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Ch. 8: The "New" Testament Exceeds the Evil of the 
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Robert Tulip wrote:
]How ironic that Hitchens calls for an ironic rather than a literal reading of scripture, but himself exhibits Abraham’s behaviour of justifying a sacrifice of the innocent while excoriating Abraham. He obviously thought the sacrifice of innocent life in the Iraq War was for a greater good. However, that is disputable. In any case, there is a reasonable parallel between the patriarchal origins of Israel in the arbitrary behaviour of Abraham and the current Judeo-Christian patriarchal willingness to sacrifice the innocent.

Just to make a single comment so there's no confusion, Robert. Hitchens doesn't advocate for any type of reading of scripture. It was my thought that DH was telling us that scripture should be viewed as ironic or subversive commentary rather than as an uncomplicated narrative (and obviously I did not agree).


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Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:59 am
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DWill: Hitchens doesn't advocate for any type of reading of scripture.

He may not explicity state his hermeneutical strategy (methods for reading, interpretation, and presuppositions about the text and the ideological lenses utilized by the reader)...but he certainly makes choices, none of which are free of ideology or agenda or desired goal...these choices highlight some texts over others, are entirely silent about others, and assume a highly fallacious notion of 'uncomplicated narrative' as a guiding hermeneutical principal.

Not having any clear indication of why the text was written, or how it is supposed to be read, or who should be reading it, or in what setting or format or context such reading was intended by the authors and editors of the text...I don't know how Mr. Hitchens, or anyone, can claim any sort of universal lens or universal conclusions about a text as complicated as the Bible.

This doesnt mean it is a pure rorsarch enterprise, where we simply project our ourselves entirely into the narrative...but, be sure, claiming a naive objectivity with no presuppositions or hermeneutical advocacy, is a clear indication that we are not aware of how we are projecting onto the text.



Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:43 am
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DWill: I'll grant you that your approach is very different from that which is used in any but a few very liberal churches. I would even call it a non-devotional approach. Worshipers generally want to revere the bible itself, not to see it as some kind of ironic or subversive commentary. And I think that here their instincts are right: there is no other way to read the Abraham/Isaac story but as representing simply and straightforwardly the proper way of faith.

I don't think a devotional or reverential approach to scripture requires a slavish submission to the authority of the text. And, I think it is clear, your preconceived notions of what is devotion and reverence have influenced your approach to the text...exhibiting the inescapable fact that none of us can read the text "simply and straightforwardly". Your conclusion that there is no role for irony or subversion in devotion or reverence closes the door on a number of possible interpretations.

I also do not know if the Abraham/Isaac trauma is the best example of Biblical faith. As an example of faith the narrative places Abraham in an impossible dilemma: who do you love more Abraham- Isaac or God? Which, at its best, forces the faithful to come to terms with what is non-negotiable about faith: where God is primary and premiere there is life...where God is surpassed or relegated or diminished there is death. If Abraham loves Isaac more than God, he gets neither Issac or God, or life at all. Whereas, if he loves God first: all else is provided. Isaac serves as the greatest threat for idolatry in Abraham's life. Idolatry is worshipping false gods...Isaac could become a false god to Abraham...perhaps was on the way to becoming precisely that.

More to say....



Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:07 pm
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Dissident Heart wrote:
DWill: “Hitchens doesn't advocate for any type of reading of scripture.”He may not explicitly state his hermeneutical strategy (methods for reading, interpretation, and presuppositions about the text and the ideological lenses utilized by the reader)...but he certainly makes choices, none of which are free of ideology or agenda or desired goal...these choices highlight some texts over others, are entirely silent about others, and assume a highly fallacious notion of 'uncomplicated narrative' as a guiding hermeneutical principal. Not having any clear indication of why the text was written, or how it is supposed to be read, or who should be reading it, or in what setting or format or context such reading was intended by the authors and editors of the text...I don't know how Mr. Hitchens, or anyone, can claim any sort of universal lens or universal conclusions about a text as complicated as the Bible. This doesn’t mean it is a pure rorsarch enterprise, where we simply project our ourselves entirely into the narrative...but, be sure, claiming a naive objectivity with no presuppositions or hermeneutical advocacy, is a clear indication that we are not aware of how we are projecting onto the text.
Hitchens does actually call for an ironic rather than a literal reading of scripture when he describes the religious mind as "literal and limited" and the atheistic mind as "ironic and inquiring." He also exhibits a set of scientific ideological biases. This emerges in the Abraham reading. I have been debating with Interbane about the basis of an astrotheological reading of scripture, an approach Hitchens seems to reject as linked to astrology. The Abraham story contains the following:
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“the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. 12 "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son." 13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram [a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided." 15 The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, "I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring [b] all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."
Astrotheology reads this passage by noting that Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac marks the dawn of the Age of Aries, when the vernal equinox point entered the constellation of Aries in about 2000BC, just as Jesus Christ marks the dawn of the Age of Pisces in 0 BC/AD, when the vernal equinox point entered the constellation of Pisces. The deep symbolism of sacrificing a ram, symbolic of Aries, in place of his son Isaac provides abundance for Abraham’s descendents, just as the deep symbolism of the loaves and fishes provide abundance for the followers of Jesus.

