Books I’ve Read

These are the books I’ve read since around February of 2010. They all deal with various aspects of religion. Some are from a skeptical perspective, others are apologetic in nature. Among the apologetic books, some are from conservative viewpoints, others are liberal. As time goes by, I may include fuller reviews of some of these, but for now this is just to serve as a list — as much for my benefit as anyone else’s. I’ll continue to update this page.

But in addition to these books, I also read countless articles (mostly online) that made a huge impression on me. One of the first things I read that made me begin to rethink things was this comment left on one of my old blog entries by a guy named Andrew Green. He disagreed with my post, and when I read his comment, I realized he was right. Sometime later, I ran across some articles on the Book of Daniel by a blogger who goes by the name “darwinsbeagle“. Those articles are what first made me question the Bible’s supposed inspiration. I also read many articles by Farrell Till, a once church of Christ preacher-turned-atheist. His religious autobiography can be found here. His tone was sometimes harsh, but he also made some compelling points. Finally, I was also moved by a series of videos by YouTube user Evid3nc3. These comments, articles, and videos played as much a part in my journey as the books listed below, and this page would be incomplete without referencing them.

When Skeptics AskWhen Skeptics Ask — Ronald Brooks and Norman Geisler
This is an apologetic book that takes a conservative view of scripture.
Taking a Stand for the BibleTaking a Stand for the Bible — John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughts
Obviously, this is also an apologetic book. It takes a conservative view of scripture, and it actually contributed to my skepticism of the Bible. There’s a section at the end of this book where one of the authors interviews a Biblical scholar who is also a Christian concerning the claims made in Bart Ehrman’s book, Misquoting Jesus. This scholar confirmed that Ehrman was right: we know that certain passages in the Bible were added in later — they were NOT part of the original manuscripts. That was huge for me.
The Bible on TrialThe Bible on Trial — Wayne Jackson
This is another apologetic work that takes a conservative view of scripture. This is not a book that I liked very much — but only because his tone was so condescending toward skepticism. I read this at a time when I was in true turmoil. I had major doubts about everything I had ever believed, and I needed arguments from people like Norman Geisler or Timothy Keller, who understood that this kind of soul-searching was not only valid, but necessary for some people. Jackson didn’t seem to share that view, and his condescension was extremely off-putting. If you’re a Christian who is trying to find books to recommend to a skeptical friend, stay away from this one.
Inspiration and IncarnationInspiration and Incarnation — Peter Enns
This was a very interesting book. Enns is a liberal Christian (not sure which denomination), and he takes the view that since Christ came in a physical body that would have had the same kinds of imperfections we all have, then God’s word (the Bible) would necessarily have imperfections as well. This is how he explains the similarities of the Old Testament to ancient myths from Babylon and Egypt. It’s also how he explains the flat earth ideas in the Bible and the discrepancies found throughout it. It was refreshing to read a book that doesn’t try to explain away the difficulties, but to look at them from another perspective.
The Reason for GodThe Reason for God — Timothy Keller
This was a good book. It’s obviously an apologetic work, but it’s from a liberal viewpoint. I liked a lot of what he had to say, though I ultimately found it unconvincing. Still, a book worth reading.
Darius the MedeDarius the Mede and the Four World Empires in the Book of Daniel — H H Rowley
This is an excellent book. It’s one of the most thorough examinations of the difficulties in the Book of Daniel. It’s well researched, and it presents the different views of Daniel in a very detailed manner. It’s hard to classify this book in some ways. Rowley was a Christian, but he did believe that the Book of Daniel was written about 400 years after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.
Why I Became an AtheistWhy I Became an Atheist — John Loftus
This was the first truly skeptical book I read, and I found it pretty impressive. Loftus covers a lot of ground. He begins with his personal story. He had been a preacher in a church of Christ (though a more liberal version than the kind I was a member of), and over a period of time he lost his faith. He now runs the website DebunkingChristianity. He concisely covers the issues with Christianity (and theism in general) from philosophical to scriptural. He also issues his “Outsider Test for Faith.” This test is a challenge he gives to people to be as objective as possible about their own beliefs. In other words, he believes that everyone should approach their own beliefs as agnostics: maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong. And after they examine the evidence from this neutral position, they’ll be able to make a much clearer decision about their beliefs. I think he’s absolutely right. Anyway, it’s a good book, and I recommend it.
