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Penelope, DWill and Robert Tulip about religious belief. 
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WildCityWoman

Frank?

What is it you have in your arms, in the picture you've used for your avatar?

Just curious . . .


That is a koala bear... I was fortunate enough to be one of the few visitors to the Australian zoo that day that the bear would let hold him.

Later



Tue Mar 25, 2008 10:40 pm
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I didn't read more than the first pages of this thread, hope that's ok with everyone.

I don't think that religion is the problem, the problem is people who don't think critically.

Maybe religion manipulates people to think irrational, but I think it's more common, at least in the western world, that people adhere to religion because they are irrational.

Also, although a lot of the conflicts and wars are and have been cloaked in religious terms, usually there is a economic or social conflict of interests behind it. To blame religion would be to simplify, since religion can be interpreted to make people behave more peaceful as well, "love thy neighbor " and so on.

Religion can be seen as a frame of reference and a way to express yourself, and does not necessarily have to be dogmatic.

To make things clear, I am in no way a religious person myself, although there was a time when I believed in God and had religious experiences.



Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:08 am
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Frank 013 wrote:
Quote:
WildCityWoman

Frank?

What is it you have in your arms, in the picture you've used for your avatar?

Just curious . . .


That is a koala bear... I was fortunate enough to be one of the few visitors to the Australian zoo that day that the bear would let hold him.

Later


Oh, now I truly am jealous! You lucky dog!

We had koala bears here at the zoo (just on a visit) a few years back. We weren't allowed to so much as touch one part of them.

They were sleeping most of the time.

I would have loved to cuddle one!

Thanks, Will.



Thu Mar 27, 2008 10:18 pm
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I don't think that religion is the problem; the problem is people who don't think critically.

Maybe religion manipulates people to think irrational, but I think it's more common, at least in the western world, that people adhere to religion because they are irrational.


I don't think that that possibility has been shown conclusively... I also think that it is more probable that the religious are irrational because the umbrella of religion encourages that kind of thinking.

After all most of those people can think critically about subjects outside of their religion, even bringing those critical thinking skills to the table when confronted with other religions, they simply seem incapable of submitting their own beliefs to the same scrutiny.

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Samson
Also, although a lot of the conflicts and wars are and have been cloaked in religious terms, usually there is a economic or social conflict of interests behind it.


Religions have been used as a cover for wars with deeper issues, that I have no doubt; but that neither clears the religion of any wrong doing, or completes the list of religion's harm to society.

Don't forget in many situations the church itself was the driving force of those wars, the church has often been the tyrannical entity looking to enhance its reach and power and to block out or destroy any competition or opposition.

In those situations religion was still the tool used to motivate the people to do terrible things; that alone makes it dangerous. Religious beliefs help dehumanize the enemy; (Ideas like killing a non-believer is not a sin in the eyes of god and so forth...) Religion also offers rewards to its believers that no secular entity can match... Destroying the infidels in the name of god as a pathway to heaven is an idea common to both Christianity and Islam.

I have said this all before but one point remains clear above all others... only a religious person can believe that they will be eternally rewarded for murdering another human being.

I posted this in another thread but it appears to be relevant here...

Quote:
The most religious societies have the most crime and social dysfunction on every measurable scale.

The claim of ultimate truth and as a result bigotry to those who do not believe the same thing is a huge problem among religious believers. This can be used by those in control to justify murder (see Islam for references to such atrocities in the modern age) or even to control who marries who (Gays cannot marry because it is a sin in the eyes of god; Catholics are only supposed to marry other Catholics). The first example does in fact cause suffering; I suspect that the second often does as well.

Those ideas often permeate deep into a persons psyche causing bigotry on a much more personal scale resulting in cultural clashes in all levels of society. Religions can and do create (perceived) disparities between people when no other differences are evident or noteworthy.


After all it is not the government that decided to boycott Harry Potter books and burn them... The idea to send death threats to the gallery that was going to display the "my sweet Jesus" chocolate sculpture was not initiated by some economic problem. The motivation to stop gay marriage only seems to be an idea promoted by the religious... need I go on?

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Samson
To blame religion would be to simplify, since religion can be interpreted to make people behave more peaceful as well, "love thy neighbor" and so on.


I do not think it's a simplification to say that removing religion would seriously hamper any efforts to manipulate the masses, religion's power to manipulate is unmatched.

After all what other reason could there be to get insulted about a chocolate Jesus? Or destroy books and ban movies because of the fear that they promote witchcraft? Blocking gay marriage, how is this in any way economic?

