Reddit Reddit reviews A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam

We found 141 Reddit comments about A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.

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A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
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141 Reddit comments about A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

u/TooManyInLitter · 81 pointsr/DebateReligion

How about the evolution of Yahweh/Allah as a second-tier God in a large henotheistic polytheism into a straight monotheism where there is only one God, where that God is Yahweh/Allah?

Here are some references on the growth of monotheistic Yahwehism from a historical polytheistic foundation to the development of the henotheism/monolatry, and then monotheism of early Biblical Israelites:

u/HaiKarate · 40 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Freeman -- breaks down the composition of the first five books of the Bible, and why it seems a little funky to the average reader (hint: multiple authors and editing for each book).

The Bible Unearthed -- One of the top archaeologists in Israel today demonstrates why the foundational stories of the Bible can't be literally true.

A History of God -- Explains the known history behind the idea of the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how that idea evolved from polytheistic roots.

The above three books would represent where most Bible scholars are on the issue of the historical authenticity of the Bible's stories.

u/Valendr0s · 38 pointsr/atheism

Here's my subscription list in YouTube in alphabetical order:

  • C0nc0rdance - dedicated to cutting through scientific hype and helping the laymen understand the real science behind the hype. Not so much anti-religion as pro science.

  • cdk007 - Evolution explanations. General creationist lie busting. Try his "Logic of Religion" Series.

  • DarkMatter2525 - sort of a humorous site, he pokes fun more than most, but he exposes some fallacies.

  • DonExodus - His older stuff is better IMO, but still a very solid channel.

  • dprjones - some good stuff here, he's more up on the YouTube drama than some of the others.

  • Evid3nc3 - Some interesting, "how I became an atheist" stories. But the real gem of this collection has to be: A History of God part 1. Which is essentially a book report on the book "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam"

  • GreatBigBore - His newer stuff is way off base of his older stuff... He used to do critiques of creationist/atheist debates, creationist papers, and religious propaganda, pointing out every logical fallacy he can find. Try the "God's Quality Control 2.0" series.

  • Jon LaJoie - not religiously related, but HILARIOUS nevertheless, you needed a break anyway - start with everyday normal guy and keep the laughs coming.

  • National Center for Science Education - The group trying very hard to keep Evolution in schools and Religion out of them. Dr Eugenie Scott is probably one of my personal heroes.

  • NonStampCollector - very funny, has lots of biblical contradictions in here. He loves em. Funny guy. But if there is a hell this guy's goin there unless god's got an infinite sense of humor too...

  • Philhellenes - If there was an atheist church, this would be the pastor. Warning, it can be a tear jerker... Science Saved My Soul. Deliberately uses religious tactics to invoke emotions in scientific minds to great effect.

  • potholer54 - Another personal hero. Former science news correspondent, destroys creationist arguments with his huge hammer of justice. Also has Potholer54debunks.

  • ProfMTH - again, older stuff is amazing. His "Brief Bible Blunders" series was really good.

  • QualiaSoup - Now we're cooking with fire. This guy is who you're looking for. He destroys religion's base arguments. He decimates every argument with his soft accented voice. Putting faith in its place is where I'd start.

  • A single video by smsavage32 - Was Jesus a Myth? - very enlightening.

  • TheraminTrees - Here's the brother of QualiaSoup. Deals with the psychological effects of religion. Amazing two guys here, can't go wrong with them. I'd suggest Atheism as congruence and Transition to Atheism for his personal story.

    To recap, almost everything in TheraminTrees and QualiaSoup's channels are just amazing.
u/ChaoticAgenda · 37 pointsr/aaaaaatheismmmmmmmmmm

I was a little over-zealous so the first thing out of my mouth after introductions was, "Why do you guys worship somebody who murdered so many people?"
They were a little confused since they couldn't think of any times he did that so I reminded them of the flood where he almost destroyed the entire human race and Sodom and Gomorrah.
They tried to justify it by saying that God can judge us for our sins. I pointed out that sin could only exist if God decided to stay silent while watching Eve get tempted. You can't honestly expect a person with no knowledge of good and evil to understand that what they are doing is wrong, yet we are punished for it to this day.

At this point they wanted to just cut their losses and leave me with one of their books so I offered to give them my copy of A History of God too and they could learn about how the polytheistic Canaanite religion led to polytheistic Judaism and from there to monotheistic Judaism. The trade was declined, but one of the guys said he would look into it.

I felt pretty good about the whole exchange. I didn't change any minds, but I defended my position solidly where they could hardly think of what to say.

u/tazemanian-devil · 22 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for getting those nasty watchtower cobwebs out of your head, in other words, here is what I did to de-indoctrinate myself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/MoralJellyfish · 21 pointsr/AskHistorians

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is a pretty good and accessible text about how the God concept changed over time

u/succhialce · 20 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I don't find that funny, I find it hugely disturbing. Learn about how your Bible was created and then see what that does for you.

Also please don't just downvote this guy because he's a religious person, that is counter-intuitive to the discourse here.

u/WastedP0tential · 20 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You wanted to be part of the intelligentsia, but throughout your philosophical journey, you always based your convictions only on authority and tradition instead of on evidence and arguments. Don't you realize that this is the epitome of anti – intellectualism?

It is correct that the New Atheists aren't the pinnacle of atheistic thought and didn't contribute many new ideas to the academic debate of atheism vs. theism or religion. But this was never their goal, and it is also unnecessary, since the academic debate is already over for many decades. If you want to know why the arguments for theism are all complete nonsense and not taken seriously anymore, why Christianity is wrong just about everything and why apologists like Craig are dishonest charlatans who make a living out of fooling people, your reading list shouldn't be New Atheists, but rather something like this:

Colin Howson – Objecting to God

George H. Smith – Atheism: The Case Against God

Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

Graham Oppy – The Best Argument Against God

Herman Philipse – God in the Age of Science

J. L. Mackie – The Miracle of Theism

J. L. Schellenberg – The Wisdom to Doubt

Jordan Sobel – Logic and Theism

Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God

Richard Gale – On the Nature and Existence of God

Robin Le Poidevin – Arguing for Atheism

Stewart Elliott Guthrie – Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

Theodore Drange – Nonbelief & Evil

[Avigor Shinan – From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends] (

Bart Ehrman – The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

Bart Ehrman – Jesus, Interrupted

Bart Ehrman – Misquoting Jesus

Burton L. Mack – Who Wrote the New Testament?

Helmut Koester – Ancient Christian Gospels

John Barton, John Muddiman – The Oxford Bible Commentary

John Dominic Crossan – Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography

Karen Armstrong – A History of God

Mark Smith – The Early History of God

Randel McCraw Helms – Who Wrote the Gospels?

Richard Elliott Friedman – Who Wrote the Bible?

Robert Bellah – Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

Robert Walter Funk – The Gospel of Jesus

u/xb10h4z4rd · 19 pointsr/exchristian

>Any books you can recommend covering this?

[a history of god] (

>Old Testament actually referred to other Gods actually being thought to exist. Do they not read it?

i've been apollogetizied on those already, they are either not real gods but metaphors for worldly things or it was taken out of context /s

u/samreay · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.

This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).

By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.

All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.

This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:

u/[deleted] · 15 pointsr/exjw

It's a bunch of gobbledygook about the generations and the kingdom and all of that. It's all nonsense. In my humble opinion, you need to de-indoctrinate yourself to fully remove these types of fears. Not sure if I've shared this post with you before, but here's what I did personally:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Another way to clear out the cobwebs is to read and listen to exiting stories. Here are some resources:

Here is a post with links to a bunch of podcasts interviewing JWs who've left

Here's another bunch of podcasts about JWs

Here is a great book from Psychotherapist and former JW Bonnie Zieman - Exiting the JW Cult: A Helping Handbook

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

To go further down the rabbit hole, watch this series.

Here's a nice series debunking most creationist "logic".

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/private_ruffles · 13 pointsr/atheism

Books and Concepts:

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

Well-sourced Wikipedia articles describing the evolution of Jewish monotheism from polytheism:

Enuma Elish:

Library of Ashurbanipal:

Canaanite Religion:

Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?:

Taanach Cult Stand:

Israel Enters Recorded History in Egypt at 1200 BCE:

Jeremiah's Monolatrist Polytheism:

Exodus Renaming by P verified in The Bible with Sources Revealed:


All excerpts used in this video are either copyright-free or covered under "fair use" in Title 17 § 107 of the USC, including:

The Prince of Egypt:

Vector Attributions:

A huge thanks to Snap2Objects for the many businessmen vectors I use:

Iron Age Israel and Judah:

Cloaked Israelite Women:

Gods and Israelites of War:


Asherah and Baal:







Deuteronomy Flourishes:


Paint Splatters:

Image Attributions:



Babylonian Tablet:

Babylonian Exile:

Baal Epic:

u/Irish_Whiskey · 12 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Sorry, I'm being way too wordy here, and I'll try to keep future responses shorted. I divided the answers into "Biblical accuracy" and "Morality" for the sake of clarity. Thanks for the considered responses and the patience to read it.

>My Reasons to Believe in Christianity: As I mentioned before, this is not the time for me to respond to your comments regarding my reasons to believe (although I would really love to another time) lets stay focused.

I should have earlier said something which is a standard caveat in theistic debates:

I care whether my beliefs are true. I accept that not everything I believe is true, and want to change accordingly. I do not wish to compromise knowledge of truth with that which is convenient, easy, or even may lead to otherwise positive outcomes. If any argument rests on favoring such factors over truth, it's not one I can accept.

In addition while I'm willing to not question further your reasons for believing that means any point you make which rests on assuming your belief, is essentially an empty noise, because I'm still ignorant as to why I should consider it true. I can understand your position, but without that knowledge I can't agree with it.

>If that were true that the core beliefs changed sure I would agree, I'll have to ask you for a source as well on this these claims

Sure, here's the wiki on Yahweh which, of course you shouldn't just assume true, but contains the relevant links for each statement, as well as books by Karen Armstrong, Mark Smith and others. Studying the history of the Hebrews show people who integrated stories from different cultures they assimilated with, ideas of gods changed over time, bits of which were then taken by later groups to be the only unchanging truth, even when we know that isn't the case.

That's the reason the God of the Old Testament is obsessed only with one tribe, fails in his goals repeatedly and has limited powers, why the earlier versions of the texts don't mention a Christian Satan or hell, and talks about not worshipping the lesser gods. Because while it was rewritten to conform to later beliefs, it was born from a polytheistic tradition.

>Again if you can prove significant changes to the texts of the Bible only then you would have a case here, if you cannot, identifying how it spread does not seem to have any relevance.

The story of casting the first stone isn't found in any earlier copies of the Bible, nor is handling snakes, as I said. Much of Mark's story of Jesus' death, and most of Paul's letters, were written by later scribes. The delineation of the trinity only shows up in one passage, and was discovered during the time of Erasmus, an admitted forger who said scripture and documentation should be based on providing 'medicine' for the people rather than truth, and who was called out as a fraud by fellow Christian historians of the time. It probably wasn't Erasmus himself who came up with it, but rather the faction of theologians pushing the trinity. Earlier scholars such as Origen mention nothing about it, even when discussing the concept. And then of course there's the King James Bible, a book written with flawed methods based on inaccurate sources with a political agenda in mind.

Also NaphtaliC is bang on. It's simply absurd to call any book translated between two languages 99.5% accurate that's longer than two pages. For several languages across many centuries? It's impossible and easily proven untrue by anyone whose read the earlier versions. If I pick up two copies of the Bible in the store today by different publishers, they aren't 99.5% accurate with each other, let alone ones from thousands of years ago in different languages.