Setting biblical myths against the temporal shift of the cosmos provides an informative and coherent reading, but one that is outside the pale for Hitchens with his ideological reliance on the modernist theory of David Hume and Thomas Hobbes. It is unfortunate that the Abraham text provides ideological basis for Zionism regarding enemy cities. A better interpretation, rather than calling Abraham names, is to see him as symbolising the needs of a past age. Now the needs are completely different, as we reach the end of the Piscean Age and look towards a new Age of Aquarius.



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Robert Tulip wrote:
In any case, there is a reasonable parallel between the patriarchal origins of Israel in the arbitrary behaviour of Abraham and the current Judeo-Christian patriarchal willingness to sacrifice the innocent.


What exactly is arbitrary about following, in fear, the voice of a god who demands sacrifice? Seeing that arbitrariness is a term given to choices and actions which are considered to be done not by means of any underlying principle or logic, but by whim or some decidedly illogical formula - I suppose that the only explanation for what you mean to say is that god is the illogical motivation in any particular atypical religious action?

No metaphysical entity actually demands the "Judeo-Christians" to do anything in a manner that is even slightly suggestive of a realistic association with Abraham's worldly, yet supposedly divinely inspired actions.

:book:



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Grim wrote:
What exactly is arbitrary about following, in fear, the voice of a god who demands sacrifice?
Abraham is a bit like Joseph Smith of the Mormons with his "God told me" line to justify his own arguments. Arbitrariness enters decision-making when the decision is not based on evidence. There is no evidence that God actually made a demand to Abraham.



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Robert Tulip wrote:
Grim wrote:
What exactly is arbitrary about following, in fear, the voice of a god who demands sacrifice?
Abraham is a bit like Joseph Smith of the Mormons with his "God told me" line to justify his own arguments. Arbitrariness enters decision-making when the decision is not based on evidence. There is no evidence that God actually made a demand to Abraham.


Is there any evidence that Abraham even existed for that matter? Other than the presence of the stars I suppose, and we are after all his supposed descendants, we can also notice an early biblical reference to the idea of gods children owning the earth stemming from his god given patriarchy. If taken as a parable the situation seems to be expressed quite explicitly, a style that I am sure is common to most of the book. Am I to understand you made a simple taxonomic error, everyone does, it's just that the implications are...suggestive.

Image

:book:



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What is the taxonomic error?



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Dissident Heart wrote:
I don't think a devotional or reverential approach to scripture requires a slavish submission to the authority of the text. And, I think it is clear, your preconceived notions of what is devotion and reverence have influenced your approach to the text...exhibiting the inescapable fact that none of us can read the text "simply and straightforwardly". Your conclusion that there is no role for irony or subversion in devotion or reverence closes the door on a number of possible interpretations.

You're right about preconceived notions, and I would never claim not to have them. My notion about the bible is that it has, like all texts, a provenance, which places it in a historical context that should guide us in judging its meaning. I'm not a sophisticate when it comes to postmodern approaches to a text, and you could also say I don't believe in them. When I say, though, that the Abraham/Isaac story is simple or straightforward (on a relative scale), I am not making a "how to read" declaration. I am just stating an opinion about the presentation of this particular story. Now it is also true that in general, my opinion is that the historical and social contexts of the Bible determine its nature as largely instructive or didactic, which really does not give large room to interpretation. There are going to be important, numerous, exceptions to this statement for a diverse compilation like the Bible. My opinion on Abraham/Isaac, though, is that your interpretations to some degree avoid the reality of why this story is so important in the biblical context and why it is so representative of the society at that time.
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who do you love more Abraham- Isaac or God? Which, at its best, forces the faithful to come to terms with what is non-negotiable about faith: where God is primary and premiere there is life...where God is surpassed or relegated or diminished there is death. If Abraham loves Isaac more than God, he gets neither Issac or God, or life at all. Whereas, if he loves God first: all else is provided. Isaac serves as the greatest threat for idolatry in Abraham's life. Idolatry is worshipping false gods...Isaac could become a false god to Abraham...perhaps was on the way to becoming precisely that.

Not to say I could not be limtied in my ability to understand a dimension of "love,", but in Abraham's submission to the command I don't see love at work but rather fear. I know this is part of the difficulty of the OT relationship with God, that he must be both loved and feared. Hitchens doesn't mention this as one of the impossible expectations of religion, but I wonder if it might be another. At any rate, I have difficulty seeing in this "love" the same love enjoined on us by the "great command" of the NT.

