• 5 Best Books To De-Convert A Christian

    books-pileThere are a lot of great books written by atheist authors over the past few years. While I can’t say that reading any one particular book was the key to my own de-conversion from Judaism to atheism, I have heard from a lot of fellow atheists about how this book or that really got them thinking critically about religion and lead to their de-conversion. None of those books are going to be on my list.

    Not only are none of the books that fellow atheists have testified to me as the key to their de-conversions going to be on my list, but not even all of the books on my list were even written by atheists. How crazy is that? Here we go in reverse order for dramatic affect.

    5. A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss – This is a great book and yes, Krauss is definitely an atheist. This book is great for fundamentalists because it really lays out the evidence for the Big Bang Theory and destroys the First Cause Argument and the Argument by Design. That’s two of the big religious arguments out there. Of course there are Christians and other religious believers who already accept the Big Bang and modern science. This book is still really educational, but probably won’t sway the faith of liberal believers. I really do love how this book explains how we know what we know and that is something fundamental religious believers are really going to have to struggle with.

    4. The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris – Atheists authors are starting out strong on this list. This book destroys C.S. Lewis’s Moral Law Giver Argument. It lays the groundwork for what secular morality is all about. Even if you don’t buy into the premise that science informs our understanding of morality, Harris reminds us of how we actually think about right and wrong. Harris may be off the rails on lots of other issues, but he nails it on this one.

    3. Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman – Okay, Ehrman is sort of an atheist too (he actually considers himself to be an agnostic), but he did write an apologetic type book supporting the historicity of Jesus. Still, even though that book was pretty crappy, Misquoting Jesus is pretty good. This book undermines the credibility of the Gospels. If we can’t trust the Gospel account of Jesus’s teachings, then what account is there to trust? This book also exposes the fact that most religious leaders know this information and are purposefully keeping it a secret from their flock.

    2. The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong – Not an atheist! Armstrong is a former Catholic current… Spiritual Christian-lite? She also wrote an apologetic style book defending her belief in a deity. As ridiculous as that book may be, it is not the book that I am encouraging Christians to read today. The Bible: A Biography really goes into how the Old Testament was put together. Between Armstrong and Ehrman, the Bible is toast!

    1. The King James Bible by multiple anonymous authors – I’m pretty sure none of the authors were atheists but I could be wrong. Let me state the obvious here. I think that Christians should read their Bibles cover-to-cover. I’m convinced that it is the most boring book ever written and I dare any Christian to make it through it. What is even more surprising is that it is filled with walking talking snakes, a wrathful deity, Nazi-like Romans, floods, monsters, and zombies and is still the most boring book on the planet. Not only that, it is ridiculously ridiculous. Yeah, that is how ridiculous the Bible is. You can multiply the ridiculousness by ridiculousness. I can’t believe anyone can actually believe this book. It is simply unbelievable.

    I know a lot of Christians think they have read the Bible, but they really haven’t. I can’t imagine them sitting up in bed with “The Good Book” the way they do with a novel. No, they generally read a few verses here and there as “assignments” for Church or Bible Study – probably from a more sanitized edition. Then they have some religious leader tell them what that chapter actually meant because the Bible itself doesn’t really make any sense, is full of contradictions, is ridiculously ridiculous, and is boring as fuck! There is simply no way anyone can sit down and read this thing page-by-page and still believe it is in any way holy.

    Bonus Book: How “God” Works: A Logical Inquiry on Faith by Marshall Brain — Simply put, this book is AWESOME!!! Brain even lays out a empirical test he discovered in the Bible to disprove God. That’s all I am going to say about that. Check it out!

    Other Interesting Books: I have had the pleasure of interviewing and/or reviewing several interesting books (mostly, but now entirely from atheist authors). You can check out those articles HERE.

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    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.

    34 comments

    1. Not sure which of Ehrman’s books your talking about, but guess it might be “Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium.” While he does argue for a historic figure, he actually views him in true context of the 1st Century and goes a long way to contradict many of the later changes made to the NT. In his view, he was talking about a “kingdom of god” that was both imminent and to be instituted right there in Palestine. In other words, he went to his execution believing that his death would lead to an immediate return of a god-like bringer of justice, etc. I don’t know if I would call that apologetic. I think everyone benefits by reading Ehrman and he is an atheist, although his turning point came as a result of looking at the issue of pain and how could a person believe in a god when looking at our flawed planet (more or less).

