Win a Copy of Red Neck, Blue Collar, Atheist December 27, 2010

Win a Copy of Red Neck, Blue Collar, Atheist

Hank Fox is an atheist from upstate New York and he’s just put out a book of his thoughts regarding religion called Red Neck, Blue Collar, Atheist: Simple Thoughts About Reason, Gods and Faith.

This book is far more emotional than the other atheist books you may have read — it focuses on the transformation that takes place when you become an atheist (and leading up to it), instead of all the reasons why someone should become an atheist.

A couple excerpts from the book are below (I really like the second one):

From the Foreword

Getting religion out of my head was a beautiful, intense emancipation. The sheer awesome clarity that came to me after that, the peace that descended on me, is not something I could easily describe.

It wasn’t the peace of supposedly knowing some holy book was the ultimate answer, if I only gave up enough of my questioning mind to accept every word of it.

It wasn’t the elusive peace of believing I’d done every ritual and abasement correctly, that I had scraped and bowed and sacrificed enough that some god would mercifully refrain from killing my loved ones and might even let me into eternal paradise.

It was the peace of understanding that, while there might be quite a lot of the world unknown to me, there was nothing purposely concealed. There was nothing “man was not meant to know.” The whole of the universe was this honest, trick-free place that I myself could come to understand, with the only limits being my limits — of intelligence or energy — and not those imposed by the hallucinatory scribblings of Bronze Age shepherds.

I discovered that there were no all-wise holy men who talked to powerful but secretive gods in ways that were denied to me. There was no magic ritual I needed to perform each day in order to avoid burning in fire.

There was no mystical superbeing looking down in prissy, embarrassed fury every time I got an erection. No mean-spirited creator of the universe taking down my name in purse-lipped concentration each time I wanted to crack open a science book. No small-minded, vengeful holy telepath glaring into my mind and angrily noting my every traitorous, blasphemous, independent thought.

There was no threat built into the universe, no lightning-wreathed fist waiting to smash me for making the slightest misstep.

From Ch. 19: The Doorway to Freedom

I distinctly remember being disturbed, at the age of 7 or so and beginning to be an avid reader, when I came across the words “fiction” and “non-fiction.”

There was this made-up thing and then there was this real thing, but the made-up thing had its own name, whereas the real thing had to borrow the fake thing’s name and tweak it a bit in order to allow people to talk about it.

The real thing — which was everything, every subject, the power of all the knowledge in the whole world — was named only as a negative of this comparatively tiny category of entertaining-but-fake stuff that was just made up in somebody’s head.

Fiction. NON-fiction.

It just didn’t seem right.

I feel the same way about the words “atheist” and “atheism.” It’s as if the believers — theists — are the only ones deserving of formal recognition, and the rest of us are mere also-rans.

Hank’s offered to give away a copy of the book to one of you!

All you have to do is tell us how you felt the moment you became an atheist… in five words or fewer.

Be enlightening. Be entertaining. Be honest.

I’ll contact a random winner next week. You must be in the U.S. and you must put the word “silver” at the end of your comment if you want to be considered for a prize.

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  • In a word, emancipated.

  • Robin (not Robyn)

    Like a newly-freed slave.


  • Samantha

    Experienced the stages of grief.

  • David

    Rolled over and fell asleep.

  • Jessica

    I was frightened but relieved.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Hi Ho!


  • Frederick Green

    “Thankful to Mom & Dad”

  • Just me, free to be!

  • Dianne

    100 pounds lighter


  • cathy gunderson

    No tarnish cleaner needed anymore! Silver

  • andrew

    lost 32 protons; became


  • Kate Incognita

    No eaves-dropper. Quiet. Calm.

  • Sarah

    Fooled, angry, then, enormously freed. Silver.

  • Arc

    Huh. So that‘s it. Ok.


  • Zac

    I recall screaming and blood.

  • Free to think, and unashamed.

  • Hannah

    Uncomfortable but wiser.

  • Chris

    No more rationalizing human suffering.


  • Suzanne

    Like a religious experience. Enlightening. Silver

  • phhht

    I’ve always been an atheist.


  • Kate Incognita

    No eaves-dropper. Quiet. Calm.

    silver. (sorry to post twice. Forgot the ‘silver’ bit.)

  • Tom L

    Free. Silver.

  • Hangnail

    Like discovering magic is fake.

  • everettattebury

    My parents lied to me.


  • L

    “I cannot give you absolution.”


  • Jennifer Moore

    No one believes this right?