>however the point remains that they are extremely accurate given the time span of its existence and given the comparison to the accuracy/# of copies of other ancient texts we have.

Right, hopefully you can step back for a moment before we get into details, and think about this as if the Bible weren't a book you believed in, and were trying to analyze objectively.

We have no originals, or copies of them. What originals did exist came only after decades of oral transmissions. Which means we could have 5 billion copies of first editions, and they would be reliable only as to their content, not as to reality.

This whole thing about 'given the time span' and 'in comparison' is completely irrelevant to the question. In a court you can't say "Well it's less hearsay than that hearsay" to make it reliable.

It is used because historians do often have to work with unreliable materials, and that's fine. But when we question the Bible more than other ancient works, it's not because there's a double-standard, it's because historians admit those other works are also not reliable, we just work with the best we have.

In addition the textual accuracy compared to other books ignores two key points:

  1. We can prove many parts of it aren't true. There are factual claims as to events and geographic details which are wrong, because they weren't written by people who were there. Textual accuracy is an indirect way of trying to prove what factual accuracy directly disproves.

  2. The nature of the writings impact reliability. Paul was a self-confessed lunatic and murderer who had visions and claimed to bring people back from the dead himself. The gospels of John and Matthew were a few among many competing political/religious factions of Christianity trying to define the growing religion. For any other religion, you'd agree it's obvious such sources can't be treated as reliable without independent confirmation. Yet for all the contemporary historians examining Judea in that time, there is no record of Jesus. Something which is plausible if he was a very minor figure, but not with the accounts of mass miracles and turnouts and political turmoil that the gospels claim of him.

    Every argument you've made for the Bible's accuracy better fits the Quran and the Book of Mormon. They were better recorded sooner in time from known sources. But they also aren't true.

    >Homer's Illiad is commonly cited as the next runner up in terms of this criteria and frankly does not hold up quite as well as the Bible did.

    Thanks for proving my point. Homer's Illiad isn't true. It's a story of gods, possibly inspired by real events, that was written after oral transmission. So even if we had a first edition signed by the author, 100% word accurate with our copies today, no one would pretend this made it accurate history, unless they were a Greek worshipper looking for justifications for belief, rather than a historian.


    Yeah, I knew Carm would be cited because they're the main source for this stuff. Carm is unapologetic about putting the Bible first, and facts seconds as needed to get people to believe the Bible. Their numbers have been examined, and it's all based on arbitrary standards as needed to manufacture impressive statistics. That there were thousands of references to Christianity in the mid-1st century proves Christianity existed, it's not at all the same as proving the stories from the time were accurate, or that those stories match the accounts we have now, except where we have surviving fragments from that time, of which we have very few.
u/astroNerf · 12 pointsr/atheism

> Christian here, and I am honestly looking to find what atheists believe is the best evidence against christianity or the Bible.

The best argument against it is that there is no credible evidence to support it in the first place. This might not agree with your current thinking but I will politely challenge you to come up with the best evidence you think demonstrates that Jesus is/was the Earthly avatar of the creator of the universe.

The bible itself is not evidence. The bible is the claim. Consider that there is no evidence outside the bible from the time the bible takes place that supports the existence of Jesus. All the mentions of Jesus outside the bible occur many decades after he was supposed to have lived. Worse, the gospel accounts are anonymous.

We know enough about the history of the bible from a literary perspective to know that it was written by men. (See my notes at the bottom of this comment.) What you think of the bible today is a collection of documents that was edited and copied repeatedly, then voted on by the Council of Nicaea - some books were omitted from the canon even though they are referenced by other books in the bible that are canon.

A few things worth pointing out:

  • If you accept evolution, then there was no first human. If this is the case, then where did original sin come from?
  • The Exodus did not happen. Even Jewish religious scholars almost universally agree that the evidence that should be there just isn't.
  • Think about why Mary and Joseph had to travel in order to be counted for the census. Romans were far more efficient than that and were interested in where people lived, and not where they were born. The short answer is that the prophecy required Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, so the census was used as an excuse to explain why he was born there and not in Nazareth, where his parents lived. The bible is filled with these kinds of odd things.

    Those are three things off the top of my head. Here's one list that has many more. Another list. One more.

    In the end though, there's no credible evidence for anything supernatural in any religions. I don't believe in Jesus or Yahweh or Zeus or bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster for the same reasons - no credible, compelling evidence.


    Some additional resources as I think of them.

  • A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Summarised in video form here. Details how Yahweh went from being one god in the Hebrew pantheon to the one true god of Abraham. There originally were several gods mentioned in the books that would become the bible, but were replaced by Yahweh. This explains a lot of really unusual things about Yahweh as a literary character. For instance, the first commandment suddenly makes sense - it was intended to cement the supreme authority of Yahweh in a time when many people were polytheists.

  • Check out Bart Ehrman's work, such as Misquoting Jesus. It's a great introduction to textual analysis.

  • Lastly, if you're still here and have not angrily closed your browser window in frustration, I strongly urge you to check out Qualia Soup's video titled The Burden of Proof. It demonstrates why it is your job to support your claims, rather than it is our job to disprove them. The person who makes a claim (ie, a god exists) is the person responsible for providing support for that claim.
u/Kelloggs801 · 11 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've just finished reading this:

I recommend it if you're looking for something like that.

u/sbsb27 · 10 pointsr/TrueAtheism

One of the main and repeated sources Christopher Hitchens cites in his "God is not Great" book is Jennifer Hecht and her book "Doubt: A history: The great doubters and their legacy of innovation from Socrates to Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickenson.

While not argumentative it is full of careful study and resources.

Karen Armstrong and her "History of god: The 4,000 year quest of Judaism, Christianity , and Islam" is a wonderful read as well.

I think the point about confrontation is a good one. So while there may not be many women debating about religion on the public stage, there are women writing great reviews of the development of religions.

u/SsurebreC · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion
u/kerrielou73 · 8 pointsr/exmormon

Yup. Once I had determined Mormonism was false, I researched Christianity and determined it was also false.

While I read others, these two books by Karen Armstrong killed any kind of literal interpretation of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam for me.

The Spiral Staircase

History of God

u/GlowingStrand · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

This book was required reading at my Christian seminary.

Two other relevant, interesting and easy-to-read texts from my M.Div. program were Denzey’s Intro to “Gnosticism” and Ehrmam’s The New Testament

u/JesusHMontgomery · 6 pointsr/exchristian

So, first, and I realize this isn't exactly comforting, but there will be a freak out time no matter what. There will be some time where you feel like the world is ending, and no matter what you do, it will still feel that way. It was that way for me (though we aren't the same, so maybe your experience will differ): every night, up late, praying and sweating and crying. Is there someone in the real world you can talk to? Having a meat body to grab onto for comfort is huge. Also, I wish I'd known about Reddit (not sure if it existed yet) when I went through my biz. This subreddit would have been amazing.

Ironically, part of what pushed me out of Christianity was learning more about it: being really on fire for it. When you learn church history from the church, it's very skewed and specialized, but when you step out of that and examine it from an objective historical point of view, things get crazy. And more calming.

In case you missed it elsewhere in this thread, John Shelby Spong was very comforting for me.

I think A History of God gets mentioned on this sub at least once a day. It's not an easy read, but immensely illuminating as it shows that, essentially, the guy we call god with a capital G is really just a lesser Canaanite deity worshiped by an insane shepherd. But because of Abraham's weird life, all of western history plays out.

It's been awhile since I read Jesus Interrupted, but if I remember correctly, it's about how what the historical Jesus probably said (because we can't possibly know) has been manipulated by history to satisfy different political goals.

Zealot tries to recreate to the best of the author's ability Jesus' world, the philosophies he grew up with, and the philosophies he most likely would have taught. Some parts of this read like an amazing novel, and it has some crazy historical stuff. It really blew my mind.

I read Pagan Christianity right at the start of my dark night. I've mentioned it before, and it confirmed a lot of my suspicions about Christianity actually being fancied up paganism (Zealot discusses that a little as well). It's written from very much a contemporary Christian perspective, so it has some errors that drive me nuts: i.e. Jesus almost certainly wouldn't have ever meant he and god were literally the same, because no half-serious Jewish person of any era would assert that.

It's stupid late where I am (and my toddler already makes sure I'm constantly sleep deprived), so the last thing I'll leave you with:

When I was going through my "dark night of the soul," I still considered myself Christian afterward for quite awhile. It's just that the kind of Christian I felt I had become was so radically different from what I had been that it warranted night sweats and crying. Since then, each progressive deconversion has been less and less painful by magnitudes. But while I was going through it, I kept thinking about a quote in some book I'd read about how, "God made you with the brain you have, the talents you have, the interests you have, and the curiosity you have: pursue that and glorify god." I reasoned (and I feel this is pretty solid) that if god were real, he'd have to be so outside our everyday experience that no one is getting it right; because if he weren't that alien to us, if he was even slightly comprehensible, he couldn't be god. And if god were real, he'd (it?) know how incomprehensible he is, and unless he were insane or evil, he couldn't possibly be just in punishing us for doing whatever we thought was best and in good conscience. The process was still painful, but it definitely made me feel better about ripping off that hairy band-aid.

If you don't already, I'd recommend writing as you go through all this. If you can stomach it, put it some place public, like a blog, so people can bear witness.

Dammit. I said I was going to bed 20 minutes ago.

Sorry-but-not-sorry for the wall of text.

u/NukeThePope · 6 pointsr/atheism

The Bible is the current state of an ongoing collaborative editing effort on an epic story purporting both to explain everything and tell people how they should act.

Star Trek analogy

By "ongoing collaborative editing effort," consider something like the Star Trek canon. It started with Gene Roddenberry and his first TV episode, continued to be expanded and revised by him, and then other people have contributed further series, scripted spin-off movies and fan fiction. Especially if you include the fan faction, you'll see that ST is complex, self-contradictory, and frequently illogical.

We know all this because we have detailed written histories on Roddenberry and Star Trek. But now imagine the following:

  • Trekkies forced, by violence, everybody on their home continent to be Trekkies too; i.e. everybody needed to believe in the truth of the ST saga or be killed.
  • the historical documentation was lost or never existed in the first place. All we have are subsets of the ST material edited and selected by ST fan committees from time to time.

    The actual history of the Bible

    (to the extent that we can know it)

    Bible scholars and historians have managed to piece together much of the history of the Bible using textual analysis and cross-referencing historical sources.

    Very roughly and as far as we know, the Bible is Old Testament ("the Jewish Bible") with contributions from roughly 1000 BC to 0 BC plus the New Testament "the Christian sequel to the Jewish Bible" with contributions from roughly 30 AD to 400 AD.

    The history of the OT is explained very well by Karen Armstrong in A History of God. A sneak preview of that explanation can be gleaned from this video and continued here. Note that the "Jewish Bible" includes a lot of material from cultures before the Jewish one, including (off the top of my head) Sumerian, Egyptian and Canaanite religious mythology.

    Judaism took a new turn with the arrival of Jesus (so the story goes) and branched off into a whole new franchise which generated a flurry of new stories during the collapse of the Roman Empire. Lots of detail about those books can be found by Googling for Bart Ehrman's books or videos.

    Individual contributions

    For the OT, writing style and other historic details lead researchers to believe that its books were created mostly by 5 main authors, whom we know only by letters assigned to them. That they were all written by Moses is part of the myth and not supported by the evidence. These guys didn't just neatly write one chunk each, but later ones redacted the work of earlier ones for consistency and updated ideology. For example, early versions supported ideas about multiple gods.

