We found 113 Reddit comments about The God Delusion. Here are the top ones, ranked by their Reddit score.
> The fallout would be spectacular.
Well, if you want to stir up the shit pot a bit more, might I suggest setting the blender on puree with these titles?
Hi there, and thank you for your trust!
It sounds like your boyfriend is going about this a bit insensitively. Logical arguments are OK for debates, when both sides do it for the intellectual challenge. It's not humane to tear a person's world view out from under them when they're unprepared for it and a captive audience. I'm sure he means well and wants you to be closer to him, but he's being a bit of a caveman about it. Don't be mad at him, but tell him you think you'll be better off if you do your own information seeking, at your own pace. Ask him to have the patience and the trust to let you educate yourself. If he really cares for you, he should be fine with this: It may even be taking a burden off his shoulders.
I think there are some things you can consider and think about that will put things into focus and make this mess seem less of a problem.
Do you remember that song by Elton John Sting? "I hope the Russians love their children too."
Consider, first, some family in Tibet. Mom and dad live in a simple hut, doing some farming or whatever Tibetans do, and they have a bunch of children. They work hard to feed the family, and in the evening when they get together for supper they talk and smile and laugh a lot. They hug their children, they care for them when they're sick. They observe some kind of religious rituals, though they've probably never heard of Jesus. When a neighbor has a problem, they help them out. When someone dies, they mourn their passing and wish them a happy afterlife. Apart from the fact that they look Asian, they're people just like you, and they're good people. They have similar hopes and fears, they have stories to share and comfort them, and so forth. Two thirds of the world's people don't believe in Jesus, yet they're humans just like you and mostly decent people, just like your neighbors. Do you think they're all going to hell? Do you think they're paralyzed by their distance from your god, from their fear of death? No. Forget what religion these folks are, they're human.
Atheists are just a special case of those "other" humans. They believe in even less "other-worldly" stuff than the folks in Tibet do. Yet you probably meet atheists on the street every day. Some of them greet you and smile, most of them would help you if you had a problem and they were around. Atheists are not like vampires: They're not evil, they don't have to stay out of God's sunlight, and they don't burn up in churches and from contact with holy water ;)
Atheists have stories too, about the creation of the universe, which is really awesomely huge and inspiring. About the struggle of life to evolve to the fine humans we are today. About the many important achievements humans have made in their short time of being intelligent and basically masters of the world.
Rather than wrenching at your faith, I suggest you take a look at other cultures and religions for a bit. Consider that there humans out there who think other things than you, yet manage to be good people and lead happy lives. I'm almost embarrassed enough to delete my sappy paragraph about the Tibetan family, but I'll leave it in there to let you know what I'm getting at.
Then, inhale a bit of science. Go to church if you feel you need to, but also listen to videos by Carl Sagan. Get an appreciation for the wonders of the universe and of nature here on our planet. It's a rich and wonderful world out there. There is so much to see, to learn! Some people are in awe of God for producing all this; but you can just as easily be in awe of nature, of the intricate mechanisms that brought all this about without anyone taking a hand in it.
More stuff on nature and evolution can be learned, more or less gently, from Richard Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth. Get your boyfriend to buy it for you! But stay away from The God Delusion. While Dawkins is thoughtful and sensible, you don't want him telling you about how bad your god is - at least not right away.
A thought from me about a metaphor for God. Training wheels! You know how you have those wheels on your bike to keep it from tipping over as you're starting out? And how, once you've learned to keep your cycle straight, those training wheels are no longer really doing anything any more? That's God. It's comforting to feel that God is behind you in everything you do, it gives you strength and confidence. But everything you've achieved... that was you! You're standing up straight and doing fine, God is the training wheels you don't really need. On the other hand, I'm not going to say he really, truly absolutely isn't there. If you want him to be there, let him be there. Your BF will just have to put up with him for a while longer as you outgrow your training wheels.
Finally, about death: The good news is, it's not nearly the problem you think it is. There's a statistic that says, devout Christians are more than three times as likely, in their final week, to demand aggressive life-extending treatment than atheists. In English: Christians are more scared of dying than atheists are. You'd think that with heaven waiting, they'd be anxious to go! Actually, their religion -your religion- is telling them a comforting lie, letting them stick their heads in the sand all their lives. At the end, they panic because they're not sure what they believe is true. And they struggle for every minute of life.
