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Number One Most Recommended Atheist Book

I get asked a lot by both Christians and atheists alike, what is the book that I would most recommend to people in order to de-convert them away from god-belief. The answer I always give surprises a lot of people.

While some people would expect me to say, Richard Dawkin’s book, The God Delusion, I rarely recommend it. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good book for people who have never heard any of the arguments before, but the fact is that most of the arguments in that book are hundreds of years old. The book is a good overview of the arguments and for that it is a pretty good choice. But it wouldn’t be my first recommendation.

How about Chris Hitchen’s book, God Is Not Great. That too is a pretty good book, but not my top recommendation. It is a lot like The God Delusion in that it is a good overview of already existing arguments. Again, I might recommend it for some people who really haven’t heard these arguments before.

Sam Harris has two pretty well known atheist books and the first doesn’t even mention atheism. His books are great and I would highly recommend them, but neither The End of Faith nor Letter to a Christian Nation are in the number one spot. Both books do a really good job of laying out the case for why atheists have been so critical of theistic belief. Letter to a Christian Nation in particular is a good easy read for Christians. I have actually given it as a gift to at least one of my Christian friends.

Historian Bart Ehrman’s book, Misquoting Jesus, would probably be my third choice for Christians to read because it deals with how the Bible has changed over time. Once Christians see that the Bible isn’t this infallible monolithic book they tend to be more open to reasoning outside the Bible.

My number two recommended book is actually written by a Christian. Historian Karen Armstrong’s book, The History of God, is up there on my list. In this book, she shows to origins of the Abrahamic deity and how our view of that deity has changed over time. Personally, I am surprised that Armstrong can still consider herself a Christian after writing it.

But the book that I would recommend the most and that other atheists also recommend the most is still the Holy Bible. While many believers claim to have read the book, few have actually read it cover-to-cover without the aid of some religious leader telling them how to interpret it the correct way. We sometimes forget that for a long time, common people weren’t able or allowed to read the Bible for themselves. The Church held that only specially trained priests could interpret it correctly.

Even today, churches don’t really encourage their parishioners to read the Bible cover-to-cover on their own. The Bible is filled with the most despicable immoral acts one can think of and so it is no wonder that churches often focus people’s attention on the relatively few positive verses that they cherry-pick for their sermons. When some churches do focus on any number of the immoral passages in the Bible, mainstream Christians jump to claim that the Bible is being taken out of context, misunderstood, or misused. But the fact is that the Bible is a pretty immoral book as a whole and when people sits down and read it cover-to-cover that usually becomes pretty obvious.

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