I would also point out that in the first interpretation you offered of Abraham/Isaac, God was indeed acting monstrously. Yet in the above he is acting justly. This can be the problem with interpretations--disruption of coherence.


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Fri Apr 17, 2009 5:39 am
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Robert Tulip wrote:
Hitchens does actually call for an ironic rather than a literal reading of scripture when he describes the religious mind as "literal and limited" and the atheistic mind as "ironic and inquiring." He also exhibits a set of scientific ideological biases. This emerges in the Abraham reading. I have been debating with Interbane about the basis of an astrotheological reading of scripture, an approach Hitchens seems to reject as linked to astrology.

Thank you, Robert, very much, for quoting from the text. I think we need to have more specific reference to what CH is actually saying. Note, though, that CH is not making a pitch for an ironic reading of the Bible when he says that atheists are given to irony. For him, I believe, and for me as well, there is rather a shortage of ironic possibility in the Bible. There is not often enough that sublety that lets irony in.


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DWill wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Hitchens does actually call for an ironic rather than a literal reading of scripture when he describes the religious mind as "literal and limited" and the atheistic mind as "ironic and inquiring." He also exhibits a set of scientific ideological biases. This emerges in the Abraham reading. I have been debating with Interbane about the basis of an astrotheological reading of scripture, an approach Hitchens seems to reject as linked to astrology.

Thank you, Robert, very much, for quoting from the text. I think we need to have more specific reference to what CH is actually saying. Note, though, that CH is not making a pitch for an ironic reading of the Bible when he says that atheists are given to irony. For him, I believe, and for me as well, there is rather a shortage of ironic possibility in the Bible. There is not often enough that sublety that lets irony in.
Biblical symbolism is intrinsically ironic. Irony is incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs. The biggest irony is that the messiah is expected to be a king but turns out to be a slave.

A deep level of irony arises from the method of biblical compilation, where oral stories were documented to combine various traditions. Hitchens notes in Chapter Seven that "the Pentateuch contains two discrepant accounts of the creation, two different genealogies of the seed of Adam, and two narratives of the Flood." The ironic incongruity arises as these competing memetic traditions mutate within the text, with a further deep irony that they disprove the inerrancy theory of fundamentalism.

Another irony noted with some wither by Hitchens is between the claim that God is good and the way "rabbis solemly debate ... whether the demand to exterminate the Amalekites is a coded commandment to do away with the Palestinians." And Feuerbach notes a deep irony that the Bible claims man is made in God's image but analysis suggests God is made in man's image.

The astrotheological reading is intrinsically ironic, with symbols placed throughout the text to reveal a deeper truth, giving a sense that this was done intentionally in the knowledge that these coded messages would not be understood. Jesus' mention of the Aquarian man with the water jug on the way to find the colt on Palm Sunday is a prime example.



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DWill: I'm not a sophisticate when it comes to postmodern approaches to a text, and you could also say I don't believe in them.

Can you point out how my approach is Postmodern?

DWill: When I say, though, that the Abraham/Isaac story is simple or straightforward (on a relative scale), I am not making a "how to read" declaration. I am just stating an opinion about the presentation of this particular story.

Your opinion of the presentation of the story surely influences your notion of how best to read it. In other words, how you define the intention of the author determines your method for reading his text. Even if you claim a relatively simple and straightforward didactic intention- that does not mean the author intends the reader to simply read and repeat in his own life what was read. In other words, the didactic intention may be something more complex: the behaviors of the characters are NOT simply to be emulated, but rather serve as a vivid example of alternatives and options...Abraham chooses x, but what do you choose, and why?

And, what about the silent spaces in the text? For instance, perhaps one part of the didactic intention involves filling in those spaces with what you imagine the character to say...so, retell the Abraham/Isaac narrative- but give voice to Isaac- what is he thinking, does he try to reason with his father, does he pray out to God, how does he struggle or submit: the text is silent, but that doesnt mean you the reader must remain so. Imagine Abraham explaining to Isaac the reasoning behind his terrible deed: justifying and rationalizing the act, begging for forgiveness, tearfully dreading and hating himself for it....

And, if the reading of this text is NOT something done simply alone and for academic 'brushing up'...but in community and in dialogue and in interaction with others, and as a way to define who you are and the destiny and purpose of your life and community: then it becomes a far more fascinating and engaging and dynamic reading of the text....the didactic is not about blind emulation at all: but creative, critical, imaginative and interactive dialogue with those who share your home and make up your community.



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Dissident Heart wrote:
Can you point out how my approach is Postmodern?

Juggling conflicting interpretations, not seeming to think historical context mattered...I just wondered.