I was religious once, and I had the "fear of death" phase, as many other atheists here report. You know what? I got over it. I confronted the idea, wrapped my head around it, got over it... and I've been completely unworried about death ever since. You'll get other people quoting Mark Twain for you here: About death being the same as the state you were in before you were born, and that didn't inconvenience you either, did it? Seriously, while I worry that my death may be painful or unpleasant, being dead is something I almost look forward to. It's like the long vacation I've always been meaning to take.
Well, I don't know if that will convince you, but... other people have been there too, and it turns out not to be the horrible problem you think it is. Things will be fine! Just allow yourself some time, and remind your BF to not be pushy about things. You can keep a spare room for when God comes to visit, but don't be surprised if that room turns out to fill up with other junk you're throwing out ;)
No doubt! but, please buy them a replacement copy.
Definitely. Ironically, /r/Islam is what started me on my journey, because half the content on that sub was stuff I totally disagreed with on a fundamental level. The questions that were being asked were silly (in my opinion), and the answers were even sillier. I didn't realise people actually thought that way. I was a pretty liberal Muslim at the time and thought that you didn't have to follow the Qur'an by the book to be a good Muslim, all you had to do was have good intentions. Seems I was the only one who thought that way.
So I went out looking for a sub that countered that one, which is when I found /r/exmuslim. The more I lurked around this sub the more I started to question organised religion, but still somewhat believed that god existed. Then I read The God Delusion, and that, I think, was the final blow.
But yes, /r/exmuslim played a huge part.
Two things to toss on your bed...
And THING 2
I believe he's referring to The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
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yeah the joke was about The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
> I've had spiritual experiences I believe are from God, so in a way, yes.
but you've never met him. the answer is no
> I've never met President Obama. Should I believe he doesn't exist? That's your best evidence?
neither have I but others have and we can prove his existence. are you trolling?
> I'll agree with the ones other than Christianity that I've researched.
ah, so you are an atheists towards other gods.
> Can you provide what convinces you of this in regards to Christianity?
this is going to require some research and time which sadly I dont think you'll do. but here are a few. I could go on and on and on if you'd like.
this, this, this, this, this, this
> Every time I talk to them, they tell me to go to church or pray or read the bible or some other nonsense.
Agree to their request - IF they do the same for you. You will read the bible and discuss what you find in it with them if they will read something you suggest and they discuss it with you.
Here is a couple of suggestions for reading in the bible:
Luke 19:11-27 The Parable of the Ten Minas - What is the meaning behind this parable? When are your parents gearing up for the slaughter?
Ok, I am too lazy to list other examples - so here is a link - A Book of Blood: Biblical atrocities :D
As for reading material for your parents - check the FAQ for a good list. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, is a popular choice.
Or you can work with your parents to investigate the foundations of the Catholic religion together. The primary most basic foundation to Catholics , and all the Abrahamic Religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) is the belief in one and only one monotheistic deity, Yahweh/YHWH/Allah. All of these religions also have established the precedent of accepting the revealed and religious literature/oral history of previous cultures regarding Yahweh/Allah. A fun and informative activity that any good adherent to Yahwehism should undertake is to investigate the origin story for Yahweh. Where did Yahweh come from? Yahweh did not just pop up fully revealed to the early Israelites (as documented in the Torah). SPOLIER: Yahweh started out as a second tier fertility/rain/warrior local desert God under the El, Father God, Pantheon.
Online evidential sources related to the development and growth of Allahism/Yahwehism:
If by 'lacking' you mean 'nonexistent', then yes.
I went to public school but with heavy influence from my folks and church, all of whom seem to be involved in some sort of Fundamentalism competition. I learned exactly as much as I had to in order to pass the test, but I was always convinced it was a lie because scientists are all "out to get" Christianity.
I'm still wrapping my head around just how unhealthy this worldview can be.
I'll echo /u/Cognizant_Psyche - kudos on taking that first step and deciding to get smart on this topic.