    The NT consists of letters ("epistles") by Paul of Tarsus, undoubtedly Christianity's greatest PR man, who worked hard to get followers of Christ in the Roman Empire to adhere to a common story; and of a selected and vetted subset of the "Jesus stories" ("gospels") written by (presumably) 4 main authors. These authors are known by names identical to those of 4 of Jesus' apostles but we can be pretty sure they weren't the same people. As best we know, the gospel authors never met Jesus personally, as they all wrote decades after his death. Many, many other gospels were not included. There's also some other material whose origin I don't remember - consult Ehrmann or Wikipedia for that!


    This is a summary off the top of my head. I probably botched up some details. Corrections welcome!

u/Reasonable_Thinker · 6 pointsr/exjw

Dude, you need to research your shit. Stop this apathy and get some knowledge, it's the only thing that I know of that can stop the guilt your feeling.

The witnesses are wrong in a lot of ways, you made a really good step by joining this board. You need to be the change you want to see, research the bible and history, figure out what you actually believe and learn it well enough that you can defend it.

This will help you get over the guilt, IDK what to do about your family situation. That is something else entirely but I think its a really good idea for you to gain some real knowledge about the witnesses past and about their theology.

I recommend starting with "The History of God" by Karen Armstrong:

Its a great book, easy read, and I think it will help a lot. Good luck brother.

u/CalvinLawson · 6 pointsr/atheism

Oh yeah; I was brainwashed hardcore. Ever heard of A Beka? I'll bet you have...

It's like any grieving process; it takes about a year, so you're getting close. Not that there's a sudden change but it does get easier.

There are some things you can do to help the process along.

Before you do anything, order this book. It's a short read and it will set your soul free.

Stay involved in your Christian friend's lives. Hang out with them; talk to them about religion. You'll quickly figure out what friends are worth keeping around. Also meet some new friends! Start building a community that isn't based on faith.

Stay in touch with your family. Don't cut them out of your life. You need family, even if they're kinda fucked up. You're going to have to deal with religion again, but make sure they understand you aren't hanging out with them to be preached at. And remember, family is more than just blood relations, especially just the immediate ones.

Lastly, but of utmost importance, educate yourself on religion. Learn more about Christianity than Christians do. Focus on religious history and learn to interpret the bible using higher criticism. Karen Armstrong is a good start for a lot of people, her book A History of God is a bit of an informal "Religion 101" textbook.

Hang in there!

u/lucilletwo · 6 pointsr/atheism

so_yeah does a great job clarifying the reason; if (as we do) you assume that the supernatural aspects of the bible are inaccurate, the logical next step is to examine the non-supernatural claims (the purely historical ones) to see if they are also flawed. After all, if you believe some portion of a source document is flawed, you should also examine the rest to look for more flaws.

If you are interested in the factual, historical, literary origins of the bible, I would highly recommend "The History of God" by Karen Armstrong (link)

It details academically the history of the authors, the events, and the social and political pressures which shaped the creation of different components of the 3 main western monotheistic religions (Christianity/Judaism/Islam). Highlights include:

  • The original shift from polytheism to monotheism
  • The distributed authorship of the pentateuch (first 5 books of the bible which form backbone of OT belief system)
  • The historical evidence (and lack thereof) for the figure of Jesus as the bible portrays him
  • The origins of the theology of the early church, such as the concept of Jesus dying to 'pay for our sins' (~70 AD), and invention of the concept of original sin (4th century).
  • The political pressures which shaped and created these concepts, and which lead to the adoption and spread of christianity through the roman empire

    It's very dry and intellectual, but I can't recommend a better book when it comes to understanding the origins of western monotheism. It is absolutely not a "new atheist" book written in an attempt to disprove individual stories or facets of the bible, rather it assumes from the start that many stories are some combination of fact and fiction, and focuses instead on the contemporary (at that time) reasons they were written and the factors that caused them to take hold, as well as how and why they mutated over time.

    TL;DR: The social and political history of western religion, and how it influenced the creation and adoption of individual stories and theological tenets.
u/MJtheProphet · 6 pointsr/DebateAChristian

If we're going to get into the Bible as the source for a description of god, then we certainly have an issue. Which Bible are you reading? If its one of the millions of Bibles in the US, then its likely an English translation, and it isn't actually describing the god worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For that, we have to go back to the Canaanite religion, which we've learned about from clay tablets found at the Ras Shamra site. The Canaanites were polytheists who worshiped a great number of gods. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were primarily followers of El Shaddai, "God of the Mountains", another name for El Elyon, or "God Most High". El Elyon appears to Abraham in human form at one point. Jacob is described as asking El Elyon to become his elohim, or primary god, in order that he might receive special protection. He also climbs a ladder to heaven and speaks with El Elyon in person, and later even wrestles with El Elyon.

Its also not the god of Moses. Moses was a follower of Yahweh, the war god of the ancient Israelites. Yahweh wasn't a Canaanite god, but he also wasn't a monotheistic god. In the (likely mythical) story of Exodus, the Israelites even note after gaining their freedom "Who among the gods
is like you, Yahweh?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?." (Exodus 15:11) It helps the verses make more sense to get the full context; upon reaching the promised land, the Israelites stray and worship other gods. That seems silly in today's version; why worship Baal or Asherah when you know that there is only THE LORD? But when you realize that Yahweh was just the war god, as Ares was to the Greeks, it makes more sense. Once you're no longer in a time of trouble, why not worship Baal (god of fertility and storms) or Asherah (the mother goddess) instead of Yahweh (god of the armies)? And its a lot more obvious why the Old Testament god was so obsessed with blood and death; he was the war god, like Ares.

Yahweh didn't become the primary god of Israel until the reign of King Josaih, a strict Yahwist, in about 640 BCE. This was the period of the Deuteronomic reforms; it was at this time that the book of Deuteronomy was "found" in the temple, supposedly a new book of law written by Moses that placed Yahweh above all other gods. However, its rather convenient timing and the linguistic signature indicate that it was actually a forgery, created for political expediency. Even here, though, there is still evidence of polytheism, in the Ten Commandments themselves. "6 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 7 You shall have no other gods before me." (Deuteronomy 5:6-7)

Only in about 570 BCE, when the Israelites were exiled into Babylon, did the monotheistic god "the LORD" appear. An author known as Second Isaiah had his words appended on to the original Isaiah, the book of Leviticus was authored, and the history of Israel was rewritten to say that El Elyon and Yahweh were the same god, and that this god was the only god. The other books extant at the time were rewritten to make it look like there had only ever been one god of Israel. So despite the story saying that this god has always existed, he only appears in the archaeological record 2600 years ago.

A very different picture appears when you know where all the stories came from, and put them in their proper historical context. The Old Testament just screams polytheism, even through the multiple rewrites and translations. I recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong for more details. Or, you can find a good summary on YouTube from Evid3nc3.

u/Nicoon · 6 pointsr/atheism

There are several books on the topic:

u/trolling2day1 · 5 pointsr/exchristian
u/Shoeshine-Boy · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Personal research, mostly. I'm a big history nerd with a slant toward religion and other macabre subject matter. I'm actually not as well read as I'd like to be on these subjects, and I basically blend different sources into a knowledge smoothie and pour it out onto a page and see what works for me and what doesn't.

I'll list a few books I've read that I enjoyed. There are certainly more here and there, but these are the "big ones" I was citing when writing all the comments in this thread. I typically know more about Christianity than the other major faiths because of the culture around me.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years - Diarmaid MacCulloch

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Karen Armstrong

The next two balance each other out quite well. Hardline anti-theism contrasted with "You know, maybe we can make this work".

The Case for God - Karen Armstrong

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

Lately, I have been reading the Stoics, which like Buddhism, I find to be one of the more personally palatable philosophies of mind I have come across, although I find rational contemplation a bit more accessible to my Westernized nature.

Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters - Translated by Moses Hadas

Discourses and Selected Writings (of Epictetus) - Translated by Robert Dobbin

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Translated by George Long

I'm still waiting on Fed Ex to deliver this one:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy - William B. Irvine

Also, if you're into history in general, a nice primer for what sorts of things to dive into when poking around history is this fun series on YouTube. I usually watch a video then spend a while reading more in depth about whatever subject is covered that week in order to fill the gaps. Plus, John and Hank are super awesome. The writing is superb and I think, most importantly, he presents an overall argument for why studying history is so important because of its relevance to current events.

Crash Course: World History - John Green

u/MrPeligro · 5 pointsr/DebateAChristian

That's not much of an argument. A better source. Here's a book by a christian theologian that talks about the history of God. I still find it surprising she remains christian after this, but shes a theologian. Most theologians find evidence to contradict their beliefs but ignore it anyway.

Delusion for sure.

u/Bab5crusade · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Actually there is a good book that answers your question.

Here is an 15 video summarizing the ideals of the book that the current god came from a mixture from the polytheistic gods of Canaanites and Babylonians.

u/NomadicVagabond · 5 pointsr/religion

First of all, can I just say how much I love giving and receiving book recommendations? I was a religious studies major in college (and was even a T.A. in the World Religions class) so, this is right up my alley. So, I'm just going to take a seat in front of my book cases...


  1. A History of God by Karen Armstrong

  2. The Great Transformation by Karen Armstrong

  3. Myths: gods, heroes, and saviors by Leonard Biallas (highly recommended)

  4. Natural History of Religion by David Hume

  5. Beyond Tolerance by Gustav Niebuhr

  6. Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel (very highly recommended, completely shaped my view on pluralism and interfaith dialogue)

  7. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright


  8. Tales of the End by David L. Barr

  9. The Historical Jesus by John Dominic Crossan

  10. Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography by John Dominic Crossan

  11. The Birth of Christianity by John Dominic Crossan

  12. Who Wrote the New Testament? by Burton Mack

  13. Jesus in America by Richard Wightman Fox

  14. The Five Gospels by Robert Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar (highly recommended)

  15. Remedial Christianity by Paul Alan Laughlin


  16. The Jewish Mystical Tradition by Ben Zion Bokser

  17. Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman


  18. Muhammad by Karen Armstrong

  19. No God but God by Reza Aslan

  20. Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations by Michael Sells


  21. Buddha by Karen Armstrong

  22. Entering the Stream ed. Samuel Bercholz & Sherab Chodzin Kohn

  23. The Life of Milarepa translated by Lobsang P. Lhalungpa

  24. Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers

  25. Zen Flesh, Zen Bones compiled by Paul Reps (a classic in Western approached to Buddhism)

  26. Buddhist Thought by Paul Williams (if you're at all interested in Buddhist doctrine and philosophy, you would be doing yourself a disservice by not reading this book)


  27. The Essential Chuang Tzu trans. by Sam Hamill & J.P. Seaton


  28. Atheism by Julian Baggini

  29. The Future of an Illusion by Sigmund Freud

  30. Doubt: A History by Jennifer Michael Hecht

  31. When Atheism Becomes Religion by Chris Hedges

  32. Atheism: The Case Against God by George H. Smith
u/Chiparoo · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

A History of God, by Karen Armstrong

It's a history of how the concept of a single deity came to be, and how Christianity and Islam came to branch off Judaism.