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an AtheistI Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist — Norman Geisler, Frank Turek, and David Limbaugh
Another apologetics book from Norman Geisler. It was good, but I still didn’t find it convincing. Ultimately, I didn’t feel that it gave a full enough treatment to the issues against the Bible. I talk about some of their “solutions” to Bible contradictions in some of my posts.
David and Solomon: In Search of...David and Solomon: In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings — Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman
I read this book because I had always heard that archaeology proved so many of the Bible’s stories. This book goes into some of the archaeological evidence that isn’t so supportive of the Bible. I don’t know that it provides anything completely conclusive, but I did find it interesting.
Can We Trust the Gospels?Can We Trust the Gospels? — Mark D Roberts
This is an apologetic book. I suppose I would consider it a conservative treatment. It’s a good book, but once again, I wasn’t convinced. You can read my blog posts to see what my main issues with the Bible are, but to put it briefly, I just don’t find books like this to offer sufficient answers. Sure, for someone who wants it to be true, these are good points. But for someone with no agenda who simply wants to know, I just find the Bible to have too many unanswerable problems.
The Age of ReasonThe Age of Reason — Thomas Paine
This book is over 200 years old, but it is still an amazing read. It’s not without its problems, and I don’t find all of Paine’s arguments to be convincing. But it is still a cogent and damning treatise on the problems with the Bible and Christianity. It made a big impact on me.
Inspiration and Canonicity of the Bible — John Coffman
I can’t find a link to this book — it may have been self-published. It’s a very conservative apologetic book. I found it pretty interesting. It spent a good bit of time dealing with philosophy.
Jesus, InterruptedJesus, Interrupted — Bart Ehrman
This book takes a skeptical view of the Bible. I found it to be very interesting. Ehrman spends much time discussing the state of the various manuscripts that make up the Bible, how scholars determine which versions are most accurate, which passages have been corrupted over time, and how the canon we have today eventually became the standard. I highly recommend it to any Christians who have never studied where the Bible came from. It’s eye-opening. This book also serves as an answer to the criticisms that were aimed at Ehrman’s book Misquoting Jesus. I read this one first, and it’s still my favorite of the two.
Unraveling EvolutionUnraveling Evolution — Joshua Gurtler
This was an interesting book, but my problems with religion didn’t stem from scientific issues — they came from consistency problems within the Bible.
A History of GodA History of God — Karen Armstrong
This was a very dense book, covering the concepts of God in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It covers a lot of ground, but it was fascinating to see how the idea of God has evolved over the centuries.
Who Wrote the New Testament?Who Wrote the New Testament? — Burton Mack
This is definitely a skeptical book. It was probably the first treatment I’d seen of liberal source criticism. I wasn’t convinced by all of his arguments, but some of that was probably because they seemed so foreign to what I’d always thought. In the end, this book is an attempt to explain where the NT came from if it wasn’t really inspired. He may be right about some of it, or he may be wrong. Ultimately, this book didn’t have much to do with my deconversion. I had already realized that the Bible wasn’t inspired — exactly how it did come to be written wasn’t as important to me.
Alleged Bible Contradictions ExplainedAlleged Bible Contradictions Explained — George DeHoff
This is another apologetic book that takes a very conservative view of scripture. Some of the “explanations” it offered were pretty good. But many were obviously just desperate attempts to come up with any scenario that would save the Bible from being contradictory.
Introduction to Christian Evidences — Ferrell Jenkins
This was written as a study guide for Bible classes in conservative churches of Christ. It contained many of the same points that I had read in the books above, though there were two statements that really stood out ot me on pages 6-7:

Human reason is divinely given; it is such that man cannot believe that which seems incredible to him… Therefore, for any belief, the rational ground for the belief must be presented… Reason must have the necessary evidence before it can decide on the truth or falsity of any proposition. Therefore, reason demands that we have a sufficient and satisfactory ground for our faith in the word of God… Reason and revelation are not opposed; nor reason and faith.

