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Top 10 Atheism Books

Top 10 Atheism Books

The following books are a great start for anyone interested in learning more about atheism. This list is not in any specific order - all 10 books are educational, entertaining and effective at communicating the atheist position. Atheist web sites are welcome to link directly to this Top 10 Atheism Books list. If you're new to BookTalk.org please visit our FORUMS and join the book discussions.

The God Deluision by Richard Dawkins

1
The God Delusion
by Richard Dawkins

Book Description
Discover magazine recently called Richard Dawkins "Darwin's Rottweiler" for his fierce and effective defense of evolution. Prospect magazine voted him among the top three public intellectuals in the world (along with Umberto Eco and Noam Chomsky). Now Dawkins turns his considerable intellect on religion, denouncing its faulty logic and the suffering it causes. He critiques God in all his forms, from the sex-obsessed tyrant of the Old Testament to the more benign (but still illogical) Celestial Watchmaker favored by some Enlightenment thinkers. He eviscerates the major arguments for religion and demonstrates the supreme improbability of a supreme being. He shows how religion fuels war, foments bigotry, and abuses children, buttressing his points with historical and contemporary evidence. In so doing, he makes a compelling case that belief in God is not just irrational, but potentially deadly. Dawkins has fashioned an impassioned, rigorous rebuttal to religion, to be embraced by anyone who sputters at the inconsistencies and cruelties that riddle the Bible, bristles at the inanity of "intelligent design," or agonizes over fundamentalism in the Middle East—or Middle America.
Atheist Universe by David Mills

2
Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism
by David Mills

Book Description
Clear, concise, and persuasive, Atheist Universe details exactly why God is unnecessary to explain the universe and life's diversity, organization, and beauty. The author thoroughly rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence - arguments based on logic, common sense, philosophy, ethics, history and science.

Atheist Universe avoids the esoteric language and logic used by philosophers and presents its scientific evidence in simple lay terms, making it a richly entertaining and easy-to-read introduction to atheism. A comprehensive primer, it addresses all the historical and scientific questions, including: Is there proof that God does not exist? What evidence is there of Jesus's resurrection? Can creation science reconcile scripture with the latest scientific discoveries?

Atheist Universe also answers ethical issues such as: What is the meaning of life without God? It's a spellbinding inquiry that ultimately arrives at a controversial and well-documented conclusion.
Breaking the Spell by Daniel Dennett

3
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
by Daniel Dennett

From Booklist
A century and a half after Darwin rattled religionists with his revolutionary theory of human origins, one of his disciples has intensified the challenge to faith by advancing an evolutionary account of religion itself. Weaving together research in anthropology, genetics, and psychology, Dennett argues that religion first emerged not as a divine gift but rather as a thoroughly natural adaptation for enhancing the reproductive success of the species. Even more provocatively, Dennett further argues that religion--like language--has subsequently evolved so as to ensure its own survival in the ceaseless winnowing of cultural mutations. The pious in most faiths will likely protest that this approach gives only the husk, not the spirit, of religion, but Dennett insists that his study will ultimately benefit society by exposing the myths that empower fanatical terrorists. Remarkably bold, Dennett's agenda includes plans for preventing overzealous parents from instilling their faith in their children and for deploying the technology of mass advertising to foster religious doubt. A book certain to spark heated controversy.
God Is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens

4
God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
by Christopher Hitchens

From Booklist
*Starred Review* God is getting bad press lately. Sam Harris' The End of Faith(2005) and Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion (2006) have questioned the existence of any spiritual being and met with enormous success. Now, noted, often acerbic journalist Hitchens enters the fray. As his subtitle indicates, his premise is simple. Not only does religion poison everything, which he argues by explaining several ways in which religion is immoral, but the world would be better off without religion. Replace religious faith with inquiry, open-mindedness, and the pursuit of ideas, he exhorts. Closely reading major religious texts, Hitchens points to numerous examples of atrocities and mayhem in them. Religious faith, he asserts, is both result and cause of dangerous sexual repression. What's more, it is grounded in nothing more than wish fulfillment. Hence, he believes that religion is man-made, and an ethical life can be lived without its stamp of approval. With such chapter titles as "Religion Kills" and "Is Religion Child Abuse?" Hitchens intends to provoke, but he is not mean-spirited and humorless. Indeed, he is effortlessly witty and entertaining as well as utterly rational. Believers will be disturbed and may even charge him with blasphemy (he questions not only the virgin birth but the very existence of Jesus), and he may not change many minds, but he offers the open-minded plenty to think about.
The End of Faith by Sam Harris

5
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
by Sam Harris

Book Description
An impassioned plea for reason in a world divided by faith.