Note: this isn't an "atheist" book per se, but an academic one revealing some great facts about the evolution of religion.

u/tikael · 4 pointsr/Borderlands

Well, it may help to understand that when judaism first formed it was out of many folk stories that were then woven together to create a singular culture to motivate the judean people to "reclaim" their land in the north (Israel). Part of this was to make stories connecting the two peoples (the exodus and conquest of Canaan), but also it was changing the nature of God. Elohist sources seem to favor the northern part of Canaan (Israel), while Jahwist sources favor southern Canaan (Judea). It appears that over time the Jahwist way of thinking overtook the whole of the religion, changing it from the pagan or pseudo pagan Elohism into more modern Judaism by singling out Jahweh as the one true god or the true nature of god. There are a couple of very good reads on the subject, A History of God (which is summarized fairly well by this video, though I'm sure there are other summaries out there.) and The Bible Unearthed (which takes a look more at the cultures that the stories originated in and the archeological evidence we use to determine whether parts of the bible are reliable, in short some of the figures probably existed but nearly the entirety of exodus is unreliable as a history).

u/Zamboniman · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

There have been purported holy books written since probably ten minutes after writing was invented for the first time.

We know that many of the myths in the bible were copied from earlier myths. We know that many of the parts of the bible are the same story rewritten by different people.

There are many excellent sources of study in how the bible came about. You may be interested in beginning with something like Karen Armstrong or Google the various wonderful books on the subject.

The current original version of the bible, not accounting for various translations and changes in interpretation and by subsequent councils and dictatoral decree for various political reasons, was crafted during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD where various decisions were made by voting about what content to put in, ignore, avoid, etc.

u/samisbond · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

JasonMacker is correct, they were indeed monolateral polytheistic.^1 What Algenib is talking about is simply what some forms of modern Jewish interpretation cover, but he should have been more clear in his post, as many people seem to think this meaning exists within the text, which we know it cannot.^a


|^1 “Israelite Religion”, H. W. Attridge, ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), pp. xliv-xlv


|^a I recommend HarperCollins Study Bible or The New Oxford Annotated Bible - both will go over the subject in great lengths - but any scholarly study Bible will do.

Further Readings:

Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

"In the Beginning", A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/penguinland · 4 pointsr/atheism

The bible is a collection of mostly-mythology, written by several different cultures over centuries. It has its roots in Chaldean mythology, and developed from there. From the best archaeological evidence we have right now, the following never happened: the garden of eden, cain and abel, the tower of Babel, Noah's flood, Abraham/Isaac/Jacob, Joseph and his coat, the Israelites being enslaved in Egypt, Moses and the exodus, the conquest of Canaan by Joshua.

David might have been a real person, but the stories about him are more legend than fact (he was a minor chieftan at best). Similarly, Solomon might have been a real person with stories made up about him. It's plausible that Jesus was a real person, but the vast majority of the stories about him are fictitious. As far as we can tell, there is no evidence for any of the miracles described in the bible. It's very likely that Paul was a real person who wrote letters to real churches discussing the issues of the day.

For more information, I encourage you to go to your local university and talk to the archaeology department, or read A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/YankeeRose · 3 pointsr/atheism

Ugh. If you want to get her something she might actually read, consider "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong.

u/Trinition · 3 pointsr/atheism

History of God by Karen Armstrong

u/EntropyFighter · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

This is from "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong (pp. 20-21 in the paperback version).

> The Israelites called Yahweh "the God of our fathers," yet it seems that he may have been quite a different deity from El, the Canaanite High God worshiped by the patriarchs. He may have been the god of other people before he became the God of Israel. In all his early appearances to Moses, Yahweh insists repeatedly and at some length that he is indeed the God of Abraham, even though he had originally been called El Shaddai. This insistence may preserve the distant echoes of a very early debate about the identity of the God of Moses. It has been suggested that Yahweh was originally a warrior god, a god of volcanoes, a god worshiped in Midian, in what is now Jordan.^17 We shall never know where the Israelites discovered Yahweh, if indeed he was a completely new deity. Again this would be a very important question for us today, but it was not so crucial for the biblical writers. In pagan antiquity, gods were often merged and amalgamated, or the gods of one locality accepted as identical with the god of another people. All we can be sure of is that, whatever his provenance, the events of the Exodus made Yahweh the definitive God of Israel and that Moses was able to convince the Israelites that he really was the one and the same El, the God beloved by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

^17 - L.E. Bihu, "Midianite Elements in Hebrew Religion," Jewish Theological Studies, 31; Salo Wittermeyer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 10 vols., 2nd ed. (New York, 1952-19667), I. p. 46.

It's also worth noting that Yahweh originally was a mid-level deity in a Canaanite religion (as also detailed in the Karen Armstrong book and the book "The Evolution of God".) Baal was another mid-level god in this religion, which helps to explain why he's in the Bible. There are poems to El (the high god in the Canaanite religion) that have been found rewritten to be for Yahweh. In a literal sense, gods were transmuting and evolving in this time. This makes the answer to your question likely 'no'. But I'm extrapolating from the referenced sources. It's more like they didn't think about gods the way your question asks about them.

u/exackerly · 3 pointsr/europe

Interestingly, the most radically orthodox versions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all fairly recent developments, dating back to about the 18th century. Karen Armstrong's A History of God is especially good on this.

u/Shareandcare · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've never heard of this book, and I cannot find any other references to the Author 'Filius Venus' which throws up some red flags.

The Native American approach makes me think Mormons, but it could always be something more open in interpretation.

A History of God By Karen Armstrong is reputedly very solid, so whatever claims this book makes should have to line up with her account. Otherwise something strange may be going on.

u/plissken627 · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Am I still going to believe the bible is the errant man-made inspired word of with all of the [contradictions,]
( cruelty and violence, absurdity intolerance etc, and that's just in the new testament, don't even get me started on the old testament (it's on the sidebar in that site.)

And the the fact that it is generally agreed by archaeologists, historians and theology studies and evidence that the Israelite religion was derived from Babylonian polytheistic mythology.

u/tonytwobits · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I am at 3 years and counting. I am now 24. I am in the same boat as you in some ways. I NEVER thought that I could be an atheist and was incredibly involved in the church. I fully believed it and VERY much enjoyed it. Youth group, men's group, worship team, mission trips the whole works. But now, like you it is hard for me to imagine being swayed back.

For a while I wanted it to be true. After a while that began to fade as I realized how much bigger the world is without the god of the Bible. I am so much happier now. I guess a better way to describe it is I am much more satisfied and feel much more fulfilled about my life. I know it is a bit cheesy and dramatic, but this video had a big effect on me as I became an atheist. One line in particular addressed this feeling of wanting god to be true:
> Could it be that someone promised us something so beautiful that our universe seems dull, empty, even frightening by comparison?

At first that is kind of how I felt. I was promised heaven. I was promised that I was going to live forever with the creator. However, another part of the video addressed this and is one of my favorite lines:

>We were told long ago and for a long time that there was only the Earth—that we were the center of everything. That turned out to be wrong. We still haven’t fully adjusted. We’re still in shock. The universe is not what we expected it to be. It’s not what they told us it would be. This cosmic understanding is all new to us. But there’s nothing to fear. We’re still special. We’re still blessed. And there might yet be a heaven, but it isn’t going to be perfect. And we’re going to have to build it ourselves.

I know that I will never be as sure about my atheism as I was about my Christianity. But I have learned that is a good thing. It was un-healthy how sure I was in Christianity. Nobody can honestly be a true gnostic atheist and that is ok.

I will say however that I can be pretty sure that the god of the Bible is not god, but to say that I am 100% sure that there is no god is a irrational statement to say.

I did a lot of studying as I was becoming an atheist. Honestly I know the Bible better now that I ever did as a Christian. The more I learned the more unsure I was about Christianity.

There is a book you might like. It is called a A History of God. I am reading it right now and it is very good and I recommend it.

How do you feel now as a atheist? About life? About yourself? I am just wondering because I wonder if it was some of the same things I felt. I like talking to people as they are changing their world view in one way or another :)

u/extispicy · 3 pointsr/atheism

I believe he strongly relies on Karen Armstrong's "A History of God" for his videos. I've not seen it myself, but there is a documentary based on the book.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record mentioning these videos so often, but you really can't go wrong with these Yale Univeristy Religous Studies courses. The Hebrew Bible professor is especially good, and it sounds like the history focus you are looking for.

u/TheFlyingBastard · 3 pointsr/exjw

A History of God, the real version. ;-)

u/troutb3 · 3 pointsr/atheism

3.3.3 Atheism: A History of God (Part 1) by Evid3nc3. Very good video. Much of the subject matter is from A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/blairop · 3 pointsr/history

Check out Karen Armstrong's books on the subject. Very scholastic yet still original and interesting.

"A History of God" and "Fields of Blood" are great introductions that still get in depth into the subject matter.

Found them to be very good.

u/darksmiles22 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Karen Armstrong's A History of God abbreviated in part of Evid3nc3's youtube deconversion series though with a few unfounded theological assumptions according to this guy, and Wikipedia articles on the documentary hypothesis and historical Jesus are all good.

P.S. It looks like I am late to the Ehrman and Armstrong parade :(

u/Miragoat · 3 pointsr/atheism

I want to jump in and say that there's (imo) a great book written on the evolution of the three Abrahamic religions, and it's not written with the tone of a religious person. Here's the Amazon page.

u/Angry__Engineer · 2 pointsr/atheism

Recommended Reading

A History of God

Check that out.

EDIT: More broader then these are probably what you're looking for:

Religion is Natural

Religion is A Nautral Phenomenom

Since there have been tons of religions, it's kind of hard to fit them all into one book.

u/rdudejr · 2 pointsr/exjw

I don't want to change your mind - I certainly battle with the concept of a higher power (which I feel is important) being atheist. However you should check out "the history of god". Gives some color into one possibility of why the OT came out the way it did.

Edit: book is called "A History of God"

u/Notasurgeon · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

While these are not all specifically about religion, here are a few things that I think everyone should read at some point in their lives.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (this is where the term 'paradigm shift' came from).

Karl Popper on politics

Karl Popper on science

Get some historical perspective on the philosophy of science

The Power of Myth

A History of God

u/mephistopheles2u · 2 pointsr/exAdventist

Read Karen Armstong's History of God and gain a perspective on how God is a conception (not a perceptiono) of man.

If you want community, try a Unitarian church. Great people and totally open and inclusive with no judgement.

If for some reason you are hung up on Sabbath being the true 7th day, read about the Jewish Calendar and how they kept a lunar Sabbath, not a solar one (even 300 years after the time Jesus is slotted into). So EGWhite's assertion that the Sabbath kept today is the same as creation is utter nonsense.

Give yourself a chance to learn how thoroughly you have been deceived. You will gain a freedom that the church will never provide.

u/PrescottSheldonBush · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

If I remember correctly, according to this book all the gods crawled out of a "primordial ooze" of some kind. It was polytheism before it was monotheism. That was adopted from another religion that already existed at the time. Here's a video on Youtube that might cover it.

u/g33n · 2 pointsr/self

I've been asking myself some of the same questions, so I picked up A History of God and started reading.

I don't think there's anything pathological about your experiences or not praying, but the age at which you changed your habits may have something to with it. I was not tremendously religious as a child, but I did something similar - I could never sleep, and would always go down to tell my mom as much, and all she could do was send me back to my room. So, I started trying to banish my demons, literally - I imagined the earth floating in space, demons approaching from all directions, and there I was, in my bed, the sole defense against them. So I'd muster up all of my will and imagine releasing it, a tremendous blue sphere pushing the demons away, back to where they were the night before, so that for the next 24 hours at least the earth would be safe.