That is exactly what I had believed as a Christian, and it is the exact outlook that made me stop believing. I found it fascinating that he would make such a statement, when so many Christians today criticize the use of “human reasoning.” As if there’s any other kind…

The Little Book of Atheist SpiritualityThe Little Book of Atheist Spirituality — Andre Comte-Sponville
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think if most Christians could get past the title, they would find much to like about this book. Comte-Sponville’s approach is kind and understanding. He has a great sentimentality for religion, though he is now an atheist. And he makes the point that though he is not religious, he is no less spiritual than anyone else. It’s a fascinating book, and as the title suggests, it is a short read. I highly recommend it.
GodlessGodless — Dan Barker
This is an excellent book that describes Dan Barker’s life as an evangelical preacher and how he made his transition to atheism. It describes how agonized he was when he had reached the point of no longer believing, but had not yet become public about it. He preached several sermons as an atheist. The rest of his book talks about some of the problems with Christianity and religion, and it also discusses how life still has meaning, even without a belief in God.
Misquoting JesusMisquoting Jesus — Bart Ehrman
This was a good book that provides information most Christians would find very shocking. I still prefer his book Jesus, Interrupted, but this one is definitely worth reading.
The God DelusionThe God Delusion — Richard Dawkins
I had put off reading this book for some time because I was afraid it would come across too condescendingly. But I was pleasantly surprised to see that wasn’t the case at all. It’s a very readable book that makes many strong points. However, since he really doesn’t deal much with the consistency problems in the Bible, this book probably wouldn’t be very convincing to any hardcore, fundamentalist Christians. But for everyone else, there’s a lot to think about in here.
The Evidence for ChristianityEvidence for Christianity — Josh McDowell
At 630 pages of text, this book is very thorough. McDowell makes a good case for his beliefs and why he finds Christianity reasonable. The book is primarily meant to serve as a reference, but it also works as a straight-through read (which is what I did). But again, if one wants a full treatment of Christianity — both the evidence for and the evidence against — this one book won’t do it. You also need to read books like Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman and Why I Became an Atheist by John Loftus. McDowell does a good job, but he leaves out some things that would weaken his case. You can’t really blame him for that — it’s natural. But if you really, honestly want to know whether Christianity is true or not, then you must do your best to look at all the evidence, not just what’s presented in this book.
Younger Next YearYounger Next Year — Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge
This book is not about religion, it’s about living a healthier lifestyle. But one of the authors, Henry S. Lodge, is a physician, and much of the book deals with evolutionary biology. I found it very fascinating and felt that it deserved a mention here.
The Art of HappinessThe Art of Happiness — the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler
This was a really interesting book. It’s actually written by Howard Cutler, but much of it consists of direct quotations from the Dalai Lama. It’s not a book that pushes Buddhism — instead, it’s meant to appeal to anyone. Cutler uses modern psychiatry and wisdom from the Dalai Lama to explore how we can live happier, more fulfilling lives. He finds that true happiness doesn’t depend much on our physical or material circumstances, but on our state of mind. I thought it was pretty good.
How We Got the BibleHow We Got the Bible — Neil R. Lightfoot
This book had been recommended to me by two different people — one of whom was my aunt, and she was kind enough to actually buy this for me. Despite the recommendations, I wasn’t sure how good it would be, because the line of praise listed on the back of the book was “popular and readable.” If that’s the best that could be said for it, how good could it really be? But as it turns out, it was quite good. There is a lot of great information contained within the book, and Lightfoot does an amazing job of communicating a lot of information in easily digested chunks. He talks about the major manuscript evidence that exists for the Bible, as well as the difficulties that sometimes arise in trying to get back to the original text. I plan to post about some of these issues in more detail very soon, and I’ll use his book as one of my sources. I recommend it highly.
The Case for FaithThe Case for Faith — Lee Strobel
