Godless in America the book*
What readers are saying
John Bice of East Lansing, MI, author of A 21st Century Rationalist in Medieval America, says: Articulate, insightful, engaging, and refreshingly rational. Godless in America belongs in every atheist's library.
Bill Long of Crofton, MD, says: If you are a thinker-questioner, and you just cannot accept anything on blind faith, you will like this book.
Barbara Gilmore of Chittenden, VT, writes: This book touches everyone. Everyone seeking their own true belief should read it, and that includes the politically interested/involved; religious; non-religious; mystics; women's rights activists; stem cells and pink elephants. (Read the book to know what I mean)
Dianna Narciso of Palm Bay, FL author of Like Rolling Uphill: realizine the honesty of atheismstates: Here is another valuable addition to the atheist's library. She adds: But Ricker's dialogue will also engage religionists who are curious about what "the big deal" is with atheists and atheism.
Buy the book
Godless in America is available at most book retailers, including online booksellers like:
* Please note: apart from sharing part of a title, there is no connection between my book, Godless in America: conversations with an atheist and the Leslie Woodhead documentary, Godless in America, which is about the life and death of Madalyn Murray OHair and the continuation of the organization she founded, American Atheists.
Preview the book
A selection of sample pages can be previewed on Google Books at:
Godless in America: conversations with an atheist - Google Books Result
The Introduction Youre too nice and Chapter One: What about gods? can be read on the iUniverse web site at:
Browse before you buy
Why I wrote it:
I wrote Godless in America: conversations with an atheist with two goals in mind.
The first was to explain atheism, as I understand it, and to show how it can lead to a positive outlook. The second was to address the status of nonbelief in the United States and the dangers I see in the efforts of fundamentalist religionists to coopt our public institutuions.
In order to address those issues, I felt it necessary to critique some fundamental aspects of religions and to explain why I find them less than satisfactory. My intent was not to attack the religious beliefs of individuals but to discuss general religious concepts and some of the problems inherent in them. However, my book is not a scholarly tome on religions.
My overall objective was to explain my view of atheism and why I find it preferable to a religious perspective. It was not to provide another tiresome compendium of arguments against the various versions of the god idea or of the many contradictions and imbecilities to be found in the holy books of most religions. Nor did I have any interest in leading my readers down one or another of the metaphysical ratholes into which such discussions often vanish.
I wanted to write in plain English about atheism and gods and religions. I hoped the reader would find the conversational tone of the book to be inviting and would come away from it with, at a minimum, a greater appreciation of this atheist's view of things.
Godless in America was published in April 2006, so it came out before Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion, Daniel Dennett's Breaking the Spell and Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation. In a sense it has been eclipsed by those other titles. However, I think most of those who have found my little book have, for the most part, enjoyed the experience.
About the bookfrom the back cover:
"I spent the most of the first half of my life believing in Christianity and regarding belief in God as an essential component of human existence," George Ricker says. "I've spent the last 30 years trying to understand why I ever thought that way. This book is about how and why that process occurred. It's also about the danger posed to our democratic society by fundamentalist religion."
Godless in America is a testimonial about the advantages of life without gods and religions. It's also a no-holds-barred look at some of the problems with both concepts. Written in a style that is conversational, yet provocative, it is a candid assessment of the real culture war being fought in America today: the attack being waged by the Religious Right on the values of personal freedom, democratic government, and the necessity for all Americans to be treated as equals before the law and by their government.
At times humorous, at times outrageous, Godless in America treats religion and religious concepts as ideas that should be evaluated with the same standards used to evaluate all other ideas and concepts, not from the privileged position claimed by so many of a religious persuasion.
A shameless commercial pitch
I hope you will buy my book and give it a good look. If you like it, please recommend it to anyone else you think may be interested. Buy extra copies and give them as gifts to friends and relatives. Donate a copy to your local library. ;-)
I've chosen to publish this as a print-on-demand project because (a) frankly, most mainline publishers are afraid of this sort of thing; (b) even if I could find a publisher who would take on the project, they would probably want me to soften some of the commentary, and I won't do that; and (c) those two objections aside, publishers move at a glacial pace, even in the days of electronic media, and I don't want to wait that long.
The advantage of the POD approach is that it's quick, and I retain total control of the material (at least with iuniversethe POD publisher I choseI do). The disadvantage is that POD books don't get the distribution or the promotion that regular publications do. There are a lot of reasons for that. Chief among them is that book publishers have no real investment in the work and, consequently, no incentive to spend money on advertising, etc.
But you can help me promote my book. First, by buying it. Second, by talking it upassuming you think it's worthwhile. Finally, by calling bookstores and asking for it. Ask if they have it in stock. When they expect to. That sort of thing. They'll probably say you have to order it. If you have already purchased a copy, just say you'll check other places.
So that's my pitch. Any author needs an audience. With your help maybe I can reach one that's larger than it otherwise would be.
Whatever you decide to do, thanks for your time and your interest.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Youre too nice
My coming out story
some conceptions and misconceptions about atheism and atheists
matters of definition
goals and objectives.
Chapter One: What about gods?
The incoherence of the god idea
why it conveys no useful information
the real utility of gods and religions
god as non-answer.
Chapter Two: Whats the big deal?
Why atheism matters and to whom
the White House as headquarters for the Religious Right
poisoning the well of public discourse
the stem cell debate
defending democracy by standing up to the Religious Right.
Chapter Three: Realms of the spirit
The bamboozle of dualism
better whole than holy
the great Daytona wave
naturalism vs. mysticism
the sacred wood
science as a hymn to the capacity of human intelligence
the need for reason.
Chapter Four: Some minds on religion
The danger of delusion
some thoughts on 9/11
whose free will?
resurgent end times prophecies
impact of 9/11 on church attendance
testing the flocks
some other examples.
Chapter Five: Religions moral relativity
Considering the claim of divinely transmitted morals
the morality of the Bible
another take on God the father
what *absolute* morals?
morality as a product of human evolution
religious conceits and human values.
Chapter Six: My journey
From Christian to atheist
escaping the spell
the sunlight of reason
my life without gods or religions
an impossible God
a ludicrous story
a short history lesson
happier and more productive.
Chapter Seven: Fundamental errors
Why the Religious Right is wrong about separation of church and state
observations on Christianity and the colonies
a godless oath in a godless constitution
not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion
the Sunday mail debate
the right to freedom from religion.
Chapter Eight: Matters of faith
Faith vs. reason
no faith in science
leaping for the swami
on faith as evidence
the invisible chair
the doubtful apostle
no cosmic lifeboats
facing the end
a desparate claim.
Chapter Nine: Suffer the children
Raising children well
the attack on science
matters of health
matters of abuse
helping children find their way
preparing for adulthood
thriving without the ghosts of religion.
Chapter Ten: A godless life
Finding meaning without gods
the illusion of permanence
making life count
on God the trivial
holy snipe hunt
no claim of certainty
a freethinkers wish list
the negativity of religion
godlessness as a starting point.