I understood even at this young age that these weren't actual demons; I understood that I was creating a metaphor and trying to resolve it in a way that could let me sleep. But I kept doing it night after night, and it didn't help any.

I've realized that, since then, I took to sleeping on my front. I thought it let me sleep easier, but that, too, came at a cost - as an experiment, I tried sleeping on my back again this month, and found myself waking up more quickly, fully, and more refreshed than anytime in the last ten or so years. I think what I had taken to doing was practically suffocating myself to sleep - I think the weight of my body was causing me to breathe more shallowly and fall asleep more easily, but also costing me rest. So I'm back to where I was in my teens: how do I banish the thoughts and worries that plague me at night?

Two responses, then.

One: If you're spiritual, read something like the book I suggested above and take to heart the ideas of a more transcendant deity than the one that Western Christianity favors. God is not personal; it is aspirational.

Two: No matter your religious views, consider practical meditation: prayer, buddhism, thinking about unsolvable problems in your favorite domain (for me, it's P vs. NP). Thinking about something that is impossibly hard to grasp, but that is interesting, can make the buzzing go away and allow you to fall asleep more easily and more peacefully.

I wish you the best.

u/ATmega32 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Here's a shelf cracker for you. I read this book in early 2000's and the similarities within these seemingly different religions are remarkable.

u/skankingmike · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/otakuman · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

I think "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong is a pretty good start; it covers Judaism, Christianity and Islam. About the ancient christian movements before Roman Catholicism, I'd suggest you "Lost Christianities" by Bart D. Ehrman. (In fact, I'd suggest to read all his books, they're awesome)

About the different branches of christianity, I'd suggest you to study the history of the Protestant Reformation. I'm not sure about the history of Christianity in the U.S... here's a wild guess based only on the reviews: A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada by Mark A. Noll.

u/Muzak__Fan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Atheist here, but I study the Bible from a cultural/historical perspective. You are correct, but you could expand on the reasoning a little more. In Abraham's time, people were polytheistic (i.e, pagan). Monotheism as a concept had not been developed yet.

Human sacrifice to gods was a common practice then, and families would usually sacrifice their firstborn son because it was believed that the fertility god would use up much of his power on the first child specifically. The sacrifice was thus thought to restore the god's power.

When Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac to god (specifically, the god El), he did so without question because this would not be against the norm. At the last minute, El stops the ritual, not just because Abraham had shown his faithfulness, but also to demonstrate that El was more powerful than the other gods at the time and such human sacrifices were unnecessary.

Of course, the basic story itself makes no sense to us now because we project our own sense of morality onto the past, even if we do not understand the context of the time it was written. Still, just because someone is an atheist does not mean he is more educated than the theists who actually believe this stuff. Educate yourself.

Source: A History of God by Karen Armstrong

u/runpmc · 2 pointsr/ainbow

I would recommend you read A History of God by Karen Armstrong, which contains evidence that the monotheistic practice of Judaism which eventually fathered Christianity stemmed originally from the cult of Yahweh, a Hebrew god of war.

This is the same god who in Genesis ordered Abraham to murder his own child and slew Onan for not putting his semen where he had been told. The same god in 2 Kings sent a pair of she-bears to murder a crowd of 42 children for making fun of a man's bald head. The same god in Numbers 31 instructed the Hebrews to "Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves."

But above that, the very essence of Christian doctrine is the concept of "original sin"—that you are born evil and doomed to languish in torment and a lake of fire for eternity by default, unless your evil nature is paid for by a blood sacrifice. If that's not violent sadism, what is?

The only possible reason I can believe someone honestly believes Christianity to be a religion of peace is that they've not read their own book. Unless you suggest that the Bible is itself fallible or wrong in some way, in which case I have to ask why you'd bother with it in the first place.

u/parasoja · 2 pointsr/atheism

>How do you propose the universe came about?

What you're doing here is engaging in what's called the "god of the gaps" argument, in which gaps in our current understanding of the universe are filled with "god". There are two problems with this. The first is that "god" does not follow from "we don't know". The second is that the realm of things which are assigned to god is continually shrinking. It used to be that god caused everything from weather to disease to the changing seasons, but now we know better. The only two things which used to be assigned to god and which we haven't yet come up with a definitive explanation for are abiogenesis and the origin of the universe.

Since we're working on those, and have several good ideas, this position is not tenable.

>Gonna tell me that Jesus/God is not real? Prove it.

Yes. The "one true god" of judaism, which later became the god of christianity, was invented in babylon around 600 BCE, during the babylonian exile. It was built from a combination of yahweh sabaoth, the polytheistic hebrew god of the armies, and el elyon, the god abraham worshiped and the chief god of the polytheistic cannanites.

I recommend reading A History of God. You may also wish to read up on the documentary hypothesis.

>Don't judge us.

We judge you because religion causes large amounts of harm in the real world.

>The Bible helps me. Try reading it.

Many atheists became atheists because they read the bible. Have you read it cover to cover?

u/jstalin_x · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Have you read a history of god? It's not exactly what you are looking for but it does a good job of chronicling the evolution of Mesopotamian myths, through Judaism, into Christianity, and then into Islam.

I would highly recommend reading books scholarly opposed to looking at websites. The amount of research and the quality of information is much higher in books on the subject. Just remember the more books you read on the same subject the more easily it will be to pick up on the bias. Here is a quick list of some books to try.

u/mr_pleco · 2 pointsr/atheism

A History of God

When you accept that the bible is fabricated it's all down hill from there, however being written by a former nun, it's very careful in the way it handles things.

u/d3b105b · 2 pointsr/Antitheism

Bart Ehrman has some good books, I would also recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong. She goes through the whole history of god from Abraham and up to Islam. It's really interesting, but I found it to be a pretty tough read so you might need to go through it slowly.

u/Weirdsauce · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'm upvoting the fuck out of you... and by that i mean, precisely one upvote because... well, apparently that's all i can upvote.

Edit: This book: A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is worth reading.

u/mobydikc · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> So what? What does a vendetta against religion have to do with the truth of the claims being made by religious people?

It's a little hard to be unbiased in such a state.

> Do you agree that generally speaking, an argument stands or falls on its merits regardless of who is making the argument or their goals?

More or less. It's common to think that if anyone wants to make a point, they need to supply rock solid premises and use only deductive logic to reach conclusions.

But there is more to truth than logic. Science, for example, doesn't follow strict boolean logic. Hypotheses are proposed and compete and evolve.

> What is common Christianity? What are these low hanging fruits you speak of? Is there an uncommon Christianity? What does that look like?

If you honestly want to know, try "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. That helped me realize that the ideas you get about God as a kid are not at all what the story is about.

u/falor42 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

A History of God is a good source to explore the polytheistic roots of Judaism. It uses writing style correlation to map "authors" and revisions in the Old Testament and follows the eventual emergence of YAWH as the sole deity of the Jewish people.

u/Dudesan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Always glad to help.

If it's not available in your Friendly Local Lending Library, check out here:

u/distantocean · 2 pointsr/exchristian

> A conflation of Yahweh and Baal? That doesn’t sound like anything the Bible would condone. Your Brain really is grasping at straws here.

No, actually OP is right about this. You might want to watch this brief video (based on the book A History of God by Karen Armstrong) documenting how they're connected. It's fascinating to see how the god of the Bible evolved from earlier polytheistic religions.

u/Gregoriev · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

The history of Jewish hatred is basically attributed to, as mattosaur said elsewhere in the comments, usury. However, it goes beyond that to another factor (or really set of factors): Jews have, historically, had a (relatively) small, tight-knight, endogamous community with views and practices considered barbaric and something selfish or unaccepting (before the rise of Christianity, the Roman empire charged a Jewish tax after the Roman-Jewish war for those who kept wanting to practice their faith. Before that, though, the mood in Greece and Rome was that all gods had some element of truth to them so they readily embraced other gods, like the Egyptian and British (Welsh now, I guess) pantheons of gods. Judaism has held, since the historic adoption of monotheism into the religion (a fascinating affair by itself, which you can learn more about by reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong or watching it summarized by the YouTuber Evid3nc3 in his wonderfully calming voice), that one of Yahweh's name is Jealous, for he is a jealous god, and that you can hold no others. As a result, they seemed somewhat odd to the all-accepting Romans/Greeks/Egyptians. Christianity obviously disliked Judaism for their lack of accepting of the supposed messiah, Jesus, as well as the issue of usury later on in Europe, and the issues with Blood Libel and the argument that Jews killed Jesus directly.

u/Darth_Whatever · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Karen Armstrong's A History of God

u/adamwho · 2 pointsr/atheism

For information about how the old testament has been rewritten many times to reflect changing cultures and beliefs see A History of God by Karen Armstrong or a [nice video covering some of the issues](

u/Ellemennohpee · 2 pointsr/atheism

> Also on the first page of Genesis, God says "Let US make humankind in OUR image, according to OUR likeness". Wait, I thought there was only ONE God according to the bible? The "majestic plural" crossed my mind, but that isn't used anywhere else.

Have you ever read A History of God by Karen Armstrong? Amazon Link. It does a good job explaining this.

There are actually tons of references like this in the old-testament/torah to the polytheistic religion that Judaism grew out of.

u/raffastafarian · 2 pointsr/funny

> What I don't understand is who did all those retcons and why?

Hard-line Yahwists who gained power and used it to change their nation and culture. Humans do this all over the world, even today.

Here's a book link:

Here's a video link:

u/TheBiggestDookie · 1 pointr/atheism

Though I haven't yet read it myself (on my backlog), I've heard "A History of God" is quite good in tracing the origins of the big three monotheistic faiths to where they are today. I'm looking forward to reading it.

u/hedgeson119 · 1 pointr/atheism

Well, I have no idea if this would work, as I have no real practical debate experience but, here are my thoughts:

Most atheists try to frame the debate around establishing atheism as the null position / hypothesis, this creates the necessity of the theist (in this case Christianity) to prove it's assertions. Doing this allows you to attack the theists ideas and positions, without having to do a lot of defense of the skeptical stance on religion.

Attacking the credibility of the bible might be a good place to start, you can use books and lectures done by Bart Ehrman, here is a post a made with a couple of his videos, this post also has others somewhat explaining the burden of proof. More can be found on youtube.

Take a look a some other books if you can, like A History of God

Attack the Divinity of Jesus and use the Old Testament to show he is not the Messiah, here is a page on it. This also has a section on the Virgin Birth, use that as well.

I'll add more later if I think of anything else important.

Edit: One of my posts links to a video of A Universe From Nothing, a book written by Lawrence Krauss, you MIGHT be able to show that it is possible for everything in the universe to arise by natural law, but to do this would probably add a huge length to the essay. I also found a video made based on the work of a professor called Jack Szostak on Abiogenesis.

u/sdvneuro · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Both of these books discuss it:

A History of God

The Bible: a biography

u/jesusonadinosaur · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

>Morality is eternal.

Do you follow the laws in the OT? I'm mean they are eternal right?

>How to deal with other cultures

Quote the verse and explain how the jews in egypt would know that rule?

>What ideas (and/or tools) to accept or reject

Quote the verse and explain how the jews at the time would know this. This one I find particularly hilarious and ad hoc. There is not rule at all about what tools and technologies to accept. I'd be embarrassed for you if you weren't such an ignorant ass.

>What type of language to accept or reject

Quote the verse and explain how the jews at the time would know this. This is the part you will never defend. You will never actually put forth verses that say not to do this. In fact, jews today speak nearly all the languages on the planet.

