Best religious history books according to redditors

We found 1,045 Reddit comments discussing the best religious history books. We ranked the 307 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

Next page


Islamic history books
History of Buddhism books
History of Christianity books
Ethnic & tribal religions history books
Books on New Age, Mythology & Occult
History of religion & politics books
History of religion books

Top Reddit comments about Religious History:

u/US_Hiker · 61 pointsr/atheism

1 - Mostly correct. There aren't many details of the crucifixion, and I wouldn't expect there to be (relatively common practice then, most would know what was entailed). Not a big deal either way though.

2 - Wrong.

3 - Almost entirely wrong. Much misrepresentation of the Bible and Xtian theology.

4 - Lots of wrong.

5 - big whoop.

6 - The broad overview is correct in that the Rapture as we think of it today and the emphasis on it is a fairly modern concept. Decent bit wrong otherwise.

7 - Last paragraph is reasonable...our modern conception of Satan is definitely different than the Church Fathers/etc. Lots of wrong in here though.

8 - Largely correct. Popular ideas about these things go far beyond the sparse details in the Bible and even in earlier Christian theology.

9 - The title is debatable (you can interpret Revelation to mean almost anything you want). Most of the rest is entirely bullshit.

10 - The title is correct. The rest of the section rapidly starts to fall down. While I haven't read Ehrman (don't have any of his books, and none @ local libraries), I think his quotes are being made too much of. Yes, there is a huge amount of variance between manuscripts. There is still in the eyes of interpreters and theologians a relatively good consensus as to what the NT is. Sure, we don't have the earliest manuscripts, and there are many problems, but the situation is nowhere near as dire as the blogger states.

Edit to add to 10: Here is a link to Ehrman's book. From the synopsis and reviews, it would appear his quotes are being used in support of a conclusion he would disagree with.

u/AuroraAustralis · 42 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

There's a great book on exactly this evolution into religion called Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the prison of belief
The first chapters describe Hubbard's self invention, depression, his propensity for tall tales about his life and invention of Dianetics as a way to cure what he saw as his personal problems (impotence, bad eyesight, writers block) without the use of psychology, which he hated and believed held a conspiracy against him. It also follows the rise of Dianetics and the shaping of the church. A lot of those upper levels after Hubbard's death came from power struggles within the church between the circle closest to Hubbard, especially between David Miscavige and Pat Broeker. Many of the "OT" (operating thetan) levels were created AFTER his death to keep control of the church, and convince his followers that Hubbard had not died but merely 'dropped his body' to explore even higher OT levels. Scientology not only brings people into the religion emotionally, but physically and monetarily, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases, and is aimed at moving people forever upward into these invented higher echelons, no matter how hard Xenu, etc. are to believe

u/kevomatic · 27 pointsr/todayilearned

His book is amazing and terrifying.

u/iCanon · 22 pointsr/atheism

Don't suggest a book you haven't read. If you pick your books you should read them first then give them to your mom. I recommend two books in this order. First, Second.

u/[deleted] · 21 pointsr/atheism

>I think it's pretty naive to just blithely assert

Well, sure, I was pretty casual (blithe) about it, but what's that got to do with naivety? You seem to be basing that on an appeal to popularity fallacy - which still doesn't make sense. That might make it arrogant or conceited, but not naive.

Splitting hairs aside, this acedemia you speak of; I feel you need to be more specific. A medical doctor is a scientist, but you wouldn't count the good Dr.'s opinion on climatology. What's the opinion among non-religious archeologists and historians? They would have to be non-religious otherwise they would be too likely to approach their analysis of the data from the pre-determined position that Jesus existed as the bible describes.

>It would be really fucking hard to build a religious cult around a non-existent person, not impossible just really fucking hard

Not that hard. It's been done, a lot (Scientology's Zenu comes to mind). Plus, even when it is based on a real person who actually existed, the character this person is described as never actually exists. It's just a regular guy.

>Do you have a good argument for his non-existence?

Getting into burden of proof territory here. I don't think I have to prove he didn't exist. Default position is non existence until it has been proven. I think there's not enough evidence to prove it and plenty of evidence to further doubt it. There is a lot of interesting historical and archelogical work that has been done on the Roman empire. You're never going to get an incontravertible yes he existed or no he didn't. It involves putting a lot of clues together. It's virtually certain the entire birth story was not only made up but plagiarised from other religions. Many of the facets of that story have been proven false. Then there's a huge gap and he suddenly turns up on the scene aged 30, performing miracles that have, once again, been plagiarised from other religions.

I'd suggest reading the following and deciding for yourself:
Book - Misquoting Jesus
Book - Caesars-Messiah
Wiki - Christ_myth_theory

There are literally dozens of books written on this. You could also try this website:

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/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/TracingWoodgrains · 20 pointsr/TheMotte

Ah, you beat me to sharing this by a few minutes. I've deleted my top-level post, but I'll keep it as a comment here, because my reaction was opposite to yours.

A fun interview to take you into the weekend: "[UK interviewer] Andrew Neil DESTROYS Ben Shapiro!" Lest you're thinking that quote is too boo-outgroup...

Shapiro was the one who tweeted it.

I'll cop to my bias prior to writing this. I've been hoping to see someone else post this, because Ben Shapiro is not my favorite, and this interview really doesn't present him at his best. I find myself enjoying this a bit too much to really be a credible neutral source, but I'll take a shot at summarizing nonetheless.

I had no idea who Andrew Neil was prior to this. Some context I have since heard: he is one of the leading conservative commentators in the UK, previously working under Rupert Murdoch and writing for the Daily Mail, currently chairman of a media group that runs some of the most influential center-right media in the UK. He's provided some passionate commentary in defense of western values, and is famous for hard-hitting interviews with a wide range of people. A great moment between him and Alex Jones: "This is half past eleven. You're watching the Sunday Politics. We have an idiot on the program today."

So what happened? This is one of the only times I'll actually encourage watching the video over reading a summary, because it's fast-paced and frankly pretty entertaining. Neil comes into the interview pretty aggressively, pushing back against a lot of Shapiro's positions and focusing especially on the contrast between Shapiro's commentary about the ways discourse is being degraded and the ways Shapiro himself degrades discourse at times. Shapiro responds largely by firing off questions and accusations about Neil's motives.

A couple of highlights:

  1. Neil asks Shapiro about titles of videos like "Ben Shapiro Destroys The Abortion Argument" and "Ben Shapiro DESTROYS Transgenderism". Shapiro responds by saying he can't be held accountable for what random people post on YouTube, not mentioning that the videos in question are, well, posted by The Daily Wire itself.

  2. He asks about the recent Georgia anti-abortion law in pretty harsh terms, asking for a defense or response from Shapiro. Shapiro's response: "My answer is something called science. Human life exists at conception. It ought to be protected," then asking why Neil won't admit he's on the left and his questions are motivated by bad faith. I was disappointed with Shapiro's answer here, since I'm broadly pro-life myself and would like to see the position represented well, but "something called science" doesn't really do it for me.

  3. In the end, Shapiro tersely cuts the interview short after one too many hardball questions. Final words from Neil: "Thank you for your time and for showing that anger is not a part of American political discourse."

    All told, it's a pretty fascinating crossover between American and British politics, and probably not Shapiro's finest moment.


    That was my top-level comment. I'll take a moment to respond to your main question as well: Why throw old things at him? Because the UK isn't as familiar with him as the US, and snark is still a huge part of his brand. I'm fully and deeply on board with the message that there's too much hate in politics, but even as he writes condemnations of that hate, I see Shapiro as a vector for and intensifier of it. The video titles above are a good example, alongside his pinned tweet ("Facts don't care about your feelings"), his comments in the interview... this sort of combativeness is a huge part of his brand. If he's approaching things from that combative of an angle, I expect to see him prepared with thoughtful responses to combativeness directed at him. He didn't do that here.
u/NukeThePope · 16 pointsr/atheism

I second the suggestion of Letter to a Christian Nation. While I loved TGD, I think it's better received by people who already like science, and who enjoy having a professor talk at them through a book. LtaCN is shorter and more to the point, so it may be a better choice as a first and maybe only atheist book.

After being reminded by Murrabit, I also recommend Carl Sagan's The Demon Haunted World. It's gentler, not as aggressive as LtaCN and doesn't have the "eww, Dawkins!" stigma. To Americans, Sagan is more lovable than Dawkins.

u/DoubtingThomas50 · 16 pointsr/exmormon

The cross only became taboo in Mormonism under David O. McKay. It was an anti-Catholic gesture in response to Catholic's efforts to proselytize in SLC and other anti-Catholic sentiments.

Read Banishing the Cross: Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo

u/aPinkFloyd · 14 pointsr/exmormon

Lots of love for you, here are some thoughts of mine...

  • it is a mistake to believe that you should be asking the question "What is the purpose of my life?" it's not a question you ask, IT IS A QUESTION YOU ANSWER! and you answer it by living your life as ONLY you can, having the adventure that is your life experience, discovering the magical miracle that is ONLY YOU in all of this vast universe!

  • After losing Mormonism and the understanding of the universe that goes with it, I find myself an atheist, which has made this little journey of life INFINITELY more precious to me. It's all and everything we have! (as far as we know).

  • I have pulled in many helpful, empowering, peaceful ideas from Buddhism, Philosophy, Science that has helped me start to form a new, optimistic, and amazingly open minded new world-view. I no longer have to believe anything that doesn't make sense, I get to believe only sweet things now, and that is SO nice.

    Here are some resources that I have been really grateful for on my journey, which I am 12 months into...

    The Obstacle is the Way

    The Daily Stoic this is my new "daily bible" I read a page every morning

    Secular Buddhism podcast

    Waking Up podcast

    End of Faith

    The Demon Haunted World

    Philosophize This! podcast OR Partially Examined Life podcast

    I wish you the very best in your journey, be patient with yourself, you have EVERY reason to be! Start filling your mind with powerful positive ideas, keep the ones that help you find your way, set aside the ones that don't.

    And remember, you are young and free and the possibilities of what your life can become are boundless!
u/OtherWisdom · 12 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> There are other reasons for suspecting that Jesus’s prayer of forgiveness is original to Luke 23. Throughout both Luke and Acts, for example, it is emphasized that even though Jesus was innocent (as were his followers), those who acted against him did so in ignorance. As Peter says in Acts 3: “I know that you acted in ignorance” (v. 17); or as Paul says in Acts 17: “God has overlooked the times of ignorance” (v. 27). And that is precisely the note struck in Jesus’s prayer: “for they don’t know what they are doing.”

> It appears, then, that Luke 23:34 was part of Luke’s original text. Why, though, would a scribe (or a number of scribes) have wanted to delete it? Here is where understanding something about the historical context within which scribes were working becomes crucial. Readers today may wonder for whom Jesus is praying. Is it for the Romans who are executing him in ignorance? Or is it for the Jews who are responsible for turning him over to the Romans in the first place? However we might answer that question in trying to interpret the passage today, it is clear how it was interpreted in the early church. In almost every instance in which the prayer is discussed in the writings of the church fathers, it is clear that they interpreted the prayer as being uttered not on behalf of the Romans but on behalf of the Jews. Jesus was asking God to forgive the Jewish people (or the Jewish leaders) who were responsible for his death.

> Now it becomes clear why some scribes would have wanted to omit the verse. Jesus prayed for the forgiveness of the Jews? How could that be? For early Christians there were, in fact, two problems with the verse, taken in this way. First, they reasoned, why would Jesus pray for forgiveness for this recalcitrant people who had willfully rejected God himself? That was scarcely conceivable to many Christians. Even more telling, by the second century many Christians were convinced that God had not forgiven the Jews because, as mentioned earlier, they believed that he had allowed Jerusalem to be destroyed as a punishment for the Jews in killing Jesus. As the church father Origen said: “It was right that the city in which Jesus underwent such sufferings should be completely destroyed, and that the Jewish nation be overthrown” (Against Celsus 4, 22).

> The Jews knew full well what they were doing, and God obviously had not forgiven them. From this point of view, it made little sense for Jesus to ask for forgiveness for them, when no forgiveness was forthcoming. What were scribes to do with this text, then, in which Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”? They dealt with the problem simply by excising the text, so that Jesus no longer asked that they be forgiven.

u/Karl__ · 12 pointsr/todayilearned

Scientology is actually only afloat today because they started a massive litigation campaign against the IRS that lasted over 25 years, eventually they negotiated with the IRS for a tax exemption, in exchange for dropping their lawsuits, that prevented them from having to declare bankruptcy in 1993. Scientology's most powerful weapon is arguably their abuse of the U.S. court system. I've skimmed the comments on this thread and a lot of people are talking out of their ass, anyone who wants to know more about Scientology--and trust me, you do, because the more you read about it the crazier it gets--should read this book:

u/recnvv · 11 pointsr/IAmA

> that is, the fact that the Bible has remained unchanged throughout the years

"Fact" - not at all. This isn't true. See Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

There have been errors introduced into the Bible by scribes copying it incorrectly.

Furthermore the Dead Sea Scrolls aren't much better:

>The scrolls are also important because they have enabled scholars to gather an immense amount of information about how the Bible was written and how it was transmitted from generation to generation. In many cases the scrolls show a remarkable similarity to the text of the Hebrew Bible currently in use. In some cases differences between the scrolls and the traditional Hebrew text help explain difficulties in the present Hebrew Bible, and most modern translations of the Bible (such as the NIV) incorporate some of the new information from the scrolls.

The Nag Hammadi find also casts some doubts on the idea of a unified Christian message and theology in the early years after Jesus was crucified. There is a lot scholoraly historical work on the differences betweeen various forms of Christianity from the 1st and 2nd century.

So there were a lot more Gospels, they just didn't make it into the Bible. The Christian Bible you see today was basically established by the early Roman Church. This particular form of Christianity was state sanctioned and thus other forms were driven out, if not outright persecuted.

u/the_sleep_of_reason · 11 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Why should I believe a random Quora answer instead of a Yale Professor, or an actual textual critic?

u/YoungModern · 11 pointsr/exmormon

Reza Aslan is a fraud posing as a scholar and cannot be trusted. Anyone wanting to read authentic scholarship should read Bart Ehrman.

u/sylvan · 11 pointsr/atheism

Sam Harris is good at being the "gentle" voice of New Atheism. Someone mentioned the End of Faith, check out Letter to a Christian Nation as well.

You might find it worthwhile to read the book your parents gave you, then sit down with them for maybe half an hour a week or so, and critique a chapter, pointing out flaws or logical errors.

After that, you can go through the book you gave them together.

u/NewUploader1 · 11 pointsr/MMA

If you're a Sam Harris fan, there are a few of his debates on the DebateGod podcast on iTunes. You don't have to be an atheist to like those podcasts either. Good points from both sides. Also, here is a great article he wrote about BJJ from his site. Lastly, feel free to read The End Of Faith. It is a HUGE eye opener.

Sorry to just get all teen girl on you guys... I just get excited when multiple interests of mine join together like Voltron.

u/seagoonie · 11 pointsr/spirituality

Here's a list of books I've read that have had a big impact on my journey.

First and foremost tho, you should learn to meditate. That's the most instrumental part of any spiritual path.

 Ram Dass – “Be Here Now” - - Possibly the most important book in the list – was the biggest impact in my life.  Fuses Western and Eastern religions/ideas. Kinda whacky to read, but definitely #1

Ram Dass - “Journey Of Awakening” - - Another Ram Dass book - once I got more into Transcendental Meditation and wanted to learn other ways/types of meditation, this helped out.

 Clifford Pickover – “Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves…” - - Somewhat random, frantic book – explores lots of ideas – planted a lot of seeds in my head that I followed up on in most of the books below

 Daniel Pinchbeck – “Breaking Open the Head” - - First book I read to explore impact of psychedelics on our brains

 Jeremy Narby – “Cosmic Serpent” - - Got into this book from the above, explores Ayahuasca deeper and relevancy of serpent symbolism in our society and DNA

 Robert Forte – “Entheogens and the Future of Religion” - - Collection of essays and speeches from scientists, religious leaders, etc., about the use of psychedelics (referred to as Entheogens) as the catalyst for religion/spirituality

 Clark Strand – “Waking up to the Dark” - - Explores human’s addiction to artificial light, also gets into femininity of religion as balance to masculine ideas in our society

 Lee Bolman – “Leading with Soul” - - Discusses using spirituality to foster a better, more supportive and creative workplace – pivotal in my honesty/openness approach when chatting about life with coworkers

 Eben Alexander – “Proof of Heaven” - - A neurophysicist discusses his near death experience and his transformation from non-believer to believer (title is a little click-baity, but very insightful book.  His descriptions of his experience align very similarly to deep meditations I’ve had)

 Indries Shah – “Thinkers of the East” - - A collection of parables and stories from Islamic scholars.  Got turned onto Islamic writings after my trip through Pakistan, this book is great for structure around our whole spiritual “journey”

 Whitley Strieber – “The Key: A True Encounter” - - A man’s recollection of a conversation with a spiritual creature visiting him in a hotel room.  Sort of out there, easy to dismiss, but the topics are pretty solid

 Mary Scott – “Kundalini in the Physical World” - - Very dense, very difficult scientific book exploring Hinduism and metaphysics (wouldn’t recommend this for light reading, definitely something you’d want to save for later in your “journey”)

 Hermann Hesse – “Siddartha” - – Short novel about a spiritual journey, coming of age type book.  Beautifully written, very enjoyable.

Reza Aslan - “Zealot” - - Talks about the historical Jesus - helped me reconnect with Christianity in a way I didn’t have before

Reza Aslan - “No god but God” - - Same as above, but in terms of Mohammad and Islam.  I’m starting to try to integrate the “truths” of our religions to try and form my own understanding

Thich Nhat Hanh - “Silence” - - Hanh’s a Vietnamese Buddhist monk - in this book he writes a lot about finding the beauty in silence, turning off the voice in our heads and lives, and living in peace.

Paulo Coelho - “The Alchemist” - - Sort of a modern day exploration of “the path” similar to “Siddhartha.”  Very easy and a joy to read, good concepts of what it means to be on a “path”

Carlos Castaneda - "The Teachings of Don Juan" - The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge - Started exploring more into shamanism and indigenous spiritual work; this book was a great intro and written in an entertaining and accessible way. 

Jean-Yves Leloup - “The Gospel of Mary” - - The book that finally opened my eyes to the potentiality of the teachings of Christ.  This book, combined with the one below, have been truly transformative in my belief system and accepting humanity and the power of love beyond what I’ve found so far in my journey.

Jean-Yves Leloup - “The Gospel of Philip” - - Really begins to dissect and dive into the metaphysical teachings of Christ, exploring the concept of marriage, human union and sexuality, and the power contained within.  This book, combined with the one above, have radically changed my perception of The Church as dissimilar and antithetical to what Christ actually taught.

Ram Dass - “Be Love Now” - - A follow-up to “Be Here Now” - gets more into the esoteric side of things, his relationship with his Guru, enlightenment, enlightened beings, etc.

Riane Eisler - “The Chalice and the Blade” - - An anthropoligical book analyzing the dominative vs cooperative models in the history and pre-history of society and how our roots have been co-opted and rewritten by the dominative model to entrap society into accepting a false truth of violence and dominance as “the way it is”

u/AreUCryptofascist · 10 pointsr/atheism

How do you know it recorded a ministry of any person, period?

Do you have proof of this alleged characters death, burial, and resurrection? If not, I assert Rand Al'Thor as the avatar of the creator.

u/Iamstuckathope · 10 pointsr/exmormon

I'm no scholar, of course, but it seems like the majority of scholars believe that a man named Jesus existed in the first century C.E. and that he caused some trouble. Some of the New Testament (parts of Mark specifically) may be credible, but much of what we know about Jesus is myth. Pretty much everything written about him was written long after he died. The writings of Paul are some of the earliest Christian writings, and those don't go into much detail about Jesus.

I would recommend reading the book "Misquoting Jesus" if you are interested.

u/plaitedlight · 9 pointsr/exchristian

It seems likely that the original authors were recording the existing mythos of their people, and the myths were used in their society like myths are used in every society: to explain and give meaning to a world they didn't understand, to provide a cohesive narrative for the group, to pass along and reinforce values. I have found learning just a little about the common mythologies of the world extremely interesting and helpful in putting the bible into correct perspective. Like, how many times a flood myth pops up and the different interactions between the diving and humanity in those stories.

You might enjoy Bart Ehrman's writing on the new testament and Jesus as he explores the story of Jesus, who wrote, changed and codified it and why, and how it became a religion.

Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

u/sleepygeeks · 9 pointsr/exmormon

Most of it came from classes and lectures. I don't have the class book list and sources anymore. I do hope you really, really like reading!

Forged writingss

Misquoting Jesus A well known book.

Introduction to the new testiment

The new testament: a historical intoduction

Revelation and the End of All Things Also a somewhat popular book

You can also do some Wikipedia reading on Gnosticism and other early Christen sects to get an idea of just how many groups their were and how differing their beliefs could be. Also look for things on the Q, M and L source.


You can likely find a number of online pod-casts (or whatever you call them) and lectures on these things.

I am not a historian so my access to books and memorized sources is very limited, I am a student and have been accused of reading serial boxes at least once when I accidentally quoted the wrong book name, It was too much fun to make the correction as no one had ever said that too me before and I felt special, like I had hit an academic milestone.

Also, Don't feel bad about asking for sources.

u/global_domer · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

Before I get to my main point, I would just like to briefly comment upon this short phrase,

>another case of philosophy failing to keep up with modern science

which demonstrates a patent lack of understanding of what philosophy and science are, and what distinguishes them, as disciplines. Science's domain is the empirical -- it is concerned with physical stuff, with things that can be physically (and usually quantitatively) observed, measured, and examined. Philosophy is concerned with metaphysics, that is, with non-empirical reflection, and for that reason can never really 'keep up' with science. You cannot derive from empirical foundations the principles of moral behaviour, nor what constitutes a 'just' political system, nor whether there is an immaterial God. There is no 'keeping up' between philosophy and science. They deal with fundamentally different subject matter.

To the main point: Arguments to the effect of modern science (in any field, not just cosmology) definitively disproving the existence of God are short-sighted. Even recent developments in the field of cosmology are insufficient to demonstrate the non-necessity of a God, for the reason that they do not broach the fundamental question of why anything at all exists. The classical theist, drawing upon Aristotle, would consider the notion of a godless universe as patently bizarre. Any universe is necessarily 'contingent' in philosophical terms, which means that there is a distinction between what it could be (its potentiality) and what it is at any given moment (its actuality). Since any universe (or any set of pre-universe laws or constants) is necessarily contingent, subject to either change or the mere theoretical possibility of existing in some other way, its existence is not necessary as such.

The theist would then say that, to explain all contingent realities, we must posit some ultimate non-contingent reality in which no distinction exists between potentiality and actuality. In other words, all contingent, non-necessary reality must derive from some necessary reality, which cannot be any particular universe nor any pre-universe state of contingent laws. In theological language, this necessary entity which is fully actual (the 'I AM who am' of the Jewish tradition) is termed 'God.'

Edit: To quote from the great David Bentley Hart,

>Hawking’s dismissal of God as an otiose explanatory hypothesis, for instance, is a splendid example of a false conclusion drawn from a confused question. He clearly thinks that talk of God’s creation of the universe concerns some event that occurred at some particular point in the past, prosecuted by some being who appears to occupy the shadowy juncture between a larger quantum landscape and the specific conditions of our current cosmic order; by “God,” that is to say, he means only a demiurge, coming after the law of gravity but before the present universe, whose job was to nail together all the boards and firmly mortar all the bricks of our current cosmic edifice. So Hawking naturally concludes that such a being would be unnecessary if there were some prior set of laws — just out there, so to speak, happily floating along on the wave-functions of the quantum vacuum — that would permit the spontaneous generation of any and all universes. It never crosses his mind that the question of creation might concern the very possibility of existence as such, not only of this universe but of all the laws and physical conditions that produced it, or that the concept of God might concern a reality not temporally prior to this or that world, but logically and necessarily prior to all worlds, all physical laws, all quantum events, and even all possibilities of laws and events. From the perspective of classical metaphysics, Hawking misses the whole point of talk of creation: God would be just as necessary even if all that existed were a collection of physical laws and quantum states, from which no ordered universe had ever arisen; for neither those laws nor those states could exist of themselves. But — and here is the crucial issue — those who argue for the existence of God principally from some feature or other of apparent cosmic design are guilty of the same conceptual confusion; they make a claim like Hawking’s seem solvent, or at least relevant, because they themselves have not advanced beyond the demiurgic picture of God. By giving the name “God” to whatever as yet unknown agent or property or quality might account for this or that particular appearance of design, they have produced a picture of God that it is conceivable the sciences could some day genuinely make obsolete, because it really is a kind of rival explanation to the explanations the sciences seek. This has never been true of the God described in the great traditional metaphysical systems. The true philosophical question of God has always been posed at a far simpler but far more primordial and comprehensive level; it concerns existence as such: the logical possibility of the universe, not its mere physical probability. God, properly conceived, is not a force or cause within nature, and certainly not a kind of supreme natural explanation.

from The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss (

u/anomoly · 9 pointsr/atheism

Ok, I'll give it a go...

The first thing that got me questioning religion was seeing massive amounts of hypocrisy in church leadership. I was extremely involved as my father was a deacon and my mother worked at the church we attended. It was a common practice for us kids to go to one friends' house or another between morning and evening services, so I saw how the adults acted differently at home then they did at church. I realize not all religious people are like this, but it was the first step for my questioning. Once I was old enough I became a leader in the youth group and started seeing the same hypocrisy in myself.

Despite realizing my hypocrisy I continued to believe, even to the point in participating in multiple missions trips held by the organization Speed the Light. While on these trips we were told to write down our personal testimony so that we could present it during presentations and services. When I tired to put into words why I believed in God and, more importantly, why the audience should believe, I couldn't come up with a good reason. I sat in a bed in the country of Belize thinking, "If I can't come up with a good reason why these people should believe what I do, then why do I believe it?". Despite this thought I continued my charade for two more missions trips and a few more years.