These things are only offensive because religion says they are... furthermore in the case of gay marriage it is not anyone's business... unless for some reason a person has been convinced into believing that it could somehow cause harm to society... which is the churches' stance on the issue; a stance with zero evidence to support it I might add.

This is the control to manipulate that I speak of, and if you are thinking about saying that those people are fanatics and are a minority... well that simply is not true. If it were, gay marriage would not be banned in 48 of the 50 states.

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Samson
Religion can be seen as a frame of reference and a way to express yourself, and does not necessarily have to be dogmatic.


You are correct, if you could just get the believers to agree then there would be little to argue about.

Later



Fri Mar 28, 2008 12:09 am
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Samson
Religion can be seen as a frame of reference and a way to express yourself, and does not necessarily have to be dogmatic.


Frank, despite the conservative influence that religion can exert on social policy, I think that also there are many more people in the category indicated by Samson than you seem willing to concede. Even those who might say they fervently believe in their theology are not necessarily dogmatic, in my view, if they they observe the proper boundaries--as most do. That is, they do not approach me as a person who needs to get with the beliefs they hold. That these beliefs might be labeled as irrational would be a weak and even narrow-minded reason for attacking them.

Again, the view of religion as monolithic, and with it that any hint of a religious sentiment is a problem by definition, just isn't truly reasonable in itself, is it? Not that I can see.

Looks like my break was a short one! By the way, I had also wondered what you were holding in your photo and am glad to have the mystery resolved.
Will



Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:32 am
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Will
Frank, despite the conservative influence that religion can exert on social policy, I think that also there are many more people in the category indicated by Samson than you seem willing to concede. Even those who might say they fervently believe in their theology are not necessarily dogmatic, in my view, if they observe the proper boundaries--as most do. That is, they do not approach me as a person who needs to get with the beliefs they hold.


I admit that those people do exist but they are completely overshadowed by their more aggressive counterparts, who by the way also claim to speak for them.

Since the more moderate religious folk do not stand up and say "hey those wackos don't speak for us" I must do what my government does and assume that they agree with the more vocal minority.

In addition because most Christians trust Christian organizations many of the moderate Christians you speak of are funding the fundamentalist cause, sometimes willingly, sometimes through ignorance. (Another form of manipulation)

Quote:
Will
That these beliefs might be labeled as irrational would be a weak and even narrow-minded reason for attacking them.


Religious belief, as I see it deserves no special pass when looked at for its reasonability. I would criticize a person's belief who insisted that zombie cockroaches were living in their head slowly eating their brains the same way. The stories of Christianity are equally absurd.

Besides, my position is not an attack, it is defensive. In order to assure that the fundamentalist cause does not invade my personal rights I must speak out against it, and when fighting I always go for the weak points.

And yes it is the atheist and other less represented religions that must fight this battle because the other Christians that you claim do respect our boundaries won't raise a finger to stop their vile cousins which in effect empowers their movement.

Quote:
Will
Again, the view of religion as monolithic, and with it that any hint of a religious sentiment is a problem by definition, just isn't truly reasonable in itself, is it? Not that I can see.


If by this you mean that believers who don't hold their beliefs as strongly as others are more tolerant I agree. Of course this only lends support to my theory less dogma and religious zeal equals less bigotry and the acceptance of alternate viewpoints.

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Will
Looks like my break was a short one! By the way, I had also wondered what you were holding in your photo and am glad to have the mystery resolved.


Welcome back!

Later



Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:40 pm
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Oh, as far as the koala picture... go to the contact page (upper right corner of the page) and look under Frank Morris... there you will find a large picture of the koala and me.

Later



Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:45 pm
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Frank 013 wrote:
If by this you mean that believers who don't hold their beliefs as strongly as others are more tolerant I agree. Of course this only lends support to my theory less dogma and religious zeal equals less bigotry and the acceptance of alternate viewpoints.


Well, yeah, I'd strongly agree that zealotry is offensive, simply bad behavior, if by zealotry we mean the tendency to want to remake the world in the image of our religion. I wouldn't call all deep belief zealotry, though, because many people manage to hold beliefs that are meaningful to them while avoiding condemning others for what they do or don't believe. As for the word dogma, it has a very negative connotation but should be used in the right situation and not just labeling any belief whatsoever.