>Who to associate with and how to do so


>What toys to play with, movies to watch, etc


>All of these things have been determined since... forever.

How did the jews have complete knowledge of the OT laws before they were written? Why did they disobey very simple concepts like "don't worship other gods" and still fail to violate such a difficult task as no cultural mixing?

Where does it say that there be no cultural mixing whatsoever. Something the jews have violated with every culture they have been introduced to?

>The point is that the very fact that you say "there was no covenant yet" proves that you do not understand this fundamental concept of theism. This also is evidence that you were never actually a Christian.

You are deeply confused if you think that the covenant existed prior to moses. Ask any jew on this board. The covenant was with israel. It was not in place before that, it was never established in the bible before that. All there was consisted of a promise to abraham and the noahide laws. That you think this is pretty entertaining. To assert that the same covenant always existed would be to assert that all people, not just the jews were part of the OT covenant and subject to those same laws.

>he deuteronomical laws were not the origin of morality any more than the use of penicillin was the origin of bacterial infection. They were the result, not the cause, of bad morality.

I never said they were the origin or morality. I will assert that there is no way people would have access (and strictly adhere to) all the laws laid forth in the OT. Some of which are pretty entertaining.

> I thought my illustration of "murder was wrong before a law against it was written" would have explained all this. I

This is because you are unintelligent. Murder it can be argued would be known as wrong, "cultural mixing" is not intuitively wrong. Same with a great deal of the laws in the OT. Further, there is no such law against cultural mixing as you are defining it.

>Heathen cultures (including Egyptians) reject that concept of morality

>Morality is just some "agreement" or human construct

YOu realize the egyptians were theists right?

>Death, and even human sacrifice is worshiped

See jephthah's daughter

>Fornication and hedonism are abound

Kinda like worshipping Cow statues...

>Even if the Israelite's concept of morality is wrong (it isn't), it's very easy to understand why they would completely reject everything about their captive's culture, even down to their eating utensils or haircuts.

No it's not. Your argument completely falls apart when you look at how heavily they adopt canaanite culture. In fact we see this with every single culture the jews ever mixed with. Including the babylonians who they were also captives of. You are saying two disparate cultures wouldn't mix, which history proves false over and over-even with the jews. Further, the bible itself shows they adopted views and practices of heathens.

>That's not even some "wack-ass-theory", that's what common sense would expect. Yet you call it "inane". How blind have you made yourself?

You are so stupid that you don't even realize that if what you are saying was true the jews wouldn't have adopted the cultural practices of ANY foreign culture. Not only is this inane, there is no example of it in all of human history.

>Not really.

Every single point by the poster challenging was completely addressed. The same is not true vice versa.

>This, my inane friend, is "running away", a cop-out. You only gave an author if I recall anyway. You only gave an author if I recall anyway.

How stupid are you? With that author you would instantly get the book with a quick search.

>ou came about a piece of archaeological evidence in some book that was so damning, so convincing, so certain, that you can't even mention it specifically.

Are you stupid. I'm claiming the entirety of the evidence is damning. And I specifically mentioned the gross anachronisms. The complete absence of evidence anywhere in all of egypt or canaan (remarkable to say the least), the fact that the cities in the bible were not all inhabited at the time, that other cities were not built until much later. That the jews would have to escape into a canaan already controlled by egypt. That the area doesn't support that kind of population. That egypt never suffered a great economic collapse. That canaan never experienced as massive influx of population. And that the jews show not one lick of evidence of having spent 400 years in egypt. Despite your inane protestations, there is no good reason at all to consider this plausible.

In fact, that's why the whole field rejects the exodus.

>You have to just mention a book. A book, I might add, that I'm not even sure (or even believe at this point) that you've even read yourself.

Its sad how dumb your are and how much you project. I briefly mention karen armstong's book [a history of god)[] in a post where you misinterpret the subject of another thread as a place for more information. And due to your utter lack of education or willingness to investigate you assume I haven't read this book? Rather funny really.

>As I said, bring it up with him.

Why he already acknowledges the documentary hypothesis and openly states there is are errors in numbers. If that part of the bible is untrue why should I believe it?

>I hope for your sake it's because you aren't even trying, because that's certainly what it looks like from here

I'm not even having to try. You offer no challenge at all. Your arguments are so truly embarassing that you do my work for me. Some are so bad you yourself don't even make them any more. Claiming you cannot demonstrate a negative, Denying the scholarly opinion, arguing for magical mystery cities that no ones found with no reason to expect they exist...

This is all a bit comical. You are so desperate in your ignorance that you cannot even put together an informed opinion.

u/Anonymous_Ascendent · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I'm saying that numerous scriptural authors included imagery of the seven headed dragon / Leviathan throughout the New Testament and the Old Testament. This is not an original metaphor, it is directly drawing from Judaism's origins.

The Old Testament was edited and re-written on several occasions by Yahwehists who want to move the Israelites into Monotheism. Deuteronomy, Psalms and Isaiah all have explicit references to the Canaanite pantheon members such as Ba'al and Elyon.

Eventually Elyon (the Father God) was merged with Yahweh (The God of War), and Ba'al (The God of Storms), Yam (Sea/river God) and Lotan (The Seven Headed Serpent) were merged into 'The Devil'.

Edit: if this stuff seems unfamiliar to you, you should familiarize yourself with biblical academics and start by reading this:

u/SorceressFane · 1 pointr/religion

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is a great book to learn a little about the "big 3" Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

u/EbonShadow · 1 pointr/Christianity

>1)I'm going to paraphrase here a little bit, but you can get the idea. It says in the bible that god created a rainbow after the flood to signify to Noah that he would never flood the world again. How can this be? That is like saying the refraction of light had never occurred before that point. I understand the idea that god can overcome science, but come on that is a little far fetched.

You find this the far fetched part of the Ark story? With the lack of geological evidence for a world-wide flood, or the accounting for Kangaroo's in Australia which are shown to diverge from their mammalian ancestries a few million years ago? I guess my question is why aren't you applying the breath of your scientific knowledge to the whole of the book? Perhaps Physics was your area of focus?

>2)It says in Revelations that a 7 headed beast would rise out of the sea when the end times arrive. Now, I know that a lot of people take the bible very literally, such as my family. How can this be interpreted because I know for a fact that this will not happen. This doesn't mean that what is described is incorrect, but simply miss interpreted.

Another option is it simply is a story written by people for people.

>5)According to Genesis the earth was formed before the sun. Is this something that people truly believe? Please, someone with a scientific education explain this to me. All I have heard is, God can over come universal laws no matter what they may be.

Most Christians I know tend to take it metaphorically vs literally as clearly by the Bibles account it doesn't match with modern astrophysics.

>6)The new testament was compiled by the Roman's and it is well known that books were left out of it. Man is flawed inherently, was something missed. Was god directing these actions? Can god really speak through people? Now, many people, such as my family, will tell me yes. Now, here is my problem with that. I have listened to sermons at church heard inconsistencies and scientifically incorrect interpretations be made by the minister. With that in mind, how can you gauge whether or not anything you hear "preached" to you is god speaking through someone?

The entire Bible has been edited many times.

>1) God is not some bearded guy in the sky. God is infinite, we are finite, we will never understand something as powerful and as awesome as "him".

Have you spent much time researching what some of the leading scientists say about the Universe? You don't need to insert a god into it.. Especially the Christian one which has enormous logical inconsistencies/paradox when you describe him as the omni-deity.

>2) God is all seeing all knowing. I believe this "being" has transcended us and is in vast complexity to the things we know. He has manipulated the universe, through science, to create us.

The god you are describing is what scientists refer to as the 'god of the gaps' IE as science learns more about reality the deities influence continues to shrink into the gaps of our ignorance.

>My goal here is not to offend anyone. I search and search around the christian community for a better revelation of who and why we are here. I just need something more then, just have faith. I don't feel that things are that simple. How can they be?

My suggestion for you is to read a bit on the history of the abrahamic deity and one of the most influencial skeptics of the 1900's.

u/Phantasmal · 1 pointr/atheism

You may also want to read The History of God and Why We Believe What We Believe.

I have found some of my best reading by checking the bibliography of books with ideas that I really enjoyed and then reading the books that were referenced there.

The hardest thing for many people is replacing a feeling of certainty with a feeling of uncertainty. You may want to read Steven Hawking's Brief History of Time.

Some basic introductions to philosophy would not go amiss either. People have been tackling the "big questions" in much the same way, throughout all of history. There are not as many new ideas as there are old ideas, rehashed. Learn something about the history of human thought, it is pretty fascinating and will help you figure out what you think.

u/FireInTheNight · 1 pointr/Christianity

And you are frightened for good reason (no pun intended). I am talking to someone who believes in an invisible sky wizard for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to be found in observable reality. In fact, all the evidence that we have found in observable reality so far strongly suggests that no such entity exists - many would say to the point of certainty. Add to the lack of scientific evidence for gods the fact that historians have traced the origins of the beliefs in the current gods that people still believe in today back to the beliefs in earlier gods seamlessly through history. Your god, for example, is an amalgamated result of a multitude of ancient Arabic tribal polytheistic and pantheistic beliefs. Check out Karen Armstrong's excellent "A History of God" on the subject (if you haven't done so already).

So yeah, as long as I am talking to someone who believes in such an entity and compares talking to it to "basic social interactions" and human "two-way communication" I have reason and rationality squarely and exclusively on my side.

u/the_omega99 · 1 pointr/EverythingScience

Should you read every book that presents a new idea just to judge for yourself if that is an idea worth undertaking or whatever?

There's been a lot of religions in human history (most which have long since died off). Should you necessarily read every religion's works to understand the religion and its followers, and to determine if it's the right one in your mind (etc)? The bible is certainly the basis for the largest religion (and a partial basis for the second largest, although the Quran is much more influential to them). But let's not neglect the Hindus and Buddhists (I don't even know what their religious books are, or how many their are).

Are we even constraining ourselves to modern religions? Maybe the ancient Greeks or Romans had it right, but you won't know because you didn't study them yourself (sure, they died off, but that's just because other people decided that they were the "wrong" religions -- by your logic, you should be deciding this for yourself). What about the Norse? Or that ancient Egyptian religion?

The reality of the world is that you can't really read and research everything for yourself. There's nothing wrong with falling back on other people's shorter, more digestible summaries, provided that you take care to find quality ones and a diversity of opinions. And reading their holy books won't tell you that much about their modern religions. It doesn't really matter what the Bible or Quran says, for example, if the followers do something entirely different. Not to mention that reading and researching for yourself does not require reading the holy book. There's plenty of more modern texts, for example, that have a much less biased explanation of modern religions, their belief sets, and how they have evolved -- this goes far beyond what the Bible alone could tell you about these religions.

Reading the bible to figure out if it's right is like reading Mein Kampf to figure out if Hitler's ideas were good ones. It's far too biased, missing in objective knowledge, and omits crucial things. If you want to actually study a religion, you need more than that. You need someone who can point out when "facts" stated differ from historical accounts. You need someone to remind you when a passage conflicts with an earlier one. You need someone to detail when details are actually carry-overs from older religions. A proper religion studies textbook would do a lot more to critically analyze a religion than reading their holy book. An example of such a book is A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

As an aside,

>If you know Tyson, you'll know he's not an atheist, he's agnostic.