Eventually I stepped down from youth leadership and entered a state of apathy towards religion. I didn't go to church, but I didn't really think about it much. Every now and then something really bad would happen and I'd wonder if God was punishing me, but they were more of fleeting thoughts than anything.

The next big hit for me was when I went to Iraq for a year. When you see good people with families who love them (some of which who were religious) die, the answer "God allows us to suffer so we learn/build character/build faith etc" just doesn't cut it anymore. About a year after I came home from the deployment I actually started looking for information that refuted religion. I'd say that was when my state started the path from apathetic to agnostic to atheist.

The book Letter to a Christian Nation was a big eye-opener for me. Along with other works of Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christoper Hitchens, and other authors I'm sure you'll become aware of if you continue to question things. The more I investigated, the more absurd religion seemed; and the more science explained all of the things that I attributed to the supernatural. When I was a child I believed, truly believed, that when I was lying in bed one night I saw an angel appear in my room. It wasn't until I read The God Delusion that I realized there was a scientific explanation for things like that.

The more I found that science could prove things, really prove things, the more I realized that "it's true because the Bible says so" didn't work for me anymore. In the last few years I've learned things that have blown my mind. Things that I thought would take away the wonder of the world have actually enhanced it. I'm a good person because I want to be, not because I'll burn in hell if I'm not; I don't steal because I realize that it's unproductive in the long run, not because some ancient stone tablet and a preacher told me not to, etc.

I'm not saying I don't have personal issues like anger, sadness or depression. You can only fight evolution to a point, we are still human. I guess I'm just saying that the answers I found leading me to atheism were far more satisfying and comforting than anything religion ever offered me. Hope that helps.

tl;dr: it's basically a de-conversion story, read if you'd like I suppose.

u/jamesdownwell · 9 pointsr/pics

Actually, check out Going Clear. It's meticulously researched and touches on the Travolta thing matter of factly. A process Scientologists go through is called "Auditing", it's like a confession but it's frequently taped. The (apparently homophobic) leader of the church would joke about Travolta's homosexuality to his friends within the church. You get the impression that this information was held to use as a weapon should Travolta step out of line and when his stardom really exploded, he was moving away from the Church. It's very sad and I think Travolta is a very tragic figure.

u/LRE · 8 pointsr/exjw

Random selection of some of my favorites to help you expand your horizons:

The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan is a great introduction to scientific skepticism.

Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris is a succinct refutation of Christianity as it's generally practiced in the US employing crystal-clear logic.

Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor by Anthony Everitt is the best biography of one of the most interesting men in history, in my personal opinion.

Travels with Herodotus by Ryszard Kapuscinski is a jaw-dropping book on history, journalism, travel, contemporary events, philosophy.

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a great tome about... everything. Physics, history, biology, art... Plus he's funny as hell. (Check out his In a Sunburned Country for a side-splitting account of his trip to Australia).

The Annotated Mona Lisa by Carol Strickland is a thorough primer on art history. Get it before going to any major museum (Met, Louvre, Tate Modern, Prado, etc).

Not the Impossible Faith by Richard Carrier is a detailed refutation of the whole 'Christianity could not have survived the early years if it weren't for god's providence' argument.

Six Easy Pieces by Richard Feynman are six of the easier chapters from his '63 Lectures on Physics delivered at CalTech. If you like it and really want to be mind-fucked with science, his QED is a great book on quantum electrodynamics direct from the master.

Lucy's Legacy by Donald Johanson will give you a really great understanding of our family history (homo, australopithecus, ardipithecus, etc). Equally good are Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade and Mapping Human History by Steve Olson, though I personally enjoyed Before the Dawn slightly more.

Memory and the Mediterranean by Fernand Braudel gives you context for all the Bible stories by detailing contemporaneous events from the Levant, Italy, Greece, Egypt, etc.

After the Prophet by Lesley Hazleton is an awesome read if you don't know much about Islam and its early history.

Happy reading!

edit: Also, check out the Reasonable Doubts podcast.

u/ilikecakeandpie2 · 8 pointsr/scientology

It's actually more complicated than that, but your instinct is correct!

At one point after the war, he was trying to get help for certain "ailments" (not the ones he claimed he suffered during the war - just ulcers, and generally feeling bad etc.) and was denied disability several times by the Veteran's Administration. Then at one point pre-Dianetics, he requested psychotherapy (which was a new field then), and wrote a detailed letter requesting it and telling his symptoms. It was also denied. My understanding is that he was trying to get more money out of the disability department, it seems.

Then, when he wrote Dianetics, and some fans set up Dianetics groups and he went out doing demonstrations and lectures, he tried to get the American Psychiatric Association to pay attention and give him credibility. He wrote them letters, talked about his groundbreaking "research", and had hoped to become the new Freud or Jung or the rockstar of psychiatry. They investigated and denied him and most of them sort of called what he did pseudoscience and quackery.

THEN, he started coming out with ever-increasing tirades in writing and lectures that basically said that the "psyches" (psychologists and psychiatrists) were evil and out to get them, etc. He went on to say that Dianetics cured so many illnesses that it was taking business and credibility away from them, so they were out to destroy him. His writing and lectures got increasingly anti-psyche over time, leading to the current incarnation.

However, pretty much everyone was out to destroy him, if you ask him.

Those days (around when Scientology was formed, post-Dianetics), he was also on about the communists. He ghost-wrote what he claimed was a communist brainwashing manual and held it up as proof that they were awful - as well as wrote a plethora of letters to the FBI accusing his enemies of being communists (remember McCarthyism and the Red Scare of the 50s/60s?). Many of those people had just wronged him in some way - it's obvious that he was trying to use the FBI and red scare to destroy people he didn't like.

Then the FBI didn't respond as he wanted (they called him something like "unstable" or "unhinged" in internal documents), so they became the enemy.

Of course, by that time, he'd had more accusations about money issues against him. He stole and ran away with and misappropriated money from people like Jack Parsons, some early donors/supporters, and the people running his Dianetics Foundation, among others. Some of those money issues became criminal-ish.

And he'd run afoul of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) by making claims about what Dianetics and the e-meter could do health-wise (curing cancer, making the blind see, none of it true, of course). So when the FBI didn't listen to him and he was under scrutiny for a bunch of other stuff, the FBI and the government became the enemy. That was part of the advent of the religious cloaking (going from a pop-psychology thing and making it a religion), to decrease government scrutiny in many ways (and avoid taxes).

Basically, this was a man who didn't suffer narcissistic wounds lightly. When someone dismissed him, didn't listen to or believe him, or made him feel "less than", he used his followers as pawns to insult and hurt them (always making himself the persecuted savior).

The "psyches" were only one of his many "I want to be acknowledged by you and be seen as important by you" targets who didn't give him what he craved - admiration and attention.

Go googling around for some of his letters to the FBI and Veteran's Administration and stuff like that, there's lots of very interesting reading.

His hubris also really comes across when the government of Rhodesia was trying to form a new government post-colonialism, and he went and wrote one (some would say badly) and approached some officials (mind you, as an unknown entity, swaggering about with his secretive group and being cagy about who he was) and was like "here, I wrote the constitution for you, you can thank me later". He was incredibly depressed when they were like "who is this guy?" and dismissed him.

There's a great story about him getting two bottles of pink champagne and walking up unannounced to the door of one of the government officials there and rang the doorbell, expecting to sit and have champagne with this official's wife and thereby get his "in" into the government... of course he was turned away there too.

I mean, he approached everyone in that manner - like he expected to have his ring kissed and be granted medals and seen as important. And then when he wasn't, well, that person or entity became his next target.

It's interesting stuff. If you're interested, some of the stories are researched, documented, and told in books like A Piece of Blue Sky, Bare-Faced Messiah - which was recently re-released and is incredibly documented and researched, Going Clear, Inside Scientology. And others, but I think those are the works that are informative, with incredibly researched documentation of claims.

EDIT: Oh, I also forgot that he wrote to the US Government offering his incredible knowledge and research and said that it could solve all their problems, etc. Then, when he didn't get any response after trying mightily hard, he wrote again and threatened to defect to the Soviet Union. He said they'd offered him a sweet sweet deal, with some kind of research position and budget and teaching positions or something, and if the US Government didn't take him up on it he was going to go to the communists with it instead. Of course, that was an empty threat...

He also claimed later, in lectures and stuff, to have worked on the Manhattan Project with the leading scientists, to develop the Atom Bomb. Which was, of course, not true. And he claimed at various times to have worked undercover for the CIA.

u/RandsFoodStamps · 8 pointsr/EnoughPaulSpam

Ha. I just finished Going Clear so it made me think about it. Good book.

I'm not an historian, but I enjoy how it's less formal than /r/askhistorians. I browse /r/libertarian often enough I could flood that sub with Lost Cause shit all day long, but they get enough of it already.

u/db2 · 8 pointsr/atheism

>PROTIP: He's not a moderate Muslim.

Yes he is. Grab a copy of Harris' The End of Faith and check it out. He explains quite well how our definition of "moderate" simply does not exist in Islam.

u/Sparky0457 · 8 pointsr/Catholicism

I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor

u/Supervisor194 · 8 pointsr/exjw

I'm very sorry for your situation but the unvarnished truth of the matter is that your relationship with your father as you knew him is probably over, at least for a while. This is a high-control religion that values membership in itself as the highest of priorities. Your father will likely be unable to stop himself and in the short-term it will adversely affect your relationship with him.

My father has been a Witness all his life and we have a great relationship, so the good news is that it is possible. But my father has been jaded by many years of listening to unfulfilled promises of imminent paradise, so the religion is not clouding his thinking as deeply as it is clouded in a new convert like your father. With time, he will - as all humans do - get subconsciously bored with it all and while he won't likely be shaken from his beliefs he won't be as forward about them.

In the meantime, I suggest that you reconsider your supportive attitude and especially as regards your children, make it very clear that any attempts at indoctrinating your children will NOT be tolerated. With regard to families, this is perhaps the most dangerous of religions, as it perversely destroys them in the most unnatural of ways. It may behoove you to understand the religion a bit so I recommend that you obtain and read a copy of the book Crisis of Conscience so that you can understand why your father's decision to be a part of it does not deserve your support.

I'm sorry you have to be put through this, but do become educated and do be vigilant. This religion is a dangerous mind virus.

Edit: holy smokes, Crisis of Conscience is out of print it seems and those prices are crazy. Here is a pdf of it.

u/alfin_timiro · 8 pointsr/latterdaysaints

I highly recommend reading Banishing the Cross, a book about changing attitudes toward the cross in the LDS Church.

u/shady_mcgee · 7 pointsr/history

Most of my knowledge comes from Misquoting Jesus, and Lost Christianities and a bit of resultant self study. Unfortunately my copies are out on loan right now so I can't pull out and direct examples. In lieu of that I did find some examples of changes/omissions between different branches of copies.

There's an entire field of study which seeks to discern the original from all of the different copies. It's my understanding that the result of this work has been the elimination of most of the copy errors which occurred after ~300AD or so, but as /u/TheIceCreamPirate states, we don't have any complete copies, and very few fragments, of the gospels prior to then, so any errors which would have been introduced prior to that time are hidden from us.

u/doosjoos · 7 pointsr/exchristian

Maybe you could try showing that the Bible really isn't a reliable document in the first place. I'm currently reading Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus which is opening my eyes to the problems with the accuracy of the text in the New Testament.

For example, the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 is not found in early manuscripts of John and was most likely added at a later date. If your family believes in the inerrancy of the Bible, it makes it hard to explain why something added by a scribe later should be counted as scripture. And if part of it has a dubious textual past, it calls into question the rest of it.

u/GreedyDuck666 · 7 pointsr/Christian

I'm on a similar side, my parent's are not technically atheists, but they just don't care and my dad openly mocks me for going to church. I also don't like going to church, because the Catholic Church is kinda corrupt in my opinion. I'd suggest finding an academic bible-study meetings, I've been invited to one community and I was blown away how warm and intelligent those people were, also very decisive about making a positive change in the world and in themselves.

When it comes to doubts, I get them aswell. What works for me is to look at the theories that don't say - "God exist, therefore His commandments work", but "God's commandments work, therefore there is something transcendent behind them".

Nice fuel for thought on the Old Testament - also the new Shapiro's book seem to be on a similar page. I didn't read it yet, but I've seen a lot of interviews with him where he states that judeo-christian values are what made the Western society far better than it is. Speaking from a Polish perspective, my nation was literally supported by God with overthrowing russian communist rule and becoming independent.

u/Dr-Wonderful · 7 pointsr/Reformed

Any standard work on the subject, whether literary or archeological, would point away from the basic framework of your interpretation. (The best evidence, of course, is always the Bible, properly interpreted in its context, itself).

The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel (The Biblical Resource Series)

Stories from Ancient Canaan, Second Edition

The Old Testament: A Historical and Literary Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures

The Oxford Handbook of the Abrahamic Religions (Oxford Handbooks)

History of Religious Ideas, Volume 1: From the Stone Age to the Eleusinian Mysteries

Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide (Harvard University Press Reference Library)

None of these propose an exact duplicate of this simplistic model, but they triangulate to something very similar.

u/NDAugustine · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

Faith and reason are not opposed to one another. For a Catholic perspective, read John Paul II's Fides et Ratio. One of the ways that rationality helped me move from being a Nietzschean atheist to being a Catholic is the philosophical incoherence of materialism. I would recommend a recently-published book by the Orthodox Philosopher/Theologian David Bentley Hart titled, The Experience of God, which has one of the best arguments against materialism as a philosophy I've ever seen.

u/VitruviannMan · 7 pointsr/atheism

I've read the Letter to a Christian Nation and the Moral Landscape. Like the derpy gentleman below said, LTCN is very short and easy to read. I'd recommend starting with that over the Moral Landscape, which is a denser book.

u/uid_0 · 7 pointsr/HistoryPorn

He was a pretty good Sci-Fi writer, but he was full-on crazy. I highly recommend reading "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" by Lawrence Wright. Hubbard had some real next-level shit going on.

u/TooManyInLitter · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

Here Star-Lord, let's put the quote-mined text you presented in context with the rest of the section of Sam Harris' book:


Sam Harris: The End of Faith

The Problem with Islam

Jihad and the Power of the Atom

For devout Muslims, religious identity seems to trump all others.
Despite the occasional influence of Pan-Arabism, the concept of an
ethnic or national identity has never taken root in the Muslim world
as it has in the West. The widespread support for Saddam Hussein
among Muslims, in response to the American attack upon Iraq, is as
good a way as any of calibrating the reflexivity of Muslim solidarity.
Saddam Hussein was, as both a secularist and a tyrant, widely despised
in the Muslim world prior to the American invasion; and yet the reaction
of most Muslims revealed that no matter what his crimes against
the Iraqi people, against the Kuwaitis, and against the Iranians, the
idea of an army of infidels occupying Baghdad simply could not be
countenanced, no matter what humanitarian purpose it might serve.
Saddam may have tortured and killed more Muslims than any person
in living memory, but the Americans are the "enemies of God."

It is important to keep the big picture in view, because the details,
being absurd to an almost crystalline degree, are truly meaningless.
In our dialogue with the Muslim world, we are confronted by people
who hold beliefs for which there is no rational justification and which
therefore cannot even be discussed, and yet these are the very beliefs
that underlie many of the demands they are likely to make upon us.

It should be of particular concern to us that the beliefs of Muslims
pose a special problem for nuclear deterrence. There is little
possibility of our having a cold war with an Islamist regime armed
with long-range nuclear weapons. A cold war requires that the parties
be mutually deterred by the threat of death. Notions of martyrdom
and jihad run roughshod over the logic that allowed the United
States and the Soviet Union to pass half a century perched, more or
less stably, on the brink of Armageddon. What will we do if an
Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of
paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry? If history is
any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads
are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to
rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such
a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a
nuclear first strike of our own. Needless to say, this would be an
unthinkable crime—as it would kill tens of millions of innocent
civilians in a single day—but it may be the only course of action
available to us
, given what Islamists believe. How would such an
unconscionable act of self-defense be perceived by the rest of the
Muslim world? It would likely be seen as the first incursion of a
genocidal crusade. The horrible irony here is that seeing could make
it so: this very perception could plunge us into a state of hot war
with any Muslim state that had the capacity to pose a nuclear threat
of its own. All of this is perfectly insane, of course: I have just
described a plausible scenario in which much of the world's population
could be annihilated on account of religious ideas that belong on
the same shelf with Batman, the philosopher's stone, and unicorns.
That it would be a horrible absurdity for so many of us to die for the
sake of myth does not mean, however, that it could not happen.
Indeed, given the immunity to all reasonable intrusions that faith
enjoys in our discourse, a catastrophe of this sort seems increasingly
likely. We must come to terms with the possibility that men who are
every bit as zealous to die as the nineteen hijackers may one day get
their hands on long-range nuclear weaponry. The Muslim world in
particular must anticipate this possibility and find some way to prevent
it. Given the steady proliferation of technology, it is safe to say
that time is not on our side.


So Star-Lord, in your quoted text, why did you terminate the quoted text where you did and omitted the last 4 words of the sentence - "given what Islamists believe."?

> Do you agree with his position on launching nukes in the muslim world pre-emptively and causing mass genocide?

Strawman argument. Sam Harris does not endorse a first strike preemptive attack against the Muslim world. Nor does he condone genocide. At best you could claim that Harris proposes and considers a scenario where Muslims acquire long range nukes, and that combined with the inherent martyrdom and jihad zealot mindset demonstrated by so many Muslims (based upon their No-True-Scotsman interpretation of Islam, of course), provides little to no self-imposed restraint as shown, for example, between the US and the USSR based upon MAD - especially if "zealous [...] may one day get their hands on long-range nuclear weaponry."

Star-Lord, if ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham), with an ideology that aims first to reestablish a Caliphate system of governance across the entire Muslim world and then from there the intention is to spread the Caliphate across the entire world, were to acquire long range nuclear missiles, and given their expressed intent on taking their demonstrated murderous genocidal mission to the rest of the world, do you wish to attempt to make a credible argument that ISIS would not use these tools to further their mission and increase the scope of their genocidal actions already underway? To strike at the United States or other perceived threat?

I posit that if ISIS, or another of many Islamic ideology groups (or any group with the same type of genocidal expansionist goals), were to acquire long range nuclear missiles, in addition to diplomatic and economic and conventional arms options, a preemptive nuclear strike will also be considered as an option as such a scenario, e.g., zealots who worship martyrdom and jihad, represents a clear and present danger to the world. Under these conditions, a preemptive nuclear strike is an option under the military response doctrine of many countries that possess nuclear weapons capable of neutralizing the threat. Will this nuke option be utilized? I posit that such a response would be a last resort after all other options have failed, and probably would not be utilized regardless; and even if a group such as ISIS were to acquire and use nukes, there is a good chance that a nuke retaliation will still remain off the table as a viable response.

u/disaffected_southern · 7 pointsr/latterdaysaints

>The research is actually more complicated than that. Research shows that religious people are NOT more happy. However, people who report having friends in church are more happy. (I believe some of that research is here- ) So the intervening variable appears to be connections at church, not a feature of religion/non-religion. (Non-believers who report having friends at church are just as happy, strong believers who do not report so are no more happy).


u/yourdadsotherkid · 7 pointsr/politics

The democrats are soft and they refuse to acknowledge the kind of people they are opposed to. The whole "they go low, we go high!" thing was the most naive shit I ever heard in my life. And the Clinton campaign kept using it in response to Trump's demagoguery.

What they failed to understand is that your average American is an emotionally driven, subservient, sheeplike, cretin. They go by the balls, not the brains. If you don't believe me just watch Fox or listen to talk radio for five minutes. They don't deal in "facts", they deal in emotional catharsis, anger, horror. That's why it's effective. More than that the GOP strategy revolves around loading liberal rhetoric with emotional/racist detritus that works on a subconscious level more than a rational one. If you want a great explanation of all this then this and this are both great books. I'd highly recommend this also.

Whenever I hear a democrat say "I'll reach across the aisle!" I cringe. Tell me, who does that inspire? Why vote for you just so you can bend over backwards for people you hate? Bernie Sanders did as good as he did not because of policy specifics but because he knew how to capitalize on people's legitimate anger. Trump capitalized on racism. Bernie Sanders capitalized on the very obvious inequality and institutional crony capitalism that defines our government. One appealed to the worst in people, the other reminded people of how much they're getting screwed.

And that's the problem with democrats: they're stuck thinking in terms of political compromise, of moderation, of political correctness.

The most intelligent thing to come out of a democratic politician's mouth recently was when Perez said in public that republicans "don't give a shit about people". That's both true and sensationalist enough to make an impact.

You don't need to tell lies. You need to tell the truth so bluntly, brutally, and without any sort of veneer of compromise or civility. You need to be willing to look the entire GOP in the face and describe it as a corrupt octopus that is a threat to fucking civilization. You need to weigh down their language with subliminal associations with nazis marching down the street and mass slaughter of minorities.

Democrats need to stop treating republicans like people with good intentions and treat them as a fucking threat to our democracy. Then their base will get out and vote, then the spotlight will be shone brightly in the faces of the fucking dickheads. They need to attack, constantly. Instead they sit around defending.

The republicans offer nothing of substance. They do not treat political campaigns as debates but as a kind of mental warzone. The democrats try to appeal to people's better nature. People don't have a better nature, people are cynical shitheads. Roger Stone gets that.

u/truthredux · 7 pointsr/milliondollarextreme

Hate to be that goy, but actually the conservative whites are gaining in numbers. They have more children than liberal faggots, they are generally healthier, and have higher reported life satisfaction (urban/rural).

u/sp1ke0kill3r · 6 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Bart D Ehrman Misquoting Jesus and Jesus Interrupted would be a valuable place to start.
There are also some videos on youtube of related lectures or debates.

Edit, I would add Dale Allison's book, The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus.

u/George_Glass · 6 pointsr/atheism

> I believe the New Testament is literal

I think you might enjoy Misquoting Jesus.

u/astroNerf · 6 pointsr/atheism

You might check out Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. It's a good introduction to textual analysis - that may be a bit basic for you but I liked reading it.

For a broader look at Yahweh as a literary character, I'll suggest Karen Armstrong's book A History of God. She traces the evolution of Yahweh from his humble beginnings as one of many gods in the Canaanite pantheon, to the god of the Abrahamic beliefs today.

u/pianomancuber · 6 pointsr/exchristian

The Dead Sea Scrolls actually show that early Christians were very un-methodical in translation accuracy. I can pull sources when I get home, but the dead sea scrolls were in fact being produced by scribes in the process of copying and intentionally altering the text. Also they are just one of many hundreds of documents we've discovered. Even if they were somehow 100% like our modern Torah, the other hundreds which contain deliberate and huge negligent modifications show that in most cases they were not concerned with preserving the text's accuracy.

Early Christians commonly altered text on purpose, to support their own agendas. I really recommend you read some literary criticism of the Bible, like that of Ehrman. Certainly the vast majority of changes were of no theological significance--spelling errors, missed lines, etc--even though sometimes those innocent changes caused later scribes to misunderstand the text and then modify it even more in effort to "fix" it.

As just one example off the top of my google, John 8:3-11 is entirely a fabrication added by older scribes.

u/peninsuladreams · 6 pointsr/samharris

Letter to a Christian Nation is short, accessible, and always relevant. It's written as a response to the critics of Harris' first book, The End of Faith, but you certainly don't need to have read The End of Faith to appreciate what he says in Letter.

Sam is perhaps a generation younger than Hitchens, Dawkins, and even Dennett, but as others in this thread have pointed out, he tends to be more reserved, collected and cool in his talks, debates, and interviews. He does use some dry humor, often to pretty good effect.

I think Sam's address at the 2007 Aspen Ideas Festival is probably one of the most well-written and compelling anti-religion speeches I've ever seen. And although the moderator is pretty awful, he has some similar powerful talking points in the Truthdig debate against Chris Hedges of the same year.

u/heresybob · 6 pointsr/atheism

Congrats! You're officially on my "you're fucking ignorant" list.

Go read his books. Letter to a Christian Nation is a great place to start. And yes he does support his stance in many different positions. You can check it out of your local library.

Edit - added link to Amazon.

u/victoryorvalhalla · 6 pointsr/atheism
u/generalgrant · 6 pointsr/Christianity

I'm reading a book called The Case for God that claims religion was largely understood in mythical terms when stories like that were written. That is to say, nobody thought they were supposed to be taken literally. Instead, they would understand religious stories to carry a higher truth in the form of imagery and symbolism that could be understood on a deeper level, like a piece of art.

Just a thought.

u/scchristoforou · 6 pointsr/OrthodoxChristianity

I've become predictable!

If you want to dig into the concept a bit more, I highly recommend "How (Not) to be Secular." Definitely not our term.

u/DeusExCochina · 5 pointsr/atheism

No answers yet?

Many of the atheists here agree on Bart Ehrman as a good source. He's a Bible scholar who used to be Christian but whose studies have left him an atheist. He's written a whole series of books about how the Bible was cobbled together and, self-plagiarized, forged and fiddled, and so on. There's a field or method of study called critical analysis that makes the Bible's authenticity problems apparent, and Ehrman writes that stuff into popular books.

Two of his hits have been Misquoting Jesus, Jesus, Interrupted and Forged. The latter is perhaps his most explicit indictment of the intellectual crimes behind the Bible. Lost Christianities and other books talk about the many gospels and other writings that never made it into or were excised from what's known as the Bible today.

Ehrman also has a bunch of talks on YouTube where he engagingly presents those same ideas.

There are alternatives, of course, and it could be argued whether Ehrman is "the best." But he certainly knows what he's talking about (mostly), is a recognized authority on this kind of stuff, and presents it well. Best of all (from our point of view) he doesn't Lie For Jesus.

u/jpguitfiddler · 5 pointsr/todayilearned

> Its kind of like how Jesus' apostles wrote the New Testament.