Strobel was a journalist that worked with the Chicago Tribune for a number of years. He was an atheist that converted to Christianity in 1981. This book explores what Strobel calls the “Big Eight” objections to faith (evil and suffering, miracles contradict science, evolution explains life, Bible brutality, offensive to claim Jesus is only way to salvation, Hell, violence in church history, and if you have doubts you can’t believe), and for each one he interviews a respected Christian to find out if their answers are satisfactory. Personally, I didn’t think that this book delved into each issue as deeply as it could have, but that’s not to say it’s a bad book. In fact, there were a couple of issues that I thought were handled very well: the claim that Jesus is the only way, violence in church history, and maintaining faith despite doubts. One of the things that kept bothering me was Strobel’s assertion that the main reason many people don’t believe in Christianity is that they don’t want to give up their immoral lifestyles. He says that was his primary reason for not believing, and he seems to transfer that to everyone else. But that’s not the primary issue for many atheists. In all, this was one of the less impressive apologetic books that I’ve read.
Letter to a Christian NationLetter to a Christian Nation — Sam Harris
You can read my brief review of this book here.
The Greatest Show on EarthThe Greatest Show on Earth — Richard Dawkins
I realized a little while back that I was never really taught all that much about evolution in school. We learned what the term meant, but there was never much attention given to it. And as a very conservative Christian, I didn’t give it much of a chance either. But once I left Christianity, I became curious to know more about the evidence for evolution, which is exactly what Dawkins addresses in this book. I found it very interesting, and I was surprised at some of the evidence he presented — much of it I had never heard of before. This tiny little blurb about the book can’t really pay it any justice, so I may post about it in more detail at some point. But Dawkins’s book really piqued my interest, and I look forward to studying the subject in more detail.
The End of FaithThe End of Faith — Sam Harris
The main point that Sam Harris keeps coming back to in this book is that dogma is deadly. Religion is a force that naturally divides us. When we break off into groups and earnestly believe that our particular group is the only one on God’s side and everyone else is virtually his enemy, it doesn’t take long for us to treat one another accordingly. Throughout history, this tendency has been exemplified in things like the Inquisition, the Salem Witch Trials, the Crusades, and present-day Islamic terrorism. What makes the situation worse is that religious differences are very hard to talk about in a way that would reach any consensus. And since we live in an age of weapons of mass destruction, Harris argues that it is time for religion to go by the wayside. Obviously, this is easier said than done, and he acknowledges that. But this is an interesting book with many good points (and it’s thoroughly researched — references are cited). In the end, he maintains that all religions must ultimately go, even those that are rather tolerant. I don’t know that I completely agree with him on that score, though I understand the reasoning behind that assertion. It’s a good book and worth reading.
Why I Am Not a ChristianWhy I Am Not a Christian — Bertrand Russell
This book of essays was quite interesting. Most of them deal with religion to some degree or another, and they were written over a large period of time — from 1899 to 1954. To quote Molon Labe’s review on Amazon: “Russell’s arguments against Christianity generally fall into the following categories: 1) there is no compelling evidence for a Creator (i.e. deism) and much less evidence to believe in theism, 2) the teachings of Jesus, while generally admirable, include many pernicious tenets, 3) Christians have routinely ignored the admirable tenets of Jesus, and 4) the net impact of Christianity has been decidedly negative for mankind.” I think there are better books on the subject, especially when dealing with Christian fundamentalists, but this was certainly an interesting book, and Russell makes some strong points.
The Magic of RealityThe Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True — Richard Dawkins