That's bullshit. Agnostic isn't a view point alone. The actual divide is "agnostic atheist", "gnostic atheist", "agnostic theist", and "gnostic theist" (most people are either agnostic atheists or gnostic theists). Typically among intelligent people, the default for when you don't know is to assume it doesn't exist. And that's the case for almost everything, really. I can't be entirely sure that unicorns don't exist. I don't have proof for it. Yet I don't think they exist. Tyson is an agnostic atheist who avoids the term "atheist" because it has strong negative connotations in the US (a huge number of people say that they wouldn't vote for an atheist, for example).

u/Leon_Art · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

I was wondering if you saw this two part video (Part one and Part 2) and maybe the book (Karen Armstrong's A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) it was based on. I think you might find it interesting.

u/Derbedeu · 1 pointr/atheism

>Well, have you actually read War and Peace in Russian? Then your argument just fell fell apart. The nuance in good literature can have vastly different meanings, depending on the reader.

Whether someone reads it in English or Russian, the story is the same and so are the themes. They don't change just because the language is different.

>Let’s review a few reasons why that’s ridiculous! At least 194 Jews and people of half- or three-quarters-Jewish ancestry have been awarded the Nobel Prize,1 accounting for 22% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2015.

How many grew up in a shtetl? How many were religious? Why don't you have any Jewish Nobel Prize winners coming out of the pale of settlement?

Religion literally has nothing to do with intelligence, unless it is to retard it. You also seem to have an obsession with race/ethnicity, two concepts that literally don't make any sense biologically. We're all homo sapiens sapiens As Richard Feynman put it, "To select, for approbation the peculiar elements that come from some supposedly Jewish heredity is to open the door to all kinds of nonsense on racial theory."

>Shabbat, a day of rest – origin – yes, the Jews.


People today get the weekend off (i.e. two days off), weekend being a British concept. Even that has been found to be insufficient though, as 50 hour work weeks are deemed to be too much by many psychologists and sociologists and lead to a decrease in productivity.

But what does that have to do with anything though? Also, where do you see a culture that hasn't had some sort of impact one way or another? All cultures do, because that's how cultures work, they're effusive.

>Washing hands to avoid disease – a practice started a long, long time ago.

The Celts practiced the same thing, using soap. Again though, what does hygiene have to do with anything? Especially as hygiene practices varied worldwide back then.

>Biblehub is a Christian site, btw.

With translations from numerous publications that are translated by numerous philologists in turn. Besides, the other two aren't and lo and behold, their translations are the same.

>And to liken Judaism to a cult? I have no problem with what you think about Scientology and the Mormons, but you have some huge problem in your cerebral connections to associate Judaism with a cult.

How is Judaism NOT a cult? It literally started off as a cult of Yahweh. Here are some books and papers you can read on the matter:

This isn't even mentioning that Judaism today exhibits many cult characteristics. There are elitist tendencies (chosen ones); proscribed and identifiable clothing; barring of intermarriages with those outside of the group; kashrut laws encouraging members to only mingle with other in-group members; an elite class charged with authority and leadership within the group (rabbis); demands of immoral actions such as genital mutilation; a closed social system that frowns upon any deviation; end-time revelation; concept of mesirah; etc.

Judaism is a cult just as every other religion is.

>Oh, by the way, don’t bother to reply, I tire of your weak,
wandering responses,


u/Draz04 · 1 pointr/atheism

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is one of my favorites. It's a purely historical look at the development of the Abrahamic religions and ties in Buddhism and Hinduism a little well. Great for understanding how the religions came about.

u/CommandrKeen · 1 pointr/Christianity

I think you're being a little extreme about the Hitler idea, but in education it is important to have a good source and my source is good. Whereas your source doesn't state that the concept of mana was only used in the South Pacific. The idea of mana was in Sumerian culture too. We'll just have to agree to disagree. But, if you're interested my source is it's an interesting read. Cheers.

u/Harry_Seaward · 1 pointr/religion

So, reading the Bible is somewhat of a chore. If you're just reading it to say you've done so, or give yourself a brief glimpse of what it has, you can look here to get an idea of what each version offers. Some versions are more "modern" and use current language and syntax. They're easier to read but may include translations of words or phrases that may not be as accurate as others. On the other hand, some versions go to great lengths to be as accurate as possible and lose some readability because of it.

Once you've decided, you can go here to read a lot of those versions - or multiple versions at once. You can also find apps that do similar things - sword-reader, or something to that effect, and probably others.

There are also places like this that are geared towards atheists. They're often snarky, though, so take it with a grain of salt.

I think, and agree with weeglos, that you're better off reading something like this or this to get an idea of what it's about and the changes that have been made (and why).

u/TheDude1985 · 1 pointr/atheism

Titled: "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam"

This is a good one. Maybe not exactly what you're looking for, but a good read.

u/a_midgets_last_stand · 1 pointr/nottheonion

it's worded as such because the israelites had a covenant specifically with yahweh(who predates judaism, of course).

the belief in baal and asherah were widely accepted at this time as well- asherah was yahweh's consort.

there's also debate on whether or not El was the same as yahweh.

got this book about 7-8 years ago that delves into the topic with remarkable clarity and ease. i'm a history major so perhaps i'm a bit biased, but i always thought the history of monotheism was fascinating.

u/gunnk · 1 pointr/atheism

I haven't read these yet, but one or both WILL be on my near-term reading list:

Evolution of God

A History of God

u/matthewjumps · 1 pointr/exjw

A History of God - explains how the monotheistic cult of YHWH developed from polytheistic Jewish religions that included YHWH as a war god among a pantheon of other gods.

Evid3nc3 Video that elaborates on information in this book.

Honestly when I heard about this, Israels constant 'returning to false gods' in the old testament made so much more sense. I never understood, as a JW, why on earth the Israelites would keep going back to other gods, when according to the old testament YHWH so clearly demonstrated his superiority - but this makes it all clear.

u/icanthinkofanewname · 1 pointr/agnostic

Eww I have a book and video for you. The video uses the book as a reference. It's a super easy read and informative.



u/bigern22 · 1 pointr/atheism

I would go for A History of God. For me, nothing was more damning of my belief in God than when I learned that Yahweh originated in Jewish polytheism. That was the nail in the coffin for my belief in God. I think attacking the foundation of their beliefs(Yahweh and the Old Testament) is the best way to get someone thinking. If it was bullshit from the beginning, nothing else later even matters.

u/johninbigd · 1 pointr/atheism

The History of God

Misquoting Jesus

You could also go to Yale Online Courses and watch the courses on New Testament and Old Testament history.

u/Al_Tilly_the_Bum · 1 pointr/exmormon

"A History of God" is a great read. It really makes the bible make so much more sense. Warning: the evidence presented in this book may lead to a loss in faith of the Judeo/Christian image of God.

u/damaged_but_whole · 1 pointr/occult

The book cover he shows at the beginning of video 1 would be a good starting point.

Here's the book he shows at the beginning of video #1. Click on "look inside this book" and advance to page 13. You will she she is discussing P and J sources:

u/wifibandit · 1 pointr/worldnews

> The Bible was still legit

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

u/daLeechLord · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Sure! A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Fascinating book.

u/cynicalabode · 1 pointr/atheism

Warning: Wall of Text

I'd watch the video again. It took me a few times to fully grasp what he is saying - he covered quite a bit! If you have the time, though, I highly suggest reading "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong. Evid3nc3 pulls his material for the video I linked from Armstrong's book.

Simply put, the Judeo-Christian deity, called "God", is not and has never been the one and only god. He is a combination of a few gods from the polytheistic religions of the time and area.

[Please excuse this tangent; it's necessary. Armstrong talks about the evolution of polytheism (the worship of many gods) into monotheism (the worship one god, believed to be the only god) through two intermediate stages, Henotheism (worshiping a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities) and monolatrism (the recognition of the existence of many gods, but with the consistent worship of only one deity).]

So, there were a few polytheistic religions in the region, with a few dozen deities apiece. Certain areas began to pick "favorites". After a while, they began to worship that deity more than the others. Then, people acted as if the deity they worshipped was the only one that ever existed. They then rewrote their books to say exactly that.

Armstrong studied the ancient texts scrupulously, and realized that textual evidence supports this. The Genesis creation story is a plagiarism of the Canaanite creation story. The multiple names for "God" used in the Bible (Yahweh, El Elyon meaning "Most High") are actual Canaan deities! Hell, they even demonized other Canaan gods like Ba'al because he was the "favorite God" of a rival area.

What probably got to me the most was when Evid3nc3 mentioned the first biblical commandment. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." For everyone born into a Christian household, this is a bit weird. Isn't God the only god? Why is he forbidding us from worshipping other gods? Wait, hold up - there are other gods?? Seems a bit unnecessary for a universe that has only one god.


I'm sure I butchered the arguments and left some important things out, but that's what I found striking (at least, striking enough for me to remember from the last time I watched it!). His whole series is excellent! Basically, it is very difficult for someone to lose their faith because it has so many factors that all support one another. Watch this video, if anything. It explains why it is so difficult to shed one's religion.

Sorry for the wall of text, I hope you can take something away from it!

u/kencabbit · 1 pointr/atheism

Have you read anything by Bart Erhman concerning the history of the Bible? I also recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/captainhaddock · 1 pointr/Christianity

I'll make a few suggestions.

  • A History of God by former nun-turned-author Karen Armstrong has a nice overview of the development of Judaism and Christianity along with many of the names you read in the Bible.

  • The Bible Unearthed by Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein has chapter-by-chapter summaries of key Old Testament figures and their stories followed by overviews of relevant archaeological data and explorations.

  • A good study Bible like the New Oxford Annotated Bible will offer scholarly introductions to each book describing its setting and main concerns. Get a version with the deuterocanon (apocrypha), so you can read books like Maccabees, which continues the story of the Jews following the return from exile up until the Roman period in which the Gospels are set.
u/ai565ai565 · 1 pointr/whatsthatbook

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam by Karen Armstrong?

u/RainTea · 1 pointr/exchristian

I'm currently reading A History of God, by Karen Armstrong. Saw it mentioned in Evid3nc3's YouTube series, of course. It explains the old Canaanite pantheon, how Yahweh started being exulted above the other members during times of war and struggle, how the texts were altered and added to, etc. It also touches upon how other religions were developing at the time; Buddhism, etc.

u/kahrahtay · 1 pointr/atheism

> The entire book of Deuteronomy emerged after two disastrous reigns for the Yahvists who were a persecuted minority sect campaigning to become the official religion of the land and was written from that viewpoint. Oh, you thought it was all along?

No. I am quite aware of this. I suggest you read this book, as it discusses in detail the events surrounding the appearances of the books of the old testament, and about the ancient Israelites and their different gods (including yahweh).

If you prefer, some of those same ideas are also discussed in this video, which I highly recommend. It is from a series of videos on youtube made by a young man documenting his struggle to understand his faith and his relationship with god. You may not agree with the conclusions he eventually came to, but I would like to know what you think of the issues he brought up.

> The story of David and Bathsheba needs to be taken in its entirety, and is more along the lines of a morality tale. Compare it to the text before and after. It doesn't really fit. But morality tales have their place. Remember three things: they believed that whatever happened was either a blessing or a punishment from God, taking a male child was a serious punishment for a serious offense, and the infant mortality rate was likely high by our standards.

Let me be clear. I can not imagine any set of circumstances where the murder of an innocent child for the crimes of his parents could be considered a just or reasonable punishment for any crime whatsoever.

> taking a male child was a serious punishment for a serious offense

It certainly is. It is NOT however a just punishment. It can only be accurately described as the vile, sadistic, and cruel act of an unjust ruler. If such things are the actions of a god, then he too is vile, cruel, and unjust by the standards of any rational person.