No they didn't. None of the gospels are eye-witness accounts of Jesus' life, and, they are all written in Greek and not in the native tongues of anyone who met and followed Jesus. Here's a good read..

u/verveinloveland · 5 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Yep, I recommend misquoting jesus. It talks in depth about the translation issues in the Bible.

u/regypt · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The book you're looking for is "Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why"

I'm about 70% though it and it's been a great read. It's thick reading, but super interesting.

Free (legal?) ebook links here:

u/Norenzayan · 5 pointsr/exmormon

If she's interested in books, Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman really dismantled my belief in the veracity of the New Testament. I haven't read his other books but I've heard they're good. Also, Mormon Stories has a really interesting series on the New Testament featuring religious academic Jared Anderson.

She might want to check out the New Order Mormon board for a safe place to ask questions. It might feel less threatening than this sub.

u/xyzerb · 5 pointsr/todayilearned

If you're interested in reading more about how the Bible changed over time, read Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.

It's a little on the dry side, but it's not a rant, and if you're unfamiliar with textual criticism, you may find it interesting on that point alone.

For example, while some stories sound very "Christ-like", the story of the good Samaritan doesn't appear in any of the earliest versions of the New Testament--it was added by monks hundreds of years afterwards.

Fascinating material if you have an open mind.

u/greatjasoni · 5 pointsr/slatestarcodex

This seems like a word salad of assertions without any actual derivation from first principles. A first principles faith would be Thomism and it's already extensively mapped out with all sorts of variations. Maybe look into analytic Thomism? Physics, the multiverse, etc. would have to be first derived from metaphysical principles which aren't established here. I don't know what the first principles of the article are. It seems more like an aesthetic than a coherent set of beliefs.

You're trying to untangle what can and cant be coherently said about God. Sophisticated theology mapped out all these linguistic issues thousands of years ago, and in the analytic tradition continues to get more and more precise statements. It engages with the multiverse, the probabilistic logic of good/evil, what does and doesn't fit in a word game, all of that. You're unnecessarily reinventing the wheel here. I personally think analytic thomism is misguided and you're better served by a classical picture. But it is a whole field that seems to share your interests and made lots of rigorous logical progress.

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/pygatea · 5 pointsr/AskHistorians

Because no one has said it yet, The Evolution of God by Robert Wright ( is a great book that covers this topic thoroughly.

u/GuitarGuru2001 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

for an overview of what it presents, go here. Video version. Basically the concept of Yaheweh evolved over about 6 centuries out of the old caananite pantheon, which included el, ashera (el's lover) and baal. Due to a combination of xeonphobia (thanks to being invaded over and over) and political unrest, certain prophets were given sounding boxes more than others, while other prophets were silenced.

Editors and redactors then went in and changed certain historical details or laws present in the torah and history books (see my previous post on Genesis 1 vs Genesis 2), king Josiah 'discovered' the book of deuteronomy (read: wrote a new set of more-totalitarian laws to unite the kingdom), and created stories and myths that made it seem like Israel's biggest problem was always turning to false gods, away from Yahweh (who merged personalities with El), the war god.

another good read that is the archaeological parallel to the karen armstrong book is "The Bible Unearthed" by Finklestein. It points out the archaeological findings of the transformation from polytheism, to monolateralism (belief in multiple gods but showing preference to one), to monotheism. It also points out the fact that there is no credible evidence for a large portion of the 'history' in the bible, such as the exodus, the wandering in the desert, the mass genocides; "Israel" was a people group that was already there, and just gained a new national identify thanks to very creative myth-weavers.

Finally, I'm currently reading "The Evolution of God" by Robert Wright (a journalist) who pulls together and condenses a lot of this information into one. He's an expert at literature surveying and information condensing.

u/uncletravellingmatt · 5 pointsr/atheism

When I was a little kid I loved the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis. They are very Christian, but I just enjoyed them as entertaining stories. So I guess that's an honest answer to your question. (Although reading his apologetics like Mere Christianity now it just looks like a lot of double-talk and logical fallacies, it seems like it would only seem deep or meaningful to people who really wanted to smooth-over their own cognitive dissonance, and doesn't prove any points if you weren't already assuming his conclusions to be true.) If you broaden your question to "from a religious perspective" without requiring that it specifically be a Christian one, it gets easier to think of answers. I just read "The Story of God" and even though the author was a theist (Jewish) I thought he made a lot of good points in explaining the cultural and religious history of how monotheistic religions including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam came to be.

I think Sam Harris stands out as a very readable atheist author. His books such as "The End of Faith" and its follow-up "Letter to a Christian Nation" are short and powerful paperbacks. Watch this short talk and you can get an idea of his perspective before you buy any books:

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/if_and_only_if · 5 pointsr/islam

I was a Catholic. I had issues with certain parts of the faith that I didn't think too much about since I didn't really have a way to answer them, such as reconciling the idea of the trinity with monotheism.

I've studied the church's stance on it but it doesn't FEEL like the two beliefs are compatible and it never has. The explanations I was given and that I thought of myself always seemed a bit unsatisfactory like technicalities. That and the idea that I had to accept the teaching of a church whose members consist of fallible people. How do I accept creeds and beliefs laid down by other people throughout history hundreds and thousands of years after Jesus lived? It was, in fact, the vow of obedience to the church that dissuaded me early on from contemplating joining the clergy.

The last reticent doubt I had was about the authenticity of the bible, having studied a bit about the Documentary Hypothesis and the different authors of the bible. It became a bit hard for me to believe it could be very factually accurate or (more importantly) have spiritual authority for me to base my beliefs on. Different people throughout hundreds of years wrote different documents and I'm supposed to follow this specially compiled group of them as an authoritative fact? It would require me to accept the authority of the people who wrote them, and the people who edited them, and the people who compiled them, the authors and the church. So I ended up not reading too much of the bible after a point.

When I learned about Islam (completely by happy accident, I enjoy studying world religions anyways and realized reading through the Islam wiki I had no idea what this huge religion was about or how it originated, etc) I found that I agreed with Islam's teachings about Jesus as prophet. And then the Qur'an (in Islam) does not present the same difficulties as the bible does in Christianity IF you believe in the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ. That came to me upon reading the Qur'an and reading a short biography about the prophet's life and the origin of Islam source

If you'd like to talk more about this please feel free to PM me :)

u/AHRoulette · 5 pointsr/exjw

Maybe he is (like many) afraid of the consequences of choosing to challenge and/or walk away from the cult. JW's are really good at shunning friends and family members and most people can't deal with losing everyone and everything they have ever known.

Using the internet is not against the rules and he might think that he can convert Atheists by talking to them and debating them. He also probably thinks that doing this makes "Jehovah" happy.

Try to sneak this or better yet, valid points from it, into conversation. I wouldn't be very blatant about it, but if you're digging in, then that book is a GREAT place to dig. Be careful though, because he is trained to adamantly reject "apostate" (aka any former member who says JW's are NOT the one true religion) material. The author of that book was shunned as an apostate and is/was loathed by any JW who knows of him. THAT is how you know it's such a good book! ;-)

All in all, the JW cult is full of A++ mind're friend is probably a victim.

u/ziddina · 5 pointsr/UnethicalLifeProTips

Hah! Just mention Ray Franz and his first book, "Crisis of Conscience", in which he strips the mask off of the Watchtower Society leaders. Ray Franz was one of the leaders of the Jehovah's Witnesses until he was driven out in a real witch hunt, whereupon he wrote a tell-all book that exposes most of their dirty secrets.

u/OrvilleSchnauble · 5 pointsr/exmormon

GBH said all that stuff about why we don't use the cross. This is a much better answer from guide to the scriptures:

"The wooden structure upon which Jesus Christ was crucified (Mark 15:20–26). Many in the world now think of it as a symbol of Christ’s crucifixion and atoning sacrifice; however, the Lord has established his own symbols for his crucifixion and sacrifice—the bread and the water of the sacrament (Matt. 26:26–28; D&C 20:40, 75–79)."

Also, to add to your comment about Catholics, Banishing the Cross by Michael G. Reed discusses the episode in Utah history where the Catholic church and the LDS church were butting heads. According to him, that is why we don't use the cross. Interesting book, though.

EDIT: /u/jdovew mentioned the same book. Should have read the thread... haha

u/amodrenman · 5 pointsr/latterdaysaints

I am an active latter-day saint, and I wear a cross. I have a cross that I made on the wall of my home, as well. I started when I received one on my mission in Russia, and I have continued to wear one because of what it means to me. If you want to read some of the history of crosses and the church, check out this book by an LDS grad student. I've read it and discussed the central theory with a BYU professor; the research seems sound, too, and fits with the other things I've read in the historical periods discussed.

Moreover, the cross is a symbol. Read some scriptures about what it means. Think about what it might mean to you. If you don't want to wear it don't. But there is nothing taught in Mormonism that says you should not wear one, just the remains of some anti-Catholicism and some garbled thinking. It is not the symbol of the Mormon faith, but it is a symbol of Christ.

u/Vein77 · 4 pointsr/atheism

My absolute favorite read. It’s in our recommendation list.

u/HaiKarate · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

These are written on a more popular level

u/jdefriez · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Indeed. Such a person, however, would likely be unfamiliar with biblical textual criticism, the history of homosexuality in the Roman empire at the time of Christ, the history of homosexuality within the Christian tradition, the history of the interpretation of these scriptures, and unfamiliar with psychological literature that almost unanimously shows that people who live repressing same-sex attraction are nearly universally miserable.

Here's a to read list:

u/RockyIV · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I'm late to the party, so this comment may be buried, but /u/SergeantSully, I'd recommend you read some of the books by Bart Ehrman, a professor at UNC who attended Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, and Princeton Theology School. His works describe in extraordinary detail the evidence that the New Testament is entirely manmade and contradictory. You might start with Misquoting Jesus.

u/surfingatwork · 4 pointsr/atheism

As far as Christianity goes, probably the best book I've read about the "unathenticity" of the Bible is "Misquoting Jesus."

I wrote the following book about Christianity that's less professional but still raises some interesting points. It's free. So don't accuse me of spamming:

u/lisper · 4 pointsr/Creation

> The same techniques that lead us to suspect the ending of Mark might not be genuine show us that the vast majority of the New Testament exists largely unchanged from the original manuscripts, save for the odd spelling error.

No, they don't.

But we might just have to agree to disagree about that. In any case...

> I believe only in the God of the Bible.

With or without Mark 16:17-18?

Either way, let me just ask you: does faith in the God of the Bible produce any measurable (by a non-believer) effect that faith in some other god does not? If so, what is it? If not, then in what sense can such a god be said to exist?

u/scottklarr · 4 pointsr/books
u/timojen · 4 pointsr/DebateAChristian

The point of my comparison was: It seems unstructured to me. And I am often confused by that lack of rules moderates live by.

I constantly meet people who consider themselves Christian or Muslim or whatever but do not follow the rules of that religion. For instance a good friend of mine who is a Catholic, like many american's, believes the sacrament is symbolically the body and blood of Christ and also uses contraception. These are big no-nos for a Catholic. Another friend is Muslim and he loves bacon and also uses contraception and does not believe his daughter should grow up thinking herself less than a male.

Essentially, these types of people make up the bulk of religious people I meet. So maybe they are a good %age of the religious in america. But effectively they are not religious. They simply believe in a god and pick the rules they want to follow based on a number of different criteria. Those criteria are almost always cultural.

This seems like sentimental (in the philosophical sense) religion to me. Why not drop the religion altogether?

EDIT: have you read this book?

u/TheFlyingBastard · 4 pointsr/europe

Np. If you like this kind of stuff, you should look into the books by Bart Ehrman. He's a New Testament scholar that writes about this stuff in a very easy to understand way. Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted are the two books he became known for, and they have ruffled a lot of feathers, but his other books are very readable too.

u/ShavedRegressor · 4 pointsr/atheism

You may not get far trying the argument route with your parents, but the fact that they’re willing to listen is a very good sign.

I strongly recommend Sam Harris’s Letter to a Christian Nation. It’s a great introduction to the idea that atheists aren’t evil. It’s a non-confrontational hugs-all-around sort of book, perfect for this sort of situation (assuming your parents are American).

u/Tbone139 · 4 pointsr/atheism

For Christians,

Sam Harris - Letter to a Christian Nation

u/davidjricardo · 4 pointsr/Reformed

My top recommendation is Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation by Allen and Swain. If you haven't read it please do. It's not the easiest read, but well worth the effort.

A close second is Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ by Todd Billings. If you or a loved one are suffering, read this right away. If not, read it anyway for when the time comes.

A few more that I have on my list to read, but have not yet read:

u/AbsoluteElsewhere · 4 pointsr/OpenChristian

I agree with a lot of what /u/Diet_Victreebel wrote. The idea that "belief" is solely a head-based, intellectual exercise is actually quite new and shaped by Western cultural thinking. These days I understand faith more in the sense of trust. For example, believing that a Ferris wheel is operating under a set of mechanics that will support its structure is different than trusting in those mechanics enough to step inside it and go around. The book How (Not) to be Secular has helped me understand how we have come to understand belief in its modern sense, and how we can conceive of other possibilities. I don't always agree with the author but I highly recommend it.

u/thisa_reddit_account · 4 pointsr/politics

This is a great book

Steve Bannon is part of a long line of reactionary nitwits

u/liatris · 4 pointsr/news

If you're interested in the topic check out the book by the British political scientist Eric Kaufman "Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?"

He explains that demographically social conservatives and religious fundamentalist in countries around the world are quickly beginning to dominate due to their large population expanses. The Orthodox Haredim will soon outnumber the Reformed Jews in Israel, evangelical Christians are overtaking Anglicans, the Amish population is doubling every 20 years, Hutterites are exploding in population, Mormon populations are growing very fast as well as is the Quiverfull movement.

If you combine high birth rates with very low rates of people leaving these extreme forms of religion, then you can see how it's religious moderates who are being destroyed, not extremist.

Interview with Eric Kaufmann, Author of Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?

>Question: This trend of “quiverfull” Christian families and large Catholic families (to name a couple) has been around for a while… And yet, the percentages of non-religious people keep increasing according to recent polls. Does that contradict your thesis?

>Answer: No. The composition of a population is always a product of the relative pace of secularisation and religious growth. I use the analogy of a treadmill.
Seculars are running on a treadmill that is tilting up and moving against them because of their low fertility and immigration. The religious — notably fundamentalists — are standing still or walking backward, but their treadmill is pushing them forward and tilting downhill. So in Europe in the late twentieth century, seculars were running fast enough to overcome their demographic disadvantage and overtook the faithful. But today, secularism is slowing down outside England and Catholic Europe, and is facing a more difficult incline from the treadmill of demography. London is a good example: it is more religious now than 20 years ago despite secularisation, simply because of religious immigration and fertility.**

Here are some interviews with the author...

Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century

Battle of the Babies - A new book argues that liberal secularism and high birth rates are fuelling a revival of religious fundamentalism. Caspar Melville speaks to its author Eric Kaufmann

u/einTier · 4 pointsr/atheism

I came to atheism late in life. It was a strange thing for me, there was no story to tell like there is for those who suddenly find Jesus. I just woke up one morning and realized that not only did I not believe in God, I hadn't believed in quite some time. I always explain it like having a beach house and every year the ocean washes a little of the beach away. One day, you wake up, go out on the porch and realize there's no longer a beach -- the water is lapping at your back deck. When did the beach cease to exist? It's hard to say, even if you went and looked at the beach every morning, which you probably didn't. You just know there isn't a beach anymore and it's time for new plans.

Since I came to it so late in life, I got to look it from a much more adult perspective and got to really understand it. Hopefully, I can help you understand your son.

  1. First, understand that atheism isn't really a religion, though many try to classify it that way. You don't need a word that describes your disbelief in Santa Claus, the Chupacabra, or any other number of mystical beasts. However, because religion is so pervasive in our society, we need a word to explain that we don't believe the accepted narrative.

    That said, we're kind of all over the place. Some of us kind of disbelieve a little, like my girlfriend. She really wants to believe there's a God of some sort, and she tries continually to find evidence. I'm a little more strong in my atheism, I don't believe there's a God and I've stopped looking for Him. I'd be perfectly happy with a God worth worshipping, but I'm living my life as if there is no God. Others are more militant, and some are out to convert others. But there's no universal string that ties us together other than our lack of belief. We're as different as any other general subset of the population. You might as well ask what people who like Chinese food believe in.

    Because of that, you're not going to find the Tabula Rasa you're seeking. It doesn't exist. We don't have a holy book. We don't even have real tribal leaders. I can recommend some reading, though. I highly recommend Richard Dawkins as a primer, and in particular, I found The God Delusion to be really helpful in understanding my atheism. Before that, I was really uncomfortable with the label "atheist" and preferred the less loaded term of agnostic. However, after reading that book, I found that atheist really was accurate and it didn't have to mean "complete and absolute knowledge of the non-existance of God" or even "I hate religion".

    Dawkins doesn't suffer fools lightly and he can be sharp at times, but he generally wants people to understand and is trying to talk to all audiences, not just the already converted. Authors like Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris can be fun to read for someone who has already acknowledged their atheism, but they are preaching to the choir and their books pull no punches. They aren't going to convert anyone. I highly suggest staying away unless you want to be angry.

  2. Almost all of us go through this phase. It's part of the reason why r/atheism is kind of considered a circle-jerk around here and why people generally don't stay very long. It's a very confusing time when you're newly atheist. You really don't know what you believe, only that you know you don't believe what you did before. I would say it's very similar to going through a divorce and you can expect a lot of acting out. There's a part of you that's bitter because you feel you've wasted some part of your life chasing something that doesn't exist. You've been lied to and that hurts. You probably denied yourself certain pleasures because you believed them to be sinful and that makes you angry because those opportunities are gone now. Quite frankly, some of it is just reveling in the blasphemy you were prohibited from engaging in before.

    However, there are some of us that are legitimately upset and angry. Many of us lose family members over our atheism. My mother has disowned me because of it, and that's not uncommon. All of us lose friends over it. Some of us lose jobs or won't be promoted because we're perceived as not moral. A friend of mine has told me that while he likes my company, he could never hire or work for an atheist because he doesn't trust them. For all the talk of religious persecution, try walking around just one day as a vocally out atheist. There's a reason why the majority of us are silent and only talk openly about it in safe places such as this.

    Your son is probably looking up anti-religious articles and books and such because it's the easiest way for him to find confirmation of his disbelief. A lot of the anti-religious stuff he's posting is probably helping him understand why he stopped believing the way he did. Understand that he may be going through a period where he hates religion, but it's not that he's anti-God. It's very difficult to be against something you don't believe in, and this includes the devil. He may well be anti-religion and that may or may not pass. Atheists often find that religion seems to do a lot of evil in the world (terrorism, hateful laws, justification for immoral acts such as slavery) and that can be painful to witness.

    If it's any consolation, I find myself fascinated by religious objects and I tend to collect them. My bookshelf is filled with religious texts and I have many representations of religious beings in my apartment. I find it incredibly interesting the power that someone can ascribe to a mere object or idea.

  3. Understand that atheism isn't a lack of moral character. This is one of the first misconceptions that I find that the religious have. When you believe that your moral character derives from a holy text, it's hard to understand how you could derive it absent that text or one similar to it. But that's not true, and you do it every day. There are moral judgements you must make every day that your religious text cannot help you decide. There are moral judgements you make that your religious text would mislead you about. For one, you would never condone slavery, yet your Bible tells you exactly how to treat your slaves and which people are ok to keep as slaves. You don't need your Bible to tell you that slavery is wrong. I don't need my Bible to tell me that stealing is wrong. I know that I would hate it if someone stole from me, and therefore, I do not steal from others.

    If anything, I feel more moral and more obligated to be moral now that I'm an atheist. I know that sounds odd, but please hear me out. I feel this is the only life I get. This is the only life you get, and the world as it is today is the only world we get to experience. Because there is no better place, I want to make sure I leave this world better than I found it. I want to leave you with a life that is as good as it could have been while still living a life that is equally good for me. I suspect your son feels the same way, because moral people are moral without religion.

    I know you want to reach your son and teach him good values and good morals and how to make good decisions, and quite frankly, it is your obligation to do so. However, you will have a harder task because you can no longer argue from authority. You're right that you can't say, "do this because God says so." It won't matter to him any more than "do this because Santa will love you" would matter to you. No one could point to Christmas stories or point out that bad kids get coal because you don't believe and you've seen plenty of bad kids who didn't get coal at all. Instead, you'll have to make logical arguments about why things are bad. For instance, you don't want him to have sex. That's probably unrealistic, because studies show that kids have sex whether they are religious or not. We are simply built to have sex when we hit adolescence and our bodies compel us to do it. Abstinence worked fine when we all got married at 15, but it works much less so now that we're waiting until our late 20's. Instead, explain that people can legitimately be hurt by sex when its done for amoral reasons. Explain that at his age, he doesn't have the experience to understand the complex feelings and emotions that go into it. He probably won't understand that, so you'll also have to council him that if he is going to do it, here are many ways to do it safely so that he doesn't end up with a kid. Explain that having a child at a very young age requires tremendous sacrifice and is emotionally and financially difficult. Doing it when you are not prepared likely means that many of his dreams will be unachieveable.

    Of course, this doesn't help you if you think premarital sex is sinful. He is going to have a different idea about that and there's not a good logical argument that can be made. However, you can make sure that his decision to have sex doesn't result in terrible consequences. That's kind of how you'll have to frame everything from now on.
u/PRiles · 3 pointsr/funny

According to Misquoting jesus there were several meetings of the curch to decide what was allowed in the bible and what wasnt, on top of there being arguments about how to word things in each book and what to cut out of books. Some stuff in contradicted its self and they had votes to make changes that would support the position of the church at the time.

u/napoleonsolo · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Misquoting Jesus. It's by a highly regarded New Testament scholar and covers the history of the creation and development of the New Testament brilliantly.

u/getzdegreez · 3 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

Mistranslated and completely rewritten in many instances. Misquoting Jesus is an excellent book on the topic.

u/Scary_The_Clown · 3 pointsr/atheism

By the way, anyone interested in learning more about the Bible as a historical book of legend, I highly recommend Misquoting Jesus - written by a very spiritual man who considers the Bible a book written by man, not God.

u/Decium · 3 pointsr/atheism

Good books. Did you have any particular subjects within atheism that you would like to read about?

If I can make 2 recommendations for what to read next;

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman

Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan

The FAQ has a nice little section on books.

NukethePope also has a nice list.

u/AHarshInquisitor · 3 pointsr/atheism

>Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). Anthony DeStefano uses this Bible quote toward the end of his new book Inside the Atheist Mind: Unmasking the Religion of Those Who Say There Is No God, pointing to the resiliency and truth of Christianity. “You can hide it, persecute it, denigrate it, scoff at it, lock it up, even murder it—but all to no avail . . . those words of Christ have not passed away.” He talks a bit about the book and why he wrote it.

Um. Actually, now that I think about it, "Jesus'" "words" did pass away. Pretty well documented in the book, Misquoting Jesus, too. If you take the traditional view, that "Jesus" is also "God" and it's the same "words", that point is driven home, especially with the Old Testament.

For the New, one knows if he existed, or what this "Jesus" even said anymore, if he did, with any confidence.

I consider that another failed prophecy.

u/Sansabina · 3 pointsr/exmormon

just remember that (well read) mormons don't interpret polygamy as a flaw or a problem, it is viewed as a critical core doctrine that is not currently practiced due to historic government interference (even though the modern PR driven church does everything to avoid discussion of it and minimise attention to it).

Also, while you can easily see the flaws in her religion (I mean it is kooky and obvious) don't forget to apply the same critical eye to your own Christian beliefs which appear equally kooky and obvious to outsiders.

If you haven't already I'd recommend Ehrman to start

u/xconde · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

The Bible was badly translated for 1,500 years, not just "at one point".

"For almost 1,500 years, the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand––and mistakes and intentional changes abound in the competing manuscript versions."

u/Supergeckodude · 3 pointsr/politics

You should give the book Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman a read. He walks the reader through the process of textual analysis to determine how the bible has changed from its original form, and ultimately casts doubt on the idea that it is the literal word of god. For example, there's evidence to suggest that the story of Jesus sparing the adulterous woman ("Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone") was a later addition.

u/FunkyFortuneNone · 3 pointsr/exchristian

I highly recommend Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

Ehrman is a legitimate academic focused on the New Testament. Misquoting Jesus (and his other books) are great if you find yourself asking questions like this.

u/nicolaslloyd · 3 pointsr/atheism

this book is what finally pushed me over the edge into atheism / freedom. it's about how the bible as we know is completely inaccurate. this naturally led me to ask myself, if what we base our worship and knowledge of god is inherently inaccurate, then that's as good as believing a fiction. quite simply, believing a lie.

u/Diabolico · 3 pointsr/atheism

Many instances in which Jesus is referred to as actually being God or of divine origin in the bible were antiadoptionistic changes made to the texts by theologians in order to discredit a group best described as messianic Jews (the Ebionites). They believed that he was born via the natural union of Joseph and Mary, and that he was given a special calling by God that invested him with divinity only after his birth.

By this theology Jesus did not preexist creation and was truly a normal human being until after his crucifixion. The prevailing Christian groups who opposed this wen to extreme measures to wipe the group out, especially because they demanded that all Christians would also have to be Jews, as Jesus was, and this required circumcision and kosher eating practices: two things not very popular in the classical Roman empire.

See these excellent books for extensive details about Biblical alterations and pre-orthodox Christianity:

Misquoting Jesus

Lost Christianities

u/jaywalkker · 3 pointsr/atheism

Inconsistencies begs the question of how they got in there, so I'd reference [Misquoting Jesus]( "eye opening") by Bart Ehrman. You can tie his work in with the modern equivalent [Conservative Bible Project]( "Cognitive Dissonance").

u/handlebartender · 3 pointsr/atheism

I'm in Texas now, but I grew up in the Toronto area. The church isn't quite so tied to the public school system, although it wasn't always so. I remember part of the daily opening exercises would include standing and singing along for O Canada, followed by recitation of the Lord's Prayer. Due to the growing cultural mosaic, they finally did away with the latter.

