Susie Bright: Greta Christina and Her Godless Pursuits

200812181109 Greta Christina is the editor of Best Erotic Comics 2008, and the author of "Deprogramming," an erotic short story from my new anthology

The plot is about physical and sexual abuse in a religious cult... and a couple who escapes from the "pod" and begins to consensually re-enact some of the same rituals.
I've known Greta since we both worked at On Our Backs in our babyhood, but at that time, oddly, I had no idea she could write.

Now, I'm trying to make up for lost time...

Greta, has any of your writing been produced in popular movies?

Well, I wrote the narration for a video how-to guide on electrical sex toys, titled "Our Friend the Volt."

You were raised as an atheist, but when do you remember being fascinated with the "cult" experience?

I wouldn't describe myself as fascinated by cults, although I do find religion to be a compelling subject.

It sounds like you want to know is what inspired me to write this piece. It's not a very nice story, but it is a true one, so I'll tell it.

I was watching a documentary about Jim Jones (of Jonestown fame) and his People's Temple. At the point in the story where things were starting to go wrong in the church, it said that members who disobeyed the rules were punished by being spanked.

It's a terrible story. They described the incidents -- and what they called "spanked," I would call "badly beaten." But there's a deeply ingrained part of my mind and my libido that inevitably gets turned on when I hear the word "spank,"  that starts to conjure erotic images and stories. So I found myself having sexual fantasies about this scenario... while at the same time being horrified by it and ashamed for being turned on by it.

My story isn't specifically about the People's Temple. It's about a fictional religious cult that I made up. But it's definitely influenced by real cults that I've read about...

Does your family know about your erotic writing? Have they read it?

I've asked my family not to, actually. My porn is like a window into my libido, and it crosses a boundary for me to have my family looking through that window. I don't want my family to know what I think about when I jerk off. Call me old-fashioned.

Have you written any Manifestos?

Definitely. Many times. In my blog. Probably the best known and widest read is "Atheists and Anger" -- an attempt to answer, in detail, the question, "Why are you atheists so angry?"

Has your work ever been "made an example of"?

Oh, yes.

The best example: I wrote a piece a few years back for The Skeptical Inquirer, called "Comforting Thoughts About Death That Have Nothing to Do With God."

I can't make myself believe in things I don't actually believe -- Heaven, or reincarnation, or a greater divine plan for our lives -- simply because believing those things would make death easier to accept. And I don't think I have to, or that anyone has to.

I think there are ways to think about death that are comforting, that give peace and solace, that allow our lives to have meaning and even give us more of that meaning -- and that have nothing whatsoever to do with any kind of God, or any kind of afterlife.

I started ego-Googling my name and the title of the piece... and found that several Christian ministers were quoting from the piece out of context, as an example of how even atheists admit that life without the promise of life after death is bleak and hopeless.

They would quote a part at the beginning, where I talk about how atheism seems to offer no comfort in the face of death. And they would completely ignore the entire point of the piece... which is that, while that might seem on the surface to be the case, it most emphatically is not.

When I find this happening, I write to these ministers; I point out that they're quoting me as saying the exact opposite of what I'm actually saying. I remind them about the commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Exodus 20:16).

More of Susie's interviews -- dozens of them -- with erotic writers here.

(Susie Bright is a guest blogger)


  1. Well, I think that Greta misunderstands the context in which some evangelicals will quote statements like this.

    When a minister quotes something like this they are trying to say, “Hey look: Here’s someone who doesn’t believe in God expressing what they don’t realize is a need for God”.

    As for me, for the Black evangelical churches I attend when I return to NYC twice a year, the concept or belief in an actual Diety is almost secondary: The evangelicals have tapped into an almost tribal human function…the Plethora as Jung would call it. This is, I think, almost sexual in a way insofar as the corporate singing and preaching is a very all-encompassing experience, pulling in the mind and feelings and even, to some extent, the body.

    Or at least that’s what I think after I’ve had several glasses of wine…

  2. Keeper: it depends on the intent of the minister. If they’re saying “this atheist is defining what the need for God is, though she doesn’t realize it,” then they’re only being a little dishonest, because Greta’s article is actually about how the need to be comforted by the idea of God can be replaced by other comforting ideas that don’t involve God at all.

    But if they’re saying “this atheist admits that the prospect of death is bleak without the idea of God”, then they’re lying their pants off by quotemining the article to misrepresent Greta’s intent.

    I expect Greta is competent enough to distinguish between the two.

  3. Greta: I’ll make you a deal. Tweak your page formatting so that the text of your blog entry doesn’t take up approximately 1/10th the width of a decent LCD monitor, and I’ll put $40 into a Fark classified link for you. :) Let me know if interested.

    Right now your content is a 10/10, and the readability is a solid 2.

  4. I tend to assume when I read someone being quoted (in a non-academic scenario) that they have been taken out of context – it’s much more simple that way. True, sometimes it is an accurate and reasonable representation, but mostly it’s to support an invalid case.

    My own personal favourite example is the idea that Karl Marx supported untrammelled Communism and that Adam Smith supported untrammelled Capitalism – read their work and you’ll see that neither is the case! But they are now such useful shorthands that people imagine that’s what they believed.

  5. I periodically re-read Atheists and Anger as an antidote to the rantings of atheists who do nothing but spew hatred and bigotry towards all theists. It is, in my opinion, a well-phrased and well-targeted piece that everyone should read at least once. Every time I read it I come away willing to do everything in my power to support freedom of (and from) religion in my country.


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