I loved this book! This book doesn’t delve too deeply into any one subject, almost serves as a great general science book. It’s really intended for young people (probably middle or high school ages), but I think it’s great for adults too, especially those of us who may have been sidetracked along the way when we were younger. Each chapter covers a specific topic (where do rainbows come from?, why are there so many different kinds of animals?, who was the first person?, etc.) and begins by offering various mythological explanations for it that have existed throughout human history. Then it goes on to explain what science can tell us about that particular subject. Each page is beautifully illustrated by Dave McKean, and there are often little sidebars and anecdotes that help explain the concepts. I really can’t say enough about this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone. As I read it, I often commented to my wife that if kids read this book both at the beginning and at the end of high school, more of them would want to pursue careers in science. It’s simply a great book.
Why Evolution is TrueWhy Evolution Is True — Jerry A. Coyne
This was a very interesting book. Coyne explained the genetic evidence for evolution in a way that really made sense to me. Until I read this book, I didn’t really understand that human genes contain whole sections that we don’t use at all. They’re turned off in humans, even though more primitive mammals and even reptiles use them. Why would a creator give us gene sequences that we don’t need? It’s a good book that is easily accessible to the lay person (like myself). Even if you’re a Christian, you should consider reading this. One can believe in God and believe in evolution, so you really have nothing to lose by checking it out.
The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe Evolution of Calpurnia Tate — Jacqueline Kelly
This book is not about religion, and it’s not even about evolution, per se. Instead, it’s the story of an 11 year old little girl who lives in Texas in 1899. It’s a book that’s primarily intended for pre-teens, but I really enjoyed it. I think it’s something my oldest daughter will enjoy in another year or two. I felt it deserved a mention here because it does touch on evolution a little bit. The girl becomes interested in nature and discovers that her grandfather (who’s always been a little standoffish) is an avid naturalist that actually owns his own copy of The Origin of Species. It’s a very enjoyable book that deals with growing up and new discoveries.
Has God  Spoken?Has God Spoken? — A. O. Schnabel
In this book, Schnabel lays out the evidence for the inspiration of the Bible. He begins with passages that he believes show a very advanced understanding of science. He then lists out some of the Bible’s prophecies that he believes have been fulfilled. The rest of the book deals with evidence for a young earth. It was an interesting book. If you decide to read it, I would also recommend checking out TalkOrigins.org.
Some Mistakes of MosesSome Mistakes of Moses — Robert G. Ingersoll
Ingersoll was an important American political figure after the Civil War. His book Some Mistakes of Moses catalogs the problems in the first 5 books of the Bible in a similar vein to Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Definitely worth reading. You can also find transcripts of some of his other lectures and debates.
Mere ChristianityMere Christianity — C.S. Lewis
Mere Christianity is one of the premier books in Christian apologetics. Tell someone you’re struggling with your faith, and reading this book is bound to be one of their first suggestions. That’s no surprise; Lewis was a very gifted writer. Most of his arguments in this book come down to morality. He feels that man can not make an appeal to morality without pointing to God as the authority. This book also gives us the famous “liar, lunatic, or lord” argument. I plan to write a full review of this book soon, and I’ll link to it here when I do.
Things I Never Learned in Sunday SchoolThings I Never Learned in Sunday School — Nan Yielding
This excellent book was written by my friend, Nan (check out her blog), who comments here on occasion. In my opinion, her book is the perfect starting point for a Christian who’s just begun to realize that he may be missing some vital information about his religion. It covers an array of topics to show how serious Christianity’s problems are, and it provides an excellent bibliography that points the reader to more information. Nan achieves this by taking you along with her on her journey into and out of Christianity. It’s a really great book, and I highly recommend it.
In His ImageIn His Image — William Jennings Bryan
Most people probably think of the Scopes Monkey Trial when they think of William Jennings Bryan. There was much more to him than that. He ran for President a few times and served as Secretary of State for while. This book is a collection of essays about God, the Bible, morality, and evolution. It’s apologetic in nature, but I don’t think it offers much of substance to non-believers. It’s more of a rallying cry to those who would already agree with him anyway. He doesn’t so much offer evidence for his position, as he offers proclamations. Consider this passage as an example:

A reasonable person searches for a reason and all reasons point to a God, all-wise, all-powerful, and all-loving. On no other theory can we account for what we see about us. It is impossible to conceive of the universe, illimitable in extent and seemingly measureless in time, as being the result of chance. The reign of law, universal and eternal, compels belief in a Law Giver.

We need not give much time to the agnostic. If he is sincere he does not know and therefore cannot affirm, deny, or advise.

Evolution: The Triumph of an IdeaEvolution: The Triumph of an Idea — Carl Zimmer
This book was released as the companion to the PBS series on evolution that ran around 2001 or 2002. I haven’t seen the series, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s written in a very accessible manner — I actually felt like it would be ideal as an introduction to evolution for kids in 9th or 10th grade. If you know a little about evolution, but not a lot, this is a good one to check out.
Reliable TruthReliable Truth — Richard E. Simmons III
This book was written by a fellow resident of Birmingham, AL, which was kind of cool. And his introduction reminded me of myself in some ways, in that he stressed the importance of truth over desire. It’s important to know the truth, even if we don’t like it. I respect that attitude, and I’ll assume that he’s earnest in that effort, even though we come to very different conclusions. The author apparently speaks at churches fairly regularly, and I think much of the material in the book comes from those presentations. It’s laid out well, and it covers a number of issues, but doesn’t cover any of them very deeply. The real purpose of this book is to bolster the faith of those who already believe, or perhaps lay some groundwork in a nonbeliever who has no real knowledge about Christianity. Many of the more in-depth issues that skeptics have with Christianity aren’t really touched on in this book. The biggest argument he makes in support of Christianity concerns Christ’s life, character, and especially the resurrection.
A Tear at the Edge of CreationA Tear at the Edge of Creation — Marcelo Gleiser
This was a very enjoyable book by a physicist who believes the search for the “Theory of Everything” may be misplaced. Just as nature sometimes deviates from symmetry, he argues that imbalances in physics should possibly be expected. I’m not versed in this subject enough to say how persuasively he argues his points, but I did enjoy the book very much. I felt like he did an excellent job of making a difficult subject accessible.
A Universe from NothingA Universe from Nothing — Lawrence Krauss
I was very excited to finally get a copy of this book. Unfortunately, a lot of it was over my head, and I’ll probably have to reread it to really let things sink in. That’s not to say that it was a bad book or poorly written — it’s just a testament to the complexity of the subject. I found the book very interesting, especially when asking the question of whether the universe is open, closed, or flat. This relates to whether or not space is curved, which completely boggles my mind. Anyway, I have a lot of respect for Krauss, and I look forward to blowing my mind with this book again. 🙂
The God ArgumentThe God Argument — A.C. Grayling
The subtitle of this book is “the Case against Religion and for Humanism,” which is an important caveat to make, considering the title. Grayling’s book deals with the moral and philosophical arguments that show all the faults in the Abrahamic religions. He doesn’t take any time to deal with textual issues, which would make it hard for a fundamentalist to be convinced by his arguments. Nonetheless, the case he does make against religion is well laid out and would potentially be compelling for those who don’t hold to sola scriptura.
God's DebrisGod’s Debris — Scott Adams
Don’t worry, you’ve read that correctly: the same Scott Adams of Dilbert fame has written a philosophical book about God and reality. It’s actually really hard to classify this book. It’s a novella, but also a philosophical essay. Adams insists he’s not trying to make some big point, but just going through a thought experiment. Either way, it’s worth checking out. It’s definitely thought-provoking. Oddly, the section on evolution doesn’t seem very well researched, but other than that it’s quite impressive.
God's DebrisGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything — Christopher Hitchens
I suppose it’s surprising that it took me so long to get around to reading this book. It’s widely considered to be one of the core “new atheist” books. Out of that group, I’ve still yet to read Daniel Dennett’s Breaking the Spell as well, but I plan to get to it too one of these days.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Hitchens’s style alone makes it worthwhile, and it made me sad all over again that he’s no longer with us. Hitchens’s attacks on religion in this book are direct and well-placed. And while his main focus is on the Abrahamic religions, he also spends time on the Eastern variety.

For fundamentalist Christians who believe in inerrancy, this book may not give them much pause. They’ll need hard evidence that the Bible is faulty, so for them, something like Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason, Why I Became an Atheist by John Loftus, or one of Bart Ehrman’s books on the New Testament (like Jesus, Interrupted, or Misquoting Jesus) would be more impactful. But I think Hitchens’s book would probably be challenging to many more moderate Christians who don’t believe in inerrancy. For them, exposing the moral and philosophical problems in the Bible would probably be quite eye-opening.

Anyway, God Is Not Great is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it. Also, in case anyone’s curious, I started reading the books in this list at the beginning of 2010. I finished reading this particular book around October 1, 2015. Just to give you an idea of the timeline…

31 thoughts on “Books I’ve Read”

  1. Have you read these books?

    I haven’t read all these, but I was wondering if you had, and what you thought of them.

    1. God, Actually: Why God Probably Exists, Why Jesus Was Probably Divine, and Why the ‘Rational’ Objections to Religion are Unconvincing

    By Roy Williams –

    2. More Than a Carpenter

    By Josh McDowell –

    3. Mere Christianity –

    By C. S. Lewis –

    4. What’s So Amazing About Grace?

    By Philip Yancey –

    5. The Jesus I Never Knew

    By Phillip Yancey –

    Would be great to read your thoughts on them 🙂

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  2. Hey Nate 🙂

    Juat wanted to ask, what are you reading at the moment?

    I’ve started to read the Quran with a friend of mine (since he knows Arabic and can help me understand). I figured instead of hearing the opinions other people make about this book I’ll read it myself 🙂

    Hope your going well.

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  3. I want to finish what I start.

    There are quite a number of books I have begun to read in the past, only to find them later collecting dust on the shelf or in my cupboard. Hopefully I’ll change my habits. Takes consistency I suppose.

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  4. Hi Ryan! Good to hear from you.