Then there was the Separate School system, where the Catholic Church was tightly interwoven with the school. Church doctrine was taught as part of the standard curriculum. Teachers needed to be Catholic in order to have/keep their teaching job. I also seem to recall hearing about one teacher whose husband wasn't Catholic and she was at risk of losing her job if he didn't convert.

I don't know if it's still the case, but the Separate School system somehow got additional government funding and/or tax breaks. Details escape me now. I just remember hearing time and again how they would have smaller classes, better school resources, and never on strike whereas the public school teachers would end up on strike every so many years.

To your previous point, I also find I have to watch what I say when folks here inject conversations with "I'll pray for you/him/her" or quote sections of the Bible. Certainly when I see it posted on Facebook I'm tempted to go try and dig up a Buddhist quote or possibly something from The Art Of War or some other non-religious but recognized quote (or simply post this link). Then the moment passes and I decide not to be a dick about it, and just move on.

u/alanX · 3 pointsr/atheism

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why is a wonderful and much more complete picture of where we stand in textual criticism of the Bible.

And what the author fails to point out is that if you take the best translations of the best texts (many not available when the King James Version was written) and compare them, you just don't get that many differences.

The King James is often more poetically written, even with some slight inaccuracies in the process.

As a theist, I find the process of textual criticism fascinating, and it reinforces my belief that the very heart of Christianity isn't in its theology, but in the First and Second Commandments (as reportedly taught by Christ):

  • Love God with all your heart
  • Love your neighbor as yourself

    Nothing there about making my neighbor conform to my morals and ethics. Everything there about me treating my neighbor with respect and honor, as I would want to be treated myself. Coupled with other teachings of Jesus, and clearly the idea that we are supposed to police the behavior of others is not Christian, despite any issues of textual criticism. We are instead to police ourselves.

    Edit tl;dr: Anyone who invests heavily into theological concepts that hinge on just a word or two in these texts is already playing with fire. On the other hand, committing to the core ethical and moral teachings in these texts is pretty safe.
u/lesigh · 3 pointsr/books

Actually, I think Jesus Interrupted and Misquoting Jesus By Bart D. Ehrman would give better insight to christianity/bible.

u/Sorrybeinglate · 3 pointsr/AskAnthropology

History of religious ideas by Mirca Eliade. The book is structured around several ideas by the author that are both catchy and outdated, but still skimming through all three volumes is the best way to put things into perspective.

u/Ibrey · 3 pointsr/Christianity

You're right to ask how we know God exists and that Christianity is true. Contrary to what many believe, "having faith" does not mean believing in something for which there is no evidence, and Christianity hasn't survived for nearly two thousand years just because nobody ever thought to question it. You shouldn't envy anyone for their ability to shove these questions aside; their faith is founded on sand.

I think the best way to start forming an answer to questions like these is to find out how others have answered them in the past. So I suggest that you read a textbook like An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion.

A recent book with a heavy focus on the kind of wonder you describe at the existence of the world is The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss by David Bentley Hart. It has a great bibliography for further reading.

u/G01234 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

I highly recommend this book for you:

In it's way it's a philosophical defense of the idea of God or the Divine in response to Dawkins et al. The author is Orthodox, but the argument in defense of God is undertaken philosophically, without being tied to any one faith or denomination.

u/nostalghia · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I've been reading a really great book on God and humanity, and how it is that we come to know ourselves, others, our environment, and God through interpersonal relationships. It's called The Face of God, written by the English philosopher Roger Scruton. He's an Anglican Christian, though he doesn't believe in the traditional dogmas of the Church (like the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, the Trinity), and he re-interprets traditional doctrines like the real presence of the Eucharist to fit a more philosophical perspective (which I completely endorse, but the average orthodox Christian may not).

Anyway, I think he offers some very valuable insights into the nature of God and the human response to God, hinting at ways in which we come to know God through the knowledge of ourselves, others, and the sacredness of life around us. It's not necessarily "personal" in the way the typical Evangelical might define that word, but it certainly is personal in that it supports a view that we must ask God to forgive our transgressions against him and against others, and to realize that we encounter God in the experience of love and beauty.

If you enjoy philosophical reading, I would also encourage you to read David Bentley Hart's book The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss, which demonstrates the existence of God who gives the necessary ontological grounds for existence, consciousness, and the transcendental virtues. One reviewer of this book said that it made him realize that God is "the most obvious thing of all."

u/citizen511 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation is probably the simplest, most concise atheist treatise directed towards christians. It's short, to the point, and very convincing in its arguments (and definitely not inflammatory).

u/baxter45 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Letter to a Christian Nation is a fun, light read. It's also fun to lend it to your religious/christian friends.

u/BiniahCara · 3 pointsr/WTF
u/jimleko211 · 3 pointsr/history

The book I linked explores that possibility. Some of the things the author goes into is how Yahweh started as simply one god in a large pantheon, and then the Jews started to worship him more than the other gods (the other gods still being recognized and significant) until the Jews turned to monotheism. Fascinating book.

u/chiropter · 3 pointsr/todayilearned

Everybody in this post needs to read The Evolution of God by [Robert Wright]( It's the tale of the evolution of Judaic religion from polytheism through monolatry to monotheism, the evidence for this theological evolution that still exists in the Bible and from archaeology, and so on. For anyone wanting actual non-circular references for their positions. As I recall, all archaeological evidence points to the Israelite culture and kingdoms evolving in Israel, not from somewhere else.

Inb4 it's some anti-Semitic work, because it's not.

edit: a link.

u/Veylis · 3 pointsr/atheism

Why would you steal from someone who's work you enjoy?

u/CalvinLawson · 3 pointsr/atheism

Honestly, "The Greatest Show on Earth" is WAY better. Dawkins on religion isn't nearly as good as Dawkins on biology.

You want to read a devastating book on religion, try "The End of Faith". Or better yet, this.

u/atheistcoffee · 3 pointsr/atheism

Congratulations! I know what a big step that is, as I've been in the same boat. Books are the best way to become informed. Check out books by:

u/lanemik · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Recommended reading material:

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

The End of Faith

If Christians were closeted, if they kept their morality judgments to themselves, if they did not push for laws to enforce this version of morality, if they did not actively seek to disparage atheists for no other reason than for refusing to believe in the invisible thing in the sky that they believe in, then I'd have no reason to give a shit about what Christians believe. What does or does not happen to my consciousness after I die is absolutely immaterial.

u/hdvtech · 3 pointsr/C_S_T

An interesting read is the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Some important philosophical views are presented about life and death.

u/SnakeGandhi · 3 pointsr/Christianity

You are correct that many Christians take offense, and of course they do. Their fundamental sense of self is rooted in belief. However, the atheist is no different. You yourself indicated this with the last line of your post. When one's paradigm is challenged, it is normal for those who are not used to dialogue with other paradigms to lash out like white blood cells attacking a foreign body in the bloodstream. At the very least, if you're looking for academic dialogue about Christianity, you'll need to stop going to non-academic Christians. The examples of Trump representing (and in my opinion, "Christian" Trump supporters) true orthodox (correct) theology is simply false, along with any Christian institution that "bears fruit" of violence, etc.

As an aside, I also picked up a small but strong presupposition common among many atheists/agnostics (assuming atheism/ag from your post, correct if wrong) that the book is closed academically on the existence of God. I would assume that you're aware that at the most basic level, the belief in or not in God is indeed still a belief and can never be proven; this is much more problematic for the positivist than the believer. Fortunately for us all, the metamodern landscape has resulted in the contesting of all things secular and religious. There is no longer (nor ever was) a separation.

I would recommend these books to you for some further reading on the point: #1 and #2. Here are to qualifying reviews on the first text. 1 and 2.

Hope it helps.

u/deadflow3r · 3 pointsr/exjw

I can't stress to you enough. However you can get Raymond Franz's book Crisis of Conscience you can find it here

heck I'll but it for you if you can't purchase online. It is a must read for anyone like you who need help seeing things more clearly.

u/littlealbatross · 3 pointsr/sociology

Another contemporary source that could be useful is "American Grace: How Religion Unites Us and Divides Us." I read it for a Politics of Religion class (not Soc specifically) but it was a good book.

u/MildlyAgitatedBovine · 3 pointsr/atheism

check out Eric Kaufmann: Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?. Lecture doesn't touch on all the numbers you want, but he take a good look at the issue from a number of angles. (not just conversion rates, but disparity in birth rate among various religious groups)
His book of the same title will probably have the numbers you're looking for.

u/Mablun · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Why Evolution is True

The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality (free online!)

Guns, Germs, Steel

The God Delusion

Misquoting Jesus (Conceptional this is very compatible with Mormonism--the Bible not being translated correctly so we need the BoM!--but the specifics about what got mistranslated are devastating as Mormonism doubled down on the mistranslated parts. oops.)

Don't even both learning anything more about Mormonism. Just be widely read and you'll soon see that the Mormon version of history is in incongruent with reality. This will cause cognitive dissonance and when you're ready to resolve it, go back and read independent sources about Mormonism and it will be very obvious that the narrative they indoctrinated into you as a child doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

u/r271answers · 2 pointsr/religion

> Are there any articles I can read about parts/chapters missing or stuff that's been added throughout the years?

I mentioned this in another post in this thread too but I'm not sure if you get updates on new posts so I'll put this as a reply also:

You might want to pick up a copy of the revised translation of the Nag Hammadi Library and check out where you can find a lot of the stuff you are looking for. You might also like the book Misquoting Jesus

u/i_am_a_freethinker · 2 pointsr/exmormon

If this is your first time hearing of pseudopigrapha, you're one of the lucky 10,000.

You should definitely check out Misquoting Jesus by Bart Erhman, or any book by him, really. It will blow your fucking mind.

u/Morpheus01 · 2 pointsr/atheism

You are doing it wrong. Never agree to read a book without getting them to read one in return. And they will not read a Dawkins book. Instead go for a Rachel Held Evans book (Faith Unraveled), where the author is still a Christian.

Also, Peter Enns (The Bible Told Me So) is a Christian theologian and is another one to challenge their view of the Bible. Again both are Christians still, but it will challenge their fundamentalism. That's the first step just to get them to learn to safely ask questions of their own faith.

Review by Rachel Held Evans of Peter Enns' book:

Pick one of those books, and promise to discuss it with them afterwards, in exchange for reading a book they pick.

The key is that you want them to realize that you know more about the Bible than they do. When you are ready for it, I recommend Bart Ehrman (Misquoting Jesus).

And finally, watch more Street Epistomology videos on youtube. You need to focus more on the "Why" of what they believe. You are spending too much time arguing, and not enough time trying to learn about "why" they believe. For most, it's fear of death.

u/MalcontentMike · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Yes, if changes from the original transcript were propagated in the period where things were in flux, and the "settled" version included those changes, it absolutely changes future translations.

This book is a worthwhile read on how we can see and find many of these changes and even reverse some of them by comparing different manuscripts and through knowledge of the original languages and their sources:

I recommend it, if you're curious about the topic.

u/jacknbox · 2 pointsr/atheism

Uh, pretty much all of them. But some gems:

> The New Testament is far and away the best-attested manuscript from antiquity. The next best is Homer’s “Illiad,” for which our earliest extant copy was scribed 500 years after the original writing. For the New Testament, that time lapse is less than 50 years.

She offers no facts whatsoever here. On the contrary, scholars who actually research the bible for a living have shown that this is patently false. See Bart Ehrman or Karen Armstrong for examples.

> While the four Gospel writers chose different events of Jesus’ life to write about, they all gave a clear description of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus.

No, they all gave conflicting accounts of important details surrounding his death and resurrection. All one has to do is read the relevant parts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John to see this. You'd think she's never actually read the bible before.

u/VaccusMonastica · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Fallible humans writing over many years of what they believed to be true regarding Nature and the Universe that got copied and recopied sometimes with scribes making honest mistakes while others actively changing the Bible to suit their needs making it say what they thought it should say and cutting out parts they didn't want in it.

Book Suggestions:

[Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Plus)](]()

Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)

u/Irish_Whiskey · 2 pointsr/atheism

There's a Skeptic's Annotated Bible online. You can simply read the text, then just look to the right if you have questions. There's also a printed Annotated Bible that discusses things in theological terms. Or you could just read the copies lying about in hotel rooms. Either before or after though, I recommend reading books about the Bible (they're much shorter so it shouldn't be a problem) like this or this.

> How can i decide to not believe in god without first hearing how the Christians can prove he is real. If that makes sence.

I hope you understand why that doesn't make sense. There's literally an infinite number of possible definitions of God, and thousands that are major beliefs on this planet. The Christian definition isn't any more important or relevant than others.

You don't need to read any or every book on vampires, in order to not believe in vampires. Disbelief is the default position, until given a reason to believe. It's up to the people making the claim to present the evidence.

As for why you don't need to know all the details of a religion to reject it, PZ Myers put it thusly:

>I have considered the impudent accusations of Mr Dawkins with exasperation at his lack of serious scholarship. He has apparently not read the detailed discourses of Count Roderigo of Seville on the exquisite and exotic leathers of the Emperor's boots, nor does he give a moment's consideration to Bellini's masterwork, On the Luminescence of the Emperor's Feathered Hat. We have entire schools dedicated to writing learned treatises on the beauty of the Emperor's raiment, and every major newspaper runs a section dedicated to imperial fashion; Dawkins cavalierly dismisses them all. He even laughs at the highly popular and most persuasive arguments of his fellow countryman, Lord D. T. Mawkscribbler, who famously pointed out that the Emperor would not wear common cotton, nor uncomfortable polyester, but must, I say must, wear undergarments of the finest silk.

>Dawkins arrogantly ignores all these deep philosophical ponderings to crudely accuse the Emperor of nudity.

u/Jswizzy84 · 2 pointsr/atheism

Bart D. Ehrman use to be a conservative Bible Scholar and he has written several books that summarize the errors and contradictions in the bible. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

Honestly though the New Testament is virtually untouched and unmodified when compared to the text of the Hebrew Bible. Literary critics, scholars , scientist and archeologist have proven time and time again that the stories in the Hebrew bible prior to Chronicles, Kings and Judges are pure invention of myth.

u/spinozasrobot · 2 pointsr/atheism

For a very readable book about how the Bible was formed try Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Highly recommended for those who haven't already read it.

u/lilbowski · 2 pointsr/Freethought

An easy and informative read of many such errors and additions is Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus. I recommend you check it out if you haven't yet.

u/spoiled_orange · 2 pointsr/exmormon

You're right, I was snarky.

An eye opening book for me was Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman on biblical textualism. I think by the end of his studies Erhman was no longer christian and perhaps an atheist.

Strangely enough, COLDS realized sometime in the early 1900's they had nobody educated in the church on biblical issues with advanced degrees. They sponsored a number of students from BYU to attend University of Chicago to pursue divinity degrees. I believe wrote on it. They did have problems with the program because many students would end up leaving the church.

You mentioned being a history major. I can understand studying religion as a historical phenomenon and the influence it has on society. Critical thinking would be involved. However, I had too many Institute teachers that would happily tell you about the validity of pillars of fire/smoke/vapor that lead the Israelites through the wilderness. Critical thinking takes a vacation on that one. We have a fellow in my ward that is highly respected for his understanding of the scriptures and is consistently called to be the GD teacher or an institute teacher. He will tell you unequivocally that when the 2nd coming happens that the moon will literally be turned into a giant drop of blood. I tried to talk him off that particular ledge with no success. I now listen to what he says on any subject with a huge grain of salt if his thinking skills are that highly impaired.

Edit to add words.

u/moom · 2 pointsr/atheism

There's all sorts of evidence of significant corruptions in what we currently think of as the Bible. Off the top of my head, here are some seriously major things, fundamental core beliefs of modern Christianity, that are known to have been simply inserted into the Bible many years (centuries, in some cases) afterwards:

(1) The main passage which is used to support the concept of the Trinity - i.e. that the three are one but three yadda yadda - says absolutely nothing about the Trinity in any of the known early copies of the Bible; someone at some point much later just inserted some unrelated words, and voila, Trinity. More info: The Comma Johanneum

(2) The famous story of the woman taken in adultery ("Let he who is without sin cast the first stone") is not present in any known early Bible. More info: The Pericope Adulterae

(3) The ending of the Gospel of Mark (where Jesus, risen from the dead, appears before the disciples) is not present in any known early Bible. In the original (actual) Gospel of Mark, no one witnesses a risen Jesus (one man who is not identified claims to have witnessed him, but presents no evidence, and risen Jesus certainly doesn't show up). More info: Mark 16

And there are all sorts of other things, ranging from more outright insertions like the above all the way down to transcription errors which propagated; even some of the transcription errors have significant theological implications.

If you're interested in this sort of thing, I heartily recommend the book Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman.

u/PeeGump · 2 pointsr/atheism

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Erhman:
Great read, very fascinating!

u/Fuzzy_Thoughts · 2 pointsr/mormon

The book list just keeps growing in so many different directions that it's hard to identify which I want to tackle next (I also have a tendency to take meticulous notes while I read and that slows the process down even further!). Some of the topics I intend to read about once I'm done with the books mentioned:

u/raintree420 · 2 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I had been reading this book, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and it was very integral in my final transition into full blown atheism. It was written by an evangelical too. I really try not to debate ppl, whatever they want to believe is fine with me, but when it infringes on my personal space I'll open my mouth. I read it for my own interests, not to shoot ppl down. I'm not a typical reddit atheist.

u/Pi4Ra · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Misquoting Jesus might be of interest to you, albeit maybe not from the perspective you wanted.

u/Dilatair_Clear · 2 pointsr/askgaybros

I’m a gay atheist. At first when I finally accepted I was gay, I tried my best to reconcile my being gay with Christianity until I read the Bible cover to cover (OT and NT, New International Version) until I found out the glaring errors, contradictions and repugnant deeds and sayings by God himself, his prophets as well as Jesus Christ and that made me look into more until I found four books that made me realize that the Abrahamic god is a man made one and not someone who is all-powerful and all knowing.

The books are here:
Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ
Misquoting Jesus
Is It God’s Word?
The God Delusion

u/Parley_Pratts_Kin · 2 pointsr/mormon

Read these books in this order:

  1. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Harari. Overview of the history of humanity. Fascinating.
  2. God: A Human History by Reza Aslan. Overview of the development of religion and ideas about God.
  3. The Bible Unearthed by Israel Finkelstein. Overview of the archeology of ancient Israel and historical criticism of the Old Testament.
  4. Authoring the Old Testament by David Bokovoy. Overview of textual criticism of the Old Testament.
  5. Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Overview of textual criticism of the New Testament.

    This mini library is a sort of behind the scenes peek into humanity, religion in general, and the Bible specifically. You’ll never look at these things the same way again.

    Now, after reading these, return and report and give us word.
u/B_Master · 2 pointsr/atheism

The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings - Bart D. Ehrman

I didn't see anything by him in the FAQ but I think he's a great author on the topic of Christianity and The Bible; he started out as a biblical scholar before becoming an atheist.

Edit: That book is actually a bit heavy to start with, it reads like a text book. I'd recommend starting with Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why or Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible

u/beatle42 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

> Your assumptions about not looking for discussion are silly at best and spiteful at worst.

I didn't say you weren't looking for discussion, I said it seems the type of discussion you're looking for is likely better served in a different forum. I hardly think that's thoughtless or disrespectful.

Regarding legislation that is religiously motivated I'll first site gay marriage which attempts to limit people's rights because (in most cases) of religiously motivated "morals."

Second, I'll point out that (typically) religiously motivated opposition to stem-cell research is almost certainly condemning people in this world to addition suffering and death.

A third example is the increase in STDs and unwanted pregnancy caused by the instance, often by religiously motivated people, that only abstinence only sex education be taught.

I'll certainly accept your argument that good intentions do not equate to good outcomes, but certainly they don't necessarily require that they lead to bad outcomes. Does everyone do bad or wrong things at various points throughout their lives? Of course they do. Does that automatically define them as bad people? I would argue of course not. They are factors to be weighed, but to think that we are all born evil and have no hope of being better without having someone continually watching over us is a bleak view of human nature. Hobbes might agree with you, but I think that humans have the capacity for goodness as well, and that we can do good simply for the sake of being good, not because there's someone watching us or because we expect a reward for being good. That was more the point of my argument that atheists (and all people by extension) do good things. We are all capable of being good, at least most of the time. We need not have fear of, or hope for, what comes next to do so.

> You're presumptuous to speak for the billions of people you don't know.

So your claim, then, is that the people who live short unpleasant lives are the luckiest of us all? They have the most capacity to approach god because, like Paul, they suffered the most? Or, am I faulting God for being ignorant and there really are not billions of people suffering every day because they lack the basic necessities of life? I am pretty confident that it's true that they do lack such things, and I don't think it's much of a stretch to point out that that leads to suffering. Beyond that I don't think I did anything to "speak for [them]" as you suppose I did. I pointed out that the majority of people in the world are living short lives of nearly continual suffering. That isn't really putting many words in their mouths.

Interestingly about your point about pain being necessary and then suggesting I read, I just finished a book by Bart Ehrman on the topic of Biblical explanations of why people suffer (your view is only one of several presented in the Bible by the way). He's the dean of theological studies at UNC at Chapel Hill if you're unfamiliar with who he is. It's a very interesting read, and I would like to recommend you pick up your own copy of God's Problem. I think that many people who know me would be surprised to hear that I lack basic reasoning skills. I, obviously, disagree with your assessment there. As for your slight against the American education system, I'll point out that my University education anyway was in Canada.

I wouldn't say that I know nothing of Jesus' anger, although one of the most famous examples (throwing the money changers out of the temple) is probably not actually original to the Bible. We could get into a lot of textual criticism but I'll confess I only have knowledge of that from a single source (another Bart Ehrman book called Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

If you think the Bible as you read it is the original way it was written you would do well to read that, just for the introduction into the search for the original text of the NT in particular.

u/mycroft999 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Been reading Misquoting Jesus lately. It's a basic and well written introduction to biblical scholarship. The author does point out that the KJV did not use the best possible sources available so there is that. The author gets into some depth involving the earliest source material for the bible being letters written in Greek being copied and recopied to be circulated among the faithful throughout the known world. Because of this, there are many small errors over the centuries and not a few large ones as well. I won't get into too much detail, but he does make the statement that there are more discrepancies between the source material, than there are words in the new testament. It's definitely an eye opener.

u/jmynatt · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Thanks for the feedback and thoughtful reply! "Condemns most" refers to several indications that the (currently) 2/3rds of the world that does not believe in Jesus will be lost.


I do think it's a position reasonably supported by the text. Not that I agree -- I find it morally reprehensible that any "good pagans" and/or the vast billions raised without much exposure to Christianity would be lost due to being born in the wrong place/time. William Lane Craig, a leading apologist, has written a thoroughly repulsive response on the topic: God already knew they'd be lost, so he put them in those places -- and, he says, for all we know, the ratio of saved-to-lost is is perfectly optimal. Ugh!


To your point, I'd have a hard time agreeing that Mk 9:40 and Lk 9:50 "whoever is not against us is for us" indicates Jesus believed people could be saved without him. For starters, he contradicts this in Mt 12:30 and Lk 11:23 "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." In context though, both seem to refer to doing miraculous works (casting out demons) and aren't discussing how to be saved at all.


In addition, there are ample NT verses saying Jesus saw himself as the only way to be saved:

  • Jn 3:18 and Mk 16:16 "whoever believes in Him will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned"
  • Jn 14:4 "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
  • Jn 3:36 "whoever does not obey Him does not have life; the wrath of God remains on him"
  • Mt 7:21-23 "And they will say 'Lord, did we not do many mighty works in your name?' And I will declare 'Depart from me; I never knew you, you workers of lawlessness'"
  • Mt 7:13-14 "the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."
  • Acts 4:12 "there is salvation in no one else; there is no other name given among men by which we must be saved"
  • Jn 17:3 "and this is eternal life: that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent"
  • Rm 3:22-23 "The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"


    Many contradictory religions claim exclusivity. If Christianity let go of the idea of needing Jesus to be saved, it's a slippery slope to not needing him for anything -- just be a decent person and live your life. But in holding onto the need for Jesus, it ran headlong into another huge problem: if it's all about "accepting God's free gift of love", then a serial rapist can accept Jesus and be fully saved on death row, while a lifelong moral non-theist will go to hell for not accepting the gift. This completely devalues any of our actions and puts all the emphasis on "believing on bad evidence" instead of what you actually do with your life.


    It's all a moot point, however -- as it's likely "Jesus", if he existed, never said most of the things attributed to him, and some epistles attributed to Paul were written pseudonymously also. The whole idea of a "final judgment" wasn't from the Old Testament (which focused largely on earthly kings and national victories); rather, it was borrowed from Zoroastrianism eschatology during Babylonian/Persian captivity, which is around the time the Jews rewrote their national history to better fit their unfortunate circumstances, leading to inclusion in Jewish inter-testamental scripture such as the Book of Enoch, which was accepted as scripture for hundreds of years and was quoted by and influenced the thinking of New Testament writers who were making all this stuff up at the time.


    So, yeah -- who cares what Jesus said anyway, it's a lousy plan that wasn't even original! :-)
u/_stuntnuts_ · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

A bunch of good books have already been mentioned, so I'll throw this one in the mix. Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus does a very good job explaining how the documents that make up the Bible were compiled, altered, and repercussions of that process.

u/throwawayaccount94 · 2 pointsr/ReasonableFaith

We have 4 things written 30+ years after an event, based on oral stories, that all say the event happened differently. It isn't a fact, because we don't for sure know it happened. We don't have video evidence, we don't have living witnesses. I can write something saying 30 years ago my friend was Batman, doesn't mean it's a fact.

I suggest you look at these two books.

u/bdw9000 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

If you want to get intellectual, it is worth looking into how exactly the New Testament came together..rather than just learning the theology within it. This book is a good place to start.

u/redbenn · 2 pointsr/lectures

Its a good book too

u/orsr · 2 pointsr/atheism

I think it's because people run from their old faith, they don't want to understand it. When I look back I'm sure I wasn't really a believer at no point, I simply did what my parents wanted me to (going to church etc) and made the best of it, I had a lot of fun being a ministrant, found a lot of friends blahblah. But I never really believed those things. So I never even had to start asking my faith. Then we had religious courses at high school, and the teachers taught us mostly christianity, the other religions were only shortly mentioned and treated like potentionally dangerous cults. That was a rebelious time in my life, so I started to look into different religions and ask the teachers questions. Needless to say, I wasn't very popular with our religious teachers. But it was growth, as you put it.