  • Nerdette

    Waking to refreshing water.


  • Rick

    Is it really that simple?


  • Toni

    The end of perpetual guilt!


  • Free! Nothing was so liberating as that. Nothing.

    I distinctly remember being disturbed, at the age of 7 or so and beginning to be an avid reader, when I came across the words “fiction” and “non-fiction.”

    My grandson was taught about fiction and non-fiction in the first grade last year. He’s had a similar reaction. He continually asks if something’s real or not. Frankly, I enjoy answering.

    This book looks better than the average just on being readable and entertaining. I hope it’s available on Kindle or will be soon.

  • WishinItWas

    genuinely “true” to myself

  • CelticWhisper

    Suddenly all the pieces fit.


  • Danielle

    It all makes sense now.


  • June

    felt like bright silver.

  • This book looks better than the average just on being readable and entertaining. I hope it’s available on Kindle or will be soon.

    Donna, thank you! I’m working on the Kindle version; the process is new to me, so I’m having to do a bit of research and tinkering.

    I’ll make an announcement on my site when the Kindle version launches.

  • MikeW

    Excited; free to ask questions!


  • First out-loud admission: suddenly honest.


  • Erin

    My child won’t receive lies.


  • Rhodent

    I honestly don’t remember.


  • Claudia

    Hemant discriminates against expats and lifelong atheists, and that’s a truth made of gold 😉
    [goes off to grumble in her European corner]

  • Alexandra

    The moment I realized I was an atheist was when I was arguing with my pastor during confirmation classes.

    Coincidentally, what I told him was just five words:

    It. Just. Doesn’t. Make. Sense.


  • Like an unknown weight lifted.

  • Free but also lonely.


  • It all seemed so obvious.


  • It was a non-event.

  • Tina in Houston

    Death of father. Relatives reaction.


  • Bonnie

    Walking out of the fog… silver

  • Gregory Ksionda

    One clear night freed me.


  • Jim

    Empowered yet powerless, scared, elated.


  • Mr Z

    To be honest, the moment I recognize myself as an atheist, now anti-theist, was the first time I told someone aloud “well, then, have your god come strike me dead with lightning bolts from his eyes if he’s real”. For a few seconds I kind of held my breath. The longer that nothing happened the better I felt. It can sometimes take a lot of guts to say the emperor has no clothes. So I’d say I was more or less scared but no longer willing to be quiet about it. I either wanted judgment day right here and now or I wanted that ghost gone for good. I no longer throw stones at shadows or whistle in the dark. Occasionally I wishfully look up and whisper to myself as if I can be heard by aliens in their ship “Now is a good time… I need a vacation”. I’m always a bit disappointed that nothing happens but I laugh at myself for knowing it’s a silly thing to do and for enjoying the doing of it. It’s almost as if this is my silly way to reassure myself that I’m doing all I can manage; that my life is not that bad; that all things considered it’s an awesome thing to just be here. Even better, there are a few people that would wonder where I am if I’m not around. Somehow, that seems to be all I really need to know. I can recognize my face in a picture, my voice on a record, that I’m a very smart ape on a small planet full of life, in a forgotten part of a non-descript galaxy, in a forgotten corner of an immense universe. I’m not physicist or biologist but I can understand what they know and know that my place in this vast array of unforgiving life filled universe is simply to be. Knowing this makes me more important than any deity could ever make me.

    If quantum mechanics is right, I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I am as important as anything else that has ever existed. No gods would allow me that truth. That truth was not given to me. I took it from the universe myself. I believe that in learning to appreciate my stolen prize I have come to understand life.


  • Jeff

    My mind finally woke up

  • anatman

    i felt free and responsible

  • Mollie

    Who can I talk to about this?…..silver

  • Todd

    I remember being eleven years old and sitting down at the kitchen table with my mother. I think I had become an atheist weeks earlier but this was the first time I talked about it. I was attending a catholic school and nearing the end of the sixth grade. I was begging my mother to transfer me to the local public school at the end of the school year, where my friends were learning so much more than me, where I wouldn’t have to waste all this time in school in religion class, saying the rosary daily, going to church and saying confession during school time. I told my mom “it didn’t take”. I don’t believe all this religion and prayer stuff and I don’t believe in god. It just doesn’t make any sense. She said no and made me complete the 8th grade and confirmed in the 7th, but allowed me to go to a public high school.
    I didn’t get my way that day, but I remember feeling relieved that it was out on the table. My mother didn’t say much about it, and I was releived. No more pretending to believe in god, accept at school. Two more years and I was liberated from religion. I felt like I escaped from under a large weigth, and since my mother accepted it I no longer felt like something was wrong with me because I couldn’t believe.