    Right now, I’m taking a break from science or religion-based books. I’m reading an historical narrative about the settlement of the Ohio River Valley called The Frontiersmen, by Allan Eckert. It’s a great book — I didn’t realize how little I knew about this period of history.

    I also just finished reading volume 7 of the hardcover collections of the comic Invincible. If you like comics at all, I can’t recommend this series enough.

    Anyway, thanks for asking! I hope your study of the Quran goes well. It’s a book I’ve thought about reading too, but I’ve never gotten around to it. I’d be interested to hear what you think whenever you finish it.

    Take care!

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  5. Greetings Nate,
    This is Matt, 20 yo Canadian, again.
    While reading through your posts, I found that you cited a lot of literature. I began to ponder upon what books you found informative in your deconversion. Lo and behold! I found the section on books.

    Perusing through the section, I became grateful that I am such a young lad, because it is going to take me ages to work through these books. In a quick run through, it seemed that “Misquoting Jesus” and “Jesus, Interrupted”, were some of your favorites. I’ll be looking into these two, however I am wondering if there was a book that has recently sated your thirst for knowledge.

    A friend of mine has been talking up Thoreau and I may have to acquire a copy of “Walden”. The naturalist philosophy is a peculiar one, but the idea of stripping life to it’s bare minimum is intriguing. Anyways, that was an irrelevant point that I somehow found appropriate to insert.

    Lastly, I was wondering if there was a more efficient way of talking with you. I don’t mind randomly posting on your blog, however I feel that I may clutter the comment section up with questions that don’t pertain to the subject at hand. Is there a proper place that I can just shoot you my concerns on the bible and other subjects?

    Thanks for taking the time to share the details you’ve uncovered while excavating the Truth. I’ll be trying to catch up on the years of work you’ve put in and hopefully I’ll be able to one day be able to aid you in the Truth expedition.

    Take her easy,

    Matt C

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  6. Hi Matt,

    It’s great to hear from you again. I’m really glad that my blog has been useful to you so far. Feel free to leave comments anywhere you like, but I’ll also shoot you an email today so you can contact me that way as well.

    Yes, Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted were both very helpful to me, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. If you’d also like to read the apologists’ side of those arguments, I’d recommend How We Got the Bible by Neil Lightfoot, which walks through a history of the Bible’s manuscripts. It’s really interesting. I’d also recommend Taking a Stand for the Bible by John Ankerberg and Dillon Burroughs, because they actually refer to Ehrman’s books and try to answer his points. If you can make it through all 4 books, it should give you a really good handle on the issues concerning the Bible’s texts.

    I haven’t read any books in this genre lately, because I’ve recently changed careers and have spent most of my time reading up on my new job. But John Loftus did a good job on his book Why I Became an Atheist, and I’ve heard that his book The Christian Delusion is even better. I also can’t recommend Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason highly enough. The first part of the book contains some arguments that may seem antiquated (in fact, they are, since he wrote this in the 1790’s), but part 2 is an incredible critique of the Bible. It made a big impact on me, and you can actually find this for free as a pdf, if you do a Google search.

    Anyway, I hope that helps. And I’m glad you mentioned Walden. I remember reading some excerpts when I was in high school, but I think I would get a lot more from it now. I’ll try to check it out soon.

    Take care, and I’ll get you that email sometime today!

    Nate

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  7. Nate, I’ve already contacted you about my book (“Things I Never Learned in Sunday School”) so I’m hoping you’ll add it to your list in the not-too-distant future. 🙂

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  8. How about “Love Wins” by Bell and “The Road Less Travelled” by M. Scott Peck? These were excellent books. Thanks for sharing your reading experience.

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  9. Dear Nate,

    Thank you for all your time and effort in preparing and updating your website and blog.

    Another blog that you might like is by Jericho Brisance who also has presented his de-conversion story.

    With regard to the Bible, I highly recommend the following 2 books written by Joseph Wheless, a high-ranking lawyer in early 20th Century USA who brought his capacity to handle and analyse large amounts of data to bear on the Bible. Both books free to download off internet.

    1. Is it God’s Word – published in 1926 – a painstakingly detailed and logically argued demolition of the Bible in its own terms i.e. without comparison to non-biblical areas of knowledge such as science. Truly a tour de force.

    2. Forgery in Christianity – published in 1930 – dealing with canonical and non-canonical scriptures as well as letters.

    All the best and God bless. Marian.

