply a different stance on religion.

    At home I’ve got a bookshelf for non-fiction that includes a shelf for philosophy and religious discussion. Included on this shelf is The God Delusion, Letter to a Christian Nation, I Sold My Soul on eBay (of course) and several others but also a couple of books by the Dalai Lama. I put the mythology on a different shelf which includes an awful lot of bibles for some reason, two Bhagavad Gitas, two collections of Nostradamus “predictions” (my unwife and I combined book collections), several books on animism and early religion, a book on the geographical spread of faith, quite a lot on Norse and Greek mythology.

    Fiction has it’s own bookshelves. I don’t put religion with fiction because it wasn’t written as fiction. It was written as cultural mythology, not as entertainment.

    I don’t know why bookshops can’t just change their display systems to match my own. It would be so much more convenient for me.

  • http://sinnersaintshiksa.blogspot.com/ Modern Girl

    It’s hard for me to relate to this at all. Maybe in Canada it’s not the same, or maybe I feel more secure.

    When I do feel a similar sort of thing, is when I buy Jewish books. I’m always afriad the cashier is going to sneer at me for being a shiksa. I ususally try to go to the cashier wearing a hijab when I buy overtly Jewish books.

  • Jeff Satterley

    hoverFrog:

    It is the worst sort of nonsense imaginable and a waste of ink and paper.

    The only thing worse than reading The Shack for me was reading a Neale Donald Walsch book, that a friend gave me (we swapped books; I gave her “The End of Faith”). Well, part of it, I couldn’t make it more than 100 pages into Tomorrow’s God without wanting to rip it to shreds and set it on fire. Here’s just a sample:

    “Pre-serving” is what you choose to be and what you choose to do before consciously choosing anything. You serve this choice first, before anything that you consciously choose in life. This is pre-serving.

    That which you pre-serve, you preserve.

    You save it.

    He then goes on to talk about the four levels of consciousness/creation/total BS. The comments on Amazon are even more vapid and idiotic.

    The Shack is exactly the same; 200 pages of the author using God as a mouthpiece for his own spiritual musings, which no longer need an reasoning or evidence behind them, since, come on, it’s God saying them (You wouldn’t question GOD, would you?!). Then throw in completely vacuous statements that sound deep and spiritual, and Christians fall all over themselves reading this tripe.

  • Brooks

    Despite living in the bible belt, I haven’t had any problems with cashiers when buying atheist books yet. Even when I asked one of them with help finding Bart D Ehrman’s new book Jesus Interrupted, she was very helpful and didn’t say anything about the content of the book. Speaking of atheist books, are there any good ones to recommend reading? So far I’ve read The God Delusion, The End Of Faith, God Is Not Great, Misquoting Jesus, Jesus Interrupted, and the Portable Atheist. In particular, I’m looking for something not written by the New Atheists. Not that I don’t like the New Atheists, I’m just looking for something that’s different.

  • http://lepouseturningtide.blogspot.com/ Julie Ward

    I have a suspicion that my local indie book store has put me on their black list. I’ve purchased two atheist books there, both of which had to be ordered because they don’t carry them, and now I’ve sent two emails to them inquiring about a third but haven’t had a response which is very unusual for them. Maybe I’m just paranoid, but it’s a little weird when they’ve never given me any problems in the past with any other non-controversial books I’ve purchased from them. Now looks like I’m forced to go back to Borders and stop supporting a local business I had “faith” in :-(

  • GullWatcher

    Then throw in completely vacuous statements that sound deep and spiritual, and Christians fall all over themselves reading this tripe.

    Have you read any of the one-star reviews for “The Shack”? A whole lot of Christians are hating this book, and mostly because the god in it just isn’t nasty enough. No hell, no damnation, no punishment – what kind of weak lily-livered pathetic excuse for a god is this? It’s damn sure not our god! Etc…

    Many of the Christian reviewers seem to consider this a very dangerous book, too. Not because it’s prose so bad as to make your eyes bleed, mind you, but because other Christians might be let astray and forget how vindictive god is, and come to harm. Oh, the horrors!

  • http://www.somethingpositive.net R.K. Milholland

    I’m glad you enjoyed the strip! I’ve had a lot of emails asking (hoping?) that book is real.

  • Jeff Satterley

    Have you read any of the one-star reviews for “The Shack”? A whole lot of Christians are hating this book, and mostly because the god in it just isn’t nasty enough.

    Doesn’t surprise me, its exactly the same thing with Walsch’s book. There are 4 1-star reviews on that book, and all the complaints are that its a blasphemous, false gospel (nobody mentions the ridiculous logic, or lack thereof). One of them even quotes James Dobson.

    It’s actually quite fun to read through some of the comment threads. It’s like listening to people argue about how many magic beans Jack needed to grow his beanstalk.

  • Rodger

    Brooks, try Bertrand Russell’s, “Why I am not a Christian”.


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