As revealed in my new Recommended Books website, there are four books I recommend more highly than any others to Christians. They are relatively short and accessible books, and they may help to explain to Christians why most people on the planet - especially scientists and philosophers - reject Christianity.
Bart Ehrman, 2010
Leading Bible scholar Bart Ehrman is sympathetic with his believing audience, but gently explains how Biblical scholars - including Christian ones - have found that:
- The Bible is full of contradictions.
- The New Testament authors had different, and sometimes contradictory, theologies.
- The Nicene Creed and the Trinity are not found in the Bible, but are constructs of later church fathers.
- Traditional doctrines like the divinity of Christ and heaven and hell do not come from the teachings of the historical Jesus.
- and more.
This is a must-read book for lay believers who have not been through seminary to learn these things.
50 reasons people give for believing in a god
Guy Harrison, 2008
Guy Harrison offers a short chapter on each of the top 50 reasons give for believing in a god, including:
- "My God is obvious."
- "Faith is a good thing."
- "Our world is too beautiful to be an accident."
- "Better safe than sorry."
- "My god answers prayers."
- "My religion makes more sense than all the others."
In plain language, Harrison explains these reasons are not convincing to unbelievers or people of other faiths. Often, the skeptical objections come from technical philosophy, but you would never guess it because Harrison presents all of them in common-sense form.
The Christian Delusion
John Loftus (ed.), 2010
A tour-de-force against Christian belief, each chapter is written by an expert on its topic. Several chapters are, quite simply, the best short works on that argument ever written. Chapters include:
- Christian Belief Through the Lens of Cognitive Science
- The Bible and Modern Scholarship
- Yahweh is a Moral Monster
- The Darwinian Problem of Evil
- Why the Resurrection is Unbelievable
- Christianity Does Not Provide the Basis for Morality
...and others. I will agree with philosopher Michael Martin in saying that "John Loftus and his distinguished colleagues have produced arguably the best critique of the Christian faith the world has ever known." And, historian Dale Allison: "Forget Dawkins. If you are looking for a truly substantial, well-informed criticism of the Christian religion, this is your book."
Sense & Goodness Without God
Richard Carrier, 2005
Often, Christians fight legitimate doubts with all their might because they've been told the alternative is a hopeless, meaningless, purposeless, amoral existence. But that's not true. In Sense & Goodness Without God, historian and philosopher Richard Carrier offers a thorough, fulfilling alternative worldview, one based on reason and evidence rather than magic and ancient scripture. This alternative is Metaphysical Naturalism, and it is the worldview of most scientists and philosophers, along with millions of other people who live lives full of hope, meaning, purpose, and morality.
Without God, what can be said about knowledge, free will, cosmic origins, the mind, the meaning of life, emotion, morality, politics, and beauty? It's all here, presented as a cohesive whole.
Work Published Here.