      Pretty much agree with the rest (especially the KJV …. it even has unicorns in it …. how utterly ridiculous!). I would, however, include Daniel Dennet’s “Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon.”

      Amongst many things, Dennet discusses cargo cults, those religions
      invented by Pacific islanders in response to their first encounters with
      visitors from the technologically advanced West. During the Second
      World War, the construction of an American air bases on these
      island aroused the curiosity islanders who literally had no previous contact with us. To them, we were gods and were worshiped as such. This is just one of the many illustrations that Dennet makes in a easily-read book.

    2. Here’s my own list of 5 books I like to recommend; not just to Christians, but to theists in general (and atheists – they’re really good reads!)

      1) W.V. Quine – Methods of Logic
      2) Erik Wielenberg – Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe
      3) J.L. Schellenberg – Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason
      4) J.H. Sobel – Logic and Theism
      5) Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

    3. The hardest thing about promoting an argument by offering someone a book to read is getting them to actually read the book. I can’t count the number of times people have offered me a book to read to make their argument for them but I can count the number of times I’ve read one and do it on the fingers of one hand. One way to up the odds of getting someone to read a book with an opposing (and therefore unwelcome) viewpoint is by making them aware it’s both short and an easy read. “Letter to a Christian Nation” by Sam Harris fits the bill best in my opinion and it has the additional virtue of containing really devastating arguments. I don’t feel the need to recommend another four. If they read that one, they’ll find others on their own.

      1. That’s a great point Hugh and a great book for all the reasons you described. Here is an interesting story for you. A number of years ago, I was working for a company and had to travel to various venders. One of the venders I met with regularly was a Fundamentalist Christian. We would often talk about politics and religion together and debate the issues as friends. One year he bought me “The Case for Christ” for Christmas. I read it. The following year, I bought him Harris’s “Letter to a Christian Nation” and guess what? Despite being a much shorter book than the one he gave me, he still didn’t read it. I did try and I would definitely recommend “Letter” as a great book to give a lazy Christian because it is pretty short and a Christian might just pick it up and read a little bit just out of curiosity. Good pick!

    4. “Ye Shall Be As Gods” and “Man For Himself” by Erich Fromm did it for me. And “Psychoanalysis and Religion” also by Fromm is icing on the cake.

      1. Already reading about “Ye Shall Be As Gods” and… the description alone is crazy to suggest that secularism & humanism are a ‘disease’ that came in the form of the words of the demonic snake in the garden of eve. Was it really that crazy?

    5. Lawrences Krause’s book is titled “A Universe from Nothing”. It’s an important distigtion because of the likely possibilty that the universe we live in is not the only one that ever has been, is, or will be.

    6. Lawrences Krause’s book is titled “A Universe from Nothing”. It’s an important distinction because of the likely possibility that the universe we live in is not the only one that ever has been, is, or will be.

      1. Depends on what that something is. In the case if a ridiculous and dangerous religion, it is better to not believe and be right.

    7. If the sole goal is convincing theists they are wrong I can’t recommend “Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith” by Richard Carrier highly enough. It is incredibly concise, relentlessly logical (presenting a lot of ‘if it is the case this then it is necessarily not the case that’ style arguments.) Also, whereas a lot of people have listed the various crimes and shenanigans of religious types this usually fails to be persuasive as the actions can be dismissed as incorrect or regrettable. Carrier strikes at a more profound level while avoiding the hazy vagueness that generally accompanies metaphysical discussions. Just my two cents.

    8. Hey Mr. Rosch,

      I wanted to make a comment on the King James Bible. Personally, I don’t read the King James Bible, but rather the ESV, which is a version of the bible which is still extremely similar to the original texts, but is written in more modern language. So, when I make this comment, know that I am defending the bible as a whole, and not just the King James Version.

      First, the Bible isn’t meant to be read as a novel, but rather as a book to study and show the attributes of God and how Christians are to act in light of His attributes. I don’t mean that it is a textbook, as it is to still be enjoyed, and yes, it does have acts in it that may seem impossible to believe. But each of these acts didn’t occur to make the book interesting to us, but to show how interesting God is.

      Second, as a Christian, I enjoy reading the Bible, and don’t find it to be boring. I believe this to be the work of the Holy Spirit, as He helps illuminate the text and guides me in my understanding of it. I think that I would find some of the drier parts of the Bible to be boring without the Holy Spirit, ad because of this, I am thankful of the Spirit.