The most objective sources I would recommend you are not Hitchens or Dawkins, those are biased. Try to look up books on comparative religion. I'd highly recommend the four volume History of Religious Ideas by Mircea Eliade, or Masks of God by Joseph Campbell. And you might want to read a history of the Catholic Church, it's always good to know one's history.

u/bobbleprophet · 2 pointsr/AncientCivilizations

History of Religious Ideas (3 Vols)- Mircea Elidae Link

Treasures of Darkness - Thorkild Jacobsen Link

Religion in Ancient Mesopotamia - Jean Bottero Link (damn I got this for $20 a few months back, great book though)

Religion in the Emergence of Civilization: Çatalhöyük as a Case Study - Ian Hodder & VA Link

Egypt Before the Pharaohs - Michael Hoffman Link

u/mistiklest · 2 pointsr/Christianity

The Experience of God by David Bentley Hart.

u/MillardKillmore · 2 pointsr/atheism
u/KoDCBP · 2 pointsr/atheism

For starters, what's your time limit? This is a topic that would take a while to unpack and make a convincing case for. If you decide to go through with it, read Hitchen's book, Harris' two books, and watch some debates to determine how you want to deliver your speech. Make a list of different arguments that the religious use for when your audience asks the standard questions and have a response for them. Have a list of examples of problems that different religions have caused and the source for that information.

u/gbCerberus · 2 pointsr/atheism

Letter to a Christian Nation (Amazon, more quotes)

u/OuRR_World · 2 pointsr/IAmA

I'm not sure if Jerry's gotten to this one yet, but I'll post also just in case.

  1. The God Virus
  2. Godless
  3. The Magic of Reality
  4. Letter To A Christian Nation

    Also there are great podcasts, of course we are partial to Living After Faith (our official Podcast with Deanna and Rich Lyons), and there are many others as well. For blogs there is always Hemant Mehta's Friendly Atheist, and we're starting our blog this weekend as well, but there are tons of just quality folks out there who have so much to share and offer to the secular world.
u/ralph-j · 2 pointsr/changemyview

> 1) He initially states that his issue is specific with the Islamic ideology itself, not Muslim people. Okay, following so far...

> 2) But then he supports his argument by referencing polls. Polls have to do with people; You can't poll an ideology. He references a few poll results that show a significant number of Muslims believe in oppression or violent acts.

> So, already he's stuck. You can't make the argument that an ideology is dangerous and that we need to do something about it without bringing Muslims into it.

He isn't saying Muslims don't need to change. However, there's a difference between being against people for who they are and being against the things they believe and do. He wants those Muslims who hold extreme views to change those views. This comes from a stance of well wishing, not ill wishing, so to speak.

According to Affleck it seems that any criticism of the beliefs of Muslims automatically falls under Islamophobia and thus racism. Yes, you can make a case that by its effects, such criticism predominantly happens to target non-white people. That however, would only be hypocritical if Harris refused to criticize white people for holding equivalent beliefs, which is definitely not the case. He is known to criticize all unreasonable religious beliefs, e.g. Christian beliefs and others. His frequent comparison to Jainism (which arguably lacks fundamentals that could lead to violence) shows that he really cares about the things people actually believe, and the consequences he presumes those beliefs to have on the world.

u/AlSweigart · 2 pointsr/atheism

"The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. Dawkins doesn't really go into anything new or original, but the strength of the book is that is a great, concise summary of all the beginning arguments for atheism.

I'd follow it with Daniel Dennett's "Breaking the Spell", also a good recommendation. Same goes for Carl Sagan's "A Demon Haunted World"

Christopher Hitchens is a bit vitriolic for some, but "God is not Great" has some nuggets in it.

I personally didn't like Sam Harris' "End of Faith" but I did like his "Letter to a Christian Nation".

For the topic of evolution, Talk Origins is great (and free)
Dawkin's "The Selfish Gene" is also a good read (and short). Not so short but also good are Dawkins' "Blind Watchmaker", "Climbing Mount Improbable" and "Unweaving the Rainbow"

u/SecretAgentX9 · 2 pointsr/atheism

I was a Jehovah's Witness for the first 24 years of my life. Very devout.

It's hard for me to know what these particular folks' motivation for being in the JWs is.

Here is what helped me:

Problems With a Global Flood, 2nd Edition: Witnesses are very literal about their interpretation of the bible. If they actually read this page it will go a long way toward dislodging the cornerstones of their faith.

Finding Darwin's God by Ken Miller: A book about evolution that is not directly threatening to religion. It's written by the head of biology at Brown University. The science is solid. The theology is unsurprisingly weak. This book changed my life.

If they make it that far, give them this one: Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. Not all of it applies to witnesses directly (they're not young-earth creationists, for example), but a lot of it still applies. This will supply many final nails for the coffin.

One thing to keep in mind is that they're very unlikely to seek any of this out on their own. They'll view it as a sin. Your best bet is to print these texts out or buy them. Both books can be purchased on Amazon in used condition for almost nothing. Tell them you'll read their books if they read yours and hold them to it. That culture has a very strong intellectual conscience. Most witnesses are really decent people. They're just stuck in a totally stupid mind-trap.

Good luck! You're doing a great thing by trying to help these people.

u/SpaceYeti · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Thanks for sharing your perspective. It seems to me—and I may be way off the mark—that you still believe in God and the Christian values of the the Mormon faith, but not in the institution of the Mormon church.

Question: have you investigated other Christian churches outside of the Mormon tradition? I know that for many on this sub, losing their belief in Mormonism has been accompanied by a loss of belief in Christianity or religion in general, but many others find a home in a new faith community. I am currently one of those people.

One thing that I learned as a product of my questioning my faith was that I didn't really understand non-Mormon Christianity very well at all. That is, what I thought I understood about Christianity was really more of a caricature of Christianity I had been given through my Mormon upbringing, and not really an accurate representation. As I started to research religion more broadly, I discovered that Christianity is actually far more diverse than I had supposed. Through my upbringing and bias-colored experiences, I had come to think of all of Christianity as a sort of Bible-belt, evangelical, born-again, fundamentalism, that in many ways is actually not that dissimilar to Mormonism in practice, despite significant differences in theology. However, I discovered that—primarily in the "mainline" Christian denominations—there is also a rich tradition of Christianity that remarkably different from what I had experienced or presupposed.

Anyway, the short version: it seems like you might still identify as non-evangelical Christian, but just not Mormon. That might be me projecting, but if not, you might consider looking into some of the mainline Christian faiths and seeing if you like it. And maybe you wont, but at least you'll know. If you are interested, I highly recommend reading Marcus Borg's The Heart of Christianity, which is a light and conversational read on 'progressive Christianity', or Karen Armstrong's The Case for God, which is a much more detailed treatise on religion throughout history but ultimately covers some of the same ideas.

u/The_Last_Y · 2 pointsr/exmormon

[The Case for God] ( by Karen Armstrong. It never mentions Mormonism, so it is unlikely your wife will feel like you are trying to persuade her away from it. In addition the author's goal is to promote faith in God. She goes through the development of religion from an anthropological method and covers a lot of different religions and theological view points. She does a very good job of explaining the different belief systems and why they are valuable. And this is the important part. She makes different views and ways of thinking important and valuable. One example is that her explanation of the Trinity doctrine made me actually feel okay with someone believing that version of deity. The book helped me understand how it is we ended up with extremist views like fundamentalist Christians and how my own views and atheism fit into that puzzle. I think it could be a great way to help her become comfortable with thinking outside the Mormon box and about looking at religion critically in general.

u/onecommentpastor · 2 pointsr/atheism

And if you continue to believe that moderate Christians somehow magically transmogrify into fundies you'll still be missing the point.

I'm going to try to be as clear as I can. It seems as though you imagine religious belief as a sort of spectrum with "atheist" on one end and "fundamentalist" on the other. This is inaccurate and does not hold up to scrutiny. You could do worse than an intro Sociology text that deals with patterns of religious behavior. Even something older, like Mauss' General Theory of Magic.

Fundamentalism is not the opposite of atheism. You can want it to be that way, but wanting something to be true does not make it so. The opposite of atheism is probably something like negative theology. Interestingly, this topic is also taken up in Armstrong's book.

Fundamentalism and atheism actually live right next to each other on our imaginary "spectrum of belief." Fundamentalists believe in a silly sort of God - a sort of imminent being summoned forth to help self-sooth a frightened child. Anyone could invent this kind of thing. It's a totem, and idol. And it is as easily debunked and dismissed when exposed to even the most basic, sophomoric scrutiny. (i.e. Why doesn't God heal amputees? If God is male, what do his sexual organs look like? Why does God hate figs? and on and on.)
Incidentally, this is why I personally believe so many of these new sorts of courageous anti-theist crusaders come from lunatic fundamentalist families. They were weened on sugary pabulum and silly, idolatrous presentations of the Holy and it is easily dismissed and subject to ridicule. Those who don't make it out spend a lot of calories defending some really indefensible stuff.

For what its worth - I am not a religious "moderate." My heart is saturated with religious awe, speculation, a healthy measure of terror and trembling, and a constant gasping awareness of the cosmic, Holy Other. I rather suspect that I am several orders of magnitude more religious than even the most devout fundamentalist. So be careful who you are calling a "moderate." I think the fundamentalists are actually, in reality, mostly atheists in their hearts. Idolators at least - but more likely atheists.

u/cbelt123 · 2 pointsr/atheism

I recommend this book to learn more.

u/TheMoonIsFurious · 2 pointsr/atheism

If you're interested in following the origins of Scientology or all of the disturbing rumors that surround it - this book has been an eye opener: [Going Clear] (

u/docbaily · 2 pointsr/atheism

For anyone interested, the book Going Clear is a pretty good insight to Hubbard's life.

u/jerryonimo · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Lawrence Wright, in his new book "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" provides detail on the IRS infiltration and how it was so effective that the IRS immediately afterwards gave Scientology its tax-exempt status by recognizing it as a church.

The Wright book is a really good bit of journalism and a great read.

u/smokeymcdank · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

Whoa. There is a lot here.

  1. I was experiencing panic attacks. I tried various ways of dealing with it, but as it turned out, I think I just needed something constant in mylife reminding me that its not all about me... if that makes sense.

  2. I don't really understand what you mean by not believing in souls, you have no spiritual needs. Spirituality to me is just human, from superstitions (e.g. fortune cookies, beards for the playoffs) to full on shamanism. For me, its not about magic or souls or anything like that. Its about having a structure and mechanism, for tapping into that spiritual side.

  3. Yes. I read this book. I also have some exposure to Buddhism, albeit 15 years ago.

  4. Well nothing in particular. Laziness I suppose. I am convinced that most "spiritual" people who don't attend church don't because they like having Sunday mornings to themselves.

    There is a lot of chest-beating on the part of the religious right; nobody misses an opportunity to feel superior (kind of like r/atheism here). I'm sure that would turn a lot of people off. For the most part, however, I think that real thoughtfulness is just not incentivized in modern American society. So people just don't consider church important, even if they call themselves religious. And I fell into that category. I just fell into an egocentric mode.
u/Erdrick · 2 pointsr/atheism

Well, you're trying to believe in the god of your times. Go back, way back, to even primitive hunter-gatherer societies, and start tracing the evolution of god from that point.

You'll have a better appreciation for what god has been to different people over the years, and you won't be so bound to the particular flavor of god you were indoctrinated with. You may end up deriving a different belief in god, or no belief at all.

u/qxe · 2 pointsr/atheism

Great! My best advice for you is to start your reading with Sam Harris' The End of Faith. You can buy a hardcover of it on Amazon for $3.11 plus shipping and in my opinion, it gives an excellent overview of the subject.

Another one I would read concurrently is Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. Both are excellent for beginning your exploration.

u/cspayton · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Thanks for responding!

I think that there are a few books which have influenced me greatly, but I have a much more expansive list of books I want to read than ones I have already consumed.

To start, you should try the greats:

u/Lordsnoww · 2 pointsr/agnostic

Book [The End of Faith] ( By Sam Harris
-This book was the support I needed to feel comfortable saying I do not believe in organized religion. (I felt guilty for never being a believer but this book helped me find my voice to explain why.)
-He also has a fascinating podcast on the topic along with youtube videos, just type in Sam Harris and you will easily find it.

[Stephen Fry Annihilates God] ( Short video but fantastic.
EDIT: The link I posted for this all you need to watch is the first two minutes.

Other than those two sources that is pretty much all I have. I am fairly new to giving a voice to my lack of belief in organized religion so I do not have many sources yet.

Hope this provides some use to you.

u/M_Dupperton · 2 pointsr/infertility

I was raised Catholic, became an agnostic before IF, and am now an atheist. I believe in physics, evolution, and maybe random chance grounded in chaos theory, but I haven't explored that last one deeply. It doesn't matter much to me. But not believing in god matters is a core value of mine. At best, the idea of an all knowing, all loving, all powerful god is just impossible. Look at the world, all the suffering. People starving to death, families being ripped apart, kids and others suffering from abuse. Life can be nasty, brutal, and short. If god is all knowing, he knows about all those horrors. If he's all powerful, he could prevent them. If he's all loving, he would. But... he hasn't. So yeah, at least one of those isn't true.

I believe there is no god. It's no coincidence that "miracles" have become scarce with scientific knowledge. That demonic possessions are essentially over now that we know about mental illness. God just seems like an outdated fable for understanding a confusing world. Science has replaced that fable with truth.

If there is a god, I think he's either extraordinarily limited in power (which makes no sense given the definition of god) or he's indifferent to us or he's actually just an asshole. I've seen too much suffering in the world to believe otherwise. Just look at the sadistic people who get kids easily compared to all of us in this community. Or go to the pediatric ICU and see some of the kids there who have no quality of life due to horrible congenital illnesses, and never will have any. It's worse than any horror show.

I get SO much peace and happiness out of not believing in god. When bad shit happens, I don't have to wonder why or what lesson I'm supposed to be learning. I don't have to feel like the god who "loves" me is also putting me through horrible experiences, like some sadomasochistic father figure. Some religious/spiritual people rationalize suffering by saying we grow from it. I think that's twisted. If we analogize to parenthood, good parents don't beat up their kids, starve them, give them horrible diseases, etc. God does all of those things. YES, challenges bring growth. But there's a fucking limit to the horror. Giving your kids chores to do is one thing. Giving them horrible painful illnesses is another. Just look at shit like Tay Sachs, osteogenesis imperfecta, etc.

Some people say that God isn't responsible for horrible things, but "man's sin" brought evil into the world. To them, I say that if you believe god created the universe, then he created a universe that allows for one person to be punished for the actions of another. Where is the justice and love in that?

As for finding meaning in life, I've never felt compelled to find some grand plan in why I'm here or what my life is about. More important is that I'm here and it's up to me to make the most of it. And if there's no god, then we can only count on each other for help and kindness. I think that's a better motivation to be a good person, and a more altruistic motivation, than being a good person out of fear of god's wrath.

I think I've missed out on very little by not believing. Maybe the only thing is a church community, but even that is a double edged sword - so much gossip and judgment in most of them. Other than that, I can't think of anything that I've missed. I've never longed for god's "love." I've never wanted an indefinite afterlife. When I was five, I asked my mom if I could have god make me disappear when I'd had enough of all that heaven had to offer. It's not that I was depressed, I just didn't and don't want ANYTHING forever, except maybe to be with any future kids. I love my husband buckets, but I'm sure that eventually we'd want to disappear together, too. The idea of eternity is daunting, not particularly appealing. And the idea that the afterlife matters more than the present just seems like a tool to maintain a shitty status quo in this world - wealth inequalities, social inequalities, etc.

I just want to say that a life without god is not necessarily something to be afraid of. It can be so liberating and fulfilling. If you're looking for books on the subject, I'd recommend The End of Faith by Sam Harris. It's an eye opener. All the best to you.

u/slosmoothsmoothfast · 2 pointsr/Atlanta

This is true. Based on your comment, you might like a book called "The End of Faith".

"In The End of Faith, Sam Harris delivers a startling analysis of the clash between reason and religion in the modern world. He offers a vivid, historical tour of our willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs―even when these beliefs inspire the worst human atrocities. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris draws on insights from neuroscience, philosophy, and Eastern mysticism to deliver a call for a truly modern foundation for ethics and spirituality that is both secular and humanistic. Winner of the 2005 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for Nonfiction."

u/fookhar · 2 pointsr/agnostic

When it comes to understanding evolution, Why Evolution is True is a very entertaining, easily read introduction. I would also recommend The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

u/voodootribe · 2 pointsr/booksuggestions

If you enjoyed the God Delusion you would probably enjoy either God Is Not Great by Hitchens or The End of Faith by Sam Harris

u/Indubitablyz · 2 pointsr/changemyview

I am as ardent an anti-theist as you'll find, however, few points

>I am not trying to offend anyone who is religious

Not up to you, they're going to get offended anyway.

>I know religion is responsible for many of our moral values

Is it though? Morality is still an incredibly rich area of study and thought (along with consciousness.) There are many competing theories such as:

In any case- religion certainly teaches that some things are bad and other things are good. I reject the claim that it is responsible for "many of our moral values." (Reference the Old Testament- morality isn't the word I would use to describe stoning people to death for transgressions.)

>Religion is responsible for some of the worst atrocities in human history.

I would say that close-minded adherence to bad ideas are the root of the worst atrocities in human history. Religions are among the worst ideas and the most deeply held convictions people have and have contributed mightily (and have been the primary factor for a lot of the atrocities) however, people are responsible for the worst atrocities in human history.

>I don't understand how people are willing to die for something that they have been told and never actually seen.

Philosophy Psychology of` religion is pretty useful here. You may find the following concepts interesting:

  • The Backfire Effect
  • Cognitive Dissonance
  • Confirmation Bias

    It is important to note that religious adherents often grow up being taught these dogmatic systems as truth. To them it is common sense and they attribute their good feelings and positive experiences to the religion.

    >We are not born believing in religion it is taught to us.

    Someone along the way came up with the idea. Generally these days we cannot tell because not many people can get to age 18 without being subject to religious ideas. Although, I tend to agree with this hypothesis in a modern sense.

    >I believe that any religion, whethever it's monotheistic (one god) or polytheistic (many gods) that believes in a divine creator is a plague and gives evil people justification for committing awful crimes againist others (molesting children, terroist attacks, etc).

    Well, polytheistic religions have a history of being tolerant and intolerant of other gods/faiths. Monotheism has a horrific track record here.

    Jainism is non-violent:

    >I think social philosophies like confucianism which are built on more ethical and natural principles should replace religion.

    Secular Humanism sounds like it would float your boat:

    What people find irreplaceable about religion is its answers to big questions, comfort, and "spiritual fulfillment."

    Whether you believe in spirituality or not, there have been many hypotheses about what spiritual experience is, or where exactly it comes from. Personally, I think religions are middle men between you and whatever those experiences are. Meditation and other methods have been suggested.

    >Religion is an evil plague apon society CMV.

    Ultimately, I agree with you. Although, I do think that some people get things from religion that are good or benign (things that could be gotten from other sources IMO.) Your view just needs a bit more nuance, respectfully. The following sources would be interesting to you:
u/DeathAndRebirth · 2 pointsr/Buddhism

Uhm.. it all depends on what you want to write about!

  1. Buddhism for Beginners

  2. This may help too

  3. This is a classic

  4. Another good book

    Im sure google would help in your search as well
u/devoNOTbevo · 2 pointsr/Reformed

There are good reasons to believe it's true. But perhaps what I want to encourage you with is that everyone has seasons of doubt like this. I think it's easy for Christian communities to demonize doubt and dismiss it as somehow bad or sinful. But as Smith says in How (Not) to be Secular, most ordinary folks live in between the extremes of belief and doubt, between fundamentalism and new atheism, in a world haunted by the other: believers are haunted by doubt and skeptics are haunted by belief. It's only human to live in this space. That said, I encourage you to find a way forward, seeking truth, because if Christ is true, you'll find Him.

u/gamegyro56 · 2 pointsr/ELINT

I'll try to give an unbiased view:

  1. Yes, before and after, as you can see here. The most famous of which is Simon bar Kochba, though he was slightly after Jesus. It is also the mainstream historical view that Jesus did not claim to be Messiah (though there are some that disagree).
    The main thing about Jesus is that, even though he was executed, his followers (mostly Peter and Mary, and Paul later) had visions of him. This allowed it to be continued after his death.
    Another major thing is that Christians (especially through Paul) reached out to Gentiles. Paul said that Gentiles did not need to conform to any Jewish law to be Christian. This made it much easier for others to convert, and in just a few hundred years, we see tons and tons of Gentile Christian writers.

  2. Christianity was known in the time, though it was a type different that what was in the west (though both types are equally old). The makeup of Arabia varied. There were Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, and Arabs. Arabs worshiped lesser divinities (that is, not the supreme God), or they were monotheistic hanifs. There were also non-Arab polytheists.
    As far as I know, Muhammad's early community was made up of mostly Arabs, and no Jews. Though he did view Jews as People of the Book (Jews were given 3 of the 4 major books in Islam: Moses, David, and Jesus). It's hard to explain why an individual Jew would convert to Islam, as religion is tied up with politics and culture. But Muhammad's early community didn't have any Jews in it (I think).

  3. As far as I know, Muhammad didn't claim to be the Messiah. In Islam, Jesus is still the Messiah. The difference is that he is not God. As for Jews and Jesus, you can read some reasons here. The Gospel writers had their own view of the prophecies. They seemed to make the story of Jesus fit into the prophecies, even if those prophecies are based on a bad translation, or even if those prophecies aren't even talking about the Messiah. There are unfulfilled prophecies. Modern Christians say they will be fulfilled when Jesus returns. This is not in the Tanakh, and Jews don't seem to believe in the Second Coming.
    The reason Jews generally don't think the Messiah went unknown is because the prophecies have some extravagant claims (as you can see in the link). The whole world will have knowledge of Yahweh and worship him.

    For question 1, you can read more in the book How Jesus Became God. For question 2, you can read more in the book No god but God.
u/danielpants · 2 pointsr/worldnews

I thought this book was quite good at explaining the different schisms in Islam in the different countries throughout the middle east. Wahhabism, radical islam, etc. Not really the why, so much as the what, but it makes it a little more clear about how ISIS came about.

u/vfr · 2 pointsr/atheism

Buy this book and read it fast, it's on the JW history of ridiculousness. None of them probably know their own church's history.

> Franz does not detail doctrinal problems with the Watchtower. Franz most likely holds to many of his old Watchtower doctrines. The Watchtower does have doctrinal problems when compared with the beliefs commonly held by the Church throughout Christian history. In fact the Watchtower is in my opinion just another apocalyptic group founded in the mid-late 1800s. However, Franz is not concerned with issues like the Trinity or Christ's divinity. He is more concerned with what makes a group truly a cult, which is control by the leaders over its members. Franz details this marvelously, and explains how the Watchtower even monitored its members bedroom activities. He speaks of disfellowshippings where families were encouraged to "shun" other members who had been kicked out of the Watchtower, effectively ruining the lives of thousands people. Franz also documents and explains failed prophecy, which caused many trusting members of the "truth" to sell homes, postpone college, and other goals in order to be ready for the end. The entire book is a calm and sober, yet highly personal, account of Franz's life deep within the Watchtower and his eventual exit.

u/BubBidderskins · 2 pointsr/sociology

It's awesome to see someone interested in sociology (especially sociology of religion) in high school.

Before you start doing research, you need to think about what your actual question is. What is it about the sociology of religion that interests you? Are you interested in explaining religious variation? Are you interested in how different people experience religion? Are you interested in studying how religion influences people's behavior or beliefs? Think of something in the social world that you don't know, but want to know. The answer will guide how you approach research.

Also, not all of the sociology of religion is quantitative with large sample sizes. There's been some great qualitative work with small sample sizes done in the past. Nancy Ammerman has done some awesome qualitative work. One of my favorite sociology books is Baptist Battles which offers a window into the fundamentalist/progressive conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention in the 80s.

If you are interested in more population level, quantitative stuff, take a look at Putnam and Cambell's American Grace. It's not really an academic book, but the research is solid and it's a great example of the kind of findings quantitative sociology of religion can produce.

If you find that interesting, then you should take some statistics courses and begin to learn statistical software like STATA, SPSS, R. A lot of that software is really daunting to learn at first. We had to learn R in my first year statistics course in grad school, and it had PhD students scratching their heads. Still, getting even a very basic understanding of something like that will get you a head start on research. You WILL need to learn a statistical software in order to quantitative research. If you feel comfortable with doing some basic statistics, check out The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) for some cool public use data.

Also, if you want to do research you need to read research. People here have suggested classic works like Berger's Sacred Canopy or stuff from Weber, Marx and Durkheim. That stuff is cool and all, and if you continue to be interested in sociology you will have to read that. However, nobody doing research today is trying to emulate what Berger, Marx, Weber, and Durkheim did. I suggest looking through some of the articles in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion to get a sense of the kinds of research sociologists of religion are doing now. Don't get too bogged down in ancient stuff said by old dead white guys.

One last thing -- absolutely nobody expects you do any kind of research in high school. All the stuff I mentioned are things I learned in grad school and I would consider way above what would be expected from a typical high school student. If you find it overwhelming and confusing that's totally normal. Research is overwhelming and confusing all the time.

u/WillSanguine · 2 pointsr/NeutralPolitics

> Points 1 and 3 in the summary I quoted apply to measures of income regardless of whether you're counting household size or individual income.

Okay. Taken together, the following issues would tend to make me question my men's wage example:

  1. The tables in the article found by /u/YaDunGoofed show that the median working man's income did grow, even if it grew less than women's.