I talked to my church pastor, who passed me off to his wife (who has apologetics degrees out the ass). She recommended The Language of God, a tactic which soundly backfired on her. That book was fantastic. It explains evolution from a DNA perspective but then tries to tell me I can still believe in God if I want to. For me, from such a fundamentalist, literalist background, the bible had to be true word-for-word, yet this book flew in the face of the entire Genesis account of creation. If that wasn't real, how could I trust any of the rest?
Once I was 'cleared' to learn about Evolution, I grabbed Dawkins' The God Delusion. I watched the Ham-Nye debate. I grabbed Who Wrote The New Testament, and Misquoting Jesus. That pretty much did it for me.
PM me if you want me to mail it to your folks place.
Watch debates on YouTube. Dawkins is good for cold logic. Hitchens is good for more historical or anti-organized-religion arguments.
Read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
Keep in mind that a good debater should remain a gentleman. A kind word can go a long way. Be blunt but polite. Satire is useful, but crass ridicule may alienate your audience.
And so many more.
Nicely done, and certainly true.
You could also show an inverted curve on the secondary y-axis that illustrates the former believer's interest in engaging in rational debates with believers. The curve peaks out until finally dropping down again as the former believer realizes that believers are self-delusional (using Dawkins' phrase), and attempts at rational discussion are more akin to pigeon chess (where the bird just shits all over the board).
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
any book by carl, hitchens, etc. https://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248
I went through almost the exact same thing. After leaving our main church, my wife and I stopped going all together. Several years later, after we moved because of jobs, we started going again. Needless to say, that didn't last long.
My wife and I both come from very strong Christian backgrounds; my wife's father was a Southern-Baptist minister for decades, and my dad went to Dallas Theological Seminary and taught church classes most of his life. So let's just say that leaving wasn't an easy thing.
However, my own search led me to realize the truth. Since my wife and I are very close, I talked with her about these things but was very careful about what I said. I'm still careful. I approach the discussions from the standpoint of "searching for answers" rather than declaring that I've already decided.
My mantra over the last few years has been "If it were possible to know the truth, and one of the possibilities was that God didn't exist, would you really want to know?" Well, my answer is yes. I don't want to be a blind-follower Christian. If God is real, then I want to know for sure!
I recommend approaching it like that. It let's your spouse see that you are truly searching for answers. The truth is all we really want, and we can't use a 3000 year-old book to do it. We need real answers, not mythology.
Be sure to talk about it a lot, and be open minded to your spouse's point of view. Let them know you still care for them deeply.
This sub-reddit has been so helpful and caring, so good job starting here. Also grab some books or find some web-sites that discus these things. Here are a few I recommend:
I loan out The God Delusion (Amazon Link) by Richard Dawkins quite a bit as friends/coworkers hound me about religion.
Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe
Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Simon Winchester, The Map that Changed The World
Along those lines, Dawkins is great for explaining evolution in easy-to-understand detail. Pick pretty much any book by him and you'll get a very good education.
Perhaps it's time to move away from LDS specific arguments, and start questioning the God concept in general; especially as it relates to morality.
One argument I've always liked, is that even if there is a god, by far the strongest test of morality it could ask for is if a person will be moral while believing there is no such being, and no promise of reward or punishment.
If she is willing to read, I recommend the following:
They have semantic categorization. When you rate Dawkins 5 star Amazon registers you to be interested in books about "religion". (as Ironic as that may sound!)
Source: I am a PhD candidate currently writing a thesis on semantic ontology and data extraction.
This is a slightly off-subject, but you should really read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. I read it and found that he was articulating many ideas that I had in my head.
Just watch out for his militaristic approach. You don't want to turn into a knee-jerk/circlejerk atheist like some of our friends in /r/atheism...
A few books I read recently (within the last couple of years) that really stand out for me:
Could have saved $5 on Amazon!