      You may not like the point about the Holy Spirit, and I completely understand that, as I can’t expect you to understand my view on it, as you aren’t a Christian. I am not attempting to start an argument; I just want to show how a Christian views the Bible, and how we find it possible to enjoy it. I enjoy reading the Bible because I enjoy God, and want to know as much about Him as possible.

      Thank you for allowing me to comment.

      1. Thank you for your comment Cody. While I must admit that I was never a Christian (I was raised Jewish), many atheists were raised Christian and a good number were very devote Christians at that. Several of my friends were even members of the clergy. They read the Bible believing that the Holy Spirit was guiding them. But the reality is that their religious leaders, parents, community were guiding them.

        To say that there are some things in the Bible that seem impossible is an understatement. Most Christians don’t realize that there are Zombies in the Bible. You know that, right? When Jesus died on the cross, the Earth opened up and people rose from their graves and walked around the cities… and yet no one seemed to mention that in the history books. Strange, it is almost as if it never actually happened. 😉

      1. LMAO. Really? My “Atheism 101” series is down, but I wrote a great article about what happened every time science tested the power of prayer. It short, it doesn’t really work. in fact, every time science has tested a religious claim, the religious claim has shown to be bullshit.

      1. Best quote ever! lol You use science everyday!!! The internet is a result of science. Your heating system is a result of science. Almost everything you use and do is made possible by science. Scientific medical research saves countless lives a minute, but fuck science. It’s stupid. lol.

    9. I’m just a kid. I was looking for research on my laptop on my claim, it is about God in school. Every time i mention him to a friend a teacher overhears, and says God is not allowed in school. But as you can tell i stand strongly by what i believe in.

      1. Your teacher was wrong. If you were talking about your religion quietly with a friend in a non-disruptive manner, I don’t see the problem. If your teacher said, “no talking…” and you were talking then your teacher could ask you to stop, but not because of the subject matter. On the other hand, if you were preaching to the class, then your teacher could ask you to stop because you are being disruptive. But if you are reporting this accurately and you were just talking quietly with a friend, then your teacher would be in the wrong. If this happens again, contact your local ACLU and they will help you.

    10. Ok i see, but she specifically said, “You are not allowed to talk about God in school.”(5th grade) Then again, this year in 7th grade one of my teachers said, “You are not allowed to talk about God in school, it always ends badly.”

      1. Those teachers are wrong. Contact your local ACLU and they will let you know your rights in this regard. Even though I think belief in God is ridiculous, I will have no problem writing a letter to your teachers explaining the Separation of Church and State to your teachers if you would like. Please e-mail me the details (their names, the name of the school, your name, and their e-mail or snail mail addresses.
        DangerousTalk@gmail.com

      1. You are the one telling people you don’t know that they deserve to be tortured for all eternity, but I’m the jerk for offering to help you defend your faith (which I don’t believe in) against your teachers who don’t understand the separation of church and state. Okay.

        Look, I think you are a nice person who has been indoctrinated (through no fault of your own) into believing some pretty ridiculous things on insufficient evidence. I want you to think critically about the things you believe. Because the magic painting is really out there. i mean there are ridiculous beliefs and then there are magic paintings. I mean why would the nation’s space agency test a religious painting? Does that make sense to you? as far as I can tell, no one is claiming that the painting is alien or anything. Then maybe it might make sense.

    11. Yeah it does make sense, they are trying to find answers about God. And it is not “magic” but something good. And as i said I’m a kid, and I can handle my teachers without you bopping in, I’m sure the is a good person inside.

      1. 93% of scientists don’t believe in a personal deity. NASA is an institution what specializes in space exploration. They neither have the interest, budget, or expertise to investigate magic paintings. So right from the start, when I hear a claim that this, that NASA scientists proved this painting has a heart beat, my reaction is obvious skepticism. Okay, my reaction is more like, is this an Onion article? It makes no sense. The fact that no one (including the guy who wrote a slideshow presentation and posted it on an academic website) can provide these test results is very telling. I am actually surprised Snopes doesn’t have an entry for this.

        You are a kid and my point here is that even though I disagree with you, I am willing to fight in favor of your right to have a view i disagree with. Would you be willing to fight for the rights of atheists in the same way? You read the post I made about the high school student in RI and how much hate she received from “good” Christian folks.

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