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  10. Thanks for the kind comment, Marian!

    I am familiar with the Jericho Brisance blog — it’s quickly become one of my favorites! And thanks for the book suggestions. I’d never heard of those before, but I’ll definitely check them out. Soon as I finish them, I’ll update this page.

    Thanks again!

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  11. Hey Nate,

    I’ve read you quote Marcus Aurelius a few times now, so I thought you have probably read Meditations already 🙂 but I thought I’d include it anyway. Here are some more books I have really got a lot out of.

    1. Discourses and Selected Writings by Epictetus

    This edition also includes the Enchiridion, a main outline of his key ideas. His surviving work also has had an extensive influence on the development of CBT.

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Discourses-Selected-Writings-Epictetus/9780140449464

    2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

    I personally thought this was one of the better translations.

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Meditations-Marcus-Aurelius/9780140449334

    3. A Confession by Leo Tolstoy

    This small book is one of the most interesting reads I’ve had. At a certain point in my life, I felt a real empathy with Tolstoy, especially when reading some of the accounts on his life and what he was pursuing in his later years. This is his personal thoughts on religion as he reached a point of personal crisis. He expands on these ideas further in a lot in his other work, but this book stood out to me in its simplicity and transparency.

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Confession-LN-Tolstoy/9780486438511

    Although I don’t agree with everything put forward in these books, they have definitely triggered some interesting and valuable thoughts. If you find them interesting I’d love to hear what you think of them.

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  12. all these book are written by men ( to start with) and none of them know anymore than the rest of us. There is absolutely no evidence of any kind that there is supernatural god who is interested in humans. Humans have been scared and ignorant of how life and the universe “works’. Because of our little brains we had to invent gods who do the heavy thinking for us. I would rather concentrate on living the only life I will have. I am grateful I live in this day and age and in the socioeconomic level that I do. I do my bit to help others and live a decent life.
    I don’t know why people need an unseen unknown (male) god telling us what to do and promising a vile punishment if we don’t follow (his) teachings.
    The fact we have so many gods down the ages demonstrates our fears.

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  13. @Madison,

    No, all the books listed are NOT written by men. There are at least three female authors, myself included (Things I Never Learned in Sunday School).

    If you poke around some on this blog, I think you will find most visitors (as well as the blog owner) agree with your outlook on God. The books that Nate has listed are simply to illustrate how he arrived at his atheist leanings, as well as for the education of those who may still be searching.

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  14. Thanks for the Jesus Interrupted recommendation. I just received it from the library yesterday and am really enjoying it. Although I was never a scholar, I was confused by the various contradictions in the NT when I was trying to read it in my teens, and it is nice to know that it wasn’t just me. I am keeping Jericho Brisence’s NT timeline handy as I read and find it helps a lot.l

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  15. That’s awesome! I’m glad you’re enjoying it. I wish I had noticed the problems in the Bible in my teens, like you did. I was in my early thirties before I came aware of them…

    And yes, Matt’s timeline is very impressive. He really puts together some amazing material.

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  16. Hello Nate,
    I love the way you’ve presented your reading as an intellectual journey. I also admire the discipline to read outside of your comfort zone as a response to confirmation bias. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, prepare to be imitated. Russell and I are reworking our blog’s format, and reading together has been a big part of our friendship.
    –Pascal

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  17. Hi Pascal,

    Thanks for the kind comment! I’ve only had a few minutes to look at your blog so far, but it looks like a place I’ll be following with interest! I love the idea of a joint project between an atheist and a theist — my friend Kent and I have discussed doing something similar before. I look forward to catching up on your posts!

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  18. This list is way longer than I thought, you have yourself a pretty good library going man! I’m working through The Age of Reason and have A History of God next up.

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  19. Nate,
    You are really doing yourself a disservice by not reading the Quran, it is the answer.
    (Buy Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali translation)

    “How can you disbelieve in Allah, seeing that you were dead and He gave you life? Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return.”

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  20. Thanks Nader. I’ll add it to my “to read” list. Honestly, I’m pretty skeptical of any deity claims these days, but I’ll look into it.

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  21. Hey, Nate, I know I’m very ‘late’ on my comment, but I was wondering what you might think of the idea of the lessons of the Bible (including Jesus’ life) being metaphor? Just curious – it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately.

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