Your other points are well made, but at the risk of appearing to avoid them, I think it would be a good idea to fall back to Hitchens, the subject of this forum. You may be blaming him for some things I've said about interpreting, but I think if you read the book you'll see that he has nothing
(can you think of anything, Robert?) to say about this. He doesn't deal with minority reports--how could he have time?--but he must be aware that there are other ways, besides the traditional, to read the Bible. Surely some of the religious friends he speaks of talk to him about just that. There is no sign from him that he means to interfere with or denigrate the satisfactions that people find in their religion (you have to get past his overly provocative title). As long as they don't attempt to force it on those who aren't interested, he's fine, and so am I.

His subject is those common, traditional understandings of religion that have generally held for hundreds of years and are still held by many today. Some of these are related to abuses. Again, he never states that relgion has exhausted its possibilities for individuals. His statement is that religion is not necessary, as it was in previous ages. It has become optional and private, however important those adhering to it might experience it as.


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DWill wrote:
Dissident Heart wrote:
Can you point out how my approach is Postmodern?
Juggling conflicting interpretations, not seeming to think historical context mattered...I just wondered. Your other points are well made, but at the risk of appearing to avoid them, I think it would be a good idea to fall back to Hitchens, the subject of this forum. You may be blaming him for some things I've said about interpreting, but I think if you read the book you'll see that he has nothing (can you think of anything, Robert?) to say about this. He doesn't deal with minority reports--how could he have time?--but he must be aware that there are other ways, besides the traditional, to read the Bible. Surely some of the religious friends he speaks of talk to him about just that. There is no sign from him that he means to interfere with or denigrate the satisfactions that people find in their religion (you have to get past his overly provocative title). As long as they don't attempt to force it on those who aren't interested, he's fine, and so am I. His subject is those common, traditional understandings of religion that have generally held for hundreds of years and are still held by many today. Some of these are related to abuses. Again, he never states that relgion has exhausted its possibilities for individuals. His statement is that religion is not necessary, as it was in previous ages. It has become optional and private, however important those adhering to it might experience it as.
Hitchens defends a mainstream modern rationality derived from Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and Bertrand Russell. He is therefore hostile to postmodernism with its relativist approaches to diversity. I don’t have the impression Hitchens shows high respect for the worldviews of those non-European cultures which assume a sanctity built into the natural order, as he seems to want to do without sanctity.

Using Hobbes, Hume and Russell as a prism on to the universe is no bad thing, and highly instructive. However, it is culturally determined. Hitchens’ hero George Orwell had a nuanced outlook, but still within the Anglosphere, with its empirical temperament. British empiricism suited the British Empire, and still has an arrogant tendency detectable in Hitchens.

I have the impression Hitchens would invoke Aristotle to reject postmodernism as illogical, rejecting the mysticism inherent in saying that contradictory propositions can both be true. Hitchens’ categorical logic leads him to describe myths as false, ignoring the dimensions of meaning held within mythic thought. True and false can become slightly blurred when interpreting the mythic meaning of symbolic archetypes.

Hitchens continues the dichotomous logic of Christianity in his distinction between truth and myth, a distinction which in bygone days was used to say Biblical stories were true and pagan myths were false. Now we look at both sides as mythic. His rejecting of all mythic thought as false is a big underlying assumption which actually cuts Hitchens off from the symbolic meaning inherent in myth.



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Robert Tulip wrote:
Using Hobbes, Hume and Russell as a prism on to the universe is no bad thing, and highly instructive.

I have the impression Hitchens would invoke Aristotle to reject postmodernism as illogical, rejecting the mysticism inherent in saying that contradictory propositions can both be true.


"One belief more than any other, is responsible for the slaughter of individuals on the alters of great historical ideals - justice or progress or the happiness of future generations, or the sacred mission or the emancipation of a nation or race or class, or even liberty its self, which demands the sacrifice of individuals for the freedom of society. This is the belief that somewhere, in the past or the future, in divine revelation or in the mind of an individual thinker, in the pronouncements of history or science, or in the simple heart of an uncorrupted good man, there is a final solution." Isaiah Berlin

This supposed affirmation in the blurring of true and false does not change the nature of the symbol as a physical representation of truth. How could it be an archetype if it were not? Hitchens rejection of myth is mirrored by the inability of myth to prove its truth. Weather you are talking about Mother Goose or the bible is now irrelevant. The frame of reference in regard to the bible has been shrewdly replaced by a philosophical argument discussing the merits and nature of the symbol and mythical representation of reality which is just as much a sociological or anthropological study as anything else.

DH: "the behaviors of the characters are NOT simply to be emulated, but rather serve as a vivid example of alternatives and options...Abraham chooses x, but what do you choose, and why?"

Why, why, why not just read Shakespeare?

:book:



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Frankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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