I wonder, Frank, if there is a magnitude-of-threat element involved in our separate attitudes on this matter. I don't have the sense of a clear and present danger that you seem to have, even though I live in a conservative area and have been concerned enough about religion insinuating itself into government to write several times to the newspaper stating that we are not a Christian nation.

Historically, religion and secularism have always been at odds in the country. We have a godless constitution, yet the highest rate of chuurchgoing of any advanced nation. Go figure. The conflict is part of our brand of pluralism, and we've managed, though just barely at times, to all live with each other.

There is also the matter of the positive good done by churches in the country that I think has to be recognized. True, just by virtue of their being religious organizations, they don't perform any service that a secular body cant' perform, but the fact remains that their impact is huge due to its volume. This is why I've said we would be worse off if the church doors were locked.

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"Religious belief, as I see it deserves no special pass when looked at for its reasonability. I would criticize a person's belief who insisted that zombie cockroaches were living in their head slowly eating their brains the same way. The stories of Christianity are equally absurd."

The examples are not parallel for several reasons, but in any case you'd probably want to get your psychotic person some help rather than criticizing him or her. The Christian believer doesn't need mental health treament (though you may not agree!), but the beliefs, within certain common-sense limits, are really his right to hold without molestation. The believers themselves do not always play by these rules (regarding nonbelievers), very true, but I'm not sure that justifies tit-for-tat.

Finally, in case I'm mischaracterizing any part of your view, perhaps you have positive things to say about religion in general or Christianity in particular, but I've not seen them. Thanks.
Will



Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:26 pm
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Will
Well, yeah, I'd strongly agree that zealotry is offensive, simply bad behavior, if by zealotry we mean the tendency to want to remake the world in the image of our religion.


That is pretty much what I mean when I say zealotry.

Quote:
Will
I wouldn't call all deep belief zealotry, though, because many people manage to hold beliefs that are meaningful to them while avoiding condemning others for what they do or don't believe.


Neither would I, for instance... you will not see me criticize Buddhism because those believers do not attack my lifestyle, or vandalize my car, or claim that I am un-American and damned because I do not follow their beliefs. In the case of Christians however I do not grant this pass... they have done this to me and continue to invade my life on a regular basis.

Quote:
Will
As for the word dogma, it has a very negative connotation but should be used in the right situation and not just labeling any belief whatsoever.


By dogma I mean the slew of rules that accompany religion, not the belief itself. But you rarely see belief without the dogma.

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Christ functions, in an unnoticed and equivocal way, as shorthand for a vast system of beliefs and institutions on whose behalf he is invoked. Put simply, this means that when an evangelist or an apologist invites you to have faith "in Christ," they are in fact smuggling in a great number of other issues. For example, Chalcedonian Christology, the doctrine of the Trinity, the Protestant idea of faith and grace, a particular theory of biblical inspiration and literalism, habits of church attendance, etc. These are all distinct and open questions. Theologians have debated them for many centuries and still debate them. Rank and file believers still debate them, as you know if you have ever spent time talking with one of Jehovah's Witnesses or a Seventh Day Adventist. If you hear me say that and your first thought is "Oh no, those folks aren't real Christians," you're just proving my point! Who gave Protestant fundamentalists the copyright on the word Christian?

No evangelist ever invites people to accept Christ by faith and then to start examining all these other associated issues for themselves. Not one! The Trinity, biblical inerrancy, for some even anti-Darwinism, are non-negotiable. You cannot be genuinely saved if you don't tow the party line on these points. Thus, for them, "to accept Christ" means "to accept Trinitarianism, biblicism, creationism, etc." And this in turn means that "Christ" is shorthand for this whole raft of doctrines and opinions, all of which one is to accept "by faith," on someone else's say-so.

Robert M. Price



Quote:
Will
I wonder, Frank, if there is a magnitude-of-threat element involved in our separate attitudes on this matter. I don't have the sense of a clear and present danger that you seem to have, even though I live in a conservative area and have been concerned enough about religion insinuating itself into government to write several times to the newspaper stating that we are not a Christian nation.


As a life long atheist I have seen and continue to see the uglier side of religion, and it is not limited to just the fanatics, people who are normally very respectful and nice often turn nasty and judgmental very quickly when the term atheist is brought up.

Food for thought...

Why do you think that the vast majority of Christians believe that this country was founded as a Christian nation?

It is certainly not from reading up on the history of the subject.

Is it possible that the church has put forth this idea and is encouraging its acceptance?

Does this not seem like a dangerous manipulation and a reach for political power to you?

