What books should I read that can help me understand this important step I've taken.

I'm new at this. I'm the first in my whole family to brake the chains of religion. What literature is recommended to understand atheist.

Thank you

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Comment by Michael Pianko on July 17, 2014 at 5:41pm
I am not necessarily sure that there is any literature that you should feel obligated to read. But The two best books I read about religion are both by Darrel W. Ray, The God Virus, and Sex and God.

Mainly you just have to find activities and hobbies and interests that do not have anything to do with religion. For example, before I came out as an atheist I was not able to talk to non-Jewish women and I was only able to go to Jewish events or activities. Mainly you have to make sure you never allow yourself to feel guilty about yourself due to the possibility of not doing the religion you were taught you have to do. The purpose of books about atheism is to help people who are already atheists to quit feeling guilty about the fact that they are atheists, and never allow yourself to relapse into doing religion again.
Comment by Andrew Bradford Hoke on July 16, 2014 at 11:34pm

Hey Erika,

I know this will sound coy, but many people decide they are atheists after reading The Bible. There is soooo much rotten sh*t in that book...

Comment by Sky God on July 16, 2014 at 10:52pm

julia sweeney "letting go of god"  is a funny, yet informative book (and youtube video and ted talk) on coming out atheist.  Checkout Skepticon Youtube videos. You'll find many speakers on various topics, from very funny to philosophical to scientific to pure logic. In addition to gaining new insight, they will introduce you to others in the community, talk about their own coming out atheist, (including some former ministers) and talk about many organizations such as the clergy project, freedom from religion, secular student alliance, dawkins foundation, etc. And welcome to your new tribe!

Comment by Michael Penn on July 7, 2014 at 10:31pm

Finding atheist videos on You Tube would be helpful also. On that site (or their own) you can watch full episodes of The Atheist Experience which is an hour long program from Austin, Texas. It airs on Sunday once a week. Matt Dilahunty is the host and a good rational debater. He was once going to be a Baptist minister until logic got ahold of him. They have other people on and sometimes have guests. It's basicly a "call in" type program and questions are answered. Informative and sometimes funny.

Search and Google it. Good luck.

Comment by Loren Miller on July 7, 2014 at 8:42pm

Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation is available in audiobook form on YouTube.  I have an audio-only copy of that recording if you are interested.

Comment by Joan Denoo on July 7, 2014 at 8:10pm

Start with:

Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

Daniel Dennett, Breaking the spell

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, YouTube

Christopher Hitchens,  God is not great

These four men are known as the Four horsemen of atheism; I am a great fan of each of them.

I am including my reading list, which is huge, but all the authors have something useful to say, or ask the questions that need to be asked. Don't worry, I have been at this for 40 years as of July 1, 1974 and just take your time. Sit down with your favorite beverage, take on an author and just soak up what he or she has to say. There is no hurry. 

Many authors have videos or audio recording so you can close your eyes and listen. 

Atheism 101: A reading List 

. Sam Harris The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

. Richard Dawkins The God Delusion

. David Mills Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism.

Philosophical Atheism 

. George H Smith Atheism: The Case Against God (Skeptic's Bookshelf)  

. Bertrand Russell  Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and 

Scientific Atheism

. Carl Sagan, Ann Druyan  The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

. Lawrence Krauss ‎A Universe from Nothing

History of Atheism and Freethought in America

. Susan Jacoby  Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism

Society, Culture, and Politics 

.  Michelle Goldberg  Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism 

The Rev. Barry Lynn  Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom

Atheism 210: An Intermediate Reading List 

. Christopher Hitchens’ The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever 

Philosophical Atheism 

. Richard Carrier's Sense & Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism 

. Michael Onfray's Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam

Scientific Atheism 

. Carl Sagan's The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

. Michael Shermer Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time

. How We Believe, 2nd Edition: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God

. Victor J. Stenger's God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist

Explaining Religion

. Daniel Dennet's Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon  

. Pascal Boyer's Religion Explained

. Earl Doherty's The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus

. Bart D. Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Plus).

Society, Culture, and Politics 

. John Bice's A 21st Century Rationalist in Medieval America: Essays on Religion, Science, Morality, and the Bush Administration (Revised and Expanded Edition)

. Christopher Hitchens' God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

. Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel  

Comment by Grinning Cat on July 7, 2014 at 7:02pm

Also, Letters from the Earth, by Mark Twain.

Comment by Pat on July 7, 2014 at 6:29pm

To add to the list:

Inherit the Wind, a play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee

Godless, by Dan Barker

H.L. Mencken on Religion, by H.L. Mencken

And, of course, the one book to read from cover to cover (and it's a struggle), that will convert anyone to atheism who has actually read it.

The Bible

Comment by Loren Miller on July 7, 2014 at 4:25pm

There are plenty of good ones:

  • The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
  • god is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
  • A Universe from Nothing, by Lawrence Krauss (on how reality doesn't need a god to create itself
  • Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason, by Seth Andrews - a former christian broadcaster who figured it out, and now hosts The Thinking Atheist radio podcasts (which are also worth your time!)

There are LOTS of others, but these can certainly get you started.  Enjoy!



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