Friday, January 10, 2014

Trying Atheism as a journey? - what to pack.


"What difference does God make?
...[an] atheist friend asked her this question ... I decided I would find out, by living for a year without God."

Above from Ryan Bell's blog  Year without god



Away from religious habits  - an unexpected journey.
I was a Seventh-Day Adventist like Ryan. My path diverged in the early 80's. I left the sda denomination over various SDA specific dogmas but I remained a generic Christian for decades after that.  It was only after looking into atheism (in 2008) that my journey out of religious belief altogether really got underway. Books mostly, that's what did it. Only after that year did I see some videos, hear some podcasts, read some blogs, join some facebook groups, attend an atheist convention, go to some meetup groups etc. 

My journey begins. The train pulls out of the station from outer suburban Melbourne. I am on it, I begin reading my "book one". The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I felt awkward, embarrassed even and read it behind a magazine to disguise the fact. I had picked it up on a whim, seemed many others were reading it. My motivation was curiosity, my expectation was that it was all rubbish and I knew better as a Christian , my hope was to be able to refute everything with an apologetic stance etc. Questions were raised.

Consider reading "both sides", some apologetic books and rebuttals etc.
If one is still immersed in young earth creation (YEC) as a fundamentalist then consider some YEC Christian friendly evolution books- By Fairbanks, Alexander , Collins - otherwise go direct to Dawkins, Coyne etc. Read some age of the earth books, geology etc. If one is still stuck in Noah's flood as real , see the rocks don't lie. Some philosophy books, logic, critical thinking etc.

The (~ 190) books below have largely (re)shaped my world view.