This important and timely book delivers a startling analysis of the clash of faith and reason in today's world. Harris offers a vivid historical tour of mankind's willingness to suspend reason in favor of religious beliefs, even when those beliefs are used to justify harmful behavior and sometimes-heinous crimes. He asserts that in the shadow of weapons of mass destruction, we can no longer tolerate views that pit one true god against another. Most controversially, he argues that we cannot afford moderate lip service to religion - an accommodation that only blinds us to the real perils of fundamentalism. While warning against the encroachment of organized religion into world politics, Harris also draws on new evidence from neuroscience and insights from philosophy to explore spirituality as a biological, brain-based need. He calls on us to invoke that need in taking a secular humanistic approach to solving the problems of this world.

Natalie Angier wrote in the New York Times: "The End of Faith articulates the dangers and absurdities of organized religion so fiercely and so fearlessly that I felt relieved as I read it, vindicated... Harris writes what a sizable number of us think, but few are willing to say."
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

6
Letter to a Christian Nation
by Sam Harris

Book Description
"Thousands of people have written to tell me that I am wrong not to believe in God. The most hostile of these communications have come from Christians. This is ironic, as Christians generally imagine that no faith imparts the virtues of love and forgiveness more effectively than their own. The truth is that many who claim to be transformed by Christ's love are deeply, even murderously, intolerant of criticism. While we may want to ascribe this to human nature, it is clear that such hatred draws considerable support from the Bible. How do I know this? The most disturbed of my correspondents always cite chapter and verse."

So begins Letter to a Christian Nation...
Losing Faith in Faith by Dan Barker

7
Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist
by Dan Barker

From the Back Cover
Losing Faith In Faith records Dan Barker's dramatic journey form devout soul-winner to one of America's most prominent freethinkers. After 19 years of preaching following his "calling" at age 15--including work as a missionary, ordained minister, associate pastor, touring evangelist, Christian songwriter and performer--Dan Barker "lost faith in faith." Today Barker, Public Relations Director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., frequently represents freethought on the talkshow circuit and at personal appearances around the country. In Losing Faith In Faith, Barker explains why he left the ministry. He also offers a definitive, compelling analysis of why he rejects belief in a god and the claims of religion. He explores the fallacies, inconsistencies, and harm of Christian doctrine and theistic dogma. In its place, he issues an appealing and compassionate invocation of freethought, reason, and humanism. Losing Faith in Faith is both a challenge to believers and an arsenal for skeptics.
God: The Failed Hypothesis by Victor Stenger

8
God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist
by Victor J. Stenger

Richard Dawkins, Author of the New York Times best-seller The God Delusion
"Darwin chased God out of his old haunts in biology, and he scurried for safety down the rabbit hole of physics. The laws and constants of the universe, we were told, are too good to be true: a set-up, carefully tuned to allow the eventual evolution of life. It needed a good physicist to show us the fallacy, and Victor Stenger lucidly does so. The faithful won't change their minds, of course (that is what faith means) but Victor Stenger drives a pack of energetic ferrets down the last major bolt hole and God is running out of refuges in which to hide. I learned an enormous amount from this splendid book."
Atheism: The Case Against God by Victor Stenger

9
Atheism: The Case Against God
by George Smith

From About.com
Is theism a reasonable and rational position, or can a better case be made for atheism and against faith in the existence of gods? The goal of George Smith's books is to demonstrate that irrational beliefs are in fact harmful and that theism and religion are prime examples of irrationality. The conclusion, then, is that both must be abandoned and new ways of thinking about the world adopted in their place.
Why I am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell

10
Why I am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects
by Bertrand Russell

Book Description
Dedicated as few men have been to the life of reason, Bertrand Russell has always been concerned with the basic questions to which religion also addresses itself -- questions about man's place in the universe and the nature of the good life, questions that involve life after death, morality, freedom, education, and sexual ethics. He brings to his treatment of these questions the same courage, scrupulous logic, and lofty wisdom for which his other work as philosopher, writer, and teacher has been famous. These qualities make the essays included in this book perhaps the most graceful and moving presentation of the freethinker's position since the days of Hume and Voltaire.

"I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue," Russell declares in his Preface, and his reasoned opposition to any system or dogma which he feels may shackle man's mind runs through all the essays in this book, whether they were written as early as 1899 or as late as 1954.

The book has been edited, with Lord Russell's full approval and cooperation, by Professor Paul Edwards of the Philosophy Department of New York University. In an Appendix, Professor Edwards contributes a full account of the highly controversial "Bertrand Russell Case" of 1940, in which Russell was judicially declared "unfit" to teach philosophy at the College of the City of New York.

Whether the reader shares or rejects Bertrand Russell's views, he will find this book an invigorating challenge to set notions, a masterly statement of a philosophical position, and a pure joy to read.



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