Want to learn more about religion, its doctrine and historicity and how this relates from a Freethinker's perspective?
Here's our list of required reading:
- Kens guide to the bible - A very amusing and introspective look at exactly what is in the Bible.
- The Portable Atheist - A compilation of freethought essays from famous writers assembled by Christopher Hitchens
- God is Not Great - By Christopher Hitchens;
- The God Delusion - By Richard Dawkins; In this provocative must-read, the preeminent scientist and world's most prominent atheist Richard Dawkins asserts the irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11. The God Delusion makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just wrong, but potentially deadly. It also offers exhilarating insight on the advantages of atheism to the individual and society, not the least of which is a clearer, truer appreciation of the universes wonders than any faith could ever muster. With rigor and wit, Dawkins eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. This is a book that challenges all of us to test our beliefs, no matter what beliefs we hold.
- The End of Faith - By Sam Harris; An impassioned plea for reason in a world divided by faith. This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes-heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion—an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.
- Breaking the Spell - By Daniel Dennett; For all the thousands of books that have been written about religion, few until this one have attempted to examine it scientifically: to ask why—and how—it has shaped so many lives so strongly. Is religion a product of blind evolutionary instinct or rational choice? Is it truly the best way to live a moral life? Ranging through biology, history, and psychology, Daniel C. Dennett charts religion’s evolution from “wild” folk belief to “domesticated” dogma. Not an antireligious screed but an unblinking look beneath the veil of orthodoxy, Breaking the Spell will be read and debated by believers and skeptics alike.
- Letter to a Christian Nation - By Sam Harris; Humanity has had a long fascination with blood sacrifice. In fact, it has been by no means uncommon for a child to be born into this world only to be patiently and lovingly reared by religious maniacs, who believe that the best way to keep the sun on its course or to ensure a rich harvest is to lead him by tender hand into a field or to a mountaintop and bury, butcher, or burn him alive as offering to an invisible God. The notion that Jesus Christ died for our sins and that his death constitutes a successful propitiation of a “loving” God is a direct and undisguised inheritance of the superstitious bloodletting that has plagued bewildered people throughout history...
- Losing Faith in Faith - By Dan Barker; Losing Faith In Faith records Dan Barker's dramatic journey form devout soul-winner to one of America's most prominent freethinkers. After 19 years of preaching following his "calling" at age 15--including work as a missionary, ordained minister, associate pastor, touring evangelist, Christian songwriter and performer--Dan Barker "lost faith in faith." Today Barker, Public Relations Director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., frequently represents freethought on the talkshow circuit and at personal appearances around the country. In Losing Faith In Faith, Barker explains why he left the ministry. He also offers a definitive, compelling analysis of why he rejects belief in a god and the claims of religion. He explores the fallacies, inconsistencies, and harm of Christian doctrine and theistic dogma. In its place, he issues an appealing and compassionate invocation of freethought, reason, and humanism. Losing Faith in Faith is both a challenge to believers and an arsenal for skeptics.
- Atheism: The Case Against God - By George H. Smith; Smith's book has become somewhat of an icon nowadays. Its arguments are simply stated, and are clearly written to appeal to those who have no philosophical background. This, however, is their strength rather than their weakness. Smith takes the basic arguments for God, those made most often by theists and theistic writers, and decimates them in a literary, but thorough, way. While this book cannot be construed to be academic philosphically speaking, it is philosophical in its approach. It considers and argument and then takes each of its premises into consideration. It is literary in the sense that Smith does not seem to hide his frustration in the fact that these worn-out arguments for God are still being flung around. This book is not one which people who have come to doubt their belief in God might turn to, but rather is one which those who no longer doubt that they disbelieve will turn to, to better understand their atheistic views.
- The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man - By Dr. Robert M. Price; What do the Gospels really reveal about the historical Jesus? Scholars have dissected the Gospels and other stories about Jesus for more than a century, attempting to determine their historical accuracy. Many experts today believe that the writings of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John cannot be taken as revelatory. A group of more than 100 scholars called the Jesus Seminar concluded that only about 18 percent of the Gospels is historically correct. Believing his Jesus Seminar colleagues "too critical," Robert M. Price presents THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING SON OF MAN, a balanced yet radically pessimistic new assessment of gospel historicity. While indebted to two centuries of scholarship, Price's latest book charts new territory, illustrating the virtual lack of historical information in the New Testament's Jesus stories. After an excellent introduction to the historical-critical method in language tailored to nonspecialists, Price analyzes sections of the Gospels, separating fact from fiction in all episodes of Jesus' life. Price examines both familiar parables and Jesus' teachings for authenticity, carefully studying miracle stories and drawing surprising conclusions. In addition, Price critically explores whether Jesus preached his Messiahship or predicted his own death as a means to save souls. Written for a general audience in a refreshing and accessible style, Price's highly informative discussion will interest anyone who has wondered about the origins of Christianity.
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