Buy 'Godless in America'
Buy 'mere atheism'
My Blog/What's New
To the religious
Irreconcilable Differences
A violation by prayer
Answering atheism's critics
Arguing the inarguable
Baloney detection
Sagan remembered
Capitol gods, historical fictions
Chance, Karma, etc
Columbine: 5 years after
Thoughts on abortion
Divine fictions
Dueling billboards
Economic cold turkey
Election reforms
Excommunicating reason
Finding the line
The First and the 10
Freedom of the press
Friday night at Curry's
From the shores of Tripoli
Garbled 'God'
Genes don't care
Fooled again?
The Gifts We Give
'God' and the pro athlete
God losing its religions
Spotting monkey traps
Inaugurating change
ID facts and fictions
A last rite
Let us think
Lethal bliss
Memo concerning a wall
mere atheism
My left lung
Mythic Lies
The numbers game
On 'atheist' atrocities
Only words
Out of the mainstream
Q&A Dialogue with a Christian
The real war
Rebutting Rabbi Gellman
Storm story
Rosa's 'No'
Rethinking the 'A' word
Same-sex marriage
See no evil
Signs signal changing times
Sitting still?
Tom Paine
Trouble with miracles
The trouble with NOMA
Under sail
Voting for bigotry
What the thunder says
When atheists attack
When faith trumps reason
Why Darwin was right
GIA errata
e-mail me

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 atheism—states: “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 O’Hair 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 “You’re 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 book—from 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 iuniverse—the POD publisher I chose—I 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 up—assuming 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.

What’s inside:

Table of Contents

Introduction: You’re 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: What’s the big deal?
Why atheism matters and to whom…pink elephants…the White House as headquarters for the Religious Right…pietistic politicians…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…mystics’ delight…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: Religion’s moral relativity
Considering the claim of divinely transmitted morals…the morality of the Bible…another take on “God the father”…what *absolute* morals?…irresponsible gods…morality as a product of human evolution…religious conceits and human values.

Chapter Six: My journey
From Christian to atheist…a question…escaping the spell…the “sunlight” of reason…my life without gods or religions…an impossible “God”…a ludicrous story…disagreeing Christians…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…Jefferson’s declaration…amending liberty…”not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion”…the Sunday mail debate…Jefferson’s “Wall”…”under God”…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…secular schools…the attack on science…matters of health…matters of abuse…proselytizing children…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…a testimonial…on “God” the trivial…holy snipe hunt…no claim of certainty…my mistake…a freethinker’s wish list…the negativity of religion…godlessness as a starting point.

|Home| |About| |Buy 'Godless in America'| |Buy 'mere atheism'| |My Blog/What's New| |To the religious| |Irreconcilable Differences| |A violation by prayer| |Answering atheism's critics| |Arguing the inarguable| |Baloney detection| |Sagan remembered| |Capitol gods, historical fictions| |Chance, Karma, etc| |Columbine: 5 years after| |On "The New Atheism"| |Thoughts on abortion| |Disagreeable| |Divine fictions| |Dueling billboards| |Economic cold turkey| |Election reforms| |Excommunicating reason| |Finding the line| |The First and the 10| |Freedom of the press| |Friday night at Curry's| |From the shores of Tripoli| |Garbled 'God'| |Genes don't care| |Fooled again?| |The Gifts We Give| |'God' and the pro athlete| |God losing its religions| |Spotting monkey traps| |Inaugurating change| |ID facts and fictions| |A last rite| |Let us think| |Lethal bliss| |Memo concerning a wall| |mere atheism| |Mockingbird| |My left lung| |Mythic Lies| |The numbers game| |Obama| |On 'atheist' atrocities| |Only words| |Out of the mainstream| |Poems| |Q&A Dialogue with a Christian| |The real war| |Rebutting Rabbi Gellman| |Storm story| |Rosa's 'No'| |R*E*S*P*E*C*T| |Rethinking the 'A' word| |Same-sex marriage| |See no evil| |Signs signal changing times| |Sitting still?| |Tom Paine| |Trouble with miracles| |The trouble with NOMA| |Under sail| |Voting for bigotry| |What the thunder says| |When atheists attack| |When faith trumps reason| |WhiningforJesus| |Wholeness| |Why Darwin was right| |GIA errata| |Links|