  • My >5 word statement:



  • Ashendarei

    at peace, happy, very calm.


  • At first, fear, then freedom.

  • Michael

    Awoken from a silly dream

  • Inferno

    Liberated, empowered, and truly alive.


  • Anna

    I felt smarter

  • John G

    Finally, I can be honest.


  • Joe Hullender

    Ashamed of my gullibility.

  • cortex

    This isn’t so bad.


  • LucyJoy


  • Potco

    Atheism wasn’t dirty anymore.

  • Defiantnonbeliever

    I thought Whew, don’t have to deal with that nonsense anymore and can get on to the hard stuff of science. Little did I suspect the power and tenacity of the zombie hoards.

    Reality, vrs. memetic fantacy, might solve the author’s dilemma about terms noted.

    So do I get 30 pieces of silver? 😛

  • Francesca

    I am a born again atheist.

  • whatheduece

    A fresh romance with life.


  • Oh, that’s what it’s called.


  • I knew it all along!


  • RobL

    I’m surrounded by crazy people!

    (When it all became clear 33 years ago in LDS Sunday school)


  • BoomerChick

    If no Santa, no god.

  • Peace that passes their understanding.


  • The cracker wasn’t human meat.


  • Jennifer

    “Well I’ll be damned… NOT!”

    (“I’ll” is one word, right? Though as I’m not in the US it doesn’t really make any difference…)

  • Chuck Stowe

    I became untarnished silver !

  • Markus

    Politics derailed my first communion.

  • Jeff

    Eh. I want a cookie.


  • smittypap

    Questions answered.

    hi ho silver

  • Hughes

    Like a newborn baby. Silver.

  • Jen

    Terrified. I’d lost my safety net. I cried.
    And then, clarity. A deeper appreciation for life.


  • Truthvenom

    I finally stopped being scared.


  • Tom

    Search for “Truth” fell away


  • Ron in Houston

    I had a Walter Chronkite moment:

    “And that’s the way it is…”

  • Vas

    I don’t recall being born.

  • Well, that was easy.

  • Sheridan

    Amazed, enlightened, relieved and free.


  • ThatOtherGuy

    It just seemed so… right!


  • ZombieGirl

    I stopped lying to myself.


  • couldn’t fool myself any longer


  • Carlie

    Free to love the world.


  • Lauren

    I’d been one all along.

  • Ward

    Truth, with no safety net.

  • Joshua



  • Ken McKnight

    Evolution confirmed my doubts.


  • KevinV

    No more big brother!

  • medussa

    Yawn. Next subject, please.

  • Tim

    Realization: I had always known.


  • Free to think, and unashamed.

  • Jason

    Hell can kiss my ass.


  • Jason

    Weight of Eternity Lifted, Independence!!


  • Caitlynne

    Finally honest, ready for battle.


  • Gabriel



  • Simultaneously relieved and terrified. Liberated.

  • New born, always been!


  • Mike G.

    Hungry for babies.


  • Brianna

    Relieved. Freed. Peaceful.


  • Free.


  • Lizzy

    So very very sad. silver

  • Rich Wilson

    Of course.


  • mia

    Never wasn’t an atheist. Yay!

  • Ryan

    It all started making sense.


  • webhed38

    Now I won’t commit suicide!!!


  • Julie

    Everything made sense; everything.

  • Democritus

    Scared, but I could sing.


  • Digitus Impudicus

    Free to think my thoughts.

  • Inthewater


    Hell can kiss my ass…that is classic.


  • cbc

    When I realized agnostic=atheist.


  • ferulebezel

    The excerpt hit one of my bookseller pet peeves. People come in asking for a title and don’t know the author or subject. That’s bad enough. Far too often I will ask them for the subject and they will respond “non-fiction”. The only places where you will see books divided into “fiction” and “non-fiction” are airport gift shops and grocery stores. His parents must not have taken him to any libraries or bookstores where fiction is just one subject of many.

    His point is valid but his analogy is terrible. Just sayin’.

    As to the contest:

    Unfair, I was born one.


  • Lady Copper

    Stunned, horrified, relieved, and awed.


  • Synapse

    Foolish, uncertain, guilty and alone.

  • Dea

    Free, light, awe, peace, fear.

    I’m in Canada so I can’t win, but I loved this post and plan to read the book.

