First off, I just love Dawkins. My favorite two are "The God Delusion" and "The Greatest Show On Earth" (evolution). He really is a gifted writer. If I could make one suggestion though, listen to a couple of his speeches first. You can find them for free on both youtube and Itunes. He is a marvelous speaker and writes the way he talks and now whenever I read him I hear it in his voice and, for myself anyway, it enhances the experience. In fact if you are a new atheist "The God Delusion ought to be required reading along with "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris.
If you have never read anything by Bertrand Russell I strongly recommend it. Try starting with a collection of his essays and speeches. I needed smallish doses before I really got into him. "Why I Am Not A Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects" is a good collection to start out with.
I like the "new" collection by A.C. Grayling called "The Good Book". There is a variety of authors he put together, I just finished reading Herodotus. I learned a lot from Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth". "The Agent of Chaos" is a book I read in 8th grade, and re-read now and then.
Atheists don't "worship" books, we take them with a grain of salt.
I am very much with you on this one Ruth. However I do hold some books in high regard. If we were to "worship" any book, it would almost certainly make it a dogma and reduce out thoughts to the repetition of catechism.
I believe that this more than anything turned "Marxism" into a dogma and failure. Discussing anything with a dedicated Marxist was, more often that not, an argument about sacred texts.
Wouldn't say worship since it implies reverence without thought. For me the following texts are significant:
Dan Barker - Losing Faith in Faith (this was instrumental in completing my deconversion more so than any of Dawkins books)
Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason
Bart Ehrman - Misquoting Jesus
Richard Dawkins - The Blind Watchmaker (explains evolution really well and explains how life can form without divine interference, but I doubt a Christian would find it convincing enough to leave their faith)
I like these two books because they poke hundreds of holes in the Christian dogma.
"Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Ehrman, The story behind who changed the bible and why.
"God's Problem" also by Bart Ehrman, How the Bible fails to answer our most important question - Why we suffer.
Mr Ehrman has a very impressive background. It wasn't easy for him to give up his religious upbringing.
Also would like to recommend the movie "Religulous" by Bill Maher
Atheists don't worship ne kinda books
Hoot mon, ye are correct.
I actually like reading the Bible to drive a wedge in the teachings of Christianity. One needs to know as much or more than a Christian funny-mental if one is to debate and argue effectively. study the book of Jeremiah. The Prophet of the Old Testament did not believe the law was given to Moses. He said so in several places and his writings prove the Christian assumption of Jesus as a perfect sacrifice is a false belief. Jeremiah wrote that god did not give the Jew the law of sacrifice for the atonement of sins, which is what the Christians claim made Jesus a perfect sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. Even the prophet Hosea claimed god 'desired mercy and not sacrifice.'
The other book I like to read is Farewell to God by Charles Templeton, the other half of the Billy Graham Crusades, who left the ministry as an agnostic until his death.
The Silmarillion. More plausible and coherent than the xtian bible.
I've read the bible, cover to cover, it does help me argue but the only reason I got through it was because I was christian back then.
Moving on to good books (excuse the pun), anything by Adams, Pratchett or Dawkins.
There is a book you can say I worship called Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, it's a novel which explains the philosify of objectivism (which is turn is a non-religious (i.e. based on logic and reason) moral system), to give you an idea of what objectivism is about, Ayn Rand also wrote "the virtue of selfishness".