Quote:
Will
There is also the matter of the positive good done by churches in the country that I think has to be recognized. True, just by virtue of their being religious organizations, they don't perform any service that a secular body can't' perform, but the fact remains that their impact is huge due to its volume. This is why I've said we would be worse off if the church doors were locked.


I think that if you looked back through history the conflict that religion has caused greatly outweighs the good, furthermore even if religion is doing more good than bad right now (and I don't see that it is) there is nothing stopping it from causing more horrendous atrocities in the future. All religion needs is the power, something it is striving to attain even as we speak.

Quote:
Will
The examples are not parallel for several reasons, but in any case you'd probably want to get your psychotic person some help rather than criticizing him or her. The Christian believer doesn't need mental health treatment (though you may not agree!),


The belief that a virgin gave birth to the son of a god, who was crucified and returned from the dead, who now speaks to them through prayer and miracles is in no way less of a delusion then the brain eating zombie cockroaches.

Quote:
Will
but the beliefs, within certain common-sense limits, are really his right to hold without molestation.


Not exactly, it is their right to believe if they want, but I have the right to speak out about the belief's absurdity if I choose to, if the truth hurts thats to darn bad. I had to accept the fact that Santa Clause was not real, I got over it.

Quote:
Will
The believers themselves do not always play by these rules (regarding nonbelievers), very true, but I'm not sure that justifies tit-for-tat.


Tit-for-tat is not the reason for my exchange, just as a person has the right to believe whatever they want I also have the right to point out how silly it is, especially when the person insists that I follow along with their delusion.

Quote:
Will
Finally, in case I'm mischaracterizing any part of your view, perhaps you have positive things to say about religion in general or Christianity in particular, but I've not seen them. Thanks.


There are some things that religion has a good handle on, such as a sense of community and mutual support. The problem is that those advantages are only open to people of specific beliefs. Any person speaking contrary to those beliefs in a church or religious setting will soon find themselves back out on the street shunned by the community and devoid of their support.

If you could harness that sense of community without the associated dogma you would have something worth bragging about.

Later



Sat Mar 29, 2008 5:05 pm
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I would say that the first religion in the US & Canada was what the native practiced. I don't know what they actually called it, if they gave it any name at all.

Wicca, the pagan faith, is the very same as what the early natives practiced.

As for Christianity being the first religion (besides what the natives had), what would it have been - Roman Catholic? Anglican?

That would be the Quakers, I guess - they aren't Catholics or Anglicans.

I never thought of this before - it's a good point.



Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:45 am
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The Pilgrim Fathers were the ones who took the faith to America weren't they? They were Puritans....more or less thrown out of England for not conforming to the Roman Catholic faith, which was the one the monarch followed at the time.

The Cathars were mercilessly wiped out in France....by the Roman Catholic church. In England, we had a session when Elizabeth I was on the throne, of the Protestants eliminating the Catholics......because the monarch was then Protestant, being the daughter of Henry VIII who made himself head of the Church of England, instead of the Pope, because he wanted a divorce and to marry Ann Boleyn and the Pope would not agree to that.

How ludicrous it all sounds. You couldn't make it up could you? Well, not into a 'believable' novel.

Poor old Prince Charles in England now is worried about becoming King and says he doesn't want to be named 'Defender of the Faith' but 'Defender of the Faiths'. Because we are a multi-faith nation with Muslims, Hindus, Sheiks, Rastas and etc...etc..... Prince Charles has opened up a real can of worms!!

When the rest of the nation follows what the Monarch and the aristocracy believes, it is called Hegemony.....I think.

Hmmmm.....I don't know about forming a sense of Community this way....I think it is probably better for we who are religiously inclined to become hermits......and not say nuffink to nobody...... :lol:



Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:11 am
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Penelope wrote:
Carley said:

Quote:
I believe in God - I don't believe in 'religion'.


I absolutely agree with you Carley and I can add.....

I love Churches and Cathedrals - when they are empty. :D


Speaking of churches and cathedrals . . . I'm in the midst of reading 'The Pillars of the Earth' by Ken Follett for another online book club - what a book!

If anything, the reader sure does learn about how to build churches and cathedrals!