  • Luna McGill

    Life made more sense.


    (I’m from upstate New York. I want this book so much!)

  • I had my privacy back.


  • Kayla

    “Whatever, that stuff was stupid.” (I was 11 and had just read the bible.)


  • L

    Thought this read “All you have to do is tell us how you became an atheist… in five words or fewer.” (First answer: “I cannot give you absolution” from the god-in-the-box.)

    Try, try, again:

    Scared. Peaceful. Sane. Mystery solved.

  • Justin

    like madannona’s lyrical virgin.


  • Alex R.

    Why’d I ever believe that?


  • Joe_No_Halo



  • So normal I can’t remember. silver

  • I felt honest with myself.


  • Thin-ice

    Free, free at last! Hallelujah!


  • Dee

    Orgasmic! Silver

    God is the ultimate narcissist. Silver

    I received the anti-venom in time! Silver

  • L. Foster

    Like the world makes sense.

  • lizzyshoe

    Church camp. Realizations and denial.

  • ACN

    No Santa, bunny. Just people.


  • Disconverted

    Like in the womb.


  • A sniper shot in Iraq

    I was doubtful before, but that bullet-riddled glass pane I was standing in front of sent a clear message. No magic sky fairy protecting anyone. War sucks.

  • Tyler Nothing

    Humble, curious, and joyous. Appletini.


  • Greg

    Heard an argument for god.


    (Ironic, I know, but I never questioned the existence of god, until I realised people tried to prove god existed – and immediately saw their proofs made no sense. I had just accepted it before then as truth no questions asked.)

  • Indifferent, then depressed, then empowered.

    silver (did I do it right?)

  • Rachel Z.

    Wafers under microscope aren’t skin.


  • Eric

    No lightning bolt? Thought so.


  • Kelly

    Mental gymnastics unnecessary? Mind untwists

    -studying biology, I read lot’s of apologetics sites to keep my faith-

    Second thought after realizing my unbelief: No more hating gay people (something I was always uncomfortable with but was strongly taught in my church)

  • Alive.


  • NotYou007

    One word…



  • Ross Cunningham

    Understanding. I never really believed.


  • The Evidence

    Not in the US, so I’m out of the running! But here are my five words anyways:

    You can’t be serious!

  • HandyGeek

    No do-overs – live now!

  • HandyGeek

    BTW, I own the domain if the author wants it. I’ll transfer it for a signed copy of his book if he’s interested. 😀

  • Andrea

    Thank God. Oh wait… NOT


  • ScarletTricycle

    Clear-headed. Just clear-headed.


  • twistinglily


  • TheGreatestApe

    Cool, calm, and collected.


  • libi

    The bogey man be damned.


  • I was born this way.


  • HandyGeek, sounds like a deal! Give me a shout at hankfox1 [at] gmail [dot] com and let’s work out the details.

    But wait — what if you win the contest?

  • mike dave

    bright light, pain, mmm boob milk


    mmm’s not really a word right?

  • Emptied; space for real knowledge.


  • Sad. I didn’t belong.


  • BlueRidgeLady

    terrified and finally mentally freed.

  • Will

    Suddenly, my brain turned on.


  • margaret

    perceptive, rejecting old lies, awakened.

  • Relieved. I cried, then celebrated.


  • Scott

    Like part of a community.


  • Not afraid of the dark.

    (Damn, I wish I was allowed to elaborate.)


  • Phil Walters

    My mind was freed.


  • Curran

    Mmmm BBQ’d kittens

    oh, and…


  • Dan W

    Ah. That makes sense. Cool.

  • Matt

    Can masturbate without Jesus watching.

    (well not that it never mattered anyway)


  • No more fear. (of my parents going to hell, of me going to hell, of hell). I was 20 years old, in Vietnam and pondering life. I realized that all the stupidity that people believe in is based on fear. How else can you explain rational people believing in the whole nonsense? Yes, no more fear was the best part.

  • The terror of first flight


  • Caley ‘PolyLan’ Phillips

    No longer afraid of sky-dad.


  • Amelia

    Finally being honest.


  • TheG

    Lonely, only the first years.


  • Iggy

    Fan-fucking-tastic. Is that a word?


  • ale

    like: that wasn’t that bad? isn’t?

  • Nakor

    Like a blindfold was removed.

    Not from the US.

  • Sinfanti

    OK to disbelieve, thanks Douglas.

    (after reading The Salmon of Doubt)


  • Jim

    Sober, except for the beers.


