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Topic: Favorite Atheist Books

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Subject: Favorite Atheist Books
Date Posted: 2/11/2009 9:32 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
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Last Edited on: 7/26/12 6:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/11/2009 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Phillip Pullman.  He's awesome.

Date Posted: 2/11/2009 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
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've had David Mills on my wl for some time, along with a couple others.  Although I am one, I haven't read anything by a freethinker or agnostic/athiest.

Date Posted: 2/11/2009 8:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
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Has anyone read this by Dan Barker?  From Preacher to Atheist.  http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9781877733079-Losing+Faith+in+Faith+From+Preacher+to+Atheist

I've had it on mn wl for about 2 and a half years and don't even know if I've budged!

Date Posted: 2/11/2009 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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I've been meaning to read Dan Barker's book but haven't yet.  I haven't put it on my wish list because I figure it will take forever to get it.  Someday I'll just buy it.  I have looked at his web site as well.   From preacher to atheist is quite a step, but I can certainly see how it could happen.  I bet there are more preachers, bishops, priests, nuns, etc.  who aren't strong believers and a lot of doubters.  But they probably think its too late and they can just tough it out or pretend that they believe because it's so much easier.  I understand that as well.  Has anyone seen the movie Doubt, with Meryl Streep?  I saw it about a month ago and its very good.

 

Date Posted: 2/12/2009 7:02 AM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
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Not to get OT but I loved Doubt too.  The acting was phenomenal and it was so well written.  From my very early days in the Catholic church (we left when I was about 7) I have mixed feelings about the Catholic church.  Basically I find them aesthetically pleasing, historically fascinating and morally reprehensible.  I had a ton of respect for the late Pope John Paul but the new one scares the crap out of me.



Last Edited on: 2/12/09 7:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/14/2009 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/6/2006
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I loved Doubt!!!!

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
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I am looking forward to seeing Doubt.  I do not have mixed feelings about the Catholic Church.  I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school until the middle of my soph year.  When I look back with an adult perspective I am amazed that an intelligent, thinking person could believe what those nuns taught.

Years later a guy that had been in my class in 6th & 7th grade told me that the nuns would stand in the bathroom and watch the boys pee.  How gross is that!

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 12:01 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Wow - nuns standing and watching school boys pee has to be the result of some type of sexual repression.  I never went to Catholic school but I was raised in the Southern Baptist and I'm amazed that I believed all the stuff I was taught there.  Thankfully I survived and grew away from it.

 

Date Posted: 8/16/2009 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2009
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I know someone here has read The God Delusion, right? I'm interested in it but I wanted to know if it's very scientific in terminology. Is it an easy book to read? - I guess is what I'm trying to say. Thanks. :)
Date Posted: 8/26/2009 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
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There is an excellent book by Susan Jacoby, I think it is called Freethinkers. 

Date Posted: 8/29/2009 6:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2007
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Melissa, Dawkins's books are all pretty accessible, even the ones he writes about biology.  The God Delusion is actually a bit of a departure for him, but it's definitely an easy read.

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2009
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The End of Faith by Sam Harris

Date Posted: 9/27/2009 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
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I absolutely loved Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. In fact, I should get hardcover copies one of these days and give away my paperback set. They were brilliant and moving (I spent hours crying when I finished the third book) and really reached me in a way that, say, the Narnia books never will. Even as a rabidly atheist child, I liked the Narnia books. I did see the christianity in them, and mostly I was able to overlook it (until the last one which was just too preachy to be enjoyable) but it did make me view the books at something of a distance... as an entertainment, but not something I could feel part of. I recently bought a beautiful leather bound, gilt edged edition of Narnia... I wish there was a comparably bound set available of His Dark Materials. Maybe I'll just have to buy a set I'm willing to tear apart and re-bind in leather myself. 

That said, I don't think His Dark Materials is very good for converting people to atheism... I view it more as a fantasy written for atheists to read.

I've been reading a number of the various "new atheists" books. Hitchens' books are highly intelligent but I think too intellectual for many casual readers, and much too much so to be good for convincing any theists of the truth of atheism. Theists are used to short, feel-good sound-bites that reinforce their beliefs without having to think much. To understand atheism requires something of an extended discussion, which makes it difficult to them right there. If that extended discussion is over their heads intellectually... well, you've lost them. I like "The God Delusion" much better, because Dawkins is extremely good at writing with fairly plain language, and is fairly concise about what he wants to say. He's also very thorough at exploring logical arguments; I really want to sit down sometime and try to memorize a list of all the arguments he presents in the book, because I feel that using his arguments, practically any argument for the existence of a deity can be refuted, and I like to be able to tie stupid arguments into knots and force right wingers into the position of having to go away and think about it. A consequence of this is that while I know he wrote the book to convince theists that atheism is the real truth, I believe the book is equally interesting to me as an atheist because it helps me to clarify and organize what I know about atheism to better present the information to theists in the future.