And if it is as you say, just a 'morality' tale, then I have two questions for you:

  1. What possible lesson in morality could a person hope to take from such a story?

  2. Once again don't you find it peculiar that a loving and all knowing god would leave such a vaguely written, and easily misunderstood set of documents as the only accepted source of his will, his morality, his nature, and even his existence?

    Let me know what you think
u/bmgoau · 1 pointr/atheism

A History of God - Karen Armstrong

In this stunningly intelligent book, Karen Armstrong, one of Britain's foremost commentators on religious affairs, traces the history of how men and women have perceived and experienced God, from the time of Abraham to the present. From classical philsophy and medieval mysticism to the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the modern age of skepticism, Karen Armstrong performs the near miracle of distilling the intellectual history of monotheism into one superbly readable volume, destined to take its place as a classic.

Excellent video based on the book.

Also: BBC The Story of God

The Story of God is an epic journey across continents, cultures and eras exploring religious beliefs from their earliest incarnations, through the development of today's major world faiths and the status of religious faith in a scientific age. The series examines the roots of religious beliefs in prehistoric societies and the different ways in which humanity's sense of the divine developed. It looks at the divergence between religions that worship a range of deities and those that represent strict monotheism.

u/maytawlli · 1 pointr/IAmA

I really recommend this book It was written by a former christian nun who's changed her mind about the abrahamic religions after studying the history of Jews Christians and Islamic people. Once you start looking at your faith critically, you'll discover the bible/new testament's inconsistencies. Jesus wasn't deemed the literal son of god until 300 years after his death.

u/Peppper · 1 pointr/atheism

I was raised Christian and went to a fundamentalist highschool. I started questioning things when I realized my faith required me to suspend my rationality. Read some books on the historical accuracy of religious claims. My thought was always, "Well if what all these people say is true, it should hold up to rational scientific inquiry." The more I dug, the more I realized that it never could. I fought and fought with myself. Christianity (especially of the fundamentalist flavor) has this built in mechanism to dissuade disbelief. You are constantly indoctrinated to see any doubt that enters your mind as evil, sinful and to simply "pray the doubt away". I'm sure you know of this. Keep fighting, let reason and logic be your guide.

Some books that helped me on my way to breaking free:

A History of God by Karen Armstrong

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Pale Blue Dot by Carl Sagan

I also recommend this youtube series by user Evid3nc3.

Those should give you alot to think about.

Remember the most important thing is to decide for yourself. Question everything and never take something as truth from authority simply because they are an authority. See if it makes sense, find the documented evidence that backs up the claims. The light may hurt at first.

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." -Carl Sagan

u/baddspellar · 1 pointr/Christianity

Here are a couple that made me think and taught me a few things:

Great Christian Thinkers: Paul, Origen, Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, Schleiermacher, Barth - Hans Kung

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Karen Armstrong

If you wish to understand Catholicism, Youcat is my favorite.

u/IIdsandsII · 1 pointr/AskScienceDiscussion

I can't tell you about dinosaurs, but I can recommend two life changing books:

A History of God:

This book actually details how the God people worship today came to be, from older gods in older religions. It's a historical account of today's God. This will change your perspective on modern religion forever. It's interesting because, though the world is dominated by a few religions today, these religions are very new. They are man-made, just like older religions, but compared to the older religions, they haven't existed very long at all. Essentially, this book is a scientific look at the evolution of modern religion. Evolution of species is interesting in of itself, but the evolution of societies (religions, governments, nations, societal structures) is just as interesting. This is similar to my next recommendation...

Sex at Dawn:

This book is a scientific look at the evolution of human sexuality. I think the most interesting thing about this book for me, was that it was the first thing I ever read that explained how the concept of marriage is a man-made concept, and is only a few thousand years old. So, for hundreds of thousands of years before that, humans and hominids did not marry. In other words, the idea of a life-long bond is not in our DNA. In fact, our ancestors lived MUCH differently than we do today, and, arguably, much better.

These two books will blow your mind. I think they are essential and are very easy to read. You can read both in a couple weeks' time.

u/ChurroBandit · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

Holy shit, dude. That sounds like the exact opposite of fun. If they've got something important to say, then summarize it here.

Just for fun, why don't you read Misquoting Jesus or The History of God, if you're not afraid to expose yourself to some scholarship that will challenge your most cherished illusions.

u/ElderSalamander · 1 pointr/exmormon

A History of God, by Karen Armstrong is excellent. Highly recommended and a great read.

u/professional_giraffe · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Not long after I went off to college. I'd heard and read all the terrible things in the bible, but my loss of faith actually had to do with really studying the history of religion for the first time, and understanding how humanity's changing understanding of the world and growing sense of morality had influenced every major and minor change in dogma along the way. (Very similar to how I was able to dismiss creation when I learned about evolution in school.) I had already started to become more like a "deist" rather than a "theist" without realizing it, but I also had plenty of "religious experiences" that made me feel a personal relationship with god and kept me from dismissing it completely.

My first real challenge to my belief didn't happen until I investigated a church other than the non-denominational type I'd always been taken to growing up. I did this because my very serious boyfriend at the time was mormon (Who is now my atheist husband ;) and of course wanted to give it an honest look. But naturally I was skeptical. I looked on the internet for information, and to make a looong story short, I knew that it was untrue. (Like, literally plagiarized. Heh, literally...) But in researching one religion, I unknowingly started studying them all, and I encountered a lot of new arguments because of this (and just from being on the internet everyday helped with that too. Reddit was a big influence) and I remember deciding that I could not dismiss his religion or any other without truly looking into my own. So I decided to read arguments against everything I'd been taught, like a scientifically minded person is supposed to want to do.

Like you, I made a reddit post around this time, asking for sources and wanting others to tell me why they made the decision. Still identifying as christian, I didn't even know what information was out there, and what sources would be a best place to start. On that post I was given a link to this video series (edit: also linked by someone else) and when I had finished it I was an atheist. My "official" transition happened in just two hours, but really it made me realize how much I already didn't believe and taught me about a lot of other things about the bible I'd never heard such as the Documentary Hypothesis and the origins of Judaism. It was just my "last straw."

What you should look into next really depends on what might interest you the most or have the biggest impact. Here's a site that lists a ton of relevant books by category. Two I personally would highly recommend: "The God Delusion" which is fairly popular and a great place to start for a comprehensive understanding of the main issues, and "A History of God" is absolutely amazing for understanding the natural evolution of religion.

u/lorxraposa · 1 pointr/exmormon

I'm eagerly awaiting reading History of god when I get to it on my reading stack

u/SabertoothFieldmouse · 0 pointsr/worldnews

But from what I CAN understand from your salad of words, there's also another body of thought, from one who's extremely distinguished in this particular field, and mentioned by named in almost every book covering the subject, suggesting exactly what I had stated.

I agree with you on a sociological level, but I was answering the question on the individual level. Faith in God is personal, not social. And there's no way you can KNOW the things you are claiming unless you've lived in a polytheistic, sociological structure before we had philosophy or science.

>actually it shouldn't be incoherent to you.

It's because your reasoning is sound, but your punctuation/grammar makes it difficult for me to discern.

u/Wisdom_Bodhisattva · 0 pointsr/Christianity

If that view helps to produce good fruit for you in your life, then power to you. My study of the history of religion, and the way the Bible was put together has led me to see it though a different paradigm. I must ask, have you ever read A History of God by Karen Armstrong? It need not necessarily change your view, but it could help you relate to other Christians better, and allow you to at least understand the reasons that have compelled them to take a historical / metaphorical / sacramental view of the Bible rather than a literal / factual view. Good day and God bless.

u/AmbitionOfPhilipJFry · 0 pointsr/politics

I believe that there are timeless truths in Judaic, Christian and Muslim faiths (these are the only three whose holy texts I've read cover-to-cover). Most religions agree on key things: be nice to other people, you'll feel good if you help those in need, you'll never be happy if you measure it by acquiring stuff or money.

I believe that there is no need to reinvent the wheel of morality when you have 4,000+ years of distilled wisdom at your fingertips, especially when what you come up with is probably a clone of the original religious laws.

Yes, there are ridiculous ideas in religion as well like don't eat dairy and meat or if you don't marry a virgin she can be stoned. That doesn't mean you should throw all of it aside.

Read Karen Armstrong's A History of God. She talks about how different religions morphed from one into another and different gods morphed from one into another (particularly, the similarity between Horus and Jesus), but retained the same timeless values.

u/bgk0018 · 0 pointsr/DebateAChristian

If you want to verify what why_am_I_here2 has referenced, you can pick up this book:

Karen Armstrong's "A History of God"

Alternatively, an atheist youtube series covers some of the content of the book in his videos:

3.3.3 Atheism: A History of God (Part 1)

Here is a documentary done by the History Channel on the same book:

A History of God

u/originalsoul · 0 pointsr/Christianity

Well that's really up to you. I would suggest doing some reading on your own and deciding for yourself. A good way to start is A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

It is important to remember though that the bible was written by different people and over vast stretches of time. Many of the authors didn't realize that what they were writing was going to be compiled into a library of books and so you see a great many different perspectives and conceptions of what God means to different people and at different time periods. Don't read the bible as if all the authors are saying the same thing. It's a very common mistake. Let the writing speak for itself, and try to interpret what it's saying, rather than read what you already think back into it.

u/FooFighterJL · 0 pointsr/Christianity

The reason for the OT God's brutality is rather more simple than one would think. The religion of the Hebrews was originally polytheistic (many gods) of which, the current Judeo-Christian god was one.

During the period between before and during the Babylonian exile of the Hebrews there was a strong devotion to the polytheistic god of war, Yahweh. The reasons for this are obvious. Babylon posed a threat to the Hebrew's land and thus a strong devotion to this god would increase the chances of victory over Babylon when they ultimately tried to take Jerusalem (which they did).

Karen Armstrong's History of God is a wonderful account of this.

If you're more lazy and want a brief video version this is a wonderfully articulate illustration.

Little doubt, the NT is far less brutal and barbaric than the OT, though one must be heinously selective to say that it is civil or moral. We need only look back a few centuries to see how the more barbaric verses of the NT were used. John 15:6 is a wonderful example, often overlooked.

The comparatively moderate Christian religion we see today is a result of centuries of change and edition.

Slightly off topic, but the power-triad alleged by the monotheism religions of their god is somewhat contradictory. For example, the omnipotent idea contradicts itself (see rock example).

Hope this helps, friend :)

u/TheSpaceWhale · 0 pointsr/atheism

I'd like to put out a counterpoint to a lot of the comments about "finding holes in the books" etc. You don't need to convince her that there is no God, Bible is mythology, etc. You don't want to come off as attacking her beliefs or from a side of negativity. You need to convince her that you're an adult, a good person, and that you've found another "belief system" that fits better for you and deserves her respect. You want to approach her as Carl Sagan, not Richard Dawkins.

I would highly encourage you to read Karen Armstrong (A History of God, or The Case for God). They're both not only fascinating books on the evolution of religion in general, but they show a non-theistic side of religion/spirituality within Christianity. She'll likely feel more comfortable with your lack of belief in a literal personal God if you approach from an angle of something WITHIN Christian theology. Another good view of this is When God Is Gone, Everything Is Holy, which describes the positive side of atheism and science. Maybe give her one of these books rather than The God Delusion--it's something she's more likely to read.

Ultimately, most religious people having their own different religious beliefs than they are with people rejecting their beliefs. Present atheism as something positive, inspiring, and fulfilling for you.