  • chase

    So natural I don’t remember.


  • Free and full of potential.

  • “Oh, it’s all OK then.”


  • stormtroopervii

    I’m cheating because I have two.

    I went to catholic school until 8th grade, and I remember in one of my religion classes (6th I think) the teacher was talking about how the cross, to the Romans, was an execution device, not a holy symbol. It’d be like if Jesus was executed today by electric chair, and people wore electric chair pendants around their necks rather than a cross. My first thought:

    “That would be stupid”

    The path begins.

    Later that year I was talking to a friend who went to a non-religious school, and I asked him what his religion was, and he said he didn’t believe in any religion. This begged the question:

    “That’s an option?”

    It had never occurred to me before. I think that’s when I really started to give up religion. It’s just too ridiculous.


  • mousefeathers

    How I felt becoming an atheist:

    *lightbulb moment* Huh. Okay. *shrug*


  • Jose

    “I knew church was dumb.”


  • Guest Pest

    away from my parents’ influence.

  • Cool, Hank. I’ll look forward to it. I have arthritis caused by CPPD so Kindle’s easy on my hands and usually cheaper (I just cut my income in half by retiring and will be waiting at least six months to see if I get Social Security too) but I’ve already got a couple dozen downloaded to read so I can be patient. I’ll watch for it.

    I’m in upstate New York too. What area are you from? (Given that this is the internet, you don’t have to answer that.) I’m in the Albany area and I spent part of my childhood in Schoharie County too where my mother’s from. Dad grew up in Cohoes.

  • Homer

    I tried. Doesn’t make sense.

  • HokieSkeptic

    Afraid, hopeful, I realize myself

  • Catherine

    Finally free to be me


  • Todd

    Way too rediculous to believe

  • Todd

    Way too rediculous to believe

  • crystal

    everything fell into place…


  • Danny

    I was excited. I was excited because I no longer had to try to force myself to believe in something that felt more and more stupid every time I tried. I tried to guilt myself for enjoying the pleasures of life. It didn’t really work, and it was simply frustrating to try so hard and to still feel like you fall short. I was, therefore, thrilled to understand that I didn’t have to try to make sense of the inconsistencies and the apparent falsehoods — I could simply ignore them and go about living my life to the best of my ability.


  • Closed book, opened mind.


  • Giving birth, realizing I’m godlike.


  • Dave Bergfelder

    Justified, relieved, confirmed, and evangelical

    (I now want to spread the real Truth now that I have become a “radical atheist” like Douglas Adams

  • Marsha in TN

    Pissed. They lied. Ignorant idiots.

  • Jon

    Afraid, hopeful, I realize myself


  • raised to think for myself

    (another canadian)

  • Born free. Stayed that way.


  • JAckson

    What if someone finds out?


  • Carlie

    “Hell can kiss my ass” is my favorite.

    I thought one was “absolved of my gullibility”, then realized it was “ashamed”. Don’t be ashamed, Joe. You got over it, so all’s good. 🙂

  • ff42

    Finally Free – silver

  • Kerry Cooper

    Broken, unimportant, angry, afraid, whole. Silver.

  • Margaret


    Mental gymnastics unnecessary? Mind untwists

    Finally admitted my true beliefs.

  • Laura Dupont

    The whole universe opened up.


  • Adam

    Free to truly learn.

  • dc

    “Damn. Back in a sub-culture.”

    (1. Raised SDA, 2. Left that for non-denominational Christianity. 3. Reverent Agnostic 4. Atheist)


  • dc

    Followed by:

    “I wanna’ move to Europe” 🙂


  • Chad

    Morally liberated, emotionally the same.


  • Austin

    Everything makes much more sense.


  • Meredith

    It all fell into place.


  • Justin H.

    Unburdened… for the first time.


  • Nathan T

    Seek and ye shall find.


  • Jeff B

    No moment. A dynamic journey.


  • incognito

    For clarification only, fiction and non-fiction are only ways to classify materials in the library. You’ll find all sorts of ‘woo’ in the non-fiction section. Non-fiction only sorts books in to subjects/categories. For example you’ll find astrology, C S Lewis, witchcraft, literature as well as science, travel, cooking and atheism all contained in the non-fiction section. People just think that if it’s in the non-fiction section, that it’s true – that’s the misunderstanding. I work at a library so I’m always amused when people think this way…

  • margiebargie

    Raised catholic, born atheist.


  • drhall

    Why wasn’t I told?

  • Wazaghun

    “My .. was I deceiving myself!”

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