  2. As /u/GodoftheCopyBooks' article showed, the median man was actually doing worse than any other man - including the first, second, fourth, and fifth quintile. So using the median man as a representative indicator is a bit misleading.

  3. Finally, there are plenty of female Trump supporters - how do I explain that?

    One resolution could be that we are looking at the wrong time frame (30-45 years vs. 8 years). EDIT: Here is an article from five thirty eight, looking at a 15 year time frame. There is some sense in attributing the rise of Trump to things that happened recently as opposed to 45 year trends.

    It's also possible that what is "lost" can be not just economic but social or cultural ... e.g. Putnam #1, Putnam #2, Cahn and Carbone. This would still relate to loss aversion, it would just be a loss of a more intangible sort.
u/apeiron12 · 2 pointsr/atheism

No, but the best predictor of party is, statistically speaking, religiosity.


u/OberOst · 2 pointsr/BlackPillScience

Please read actual scientific work on the societal effects of religion such as this and this before you make such statements.

u/aduketsavar · 2 pointsr/EnoughCommieSpam

I enjoy critiques of intellectuals and learning relations between them. You should also check out The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism by him. Mark Lilla is very similar, The Reckless Mind: Intellectuals and Politics and The Shipwrecked Mind: On Political Reaction Of course philosophers and politics would be very lacking without Isaiah Berlin Also Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: The Thinkers of The New Left is very good. Lastly The Opium of Intellectuals of Raymon Aron is a must-read classic.

u/SammyD1st · 2 pointsr/Natalism

> will nearly everyone be religious again?

Some people think so.

That's a very interesting point about donating to Mormonism. I hadn't thought of that.

u/DooDooDoodle · 2 pointsr/tucker_carlson

It's a reference to "revenge of the cradle" a plan put in place by Catholics in Quebec to out birth other groups in Canada as a way to shift politics through demographics. Considering most demographic studies are showing that religious radicals of every stripe are having more children than secular folks, that phrase might strike fear into your average, atheist leftist in Canada.

Great book on the topic....

>Dawkins and Hitchens have convinced many western intellectuals that secularism is the way forward. But most people don't read their books before deciding whether to be religious. Instead, they inherit their faith from their parents, who often innoculate them against the elegant arguments of secularists. And what no one has noticed is that far from declining, the religious are expanding their share of the population: in fact, the more religious people are, the more children they have. The cumulative effect of immigration from religious countries, and religious fertility will be to reverse the secularisation process in the West. Not only will the religious eventually triumph over the non-religious, but it is those who are the most extreme in their beliefs who have the largest families.

>Within Judaism, the Ultra-Orthodox may achieve majority status over their liberal counterparts by mid-century. Islamist Muslims have won the culture war in much of the Muslim world, and their success provides a glimpse of what awaits the Christian West and Israel. Based on a wealth of demographic research, considering questions of multiculturalism and terrorism, Kaufmann examines the implications of the decline in liberal secularism as religious conservatism rises - and what this means for the future of western modernity.

u/OldManEyeBrow · 2 pointsr/exmormon

What's up dude.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah.

u/Al_Tilly_the_Bum · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Probably. The Mormon aversion to the cross did not stem from the founders but started in the early 20th century. It became institutionalized in the 1950's under David McKay. Here is a book that explores this. I have not read the book so I do not know how good it is

u/DrTxn · 2 pointsr/exmormon

I know they made him take it out in Mormon Doctrine.

Banishing the Cross talks about how the early Mormons had crosses but because they were connected to the Catholic church they eventually were banished. As an example, some early church buildings in SLC have crosses in them and the this is the place monument almost was a cross. The hate used to run deep.

u/NonSumDignus · 2 pointsr/ExMo_Christianity

And then there's a book on the same subject:

Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo.

u/Quock · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Popular Richard Dawkins books are The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene. I haven't read the Selfish Gene yet, but I have read the God Delusion, and it is a very good book. It may be a tad technical if you aren't well versed in science, but it's still very manageable.

The late Christopher Hitchens wrote a very famous book called God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Admittedly, I have not read this one either, but it's an atheist staple.

The Skeptic's Annotated Bible is next on my reading list (as you can tell, I have a HUGE reading list...), but also widely regarded as an amazing piece of literature for rational thinking.

I'm sure others can suggest more specific books, but these are the basics as far as I know.

Edit: Definitely forgot to mention that the Skeptic's Annotated Bible can be found online. I assume that this is in it's entirety?

Edit 2: Found this list on Seems to be another good resource for finding books :). Happy reading!

u/fduniho · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

For Atheism:

  1. Superstition in All Ages by Jean Meslier - a comprehensive treatise against religion, written between 2 and 3 centuries ago.

  2. The Religion Virus: Why we believe in God by Craig A. James - explains how religion and particularly belief in God is due to memetic evolution.

  3. Atheism: A Philosophical Justification by Michael Martin - a comprehesive overview of arguments for and against the existence of God.

  4. Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennett - explains why the idea of evolution is so powerful an explanation of things, it acts as a universal acid against supernatural beliefs.

  5. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins - specifically addresses the idea of God as a supernatural creator

    For Christianity:

  6. The Five Great Philosophies of Life by William De Witt Hyde - covers Epicureanism, Stoicism, Plato, Aristotle, and Christianity, explaining the value in each.

  7. Summa Theologica by Thomas Aquinas - a comprehensive and detailed examination and defense of Christian beliefs

  8. The End of Religion: Encountering the Subversive Spirituality of Jesus by Bruxy Cavey

  9. Unspoken Sermons by George MacDonald

  10. Descent Into Hell by Charles Williams - a novel
u/happyface710 · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheist
  1. Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: "I do not believe, I know."

  2. De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. "I don't know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there."

  3. Leaning towards theism. Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. "I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God."

  4. Completely impartial. Exactly 50 per cent. "God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable."

  5. Leaning towards Atheism. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. "I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical."

  6. De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. "I don't know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there."

  7. Strong atheist. "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one."

    Read this book:
u/scorpionMaster · 2 pointsr/kindle

Only good ones I've found Are Dawkins' The God Delusion and America's Test Kitchen: Pancakes and Waffles. Second one is a bit borderline on the "science" genre, I suppose, but it's better than nothing, right?

u/tfmaher · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

It's not stupid at all. When you're dealing with a text that is (parts of it, anyway) roughly 3,500 years old (assuming the pentateuch was completed in roughly 1,500 BCE) AND wasn't available for wide release until the creation of the printing press in the mid-15th century during which time illiteracy was the norm and- until that point- was copied by scribes, then of course you have to wonder about the veracity of today's bible.

I read a really interesting book called Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman that helped me understand this very problem. Note: he is a biblical scholar and practicing Christian, lest you think this is an attack on the bible.

u/Aquareon · 1 pointr/Christianity

>I've examined other texts and other religions and found them unconvincing.

Non-Christians have examined the Bible and also found it unconvincing.

>This statement of yours means nothing unless the person in question is wholesale ignorant of other religions and other religious claims.

It isn't so much that you're ignorant of their claims, but that you're not in those religions. A religion looks very different from the inside than it does from the outside. This is why people on the inside cannot see certain things about it that are obvious to you as an outsider.

>Despite the fact that it is very possible that there is a legitimate argument here, you are choosing to outright deny it upon mention simple because you have created this group in your head of examples of poor YouTube apologetics.

Youtube in general isn't a valid scholarly source, I am not being unreasonable in saying so.

>Some are sketchy. I've already admitted that Christian apologetics are sometimes bad. Very popular arguments are bad ones including the very popular Kalam Cosmological Argument, the Modal Ontological Argument, and any iteration of the Teleological Argument.

What I hoped to convey there is that the apologetics of a given religion generally seem much more airtight to someone actually in that religion than to an outsider. This is unrelated to the quality of the arguments.

>Show me where the Bible has one of these long "he said she said" introductions outright stated.

You can read about it here.

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/srg2k5 · 1 pointr/AdviceAnimals

>>What tangible evidence would that be exactly?

Me repeatedly telling you I don't care to talk about it anymore.

Alright Mr. Fair Shake At All Sides I will give you 4 books you should read. You say you are well versed, prove it. If you have read counter points to your beliefs, go ahead and list them for me. Otherwise you should read these 4 books:

Atheist Material:

Dawkins - The God Delusion

Harris - End of Faith

Actual Scholar Material:

Friedman - Who Wrote The Bible?

Ehrman - Misquoting Jesus

Actually Ehrman has many books, but I don't want to overload you.

Until you actually READ the counter material, you won't get anywhere.

u/TruthWinsInTheEnd · 1 pointr/Christianity

Bart Ehrman has a number of good books on this subject. I just finished Misquoting Jesus and am in the middle of Forged. Ehrman has a nice writing style that is easy to read.

u/LIGHTNlNG · 1 pointr/islam

> I just want to research it as much as possible before I commit myself.

Here are some resources that were recommended by users on this subreddit. Check out the ones that you might be interested in.



u/fragglet · 1 pointr/atheism

> EDIT Thanks for the thoughts so far. I see that disproving God was probably the wrong way to put it. Could anyone point me to some material that clearly, logically shows fallacies in the bible? That would be appreciated.

If you want to see what shaky material the Bible is, do some reading on textual criticism. I can recommend Bart Ehrman's book Misquoting Jesus - he's a biblical scholar who was once a fundamentalist and eventually abandoned his belief when he realised they could not be supported by evidence.

You might also want to take a look at the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, which annotates the text with comments that point out all the fallacies and contradictions.

u/otakuman · 1 pointr/aaaaaatheismmmmmmmmmm

Fun fact:: 1Tim was most probably a forgery and not written by St. Paul. There are other passages regarding women that even contradict St. Paul where he does allow women to speak publicly, and he regarded women as very promiment in the Church in other passages. In fact, this isn't the first occasion that the text of the New Testament was altered by scribes with a specific agenda. If you guys haven't read
Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman, I really recommend you to do so.

u/limbodog · 1 pointr/AskReddit Noah's Flood had some very interesting information brought about in part by the mapping of the sea floor in the black sea for the US Navy. This book was fantastic. If you ever wanted to know how the bibles (because there are many versions) came to be the way they are, this is where you start. The author truly gets into great detail about the documents on which we based our current bibles.

u/mcandre · 1 pointr/atheism

There is a positive correlation between becoming a biblical scholar and becoming agnostic.

Misquoting Jesus by Bart D. Ehrman

The Evolution of Confusion by Dan Dennett

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/peepholeofreddit · 1 pointr/exmormon

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why

u/trixx1 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>Assertions from church fathers and theologians have NO BEARING bearing on what textual scholars have discovered over the past 19 centuries my friend.

That is a ridiculous statement. The gospel of John for example was completed around 98CE. You believe what contemporaries of John wrote just a few years later in the early 2nd centuries doesn't matter? That is ridiculous. You say you believe in textual examination to determine the author, then why did you dismiss exactly that. Here's what certain textual scholars have said:

>Since Matthew had been a tax collector, it was natural that he would be explicit in his mention of money, figures, and values. (Matt. 17:27; 26:15; 27:3) He keenly appreciated God’s mercy in allowing him, a despised tax collector, to become a minister of the good news and an intimate associate of Jesus. Therefore, we find Matthew alone of the Gospel writers giving us Jesus’ repeated insistence that mercy is required in addition to sacrifice. (9:9-13; 12:7; 18:21-35) Matthew was greatly encouraged by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness and appropriately records some of the most comforting words Jesus uttered: “Come to me, all you who are toiling and loaded down, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am mild-tempered and lowly in heart, and you will find refreshment for your souls. For my yoke is kindly and my load is light.” (11:28-30)

I also mentioned how 42% of Matthew's account is not to be found in any other gospel.

>I love the way you emphasized the Matthew specific material while leaving out the fact that 50% of his gospel is copied WORD FOR WORD from Mark

58% of what he wrote is also written about by one or more of the other gospel writers. However, the claim that he copied word for word from Mark has no basis.

>On top of that there are verbal cues in the text that show beyond doubt it was originally composed in Greek..with many of the so-called OT prophecies referenced by Matthew worded (and mistranslated) exactly as they were in the Septuagint, which was a Greek version of the OT that the author used for a source.

Matthew was actually written in Aramaic and Koine Greek. So when the book of Matthew refered to OT prophecies it used the Greek septugent OT translation. I do agree with that but I fail to see how you are claiming this proves Matthew did not write the book that bears his name.

>There are a myriad of other reasons why mainstream scholars believe that all of the gospels were composed by anonymous Greek-speaking Christians long after the death of anyone who knew Jesus. If you are sincerely interested in how the NT came together, rather than bolstering conclusions you have arrived at for other reasons, this book is a good starting place:

I have in fact read a good part of that book as well as other books of Bart Ehrman. He takes things people have known all along and tries to sensationalize them. His basic argument is that the new testament has hundreds of differences with many early manuscripts. What he doesn't tell you prominently is that almost all the differences are attributed to trivial things like misspellings which don't in fact change the meaning of the words. I invite you to share with me two or three points that absolutely convince you that the Bible was altered. You will quickly realize the book is largely designed to make huge claims through sensationalizing of things we already know.

> I refer you to this site, created by Christians, maintained by Christians, and used by students in every major seminary on earth for research purposes.

I fail to see why you refered me to this site. A majority of it is talking about writings of early christians after the first century. Are you claiming these writings are also part of the Bible?

u/bdwilson1000 · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Assertions from church fathers and theologians have NO BEARING bearing on what textual scholars have discovered over the past 19 centuries my friend. I refer you to this site, created by Christians, maintained by Christians, and used by students in every major seminary on earth for research purposes.

I love the way you emphasized the Matthew specific material while leaving out the fact that 50% of his gospel is copied WORD FOR WORD from Mark, who was most certainly not an eye witness. This is not what you would expect from someone who actually witnessed the events. On top of that there are verbal cues in the text that show beyond doubt it was originally composed in Greek..with many of the so-called OT prophecies referenced by Matthew worded (and mistranslated) exactly as they were in the Septuagint, which was a Greek version of the OT that the author used for a source. There are a myriad of other reasons why mainstream scholars believe that all of the gospels were composed by anonymous Greek-speaking Christians long after the death of anyone who knew Jesus. If you are sincerely interested in how the NT came together, rather than bolstering conclusions you have arrived at for other reasons, this book is a good starting place:

u/DetentionMrMatthews · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Misquoting Jesus is a good one

u/trailrider · 1 pointr/atheism

There's more to chrisitinty than just the resurrection. What about Adam/Eve? Moses and the Exodus? Pretty much the rest of the OT? I mean, if Adam/Eve never existed, then why the need for Jesus? Basically there's no reason to think they did exist. There's no evidence for them. Same for Moses and the Exodus. No evidence of ~2M people wandering around for 40 yrs. To put that into perspective, that would be like everyone in modern day Austin, Tx picking up and roaming the mid-west without leaving a trace. Can you imagine that? And I don't even need to talk about Noah's flood, do I?

As for your other specifics, #1: There is no contemporary accounts backing up the bible's claim of a resurrection. Nothing about about the temple curtain ripping, an earthquake, the sky going black for 3 hrs, or (and this is one of my fav's) not a PEEP about dead saints coming out of their graves and were "seen by many". All of these were certainly note-worthy events but yet...*crickets*. The historians who do mention are people who lived after Jesus's time and were not eyewitness's. They're just relaying what was told to them and even that can't be considered reliable. The one that Christians like to point out is Josephus where he talks about people worshiping a guy named Jesus. Aside from just saying there were christians, which means nothing because it's like pointing out we have scientologist today, most historians consider that passage a later addition because it doesn't fit within that particular works. Kinda like seeing Darth Vader appear in a Star Trek film.

#2: What were their names? Where do they live? Where's their accounts? 10 million people saw me fly around in the air by me flapping my arms! Must be true because soooo many people saw it. Oh, who are they? Just ... people. No, I don't know any of their names but trust me, they saw it!

See how that works?

#3 & #4: Whether he was even buried by no less than a member of the Jewish high council who was calling for his death just the night before is a matter to cause one to raise their eyebrows but let's go with it. Let's assume he was. Which do you think it more likely: That someone removed the body? Or that he rose from the dead?

#5: Read up on the Heaven's Gate cult. All died for their beliefs but I'm gonna go out on a limb here and declare that there was no UFO waiting for them behind the Hale-Bopp comet. Seriously....if you never heard of it, this was back in '97 so may be before your time, read about it. Then I can point out the 9/11 hijackers. They obviously died for their belief's yet I don't see christians rushing to convert to Islam. I don't doubt the sincerity of their beliefs but that doesn't make it true. I can believe that I can fly if I flap my arms hard enough but something tells me that if I jump off a cliff, gravity is gonna prove that belief off.

There's a lot more to this than what I've written here. Books have been written. I would recommend that, if you're interested, start with anything from Dr. Bart Ehrman. He's the chair of the Theology Dept. at the Univ. of N. Carolina. He's a proper authority on this issue. I've read/listened to pretty much every book he has. Might want to start with "Misquoting Jesus". It's the first book I read from him and the stuff I read in there blew my mind. Stuff that you're not likely gonna hear at your school. There's other accounts of Jesus outside the bible and most christians would certainly clutch their pearls over the "Greater Questions Of Mary" account. There's also numerous Youtube vids of his lectures, talks, and debates. He runs a blog as well that you can access for $25/yr which he's pretty good at updating regularly. Money goes to charity.

Might also want to look up Candida Moss who wrote " The Myth of Persecution: How Early Christians Invented a Story of Martyrdom" She's a NT scholar as well and I learned a lot by reading her book. Like, did you know there were ISIS like groups of christians roaming the area back then? That groups of christians demanded to be killed?

One last book I'd like to recommend is "The Dark Side of Christian History" by Hellen Ellerbe. While I've not found much on her, she does a great job in citing her sources. What will you learn? Know where the phrase "Kill them all, let God sort them out" came from? While I can't recall the specifics, there was basically two groups of christians fighting and the leader of one, when asked how will we know our own from them, proclaimed to kill them all, God will know his own! This book helps to disabuse people of the notion that christianity has been nothing but loving and caring, not to mention persecuted, through the centuries.

Hope this helps and good luck!

u/ResearchLaw · 1 pointr/atheism

I highly recommend two key books by renowned New Testament scholar and professor Bart Ehrman. Professor Ehrman is among the most respected authorities on New Testament Studies and Scholarship in the United States.

(1) Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (2010);


(2) Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (2007).

u/hedgeson119 · 1 pointr/atheism

There is no single argument to deconvert a person. For a person to go from theist to atheist is potentially hundreds of hours of research, debate, and argument, the the biggest one is, they have to be open, truly open to change.

I can offer a few resources but pretty much none are comprehensive to attack each different point of a theist's belief.

Here are some:

Why I am no longer a Christian

Christianity Disproved

Anything by Bart Ehrman:

Youtube Books: Misquoting Jesus, [Jesus, Interrupted] (, Lost Christianities

A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Mistakes of Moses by Robert Ingersoll, which I think is free on the internet.

There are tons of things listed in the Recommended reading and viewing

I will update with more if you want, there are tons of things out there. do a youtube search for Christopher Hitchens, or any other atheist.

Keep in mind these will not work unless she is actually open to considering their arguments.

u/MarcoVincenzo · 1 pointr/atheism

The only "original" biblical account of Jesus appears to be from Mark. All the other accounts of Jesus in the bible seem to have been written at an even later remove in time and used Mark as the primary source--variations on a theme if you will. Take a look at Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.

u/squeaker · 1 pointr/tipofmytongue

You're killing me. I read about this exact phenomenon a while ago here but can't find what it's called anywhere onlibe. Now it's driving me crazy.

I'll look it up in the book when I get home.

u/mystikphish · 1 pointr/atheism

I'm curious how can possibly relate the study of programming to the study of the Bible?

In my mind (obviously as an atheist) there are only two ways of approaching the Bible:
As an interpreted text.
As a literal text.

If you are taking the "interpreted" route, then you can hardly compare the Bible to learning programming. You don't interpret the meaning of a using pointers to reference memory, you do it in one of several well understood ways. If you are implying that logic can b applied to the interpreted Bible then you have to take the historicity of the Bible into account, especially the New Testament. I recommend you read Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman before using your programming skills to interpret the Bible any further.

On the other hand, if you are attempting to imply that you can use the logical training afforded by studying programming to study the LITERAL Bible, then you're either insane or are not studying your programming hard enough. Too many inconsistencies in the Bible to even bother going though, here's a starter list.

u/CreationExposedBot · 1 pointr/CreationExposed

> The same techniques that lead us to suspect the ending of Mark might not be genuine show us that the vast majority of the New Testament exists largely unchanged from the original manuscripts, save for the odd spelling error.

No, they don't.

But we might just have to agree to disagree about that. In any case...

> I believe only in the God of the Bible.

With or without Mark 16:17-18?

Either way, let me just ask you: does faith in the God of the Bible produce any measurable (by a non-believer) effect that faith in some other god does not? If so, what is it? If not, then in what sense can such a god be said to exist?


Posted by: l****r

u/TonyBLiar · 1 pointr/Christianity

>Yet while he never delineates Gospel specifics (other than the Last Supper, the Crucifixion & Resurrection- three of them you claimed he doesn't)

Sorry, I should have been clearer when I said…

>the only part of the Jesus story Paul does write about, just so happens to match almost exactly the same death and resurrection arc attributed to hundreds of hero warrior gods throughout antiquity

…that this is exactly the part I was referring to. The death and resurrection narrative is, contrary to your assertion, littered throughout ancient folklore.

>I suggest you read the early Church Fathers objectively. Seems as if you're actively looking to prove a thesis you already have (that Jesus never existed or that he wasn't what Christians claim he is or whatever). Early Church history is actually quite fascinating.

I couldn't agree more on that—and I'm sorry if I seem 'pre-convinced', because I'm not. The historicity of it is, as you say, truly fascinating stuff. But as I'm sure you'll also concede that doesn't necessarily make any of it true. And I don't mean that in a small way. I mean how, for example, would you explain to someone in 2000 years time what the narrative of the Superman story was supposed to impart, if you were to travel forward in time and arrive in a future where astronomers who could prove there was never a planet Krypton were accused of being selective, or "actively looking to prove a thesis [they] already have"?

I'm sure you're intelligent enough to have noticed by now, incidentally, that I might just as easily say the same about Christianity's truth-claims as you say about mine to the contrary—which I would like to assure you extend much further than having watched merely a few direct-to-web documentaries, however well the one to which you refer to happens to have been made. I was born and raised for the first 16 years of my life a Catholic and "got saved" at around 10 or 11. I've been religion free for the best part of the last 20 years and an atheist since September 11th 2001.

u/chrisjones74 · 1 pointr/atheism

Misquoting Jesus is a reasonable resource about the historical history of the bible, as in the bible the book not 'the bible' the scripture.

u/extispicy · 1 pointr/Christianity

You might be interested in "Misquoting Jesus: The Story of Who Changed the Bible and Why", which was written my one of the leading NT textual critics. I don't know that you are going to find a vast conspiracy where anyone has altered the text radically, but there certainly are variations in our early manuscripts.

If you are interested in the Old Testament, I recommend "Who Wrote the Bible?".

u/Neanderthal-Man · 1 pointr/Christianity

>If the bible is errant, the whole thing falls apart; not just bits and pieces. It's like the entire concept of Christianity: there is no in-between, you're either saved or you aren't.

Not necessarily. Numerous biblical scholars accept the errancy of the biblical texts but remain Christian, consider Marcus Borg, NT Wright, John Dominic Crossan, among many others.

Their practice of Christianity may be unfamiliar or they may not retain all the doctrines you think essential but there are ways to hold a realistic, historically-informed perspective on the Bible while considering yourself a Christian.

Recall that the earliest Christians would not have even had the New Testament (since it hadn't been written), much less regular access to the Hebrew Scriptures. When Paul's letters first went out to church, they probably weren't consider inerrant or infallible scripture (modern concepts which emerged in response to the perceived threats of modernism, Darwinism, and higher-criticism of the Bible).

I'd recommend the following:

u/EllieMental · 1 pointr/exchristian

That "double think" may never completely go away for me. I've made peace with it, though, by trying to understand the psychology behind it.

All of the books recommended so far are a great place to start. A book that made a big impact on me was Bart Erhman's Misquoting Jesus. I was always taught that the bible was infallible, so reading about how it was actually written helped peel away some of that double think for me.

u/HairyToxicCow · 1 pointr/Feminism
u/lurking_for_sure · 1 pointr/AskALiberal

I’m on the opposite end of this because he’s in my daily podcast rotation for the last 2 years, so I’ve definitely seen a ton of bad content (typically his religious commentaries are just dumb), but I’ve also seen him go very deep into topics to the point where I really respect his effort.

While his books he wrote in his 20’s are terrible (Porn generation, etc), his most recent book is actually pretty interesting since it’s a primer on the history of western philosophy

He’s definitely got bad times, but it irks me when everyone pretends like he’s an idiot. I respect him a ton.

u/Lord_Vorian · 1 pointr/changemyview

Religion: False but necessary.


According to a 2015 University of Auckland (New Zealand) study published in the journal Nature, religious belief in judgment after death was a positive (correlative) predictor of the eventual size of 96 past pacific island civilizations. Where a culture lacked this religious idea, the population rarely grew beyond the size of a few villages as a result of "political complexities." Common moral values are required to build a society greater than Dunbar's Number, and the historically best proven way to achieve this is via religion. In fact, the decline of the this common moral value (more commonly referred to as "Social Capital") has been lamented at length by the renowned Robet Putnam and more recently Ben Shapiro (Book). Those authors argue that the depopulation of common meeting places (like churches, pubs and Elk lodges) where community is formed is to blame for the recent disenfranchisement and political apathy we are seeing in the United States.


Plenty of foolish things are done in the name of religious beliefs. The same can be said of many ill-founded scientific causes like eugenics and phrenology. My point is that we've only made it this far as a result of the common values shared between us and reinforced by our involvement in community -- and that churches are a huge, if empirically irrelevant, vehicle for that community. Not a roadblock.

u/Azdahak · 1 pointr/entp

Yeah there's four books all together.