Hi, I have a degree in Philosophy and teach Philosophy/English to high schooler. The following advice and recommendations are what I give my students who are interested in philosophy. I would not recommend Kant as an introduction (not that he's bad, but he is difficult to understand). Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar is a book that explains philosophical topics and questions through humor and uses jokes to illustrate the concepts. It is accessible and thought provoking. If you are interested in logic you might enjoy Logicomix. It is a graphic novel that gives a biographical narrative of Bertrand Russell, an English philosopher whose work is the basis of all modern logic. It is not a book about logic per se, but it does give a good introduction to what logic is and how it can be used. Also, Russell's book A History of Western Philosophy is a good place to start your education in philosophy. If you are interested in atheism, read Richard Dawkins' book The God Delusion. This book goes through the most common arguments for the existence of God, and debunks them using logic and reasoning. Good luck and read on!
The problem you have is very simple. You believe. If you didn't believe you would have options. My wife went through the same process with depression and apathy.
She read two books and within days was on her way to recovery.
It doesn't take much but wow what a fun ride once you get started.
Read two books and fly.
One of the key tenants of learning and what often leads to atheism is simply asking questions. These questions often illustrate big problems in some beliefs and lead us away from certain conclusions, like a supernatural entity. It's what we mean when we say we're practicing skepticism and it can take on a variety of forms, but here are some suggestions I find compelling.
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Richard has excellent technical skill in how he discusses questions and ideas that make supernatural belief look very delusional, hence the title. His points on religious indoctrination of children being actual abuse are particularly potent.
Many others will suggest Hitchens' God is not Great and while I haven't read it I think he is a much better speaker than Dawkins, so it may be better. Though I think Dawkins has a more refined technical skill in tackling some more complex ideas.
Any sophisticated discussion on philosophy - Youtube
I really like Crashcourse and its different offerings to get introduced to different studies and find this is a good place to start finding interesting questions you might not have thought of. While much of its content is definitely not atheist in nature they do have a very honest discussion about different topics that practice real skepticism that can lead to atheism like I described earlier.
The link is of a specific podcast of his, but notably one of the videos in the text called It is Always Now is wonderful. Lots of people have specific issues with Harris, often different, and all I would suggest is to not let something you dislike about him to allow you to dismiss ideas he might stumble upon. His ability to find questions, especially new ways to ask old questions, is really powerful.
I also think that Harris is a great introduction to the idea of what to believe while being a skeptic. This idea of what to believe is very complicated because being skeptical tends to suggest that you should never operate off belief and always be as objective as possible, so please be patient in exploring it. But basically after you use skepticism to get rid of toxic beliefs you need to find ways to build up helpful beliefs and I think Harris is helpful in finding those. A more effective person though is:
He opens with stating he's "not an atheist anymore." So this is a little misleading because he does also say in other areas that he doesn't believe in a supernatural God as well, and he's not lying when he says either statement. Explaining how that can be would take a while and I'm still exploring it myself but I think he has some VERY powerful messages about what is worth believing even while valuing skepticism. Look up his Message to Millennials and Tragedy vs Evil lectures if you're interested, I found those videos very useful.
Congrats from a former Catholic. Be out and open about it. We need more people to not be afraid to identify themselves in public and to their families as atheists. People have no clue how many there are around them.
For book recommendations, I like The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
The War that came Early by Harry Turtledove
The Hot War by Harry Turtledove
The God Delusions by Richard Dawkins
god is not GREAT by Christopher Hitchens
Death by Blackhole by Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Her er en fin bog alle bør læse - http://www.amazon.com/The-God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1413237319&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=the+god+delusion
The God Delusion would be a good start. God is Not Great is another.
leo puro libro técnico, se valen?
como dijeron que si, ahi van:
I would read The God Delusion. I'm still working on it myself right now, but it has helped me see how religion controls the mind.
You won't regret reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
The God Delusion:
Try "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins.
It is an absolutely fantastic book about the nature of religion.
I'd suggest reading more on the subject. Having knowledgeable resources to refer to can make all the difference in the world.
> We have eye witness testimonies.
We supposedly have eye witness testimonies, because almost none of the witnesses (besides the apostles) are named, nor are they alive, and their "testimonies" were recorded many decades after Christ's supposed ascension. Besides that, witness testimonies are not enough to prove that supernatural events are even possible.