Mon Mar 31, 2008 10:16 am
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Frank,
Was that Robert Price quote from The Reason-Driven Life? I thought he did a wickedly good job in that of skewering Pastor Warren (but also now and then gave him a pat on the back). Another good post from you. As you have already seen, I am basically friendly toward religion of many, but not all, stripes. (Is that an essential difference between a non-theist and an atheist?) That may seem strange coming from a non-believer and non-theist, but I think not really. As a humanist, I don't look for the kind of answers religion has tried to provide, but also as a humanist, I cannot sweep it all into the trash bin, because for me it represents a profound human creation that has been the inspiration for so much art, music, and literature. We sometimes speak of Christianity, in particular, conspiratorily as if it all was foisted upon unsuspecting people by a cabal of church fathers, but of course that is a disorted view that can't account for the significance it may have for any individual.

I also believe that we are unquestionably in the debt of Christianity, culturally, intellectually, and perhaps spiritually, even if we think we have nothing to do with its beliefs or traditions.

By now, I am repeating myself.
Will



Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:35 pm
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Dang, I thought of another question I wanted to ask you, Frank. In one of your previous posts, you mentioned atheism and other religions. Do you consider atheism to be a religion? I ask because on the Rationally Speaking forum, Pigliucci, an atheist, goes to considerable lengths to refute the writer of an article on atheism as a "stealth religion." Is there any consensus on this as far as you know?



Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:10 pm
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Will
Was that Robert Price quote from The Reason-Driven Life?


That quote is from a debate between Dr. Robert Price and Rev. John Rankin, titled "Jesus: Fact or Fiction", the quote is from Price's opening statement

Quote:
Will
As you have already seen, I am basically friendly toward religion of many, but not all, stripes. Is that an essential difference between a non-theist and an atheist?


Not from my experience... I have seen atheists that are very friendly towards organized religion and believers that are very hostile towards organized religion.

I always thought that non-theist was basically just an atheist that was attempting to avoid the label that comes with the term.

Quote:
Will
As a humanist, I don't look for the kind of answers religion has tried to provide, but also as a humanist, I cannot sweep it all into the trash bin, because for me it represents a profound human creation that has been the inspiration for so much art, music, and literature.


True but that is all in the past and it came with the wars, inquisitions, witch hunts and religious embattling that caused untold suffering to so many.

In today's society where the world seems so small and other ideas and beliefs are so prominent the dogma and elitism that religions breed are even more outdated and troublesome to those who do not share the same views.

Modern religions are counter productive to tolerance in today's society and dangerous to our future as a species.

Quote:
Will
We sometimes speak of Christianity, in particular, conspiratorially as if it all was foisted upon unsuspecting people by a cabal of church fathers, but of course that is a distorted view that can't account for the significance it may have for any individual.


Belief and spirituality were alive and well long before Christianity, and in those older pagan religions there was no sense of exclusiveness or demand that there was only one true god.

The downfall of Christianity would not be the end of spirituality but it would be a positive notch for tolerance. Christianity and of course Islam both preach dogma that is exclusive, judgmental, and requires that the followers convert others in the belief that they hold the only truth of salvation.

It is no coincidence that the more followers a religion has, the more power and income it enjoys.

Quote:
Will
I also believe that we are unquestionably in the debt of Christianity, culturally, intellectually, and perhaps spiritually, even if we think we have nothing to do with its beliefs or traditions.


I will agree that Christianity has helped shape our culture, but not always in a good way, the subjugation of woman as a lesser class, its justification of slavery... etc.

Intellectually, Christianity has been a tremendous roadblock to forward thinking; it has been responsible for holding back the sciences and still is to this day. Christianity, during the dark ages coveted knowledge; and it has been said that without Christianity's total control over that information and its habit of teaching dogma above factual knowledge, that mankind may have been traveling to the moon in Columbus' time.

As far as spiritually... I do not see anything specifically spiritual about the insistence that a bunch of fairy tales actually happened.

Prayer which I can see as spiritual (much like meditation) can be accomplished without Christianity and was around long before Christianity ever entered the scene.

Quote:
Will
Dang, I thought of another question I wanted to ask you, Frank. In one of your previous posts, you mentioned atheism and other religions. Do you consider atheism to be a religion? I ask because on the Rationally Speaking forum, Pigliucci, an atheist, goes to considerable lengths to refute the writer of an article on atheism as a "stealth religion." Is there any consensus on this as far as you know?


The only consensus that I am aware of is that the lack of belief does NOT constitute a religion.

I do not remember writing that particular statement but if I did it was most likely a remark about how many religious people make the mistaken remark that a outspoken atheist is the equivalent of a religious apologist.

In short atheism does not conform to any of the definitions of religion.

Later



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A Nation Under Judgment by Richard Capriola


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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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