100 Billion Suns: The Birth, Life, and Death of the Stars Rudolf Kippenhahn
36 Arguments for the Existence of God Rebecca Newberger Goldstein
50 Great Myths about Atheism Russell Blackford
50 Popular Beliefs That People Think Are True Guy P. Harrison
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God Guy P. Harrison
50 Simple Questions for Every Christian Guy P. Harrison
50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists Russell Blackford
A God of One's Own: Religion's Capacity for Peace and Potential for Violence Ulrich Beck
A Manual for Creating Atheists Peter Boghossian
A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing Lawrence M. Krauss
A World Without Islam Graham E. Fuller
Adam's Tongue: How Humans Made Language, How Language Made Humans Derek Bickerton
Adams Vs. God: The Rematch Phillip Adams
Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness A.C. Grayling
All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age Hubert L. Dreyfus
Atheism Julian Baggini
Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker David Eller
Atheism and the Case Against Christ Matthew S. McCormick
Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy David Ramsay Steele
Atheism: The Case Against God George H. Smith
Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam Michel Onfray
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism David Mills
Believing Bullshit: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole Stephen Law
Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions Cami Ostman
Beyond Good and Evil Friedrich Nietzsche
Blindness Josea Saramago
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Daniel C. Dennett
Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut
Caught in The Pulpit:  Leaving Belief Behind Daniel C. Dennett
Climbing Mount Improbable Richard Dawkins
Cosmos Carl Sagan
Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book Without Instructions Daniele Bolelli
Creation or Evolution?: Do We Have to Choose? Denis Alexander
Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life Daniel C. Dennett
Decoding the Language of God: Can a Scientist Really Be a Believer? George C. Cunningham
Deconverted: a Journey from Religion to Reason Seth Andrews
Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly James A. Lindsay
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Jennifer Michael Hecht
Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom Sean B. Carroll
Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction Eugenie C. Scott
Evolving out of Eden: Christian Responses to Evolution Robert M. Price
Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious Chris Stedman
Fear and Trembling Søren Kierkegaard
For God's Sake Jane Caro
Forged: Writing in the Name of God Bart D. Ehrman
Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us about Development and Evolution Mark S. Blumberg
Free Will Sam Harris
Friendship A.C. Grayling
From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World, Vol. 1 Marilyn French
Generation Atheist Dan    Riley
God -- the Failed Hypothesis Victor J. Stenger
God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says Michael D. Coogan
God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion Victor J. Stenger
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Christopher Hitchens
God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter Stephen R. Prothero
God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. John W. Loftus
God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Victor J. Stenger
Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels Sikivu Hutchinson
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists Dan Barker
Good and Evil (Great Minds Series) Richard  Taylor
Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe Greg M. Epstein
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies Jared Diamond
Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheism Jerry DeWitt
How Proust Can Change Your Life Alain de Botton
How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at An Answer Sarah Bakewell
Ideas That Matter: A Personal Guide For The 21st Century A.C. Grayling
Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century A.C. Grayling
Infidel Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking Daniel C. Dennett
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) Bart D. Ehrman
Leaving the Fold Marlene Winell
Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris
Letters to a Young Poet Rainer Maria Rilke
Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution Nick Lane
Lying Sam Harris
Man Made God: A Collection of Essays Barbara Walker
Man's Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage Stephanie Coontz
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why Bart D. Ehrman
Mister God, This Is Anna Fynn
More Than Human Theodore Sturgeon
Mortality Christopher Hitchens
Natural Atheism David Eller
Nature's Clocks: How Scientists Measure the Age of Almost Everything Doug Macdougall
Neuromancer (Sprawl, #1) William Gibson
Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Objecting to God Colin Howson
On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction Brian Boyd
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution Neil deGrasse Tyson
Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space Carl Sagan
Paranormality: Why We See What Isn't There Richard Wiseman
People in Glass Houses Tanya Levin
Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life Louise M. Antony
Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines Richard A. Muller
Predictably Irrational. The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Dan Ariely
Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain Maryanne Wolf
Proust Was a Neuroscientist Jonah Lehrer
Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Richard Carrier
Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA Daniel J. Fairbanks
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion  Alain de Botton
Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of Our Traditional Ethics Peter Singer
Road Out Of Eden From Adventist To Atheist LouAnne White
Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality Darrel Ray
Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality Christopher  Ryan
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
South Park and Philosophy: Bigger, Longer, and More Penetrating Richard Hanley
Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein
Supercontinent: Ten Billion Years in the Life of Our Planet Ted Nield
Supernatural Selection: How Religion Evolved Matthew Rossano
Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time, #1) Marcel Proust
Talking Difference: On Gender and Language Mary Crawford
The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution Gregory Cochran
The Age of Everything: How Science Explores the Past Matthew Hedman
The Ancestor's Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution Richard Dawkins
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions Alex Rosenberg
The Australian Book of Atheism Warren Bonett
The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths Michael Shermer
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts Israel Finkelstein
The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design Richard Dawkins
The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Case Against The Case for Christ Robert M. Price
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails John W. Loftus
The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons David Fitzgerald
The Dark Side of Christian History Helen Ellerbe
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Carl Sagan
The End of Biblical Studies Hector Avalos
The End of Christianity John W. Loftus
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris
The Epigenetics Revolution Nessa Carey
The Evolution of God Robert Wright
The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves Stephen Grosz
The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us Victor J. Stenger
The Future of Blasphemy: Speaking of the Sacred in an Age of Human Rights Austin Dacey
The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism A.C. Grayling
The God Confusion: Why Nobody Knows the Answer to the Ultimate Question Gary Cox
The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) John R. Shook
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins
The God Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life Jesse Bering
The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God Dan Barker
The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution Richard Dawkins
The Heart of Things: Applying Philosophy to the 21st Century A.C. Grayling
The Hero with a Thousand Faces Joseph Campbell
The High Price Of Heaven - A Book About The Enemies Of Pleasure and Freedom David Marr
The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History Erik Durschmied
The Holy Machine Chris Beckett
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) Thom Stark
The Last of the Just André Schwarz-Bart
The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty Peter Singer
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution Sean B. Carroll
The Meaning of Life Terry Eagleton
The Meaning of Things: Applying Philosophy to Life A.C. Grayling
The Metamorphosis Franz Kafka
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason Victor J. Stenger
The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True John W. Loftus
The Philosophy Gym Stephen Law
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever Christopher Hitchens
The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong Peter Steinberger
The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? Robert M. Price
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion Jonathan Haidt
The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah's Flood David R. Montgomery
The Shrink and the Sage: A Guide to Modern Dilemmas Julian Baggini
The Speed Reading Book Tony Buzan
The Stranger Albert Camus
The Tree Of Man Patrick White
The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter Peter Singer
The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? Jared Diamond
The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God Alom Shaha
The Young Atheist's Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thrive Hemant Mehta
Think: Why You Should Question Everything Guy P. Harrison
Thinking of Answers: Questions in the Philosophy of Everyday Life A.C. Grayling
To Set Prometheus Free A.C. Grayling
Tragedy: A Very Short Introduction Adrian Poole
Truth: A Guide Simon Blackburn
Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder Richard Dawkins
Western Values Versus the Gospels - What Jesus Really Values and Why We Shouldn't Agree with Him Peter Woolcock
Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell Dennis Bray
What Are You Without God?: How to Discredit Religious Thought and Rebuild Your Identity Christopher Krzeminski
What Evolution Is Ernst Mayr
What On Earth Evolved? ... In Brief Christopher   Lloyd
What Should I Believe?: Why Our Beliefs about the Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life Dominate Our Lives Dorothy Rowe
What's It All About?: Philosophy and the Meaning of Life Julian Baggini
When Life Nearly Died: The Greatest Mass Extinction of All Time Michael J. Benton
When Species Meet Donna J. Haraway
White as the Waves: A Novel of Moby Dick Alison Baird
White Washed: Uncovering the Myths of Ellen G. White Sydney Cleveland
Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless Greta Christina
Why Beliefs Matter: Reflections on the Nature of Science E. Brian Davies
Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design Michael Shermer
Why Evolution Is True Jerry A. Coyne
Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity John W. Loftus
Why Tolerate Religion? Brian Leiter
Why Truth Matters Jeremy Stangroom
Yes, But How Do You Know? Stephen Hetherington