I didn't particularly enjoy any of Sam Harris' stuff, but, I suppose they're actually pretty good books. I think those are better suited to the perspective of a theist or doubter learning about atheism or at least the perspective of atheists. To an affirmed atheist, however, his books seem to me to be, well, if you'll forgive the expression, preaching to the choir. They just told me what I felt I already knew, so I wasn't excited.

Date Posted: 9/28/2009 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2009
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What a great reply, Thomas! It was very nicely written, and I definitely want to find a copy of The God Delusion now. :)

Date Posted: 9/28/2009 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
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I really enjoyed Christopher Hitchens' book God is Not Great: How Religion Poisions Everything , Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation, and Richard Dawkins'The God Delusion. Hitchens' book The Portable Atheist is also excellent as it is full of many different authors works.



Last Edited on: 9/28/09 6:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/28/2009 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
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Dan Barker's Godless is also very good.  Dan Barker was an evangelical preacher who, over the years, realized that what he was preaching was completely false. 

http://www.amazon.com/Godless-Evangelical-Preacher-Americas-Atheists/dp/1569756775/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1254181284&sr=1-1

Date Posted: 12/16/2009 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/2/2009
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Thomas, found your post to be very well written, thoughtful and compelling.Are you an author yourself? If not, you should consider giving it a try, you seem like a natural. Iv'e read The God delusion and  Dan Barker's books. They were informative, highly readable, and inviting of debate without being unduly harsh of theists. fault the belief not the beliver. I gather from your post that youv'e found yourself in the position of being the only logic based voice amongst a chorus of blind faith platitudes.I know that at such times it's nice to be armed with a few verifiable facts and not just our own opinions.I remember even as a kid,  thinking how can a system that declares vanity as a sin be lead by someone demanding to be worshipped ???I try to live my life by the Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have done to yourself", if everyone did that, we wouldn't need any formal religion and our actions wouldn't be driven by the reward of heaven or the fear of hell.   Bill Maxwell

Date Posted: 12/17/2009 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2008
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Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell.  Despite the title it is not specifically anti-Christian.  Many of the arguments have been around for a while but he's a very good writer.

Shaun (sec) - ,
Date Posted: 12/20/2009 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
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Though not really an atheist book, "Fingerprints of God" is interesting.  Under the guise of a personal quest for answers, the book is essentially about the science of religion -- specifically, things like healing powers, prayer circles, achieving states of higher consciousness, etc.

It's basically an effort to show the science behind things like "miracles" and such.  Very readable and accessible, if not exactly thorough.

Here's a website with some entertaining reading once in a while.  Bit of an activist slant to it, which can be off-putting, but can be fun to read:

Atheist Revolution

 

(Edited to add website info.)



Last Edited on: 12/21/09 1:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/25/2012 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
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I tried reading God is Not Great: How Religion Poisions Everything, but I got really sick of Hitchen's writing.  He just sounds so full of himself.  The entire time I was saying in my head: Are you going to actually tell me something I don't know?  I also thought the way he presented things was over the top.  I'm going to try his other books, though.

I loved The Golden Compass, but the other two weren't good, IMO.  The entire time Pullman is preaching against the organized religion in the world he's created, railing against original sin and all that.  Then the main character loses her touch with the alethiometer for exactly that: original sin.  It seemed to me like he forgot what he was writing about.  Or maybe somebody has a different POV on this?

I'm currently reading The Selfish Gene by Dawkins, which isn't presenting anything new to me and it's a bit out of date when it comes to how genes work.  It's really good and I'd recommend it, though.  I read The God Delusion and I absolutely loved it!  

Thanks for all the suggestions!  I've added them to my reminder list.



Last Edited on: 7/1/13 1:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 7/28/2012 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
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I wonder if some of you readers in this Forum would find Good Without God: What a Billion Non-Religious People Do Believe, by Greg Epstein, to be interesting?  The author is a Humanist chaplain at Harvard.   His background was in Judaism, before he became an atheist.



Last Edited on: 7/28/12 9:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 2/9/2013 1:53 AM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2009
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Not a book, but a documentary made about Marjoe gives a view into the cynical nature of a lot of fundi "christian" pastors in the Bible Belt. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjoe 

 

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