I also highly recommend this and also this which is more encyclopedic and hence terse, but still a very excellent read.

u/nomemory · 1 pointr/religion

You can try Mircea Eliade - History Of Religions.

If you want to read about Judaism and Kabbalah I recommend you to check the resources from /r/kabbalah.

u/Bezbojnicul · 1 pointr/atheism

History of Religious Ideas, Vol 1, Vol 2 and Vol 3. by Mircea Eliade A comprehensive comparison and history of different religions, religious ideas and ways in which myths work. Was a real eye-opener


LE - Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray

u/Veritas-VosLiberabit · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

Subsistent being: God is the experience of being itself. Rather than being an object within reality God is reality itself. See:

2+2=4 is also necessarily true. It cannot be any other way than the way in which it is. Is the fact that that is axiomatically true an example of "circular logic"?

u/scarfinati · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> Subsistent being: God is the experience of being itself. Rather than being an object within reality God is reality itself. See:

Violates the law of non contradiction. If god is reality then why do we have two separate labels for those concepts? I’ll tell you why, because they are different concepts. If god is nature then you’re basically a pantheist.

> 2+2=4 is also necessarily true. It cannot be any other way than the way in which it is. Is the fact that that is axiomatically true an example of "circular logic"?

No because mathematical proofs don’t assume the conclusion in the proof. Whereas unproven claims about a god being do.

u/Xetev · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

>A claim whose veracity can never be tested or verified. Got it.

Do you only believe in what is scientifically verifiable?

>if it occurs, can be measured,

What? how would you measure it? is there some god-o-meter i don't know about?? I mean most theist will say that god instigated the universe which makes the laws of physics essentially the action of god if done with intention. But say, look at a miracle, how can you test it using science which is methodologically naturalist when supernatural miracles are by their nature non-repeatable phenomena. The second science can test or replicate a miracle it is no longer a miracle the question is malformed.

>Which of the thousands, millions or billions of definitions of god are we talking about?

The core claim of all monotheistic traditions today which also lies at the heart of many other traditions: this is of a necessary premise, common to all classical theistic philosophies. That is god as the source and ground and end of all reality. The immaterial transcendent reality of which all things are contingent upon. This can describe Brhama,the Sihk god the Abrahamic gods, it applies to various Mahayana formulations of the Buddha consciousness or nature or even earlier the conception of the unconditioned, or to certain aspects of the tao.

For a more thorough explanation go to David Bentley Hart's work The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss

This, essential belief that all major religious traditions have some premonition of is what I'm concerning.

>What if it was actually an alien? You'd just be fooling yourself into believing something that you wanted to believe, not believing what actually is.

Thats kinda my point... science cannot prove or disprove god, there will never be a way to be certain even if he walked up to you and said hello

The existence of god is and always will be an a priori claim, now you can dispute all a priori knowledge but that is a different question for another time. The fact of the matter is that science cannot prove or disprove the existence of god, it is a category error (at least regarding the vast majority of major world religions)

u/GregoireDeNarek · 1 pointr/Christianity

Lately, when people are aiming at a definition of God, I ask them if they've read David Bentley Hart's The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss.

u/tikael · 1 pointr/atheism

Sam Harris wrote a book that is a pretty good summary

u/darth2 · 1 pointr/atheism

Both of you should read "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris. Short, easy read. Then move on to the more weighty stuff.

u/robisodd · 1 pointr/atheism

Sam Harris' Letter to a Christian Nation:

It's a quick read (96 pages; so there's much more of a chance he will actually read it), he probably has never heard of Sam Harris either which will restrict some close mindedness and it packs quite a punch.

u/morrison0880 · 1 pointr/atheism

Letter to a Christian Nation
Sam Harris takes a firm but personal approach to explaining away religious faith. Use this as an introductory book to a much more straightforward and aggressive book like The God Delusion, or as a closing argument to a primer in rationalism that begins with a softer book by Sagan or the like. It depends on the approach you want to take, although I would suggest going the later route. Demon Haunted world was an excellent suggestion. Your parents will obviously agree with him when he dismisses ancient myths and beliefs, so when he shows their own beliefs to be on the same level, that skeptical thought process will start to catch hold of them and hopefully make them question those beliefs.

u/Dorrin · 1 pointr/atheism

Coming out is a big and unpleasant step. Kudos for planning.

Also, welcome to the party.

Many stay in the closet for years for good reason, coming out to religious family can rend that family to bits. No amount of logic, documentaries, or articles can bridge the fundamental gap if they decide you aren't family anymore. End result=huge unpleasantness.

That being said, there are two general trajectories for this type of thing. Fast and hard, or slow and kind. Both have their value, sometimes a swift thwap to the skull can break down barriers, for others a slow approach can provide better results over time. Slow and kind isn't my forte and others can help with that. Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris and Dear Christian by JT Eberhard are the top of my list for kicking down doors and taking names.

u/larynx1982 · 1 pointr/atheism

Christianity was not mentioned in the submission title, the Abrahamic religions were.

The majority of religiously motivated stoning nowadays most likely falls with fundamentalist Muslims but modern/moderate Christians are easily blamable for the extreme actions of the fundamentalist Christians such as killing abortion doctors, taking away women and LGBT rights, helping spread AIDS in Africa by denying people access to condoms, etc.

By calling themselves Christians (even though they don't follow their own holy book's rules) and tithing they enable (and in-turn justify) the actions of the fundamentalists who are more in-tune with the fundamentals of their religion.

You should check out Sam Harris' Letter To A Christian Nation which explains this very astutely.

u/ikevinax · 1 pointr/Advice

On the rare occasion when I have little to do (cough), I purchase a book on Kindle and read it on my monitor using my browser at . I'm currently reading The Vikings: A History. The last one I read, which I highly recommend, was Letter to a Christian Nation.

u/BustyMetropolis · 1 pointr/atheism

My one-stop book recommendation would be Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation. It's a short read, but nearly every paragraph is its own distinct argument, and it covers a lot of territory.

If you're aiming to construct your paper around a set of the most popular arguments, here are some common refutations to arguments for the existence of God. Keep in mind that many of our arguments are in the form of refutation instead of assertion, since the burden of proof is on the claimant:

Ontological Argument (Argument from experience) - We assert that feelings do not equal facts; revelation is not a reliable basis for a factual claim. We also realize that to criticize someone for feelings that are personal can seem like a personal attack. Most of us wouldn't tell someone who claims he/she had a spiritual experience that it didn't happen, but we would try to find a scientific explanation rather than coming to the immediate conclusion that it was God's doing. As a brief example, a friend of mine said he "felt the touch of God" when his daughter was born, but we interpret his feeling as a normal, natural high that most people feel at such an emotional moment.

Teleological Argument (Argument from design) - We accept the evidence for evolution and realize that it is inconsistent with the biblical creation story. For further reading about what proof we have for evolution, I'd personally recommend The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, and he promotes Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True though I haven't read the latter yet.

Cosmological Argument (Causal Argument) - This is a case of people assigning the "God" label to something difficult to comprehend. The best we have to go on so far is the Big Bang Theory, and scientists will continue to test the theory. We don't have evidence that the beginning of the universe was brought about by an omnipotent/omniscient being outside of what is claimed by religious texts, and that goes back to the. We might also ask, "who/what made God?" inviting an infinite loop of "which came first" questions.

Moral Argument - We believe (normal) people are able to tell the difference between right and wrong without religious guidance. In turn, it seems that the Christian Bible teaches, excuses, or condones actions that our enlightened society would deem immoral, such as slavery, killing of children and non-heterosexuals, oppression, rape, and genocide. Interpretations of the Bible differ, of course, and most modern Christians don't believe they should actually kill their disobedient children (or that the laws of the Old Testament no longer apply since the coming of Christ, which is another conversation). Regardless of arguments from the Bible, we believe that science can tell us a lot more about morality than we give it credit for.

Lastly, here is a wikipedia list of lots more arguments in case you'd like to ask about specific ones: link

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy writing your paper. Not that you should necessarily crowd-source coursework, but you'd probably get quite a strong response if you posted up a final draft, too.

u/My_Toothbrush · 1 pointr/atheism

I upvoted because you're asking a(n at least sort-of) respectful question. I'm sure others could answer you better or more completely, but I'll take a stab.

I firmly believe that no one here wants to "destroy any reference" to Yahweh. Many of us enjoy the Greek pantheon, and a few of us like the Norse better.

The problem with Christianity is that it encourages faith, which is not only pretty much useless as a decision making paradigm, but also cripples us in regards to making sane, rational decisions. I'm sure I don't need to harp on the extensive list of atrocities committed that would have been impossible without faith.

You might be interested in reading Sam Harris's Letter to a Christian Nation.

u/MWrathDev · 1 pointr/atheism

> For the past 2-3 years, I've grown uneasy with the things I've heard and have been taught over the years.

From our perspective this is a good sign! Throw another baby on the BBQ lads, one of us, one of us /s ;)

> I'm feeling pretty lost and a little scared since pretty much all of my family is religious (they would never abandon me or disown me if they knew but the thought of disappointing them hurts...a lot).

Be careful! When it comes to religion you don't know what people are capable of and this sub is littered with tragic stories of people who thought they knew their families, but didn't expect what happened when they let on they were doubting, came out, or were outed.

To sum up if you don't have some kind of independence (namely financial) be discreet in your movements to keep the peace. That doesn't necessarily mean lie (though you can if you want), it means don't reveal all at the drop of a hat, gotta look out for #1.

> Which leads me here. Both sides of this religious debate hold biases

Unfortunately that's not really true, we don't hold bias when attempting to ascertain the truth regarding gods existentialism.

In fact most atheists (being skeptics) hold religion to the same standards of evidence as everything else, and try to remove as much bias as possible i.e. you'll hear the scientific method (methodological naturalism) bandied about a fair bit in atheism, because that's the best method we have for reliably producing results.

Oh yeah that's one other thing you gotta reconcile. Absolute truth (or falsity), doesn't exist. You can only say what is true with X amount of certainty based on how good the evidence is (i.e. how much there is, quality/standards, etc).

> So I'm looking into maybe some books, documentaries, research papers...anything really addressing the validity of the bible, the historical evidence, the contradictions, etc.

Be my guest :

That's notes regarding what's contradictory in the bible when read literally, can't remember if they included the "poetic" bits in it. The thing is though most of the bible is supposed to be read literally, there are a few poetic bits yes, but just like any book the author sets the context for reading.

So whenever you hear a Christian saying : no it's supposed to be "interpreted" like this... that's generally code for

"oh shit bible says something wrong, better try and make excuses by putting it in a different context (than the author intended) that makes sense for the modern day".

Which is completely wrong, you don't get to read Harry Potter and put him in the star wars universe (although that would be kinda fun), nope JK determines the context.

Sorry got a bit ranty there, but it's one of my pet peeves.

> I'm trying to find sources that are mostly impartial, so nothing that goes into the subject that actively tries to prove or disprove.

Self-contradictory? You just said you're looking for resources addressing the validity of the bible... that's literally asking to prove / disprove things in it.

No one's forcing you, and it can be scary / frustrating. But you should know that even if you don't accept the bible as true anymore it doesn't make you an immoral monster i.e. morals are independent of religion...

But you gotta make up your mind, you either care about "the truth" or not, you're either going down the rabbit hole or not. Pandora's box once opened is not so easily closed and once you see, it's difficult to unsee.

If you want some "softer" titles, i'd recommend:

Or any of Bart Ehrmans books:

To save you some time, most of the bible is either:

  • Made up e.g. story of moses/egypt, genesis, etc.

  • Stolen... "appropriated" from other religions, mainly zoroastrianism which influenced all the messianic religions of the time : judaism, islam, christianity e.g. Ahura Mazda = God, Angra Mainyu = Satan (responsible for demons), Zarathustra = Jesus.

  • The result of "chinese whispers" i.e. where there could be a story that was based on some truth (e.g. Noah's Ark / epic of gilgamesh / Atrahasis / King Ziusudra), but it was retold over and over again so many times by word of mouth before it was recorded in writing that it only faintly resembles the original story.

    All the best, feel free to ask questions here.
u/bigger_than_jesus · 1 pointr/DebateAChristian

> Daniel 9 is a big one... Christianity was written about within decades of the events.

Within decades? Most studies do not show this to be true. But even if your statement were true, aren't the gospels supposed to be written by those who lived with Jesus? This is clearly wrong even when reading the first few verses of Luke.

>Joseph Smith was tried and convicted of being a con man...

No doubt he was a con. But I'd venture to guess that even if you discovered Jesus was tried and convicted of being a con, or any of his apostles, your faith would still be in tact. The fact Joseph Smith was a con does not mean that God did not talk to him, right?

Whenever I read these justifications, it screams of an inadequate attempt to confirm your beliefs, not challenge them. Who taught you about Daniel 9? I can safely guess that you either found it on the internet or were taught by some other influence. You didn't read the book of Daniel and come up with this calculation yourself. You were looking for proof and someone gave it to you.

Why do you believe Jesus resurrected in April? Because it's Easter? Do you know the history of Easter? Did you know that pagans used to celebrate Spring with a god or goddess of fertility? And how is fertility represented--a bunny. Christians adopted these customs in order to convert pagans. Just like December 25. You do know that, don't you? If you do know that, then why would you even for a second pretend to know Jesus resurrected on "Easter Sunday."

I promise to read The Case for Christ, if you read Letter to a Christian Nation. It's only about 100 pages long.

Here's the point. You say "Daniel 9 is a big one." I can guarantee, if Daniel 9 proved to be false, your faith would still be in tact. You would rationalize some way to believe the entirety of Christianity. If I believe in UFOs, and I research all of the evidence with a hidden attempt to confirm my belief, I will ignore evidence to the contrary. But if I don't believe in UFOs, and keep an open mind to all possibilities, and rationally examine all the evidence presented before me, my conclusions can be more objective.

u/xanos5 · 1 pointr/atheism

I couldn't recommend Richard Dawkins The God Delusion enough.

it's a fantastic entry point for somebody that is skeptical about religion.

also Sam Harris Letter to a Christian Nation is a great short read about morality and religion in America.

u/quicksilversnail · 1 pointr/atheism

I would highly recommend Sam Harris. He can be quite verbose at times, but his logic is impeccable. You might want to try Letter to a Christian Nation to start. It's directed to a Christian audience and was a real eye opener for me. Plus, it's pretty short (144 pages).

Edit: His YouTube videos are excellent as well.

u/ThePressman · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

I listed a few common logical flaws that are proposed by the existence of a deity in this thread that was posted right before yours. To add on to it, the existence of a God is a positive assertion, and the implications that follow from the existence of an omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient being raise a whole lot more questions than most theists want it to answer.

All in all, it's hard to present the entire case for atheism; if you have specific problems that are holding you back from leaving your faith, we might be able to provide more assistance if we knew specifically what you need addressed.

That said, you mentioned fear of hell; the existence of hell raises even more absurd questions than the existence of God:

First, it requires the existence of an eternal and immaterial soul, which doesn't bode well with our current understanding of the way the brain works. Our understanding of the human brain is still lacking, but we understand enough of it to know that pretty much every perception, personality function, thought, and impulse that we experience can be traced back to their respective parts of the brain. If our personalities and consciousness are defined by our brain, on what basis can an immaterial soul possibly function? Not to mention, we feel pain through our nervous system, so the idea of an individual's immaterial essence suffering in hell without a nervous system or brain to perceive those signals is non-sensical.

Second, the idea that many otherwise good individuals will be suffering the exact same eternal punishment as people like Hitler, Charlie Manson, and Ted Bundy simply because they chose not to believe in God, chose the wrong God, or were never even put in a position to learn about God (isolated island tribes) seems illogical and unethical. Could you really enjoy eternal paradise while completely aware of the fact that billions of souls are suffering eternal agony? The ethics of this just don't make sense.

If you want a good starting point outside this subreddit, I highly recommend Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. It's relatively short, but comprehensive.

Once again, if there's any specific issues that are preventing you from letting go of your faith, let us know.

Good luck!

u/dustershorty · 1 pointr/atheism

For an intro into the atheism, anti-religion genre, I would recommend A Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris. Short, to the point, and gets your hungering for more information. Have fun!

u/laserinlove · 1 pointr/worldnews

I'm sorry that I don't have it in myself at the moment to carry this conversation where it should head but if I tried the attempt would half hearted and you deserve a more rigorous explanation than I'd provide. As a consolation I'll suggest you read Letter To a Christian nation if you really want to hear an outsiders view on Christianity and some well reasoned arguments of how Christians might advocate violence. It's a cheap book ad pretty quick to read and he's got better prose than I ever would. If you're not interested that's fine too. Best of luck.

u/marrsd · 1 pointr/samharris

Read "The Case for God", by Karen Armstrong. She talks about this sort of thing from quite a different point of view. I think the book forms a good foundation that might help you see things from Peterson's point of view. Interestingly enough, she also has quite a lot to say about Newton and Darwin and how they relate to religion.

I should warn you, it's densely packed and will require your full attention throughout.

u/facelook · 1 pointr/suggestmeabook

Going Clear by Lawrence Wright. Engaging read, couldnt put it down. Not depressing, just slightly bewildering

u/calibrated · 1 pointr/videos

Hopping on the top comment to suggest the book Going Clear. It's a phenomenal piece of journalism that looks at the church's completely insane history (Scientologists made a fake navy and tried to conquer Morocco) and the even more insane present (they have internment camps!).

Oh, want to know why they have religious status? Because they literally sued the IRS so much that the IRS ran out of money.

u/nonhiphipster · 1 pointr/todayilearned

It's true...except for the famous litigation the Church of Scientology is responsible for. They have teams of lawyers to sue the shit out of people whenever they publicly say anything negative about the church. Furthermore, they are responsible for harassing the US government to bully their way to getting tax-exempt status as a religion.

Also, they abuse their followers. Documented in many places, lately in the fascinating book Going Clear by Lawrence Wright.

u/theamazingroberto · 1 pointr/WTF
u/RachelRTR · 1 pointr/WTF

It can be very confusing. If you are really curious read a book on it, like this one, this one, or this one. It's honestly a fascinating subject. The things they have done and do are pretty crazy.

u/nongermanejackson · 1 pointr/news

Lawrence Wright's "Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief" is the most-recent must read book on this pernicious organization.

It's a good complement to Janet Reitman's "Inside Scientology: The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion" which was published just a couple of years ago.

u/chileroX · 1 pointr/atheism

If you are honestly interested in this, I highly recommend reading The Evolution of God by Robert Wright. This book reviews much of what historians know about how the modern idea of the christian god came to be. It regularly compares what the bible says to what historians think really happened in history. It is a great read and is written in a way that probably wont offend a christian who appreciates good scholarly work.

u/doofgeek401 · 1 pointr/AcademicBiblical

From the Stone Age to the Information Age, Robert Wright unveils an astonishing discovery: there is a hidden pattern that the great monotheistic faiths have followed as they have evolved. Through the prisms of archaeology, theology, and evolutionary psychology, Wright's findings overturn basic assumptions about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and are sure to cause controversy.

u/dunmalg · 1 pointr/atheism

I've noticed that much of the internet ascribes that quote to "unknown" or "anonymous", which is quite unfair to Mr Harris. Therefore, I would like to add a plug for his book, from which the quote originates:

It's an excellent read, and practically a must-read for any atheist who engages in debate on the subject.

u/HolyRamenEmperor · 1 pointr/atheism

As others have said, reading the books themselves is the ultimate illuminator. Seeing first-hand the insanity, dissonance, and hostility evident in the original documents is invaluable.

I recently finished Sam Harris's The End of Faith, and while somewhat meandering at times (and confusing in his usage of the word "spirituality" to mean "sense of wonder" or "self-consciousness" or even a sort of "high"), he focuses on rationality vs religiosity, often going very in-depth into those holy books of the Abrahamic religions (remember that Christianity, Judaism, Mormonism, and even Islam claim to rever the same character, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).

Another book that I just added to my wishlist is Asimov's Guide to the Bible... apparently it's pretty "understanding" of religion, but he's a brilliant author and a staunch atheist, so I'm very interested in what he had to say about the historicity of the Bible.

u/DidntClickGuy · 1 pointr/pics

Ah, so the real problem here is that you don't know anything about Buddhism and its function as a religion. Here is a good introductory book about it written by one of its best-educated scholars. And while we're at it, you may be interested in this well-known atheist's views about the difference between faith and meditation.

u/LordUa · 1 pointr/Christianity

I would suggest reading The End of Faith by Sam Harris. This may be helpful to you, or it may not. I had lost my faith by the time I read this one, but I think it would be a good read for some one in your situation.

u/ohisuppose · 1 pointr/worldnews

Everyone commenting here should read this book:

u/Dem0s · 1 pointr/atheism

I like them both and have strong points that compliment each other. I would suggest reading both and then moving on to The Greatest Show on Earth, The End Of Faith and Unweaving the Rainbow in no particular order, but all great books in their own right.

u/Shizuma_Hanazono · 1 pointr/Destiny

It's a direct quote from The End of Faith on page 41.

>There may even be some credible evidence for reincarnation.

He cites as a reference for this "evidence": Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, Unlearned Language New Studies in Xenoglossy, and Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect.

u/super__mario · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

If you will read only one book read The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

This is the best critique of faith that really explains why believing on bad evidence is itself a problem, but also why omnipotent, intelligent being would not demand it from other sentient, intelligent beings.

u/Eli_Truax · 1 pointr/Jung

Looks like you've got a Spanish language edition ... a good translation is important.

This is the edition I used, Robert Thurman is well respected. Plus it's got an introduction by the Dalai Lama ... so it's got that going for it.

u/anteaterhighonants · 1 pointr/Random_Acts_Of_Amazon

I would love this book used! Thanks for the contest!

u/Heartnotes · 1 pointr/SuicideWatch

Oh, that makes a lot of sense. I'm agnostic. I've had moments where things happened I couldn't explain and I believe in ESP/ghosts. Really!

Have you ever read the Tibetan Book of the Dead?

u/swjd · 1 pointr/islam


Lives of other Prophets Series

  • [Video] Lives of the Prophets - Series of 31 lectures by Sheikh Shady on the lives of the Prophets from Adam (AS) to Isa (AS).

  • [Video] Stories Of The Prophets - Series of 30 lectures by Mufti Menk on the lives and stories of the Prophets from Adam (AS) to Isa (AS).

    End times, Death, Hereafter

  • [Video] Death and the Hereafter - Series of 10 or so lectures by Sheikh Shady on what happens during and after death. Also, the minor and major signs that would occur until the end of times.

  • [Video] Signs of Day of Judgement - Series of multiple lectures on the signs of the day of judgement by Sh. Yaser Birjas.

    Seerah (Life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW)

  • [Video] Seerah - Series of 47 lectures on the signs of the life of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) by Sheikh Shady.

    Understand the Quran

  • [Video] Story Night - How Allah(swt) wrote/directed the Quran with analogies to popular works of flim and stories. Another way of looking at it is that why does it seem the Quran is out of order sometimes? Noman Ali Kahn mainly talks about the story of Musa (AS) and how ayats pertaining to his story are written.

  • [Book] The Qur'an by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem - Translation of the Quran with modern English vernacular.

  • [Book] Approaching the Qur'an: The Early Revelations by Michael Sells - There's a chapter that goes in depth about how the pre-Islamic Arabs previved the concept of love and the female beloved character layla and what Islam changed about this concept.

  • [Book] No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan -- Covers lots of topics, excellent writing overall.

  • [Audio] Fahm al-Qur'an - Tafseer of the entire Quran in very simple English. The commentary is by a female scholar, Amina Elahi so it's a good tafseer for gatherings with a lot sisters but obviously anyone can listen. Best way to make the most of this tafseer and others like it is to have a translated copy of the Quran in front of you and some highlighters, sticky notes and a dedicated notebook and just scribble away as you listen. BTW, if you have a Muslim friend(s) who is/are interested in Islam and you don't have access to a teacher or w/e, have a listening party/gathering with these lectures once a week. Since each lecture is 2 hrs long, in 30 weeks, you will have finished the tafseer of the entire Quran and you have a notebook filled with notes and a translated Quran that is now colorful and filled with notes.
u/Sehs · 1 pointr/islam

I'm a big fan of Reza Aslan's book.

u/Bacarey · 1 pointr/funny

Many people understand jihad as a religious justification for violence in Islam. Jihad actually translates into English as "struggle". The greater jihad that all Muslims are supposed to undertake everyday in their lives is to be a better Muslim, to live amoral life, and to follow the teaching of the Prophet. This is similar to Christians trying to follow the word of Jesus in their every day lives. The lesser jihad is the struggle with the outside world. The struggle is with those who do not live in your faith and your struggle to convert them. This is usually done by encouraging others to understand the religion and its teaching but radicals and extremists take this to mean one must kill people who do not believe or live in their insane world. Terrorist acts are undertaken by radicals and extremists, who do not operate by the same moral code that the average person understands.

As for religious justification for violence, yes, there ARE passage in the Quarn that seem to encourage violence, but just like many people who don't live in the 7th c. AD, most modern Muslims do not take this as a call for murder.

And the Christian Bible also contains violent passage, like God's call to King Saul in Samuel 1, "Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'" This is the translation in the New International Version, but many other translations read similarly. you can see them here-

I highly recommend reading and or listening to this- Is the Bible more Violent than the Quran? to understand the textual support for the argument.

Also the book No god but God by Reza Aslan gives a really full and well researched look into the history and the development of Islam, as well as the Islamic world's interaction with the Western world and helps to understand the political climate.

Also Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism is a little dated (written in 2002) but it is an interesting look into the western understand of Islam and its relation to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda

u/vamessedup · 1 pointr/atheism

Yes, Muslims don't worship Christ, but they do recognize him as a prophet- though not as great as the prophet Mohammed. Similarly, Christians recognize Abraham, Isaac, Moses (and many others) as prophets even though they were Jews and are also considered prophets by Jews.

If you want to go by the almighty Wikipedia, check out this handy chart.