Out of these, my top 80 would be:


50 Great Myths about Atheism Russell Blackford
50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God Guy P. Harrison
50 Simple Questions for Every Christian Guy P. Harrison
50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists Russell Blackford
A God of One's Own: Religion's Capacity for Peace and Potential for Violence Ulrich Beck
A Manual for Creating Atheists Peter Boghossian
Against All Gods: Six Polemics on Religion and an Essay on Kindness A.C. Grayling
Atheism Julian Baggini
Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker David Eller
Atheism and the Case Against Christ Matthew S. McCormick
Atheism Explained: From Folly to Philosophy David Ramsay Steele
Atheism: The Case Against God George H. Smith
Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam Michel Onfray
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism David Mills
Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions Cami Ostman
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon Daniel C. Dennett
Caught in The Pulpit:  Leaving Belief Behind Daniel C. Dennett
Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book Without Instructions Daniele Bolelli
Deconverted: a Journey from Religion to Reason Seth Andrews
Doubt: A History: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson Jennifer Michael Hecht
Faitheist: How An Atheist Found Common Ground With The Religious Chris Stedman
Fear and Trembling Søren Kierkegaard
For God's Sake Jane Caro
Forged: Writing in the Name of God Bart D. Ehrman
Generation Atheist Dan    Riley
God -- the Failed Hypothesis Victor J. Stenger
God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says Michael D. Coogan
God and the Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Religion Victor J. Stenger
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything Christopher Hitchens
God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World--and Why Their Differences Matter Stephen R. Prothero
God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. John W. Loftus
God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist Victor J. Stenger
Godless Americana: Race and Religious Rebels Sikivu Hutchinson
Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe Greg M. Epstein
Hope after Faith: An Ex-Pastor's Journey from Belief to Atheism Jerry DeWitt
Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) Bart D. Ehrman
Leaving the Fold Marlene Winell
Letter to a Christian Nation Sam Harris
Man Made God: A Collection of Essays Barbara Walker
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why Bart D. Ehrman
Natural Atheism David Eller
Objecting to God Colin Howson
Philosophers Without Gods: Meditations on Atheism and the Secular Life Louise M. Antony
Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus Richard Carrier
Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion  Alain de Botton
Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality Darrel Ray
The Atheist's Guide to Reality: Enjoying Life without Illusions Alex Rosenberg
The Australian Book of Atheism Warren Bonett
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts Israel Finkelstein
The Case Against The Case for Christ Robert M. Price
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails John W. Loftus
The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons David Fitzgerald
The Dark Side of Christian History Helen Ellerbe
The End of Biblical Studies Hector Avalos
The End of Christianity John W. Loftus
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason Sam Harris
The Evolution of God Robert Wright
The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe Is Not Designed for Us Victor J. Stenger
The God Argument: The Case against Religion and for Humanism A.C. Grayling
The God Confusion: Why Nobody Knows the Answer to the Ultimate Question Gary Cox
The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between) John R. Shook
The God Delusion Richard Dawkins
The God Instinct: The Psychology of Souls, Destiny, and the Meaning of Life Jesse Bering
The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God Dan Barker
The High Price Of Heaven - A Book About The Enemies Of Pleasure and Freedom David Marr
The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries To Hide It) Thom Stark
The New Atheism: Taking a Stand for Science and Reason Victor J. Stenger
The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True John W. Loftus
The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever Christopher Hitchens
The Problem with God: Why Atheists, True Believers, and Even Agnostics Must All Be Wrong Peter Steinberger
The Reason Driven Life: What Am I Here on Earth For? Robert M. Price
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion Jonathan Haidt
The Young Atheist's Handbook: Lessons for Living a Good Life Without God Alom Shaha
The Young Atheist's Survival Guide: Helping Secular Students Thrive Hemant Mehta
Western Values Versus the Gospels - What Jesus Really Values and Why We Shouldn't Agree with Him Peter Woolcock
What Are You Without God?: How to Discredit Religious Thought and Rebuild Your Identity Christopher Krzeminski
What Should I Believe?: Why Our Beliefs about the Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life Dominate Our Lives Dorothy Rowe
Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 99 Things That Piss Off the Godless Greta Christina
Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity John W. Loftus
Why Tolerate Religion? Brian Leiter



My goodreads.com read list

7 comments:

  1. Seriously impressive Peter. I like the way you write. Would you consider doing a top ten? In fact a top 10 that caused the deepest shifts in perspective for you. Whether that was away from CChristian ideas or even away from ideas you'd held as an atheist.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, sorry this post was bit of a mess. I keep tryi g to get it down to a top 10. Depends who I am talking with. Eg a young earth creationist probably needs some handholding by religious authors on evolution etc. I got it down to a top 80 but then got tired. Cheers. I was a bit scared to open this up for comments , nice to have a positive one to start :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would add James Barr's Fundamentalism. And more by Bart Ehrman.

    You included Cleveland's White Washed; I would add Rea's White Lie and Number's Prophetess of Health.

    Some Nietzsche?

    Darrol Pierson

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Darrol,

      James Barr's 'Fundamentalism' was pivotal to my change of thinking in the late 70's as a young fundamentalist pastor. I started to read it thinking it must be refuted, but alas it refuted me! lol

      Delete
  4. Thanks Darrol , I was doing atheism in general list. For a current or ex seventh day Adventists I would specially add the books you have listed, and sure Nietsche

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a list! I'm impressed you've been able to read them all! If I may, here's two more suggestions:

    The Faith Healers by James Randi. It's disgusting the amount of damage Randi documents. And he exposes the methods--it's all a scam. But if you are Christian, this book should make you wonder why your omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent God permits this in his name. Is he unaware, powerless to stop it, or not benevolent enough to care.

    Also, How We Know What Isn't So by Thomas Gilovitch. It isn't an atheist book, but it is an excellent book on how our brains trick us and how to avoid those intellectual traps. It's a good foundation for critical thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  6. ive got the Randi book somewhere, ill also look for the Gilovitch book. thanks

    ReplyDelete