In his new book, A 21st Century Rationalist in Medieval America: Essays on Religion, Science, Morality, and the Bush Administration, (a collection of his newspaper opinion columns--highly critical of religion, faith, and the Bush administration--published between 2002 and 2006), John Bice demonstrates that it is possible to present religious criticism from an unapologetically secular perspective to a mainstream readership.
In the author's words:
Books on atheism, god and religious criticism have enjoyed unprecedented commercial success recently. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, and Letter To A Christian Nation, by Sam Harris are both New York Times best-sellers. However, despite the newfound popularity of atheist writing, average Americans continue to have little exposure to such works and the arguments they contain.
The best way to broaden the understanding of atheism, and undermine persistent cultural taboos against religious criticism, is for openly godless writers to contribute opinion columns and letters to the editor in newspapers across the country. Such writing often sparks ongoing debate, and motivates other atheists and secularists to speak out.
My main motivation for writing and publishing the book was to encourage other atheist writers to participate in local media. The book is an attempt to demonstrate that involvement in mainstream media is possible, and provides one example of how it can be done.
"Chock full of insights about the nature of religious dogmatism and its harmful incursions into the public arena--including education, science, and foreign policy. John Bice's rationalist writings give new meaning to the phrase 'Midwestern sensibilities.'"
- Jeffrey M. Wooldridge Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor, Michigan State University
"An incisive and wide-ranging critique of biblical inerrancy, religious dogma and faith-based conservatism. The reader will find a host of logical, fact-based arguments which deflate all manner of non-empirical pieties, too many of which pass for conventional wisdom these days. Bice's book will stand rationalists, skeptics and progressives in good stead in their quest for a new Enlightenment in America."
- Thomas W. Clark, director of the Center for Naturalism
"The author defines his writing style as, 'often confrontational, acerbic, and blunt.' The essays are just that ... I find the book strong, and, yes, blunt. This will provide you with many arguing points, and I recommend it for that purpose."
- James 'The Amazing' Randi, investigator and demystifier of paranormal, supernatural and pseudoscientific claims. Author of Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and other Delusions.
"A perfect 'bedside reader.' John has written pithy and sharp commentaries."
- Paul Geisert, Ph.D., Co-Director of www.The-Brights.Net
"A delight to read, a cornucopia of distilled facts and concise arguments, a Rationalist Handbook indispensable to those of us who are fighting the good fight, battling superstition and faith. This book has found a home on my shelf of debating references. The bible, the so-called "sword of truth," has met its nemesis in this new Sword of Reason."
- Dan Barker, Co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation
"Let's hope that this book, with its apt but provocative title, will steer more of his fellow American's down the road of reason."
- Terry Sanderson, President of the United Kingdom's National Secular Society