Also, some more reputable sources: here, here, here

While I don't believe in any religion, I do think it's interesting to learn about their origins and tenets. If you're interested in reading a very well-written book on the subject, I quite enjoyed Reza Aslan's No god but God

u/jeffanie96 · 1 pointr/islam

John Espositio has written several books about Islam. He is a staunch Catholic. Islam: The Straight Path is really good.

I Karen Armstrong has written some books as well that I've heard are good, but I haven't read them myself.

No God but God by Reza Aslan is good too, but it has some controversial things regarding the beginnings of Islam.

u/sethra007 · 1 pointr/exjw

I encourage you to read Crisis of Conscience by Raymond Franz. Franz is the nephew of Frederick Franz, and was a member of the Governing Body from 1971 - 1980. He was disfellowshipped and declared an apostate when, while leading chronology research for the Aid to Bible Understanding encyclopedia, his findings led him to question key teachings of church.

Again, this was Ray Franz, from a family of JWs, who rose about as high as you could possibly rise in the church, and who'd devoted over forty years in the service of the church. The GB ran Franz out on a rail for asking simple and logical questions that, per them, should have been ludicrously easy for them to answer.

I can get you a copy of the book. I'll send you a PM.

u/ShakaUVM · 1 pointr/DebateReligion

> I've seen this before about religious people being more charitable. It is entirely possible it is true, but what are the studies counting and are they based on self-reporting or other forms of data?

" In our book American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, Robert Putnam and I show that there is a strong connection between being religious and being charitable. Not surprisingly, the most highly religious Americans contribute their time and treasure to religious causes. But they also give to secular causes—at a higher rate than do the most secular Americans."

u/Bacon-covered-babies · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Atheism is most common among the following populations: white, college-educated, non-southern, younger (Generation Y/Millennials).
The best source of this data is here:
You should be able to google to find articles about the absence of women and minorities in the atheist movement, at least in the US.

u/domhel · 1 pointr/HistoryofIdeas

(interesting overview of the book from

We don’t understand the reactionary mind. As a result, argues Mark Lilla in this timely book, the ideas and passions that shape today’s political dramas are unintelligible to us.

The reactionary is anything but a conservative. He is as radical and modern a figure as the revolutionary, someone shipwrecked in the rapidly changing present, and suffering from nostalgia for an idealized past and an apocalyptic fear that history is rushing toward catastrophe. And like the revolutionary his political engagements are motivated by highly developed ideas.

Lilla begins with three twentieth-century philosophers—Franz Rosenzweig, Eric Voegelin, and Leo Strauss—who attributed the problems of modern society to a break in the history of ideas and promoted a return to earlier modes of thought. He then examines the enduring power of grand historical narratives of betrayal to shape political outlooks since the French Revolution, and shows how these narratives are employed in the writings of Europe’s right-wing cultural pessimists and Maoist neocommunists, American theoconservatives fantasizing about the harmony of medieval Catholic society and radical Islamists seeking to restore a vanished Muslim caliphate.

The revolutionary spirit that inspired political movements across the world for two centuries may have died out. But the spirit of reaction that rose to meet it has survived and is proving just as formidable a historical force. We live in an age when the tragicomic nostalgia of Don Quixote for a lost golden age has been transformed into a potent and sometimes deadly weapon. Mark Lilla helps us to understand why.

u/fadan · 1 pointr/AskReddit

It is indeed so. I think that atheism today is doomed, because atheists have too few children, which gives them strong evolutionary disadvantage. There's a good book about it:

u/drb226 · 1 pointr/latterdaysaints

There is a book on this very topic. OldManEyeBrow posted the link but gave no additional information so I have no shame in reposting it with a little more elaboration on how it is relevant.

Banishing the Cross: The Emergence of a Mormon Taboo.

Also, [BYU religion professor Alonzo Gaskill wrote a book review about it](
) tl;dr: "Well reasoned," "well supported," "light read," "interesting and engaging."

u/acuteskepsis · 1 pointr/exmormon

The cross/crucifix was only officially repudiated by the church in the 1950s under David O. McKay, though there was grassroots opposition to it starting around the turn of the 20th century.

It was seen as a primarily Catholic symbol, apparently. There's a book about it that I haven't read:

Bruce R. McConkie went perhaps the furthest and called it a mark of the beast, or something like that.

u/Katholikos · 1 pointr/CasualConversation

No problem, friend.

For an argument against religion, I'd highly recommend the famous The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. It's very well-received and typically considered one of the best arguments against.

For an argument in favor of religion, I haven't read it yet, but I've heard very good things about Five Proofs of the Existence of God by Edward Feser.

They go well together, because the Five Proofs book tries to make arguments with specific reference to The God Delusion, but of course there are tons of other resources you could use instead. Either way, if you do decide to read through them, hopefully it at least gets you thinking a bit, even if it doesn't sway your opinion at all! :)

u/iamtimeless · 1 pointr/AskReddit

Children do not have the mental capacity to detect bullshit, hence the need to proactively inoculate them against religious beliefs. Evolution has bestowed an innate belief in God and a sense of an afterlife because of the way our social structures evolved. There are two separate parts in the brain that deal with others.

  • The Lateral cortex deals with perception of self and others bodies and physical attributes

  • The medial frontal cortex deals with perception of self and others emotions, beliefs, desires and intentions

    If you attack me and I hit you with a rock and kill you, my lateral cortex knows that you are dead. However, there was no need for my medial frontal cortex to have the same notion. In fact, believing you are still alive, though not physically, allows my brain to think about why you tried to attack me so I can take further action. It wouldn't be very advantageous to cease to be able to think about why you attacked me the split second you died. These parts of the brain, seemly providing incongruent information, are the basis for why people believe in "souls." The person you are thinking about is both dead and not dead to you, at the same time.

    I won't debate religion with you because it will be a waste of my time. However, I encourage you to read the following books:

    Why We Believe In Gods

    The God Delusion
u/sektober · 1 pointr/atheism

Try this link instead.

u/ethicsengine · 1 pointr/atheism

Oh man, you've hit on a really hard topic.

First off, before I get into any of the juicy topics, let me say this: Consider where your parents are coming from based on their views. An analogy: If you were evacuating a building on fire and saw someone who didn't know they are in danger, would you try to notify them? For the sake of argument, let's say yes (I expect so). They see this world as a building burning down and they view themselves as trying to warn us of the danger we are supposedly in. Expand this to the fact that they are your parents and as their kid, you told them you are walking back into a burning building. They are literally scared for you. Irrationally scared, but still scared non the less. I am not sure if your short term situation or plans, but in the long term you need to accept that they are not going to share your views and may not accept you. Don't let them abuse you! They have to independently accept you for who you are or you need to distance yourself if they don't. Take care of yourself, maintain your dignity and self respect, and make decisions that make you happy and lead you towards living a happy and fulfilled life.

Some information on their reaction:

> I tried to be gentle about it and not criticize her but she kept telling me to defend why I didn't believe in God, and then when I answered she was like "you're trying to disprove God and attack my beliefs" . she later said I was being rude, (I was being as respectful as possible) when I explained that she said I was being "politely rude"???? But because of my beliefs I obviously thought she was a moron and I reject her values. (I never called her a moron and I said that I respected her faith and I didn't want this to be a source of contention for us)

Let's step back and parse this. Typically, strongly religious people follow a form of ethics called "Theological Ethics." The theological ethics system may incorporate other forms of ethics such as utilitarian, kant or phenomenological, but it is ultimately rooted in theology. Do [Action] because god demands it in or through [insert religious book, prophet, etc...]. In their view, all ethics and morality flow only from god. If god says give to the poor, you give to the poor. If god says kill that tribe, you kill that tribe. All ethics and morals are literally rooted in their version of god.

So, when you say "I don't believe in god," many people will imply "therefore I am not a moral person" OR "you think I am an idiot because I need god to work out what is right or wrong." In some cases, a person "without god" is seen as downright evil. However, we know that people can be moral and develop an ethics system without attributing it to or believing in god. We often follow heuristics such as the golden rule, informed consent or "no person is a means to an end."

Some theologians argue that this is only by the grace of god that he has allowed us to be a tool for good despite disbelieving, never mind that in many religions we are still considered doomed to eternal torment no matter how much good we do in the world and that an immoral or amoral person who believes in god has a higher chance into being accepted into paradise over an atheist who genuinely wanted to help others.

A few things you can do is work out why you can continue being a good person without needing to believe in a god. I personally see value in both society and individuals. I want the world to be a better place so that I can enjoy less violence, longer healthier lives. I want to see people individually succeed because it betters our society. Society is made up of individuals. Because life is precious, and this is our one life, we must make the most of it but not at the expense of others because their life is precious too. Informed consent is incredibly important. A society following informed consent reduces or prevents rape, murder, irresponsible or malicious human testing, robberies, etc...

Anyways, if you are interested in ethics and morality in the context of atheism and why reason will likely lead to a more just society, you should pick up a copy of The Moral Arc by Michael Shermer.

If you're interested in why atheism and why you don't need religion to be moral, you should pick up a copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (who is giving an AMA this may 27).

I personally think you will have a hard time converting your family to atheism, but if you want to shore up some of your arguments about why atheism, you should pick up a copy of A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghassian. I don't recommend you actively seek out these conversations with your family at this point, but they can help give you a better grounding about your belief system (yes, atheism is a belief system).

To conclude, don't stop loving your parents but don't let them abuse you either.

[edits for minor typos and formatting]

u/Ohthere530 · 1 pointr/TrueAtheism

Atheism is spreading and seems to be getting more socially acceptable in many parts of the US. That is a social phenomenon worth studying.

Atheism itself (non-belief in any gods) isn't much of a belief system, but it is often associated with other beliefs. In that sense, there are "atheistic mindsets" worthy of study. Some atheists focus on the reliability of the scientific method and skeptical thinking more generally. Others focus more on the discovery that their childhood religion seems not to make sense. There are probably other clusters of "atheistic thought".

I don't agree with everything they say, but "prominent atheists" like Dennett (link and link) and Dawkins (link) have certainly influenced my thinking.

There are interesting polls (link and link) that give a broad-based sense of what people think about religion and atheism.

How to keep up with atheism? My three main sources are amazon, google, and reddit.

u/theclapp · 1 pointr/atheism

The God Delusion for Kindle for $6.29.

There are Kindle clients for Windows, Mac, iPhones, and several other platforms.

u/ftctkugffquoctngxxh · 1 pointr/clevercomebacks

Most atheists don't actively work on "intensifying" their belief like some religious people do. But if anyone wants a serious suggestion check out The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.

u/NeverForgetTheFuture · 1 pointr/atheism

Utter bullshit. The Kindle version of God Delusion is right here. It's the very first result when you search through the Kindle App on the iPhone/iPad. God Delusion is very much available to US readers through both the Apple and Amazon distribution channels. To the extent that people outside the US do not have it available, well, that's on the publisher(s), not Apple/Amazon.

u/xlava · 1 pointr/atheism

No problem. Yeah I feel like thats a question people harp on. If god does exist and he seriously is so close minded that he'll send me to hell for not believing in him, but he'll send a mass murderer (who went to confession right before he died) to heaven.... lol fuck that, I don't even know what to say to such a distorted system of justice.


Buy the ebook/kindle book. You can access it via kindle app for your iPhone, and on on your PC. Simply create an account through paypal to pay for it, or buy a visa gift card from a store so you don't have to use parents credit card.

Then log off amazon, clear your history, and nobody will be the wiser.

u/Apokolyptyk · 0 pointsr/changemyview

Oh, I AM correct in my criticism and evaluations.

>It's known that all Bible translations have the same message, so it doesn't particularly matter which version you use. On top of that, there are thousands of manuscripts, among other scripts, of various books of the bible, which shows that the bible has had an extremely consistent translation across time.

Bullshit. Read this book written by a well known bible scholar.

>You cannot conclude that since the bible doesn't talk about same sex marriage then it could be okay

Didn't say that, the bible is clear, homosexuality is sinful according to the texts.

>There is no need to study Jewish history

There is always a need to study Jewish history if you wan't to argue on the internet about the bible, or even understand the context in which the book is written.

>being gay is identified as a sin by the bible, further indicating that gay marriage is wrong.

The bible says gay marriage is wrong, I believe the bible to be immoral and hateful. It is your book that is wrong.

>I do agree that there are many people who like to "interpret" the bible to their liking, but that means they are going against the text, so it doesn't matter what they believe, since it's already outside of the biblical teachings.

Religion is today's world isn't always practiced "by the book" because the many errors in the book make it obvious to any person that possesses even the tiniest bit of logic and common sense that the text can;t be trusted. Therefore the church is backed into a corner to find other means to explain and interpret the problems.

>Also, if you are idiotic enough to just toss aside all the passages that talk about being saved and going to heaven and those that talk of damnation, then you are hopeless

You are misinterpreting the bible and doing exactly what you say is wrong for other people to do. If you are going to go by the text, you must agree that the bible has no clear concept of what happen's to a non saved person after death. Point to to a place in the bible that makes it clear that a non saved person is punished in hell for eternity after death. The western idea of hell came from Dante's Inferno.

>Many people that like to say the bible contradicts itself, are also the same people that don't have much a clue about the bible.

>Just cause you browsed anti-christian threads on r/atheist and looked up "contradictions in the bible" doesn't make you an expert.

I never said I was an expert, but I do live in the bible belt, went to church all my life, and even went to a christian school where I had 2 bible classes a day every day. These things are things we talked about in class constantly as there ARE problems with the bible that can't be dismissed as easily as you would like to. I did my research over the course of many years and came out the other end an atheist and I am all the happier for it because my life has been 1000x better since I found a way out of the constant brainwashing that is religion.

u/2ysCoBra · 0 pointsr/NoFap

Watch a William Lane Craig debate and read "The Experience of God" by David Bentley Hart.

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.

u/MikeBerg · 0 pointsr/atheism

Ok, first off I'm not trolling nor am I a theist dumb dumb but here me out.

I'd argue that Atheism IS a form of religion and is in fact the next logical progression after Christianity.

I recently read an interesting book that got me thinking about this, The Evolution of God ( The author talks about the progress from caveman religions all the way up to the modern day Christianity. In each religious iteration there is a reordering of the deities, a streamlining of the gods if you will. First we started out with many many gods that each control there respected domains and each time the major religions simplify these down. From multiple pagan gods to the set of gods worshiped in the roman/greek times to the set of god/angles/saints of the catholic religion to modern religions that just believe in a single divine god down to atheism that have cut out a single god all together.

However reason I would say the atheism is still a religion is that many of the beliefs from Christianity are still present but there is a lack of a single point of worship (unless you count Dawkins for some). Atheists still have the need to congregate together and to share there belief system and even try to convert others to their belief (for example putting atheist signs on buses, sticks in bibles at book stores, even arguing with your teacher when they bring up atheism is a religion, etc).

This is just something I've been pondering for the last while and its not intended to piss anyone off, what do you guys think?

u/folderol · 0 pointsr/

>there are no legitimate religious terrorists, only terrorists, who fail to follow the teachings of their religion, or else misinterpret it.

Where are you coming up with this? Where does anybody come up with this. Have you read the Bible? How about the Koran or the hadiths? Religious people who show restraint and tolerance are the ones not following the teachings of their religion. Islam and Christianity both perpetrate and tolerate absolute bullshit including violence toward innocents. We need to all stop believing the TV when it tells us that Islam is a religion of peace. It's absolutely not. I recommend that you and madcaesar read some of Sam Harris' books.. Google him and listen to what he has to say.

Edit: quoting

u/OB1-knob · 0 pointsr/politics

I appreciate that you're coming at this with an open mind and asking reasonable questions. That's a great start.

The problem is that you've "listening" to the people on the right instead of reading a variety of material. There's way too much background manipulation going on in right-wing media, and what it does is create urgency and rage to open up your limbic brain (the part that controls feelings) to attach emotion to what the speakers are saying to your neocortex (the part that processes reason and language).

This is how marketing works. It's how branding messages bypass our rational thought and make us identify with the brand. It becomes a part of us. It's how commercials are designed to make you want that brand of fast food right now.

By reading, you use your rational brain to decide what you agree or disagree with. I personally feel that if the right had any actual good ideas they wouldn't have to resort to this kind of propaganda technique (Rush Limbaugh's drive-time-rage-show), gerrymandering, vote suppression and election voodoo, and other kinds of dirty tricks.

If they can't compete on a level playing field in the battle of ideas, then their ideas are simply too weak. They had 9 years to replace ObamaCare, so where is it? It doesn't exist because they lied to you. They never wanted a better plan at all.

If you want to understand the reality of what's going on today, stop listening to these talking heads and read Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, Al Gore's The Assault On Reason and Sam Harris's The End Of Faith.

These three books are excellent primers to understand the issues facing us today, how we got here and where we need to go.

u/HeavyMetalStallion · 0 pointsr/skeptic

Ah, that is difficult. Middle Eastern conservative conspiracy theorist parents are the most convinced that everyone outside the Middle East is the "enemy". It becomes very hard. They sometimes even believe in many Jewish conspiracies, and may even pretend it has nothing to do with their religious beliefs but it does.

He believes this because he thinks Muslims are incapable of committing evils if they "truly believe in his Islam" (his being his own beliefs). This is very common, even among secular Muslims.

The only way to combat this thoroughly, is if they can read in English, buy them books by Sam Harris (to undo his religious indoctrination from childhood upbringing; and he specializes in understanding Islam better than most), Bernard Lewis (to undo his historical indoctrination, as Arabs are very historically-aware people and they love to cite history. Bernard Lewis can also explain the positive sides of Westernization and how due to religion, Muslims try to explain every fault in the Muslim world, by blaming external enemies).

These guys know the Middle East and Islam better than any westerner. I tell you this as an ex-Muslim. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise as there are people who think that criticizing Islam is wrong but criticizing an idea is NEVER wrong. Criticizing people who believe strongly in an idea stubbornly, is also never wrong.

As a side note, I believe your father can indeed be convinced. However, it will take a monumental effort on your part to flood him with information to undo his Islamic-Arab indoctrination. He could even be an atheist Arab currently, but that Islamic indoctrination is hard to undo. It makes them biased to be sympathetic to Middle Eastern governments/peoples.

Because books are difficult for someone to read and finish...

I might suggest some other options:

u/justinmchase · 0 pointsr/atheism

You should try reading The End of Faith by Sam Harris. He makes some pretty compelling arguments about the assumption that religiously motivated killers are especially mentally ill. He argues that many of them seem to be as rational as anyone else absorbed in faith, they simply believe what their holy book is actually saying.

u/warmrootbeer · 0 pointsr/atheism

counter-counter clockwise... and yeah. I live in the south, and it seriously isn't a stereotype. It really is about 90% Bible thumpers. There's a special place in my heart for any post related to Christians whining about being oppressed, when every few months I'm made to feel extremely uncomfortable about my lack of faith. And I'm not a preaching atheist, I grew out of that after a couple years of falling on purposefully deaf ears.

(I mean like, I'll comment on my Facebook something funny and atheist in response to someone on my page, always, and rarely, if ever an OP from me re: atheism. And every once in so often I'll get a roommate pissed at me cause her grandma read it and was offended... no joke, or one of my 'bros' will randomly decide to pseudo-debate (read: trash talk) me because he knows no one else is atheist, or would admit to it publicly. High school shit.)

Sam Harris' book The End of Faith kind of re-kindled my openness to... well being open about it, but it was much worse. Once I hit my 20s and it really just settled in to my mindset and my regular day-to-day thoughts were no longer bogged down by faith and whether I had it, whether I really believed in all of it and then apologizing to Jesus for driving a fresh nail into his skin for having sinful thoughts...

I don't know. Once you hit that stride it becomes really, really difficult to have any patience for perfectly intelligent people who are also... fundies. Of course there are the samaritans and the non-denominationals and the small churches where the Real gospel is preached and those people tend to be awesome people. People I love dearly. But their small percentage of good deeds in the name of a false god legitimizes extremist sects of the same faith, whether they denounce extremism or not. Which means the blood shed by extremists is ultimately on the hands of us all: the extremists for the sword, the moderates for defending the faith, and the non-believers for demanding a stance of non-involvement.

It's a simple fact that by globally refusing to reject the teachings of moderate religous sects, we grant that same acceptance to extremist sects of the same religous affiliation. They will always continue to co-exist, because the teachings of Islam and Christianity, for example, literally demand the conversion at the cost of death of every other sect on Earth. As long as moderate faith persists, there will be extreme faith. As long as there is extreme faith, there will be war.

That's fine and fucking dandy when we're all scimitars and swords. But we live in a global world now. I don't need to spell it out in put-you-on-a-list keywords, but holy shit man. What else do we drop the big bombs for? We're pretty well settled up on land- the only people callin' nukes these days are Ahmadinejad (yes I know he has no real power) and wild card-ass North Korea. Israel doesn't even have to call em, everyone knows they got em and Big Daddy 'Murica got em all day, come GIT SOME!! GIT SOME! 'MURICA!

TL;DR The world needs atheism, but isn't ready for it, and will probably end in nuclear fire while we all pretend it's not over fucking fairy tales so as not to offend. Oh and also, I should really go to sleep because the sun's coming up.

u/henriettatweeter · 0 pointsr/offmychest

Your grandma's heart probably was weakened by the cancer treatments. It happens.

Sick dogs will get sicker, usually.

A lot of men would rather break up with you than deal with something difficult like a death or falling in love. They don't like feelings.

Oh, guess what? There is no god. BUT that doesn't mean there isn't joy in the world.

I'm sorry you are going through so much and it's normal to be angry. Tr reading this

u/Traveling_wonder · 0 pointsr/worldnews

Obama was a highly dignified man, there is no doubt about that. He had many social graces which created a standard in your mind. Lets revisit some previous presidents.

President Jefferson described President Adams as a
> "hideous hermaphroditical character, which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

Very presidential eh?

Presidential George W. Bush wore cowboy boots with the Royal seal of the House of Windsor on the sole when he met the Queen of England. He constantly embarrassed the United States with his harebrained verbal oopsies.

President Clinton received and gave oral sex to an intern while in office.

Trump is intentionally baiting you, and baiting everyone else. He is intentionally saying things that will offend sensitive individuals, it has purpose and intention. That purpose and intention is to reverse the course we are on towards political correctness. If you have an interest, you should read The Shipwrecked Mind, it really lays out the idealism of both the liberal and conservative crowds.

This intentional baiting, or trolling is a whole movement in the media/politics/social issues.

Edit: I wanted to add this tidbit because it means a lot to me. We have a lot of very graceful, dignified people in our country who are well educated and well spoken. We often forget the roots we came from though, we are the fruit of the lower classes from all over the world. Robert Downy Jr. hit this right on the nose during an interview in France.

u/Rathadin · 0 pointsr/atheism

> If a woman doesn't want to gestate a fetus, that's her business and her business, period...

Depends on how far along the child is. At some point, its no longer simply a zygote. At some point, the brain has formed, and its now a human being. At that point, I don't agree with abortion.

> This shouldn't even be a discussion. It's a woman's personal medical decision, and no one else's.

Yes, it should, for yet another reason that I didn't get into, and that's the fact that the religious people are "winning". What I mean by that, is that they're having more babies than us. And not by any small amount either. Too many western civilizations are below replacement birth rate, while Muslim and Christian communities are having babies left and right.

The problem with that, is that it won't take too many generations before us secularists are outnumbered. Significantly. And then its just a matter of time until we go away... either bred out completely, or we're persecuted so severely that we just "give in". Don't believe that? Read this -

So whether secular women (and men for that matter) like it or not, we need to be having babies, at at least the same rate as the religious.

A big problem I see with a lot of atheists is they believe they're not at war with religious extremism. Well you are, because they're at war with you, whether you like it or not.

It would be a hell of a thing to see 5000 years of Western civilization turn to shit because women got "liberated" and then sat around with a "Now what?" attitude. Like it or not, women exist to create new humans. Men exist to help create new humans. That's just the way it is. It might be unfair, it might not be politically correct, but that's the reality of our situation.

u/troutmask_replica · -1 pointsr/Christianity
u/TASagent · -2 pointsr/atheism

I wonder how the theist in question would respond to finding out that that particular referenced passage was added to the bible much later. Any mildly intellectually honest bible includes a footnote on this entire story stating that "our earliest and most reliable sources do not contain this passage", meaning "this passage was added later, by other people." If anyone is interested in reading more about it, they can look here for a quick resource, and here for a much better one.

Edit: Sorry, my intent with this comment was a little unclear. I am certainly glad to see theists who use more of their brain and accept people for how they are, rather than the two typical responses: 1) spewing hateful dogma or 2) distancing themselves (superficially) from the 'twisted ideology' that would cause such an attack. I would much prefer to see many mild Christians than no change at all, obviously. This response, however, presents me with two problems. First, the passage doesn't say the gay person did nothing wrong, simply that we are in no position to judge someone who does something wrong. That is not actually a particularly progressive view. "Yes, homosexuality is a problem, but who am I to judge you?" the ideology says. Second, this passage is so often used to justify accepting homosexuals, yet was not actually in the bible, originally. It would be more accurate to attribute it to Anon., which would make it meaningless to most Christians.

Anyway, I hope that makes my intent more clear.

u/iamisa · -3 pointsr/islam

I enjoyed Muhammad: The messenger of God by Betty Kelen as an introduction and preview for what is to come, and then No God But God by Reza Aslan.

These books are entertaining and touch on several issues without too much study.

If you become serious and want to learn more, go ahead and read Tafheem Ul-Qur'an by Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.

u/andreasmiles23 · -6 pointsr/AdviceAnimals

The real problem is that a lot of the people who deserve criticism and backlash use rhetoric that starts to tread into the Nazi camp.

You use Shapiro as your example so let's take one of his main talking points: "The West is great." Well what do Nazis have to say about the matter? "The Nazis said that since Western civilization, created and maintained they asserted mostly by Nordics, was obviously superior to other civilizations, then the "Nordic" peoples were superior to all other races..."

So yeah. The rhetoric isn't that much different. So why are we so concerned with splitting hairs over what we label these clearly terrible people who are basically saying the same thing that Nazis did?