> There was a detective who works cold cases, and would convict people of crimes based on people's testimonies. He was an Atheist investigating the case for Christ. He found that the people's testimonies lined up, and he would consider them as viable evidence in court, and he came to the conclusion that it was all real.
There are many authors like this one, who think they have the silver bullet that will prove their religion, be it Christianity or Islam, who eventually engage in all sorts of fallacies and provide nothing of substance. I haven't read this guy's book to be honest (Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels), but I have read other books by Christians who claim that they can prove the "truth" of Christianity. Short summary: they haven't.
The fact of the matter is that these books do not stand to scrutiny. Have you ever read anything written by Bart Ehrman, or other real scholars? They would vehemently disagree with that guy's conclusions.
Bart Denton Ehrman is an American professor and scholar, currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is one of North America's leading scholars in his field, having written and edited 30 books, including three college textbooks. He has also achieved acclaim at the popular level, authoring five New York Times bestsellers. Ehrman's work focuses on textual criticism of the New Testament, the historical Jesus, and the development of early Christianity.
-- from WikiPedia
You should also read stuff by:
I suggest you read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins.
I'd highly recommend The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God by Carl Sagan. It's a transcription of his Gifford Lecture from 1985, but it's a very concise summation of his reasoning and it has some amazing quotes.
Also, obviously The God Delusion.
For others, look at the /r/atheism FAQ.
I'm a little late to the party, but I just thought I'd add my voice.
There are a couple things I would like to say. I'm sure none of it hasn't already been said somewhere here, but I'll just repeat for emphasis.
First of all, hi! And welcome. I'm sure you are feeling so confused and overwhelmed right now. That's okay. There's a lot to take in and consider. Take your time, go at your own pace, and make sure that wherever you end up is a place that is right for you. It's important to always consider what others have to say but that doesn't mean you have to follow what they say. You make your decisions and you determine your path.
If this road you are taking brings you to atheism (or anything unacceptable to your family and/or friends) you do not have to come out before you are ready. Depending on your situation it could be very detrimental to do so before the time is right. If someone will do wrong by you if they know the truth, then you are by no means obligated to give them the truth. And when the right time is, only you can say. Others may be able to help you with it, but when it comes down to it, it is your life and your decision.
And, again, if you eventually begin to identify as an atheist it is possible, and maybe even probable that you will feel angry. Many of us have been through it, or still are going through it. Angry about things that are happening around the world today and angry about things from your upbringing. That is okay too. There are many things we should be angry about. Just don't let that anger consume you. And be sure to still be reasonable. Anger can be a good thing when placed appropriately and if it's kept in perspective. It's a hard field to navigate but you'll figure it out with time and experience.
Don't get so caught up in one worldview that you are stuck in an echo chamber, never exposed to differing thoughts and opinions. Keep an open mind and don't shut things out simply because you don't want to change your opinion or are so convinced of something that you think there's no chance you could ever be wrong. This really applies to everything in life...not just religious beliefs or lack thereof.
I wanted to address you personally, rather than discuss the beliefs because I'm sure you have been given so much to consider and read already. It is likely that everything I have to suggest has already been mentioned, but:
>Atheism is not a religion.
>We have no doctrine.
I'm almost positive that that's not the case.
From PZ Myers himself.
Really? Are you so very certain?
So...are you positive that atheism has not taken on all the trappings of a religion? I would say you even have apostles - Dawkins, Hitchins, Harris.
Finally - I would urge you to look up state atheism and then tell me that certain people didn't kill in the name of atheism.
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
Is It God’s Word?
The God Delusion
First off, great contest! This is making be realize how much there is in my life to be grateful for. I won't be TOO obnoxious, but I'll name a few.
Here, read this book to celebrate his birthday.
read this. make your own decisions. I'm still Jewish and constantly trying to inform myself of more and more and more. At the end of the day people can lead you to information, but it's up to you to decide what you'll read or accept. Judaism is constantly shifting so you might be between sects, not to mention most of the religion is based on different accounts and interpretations of the Torah(talmud, mishnah, gemara, etc).
> publishes garbage
Your personal bias is still showing. You're just one random person on the person who dislikes his writing and personally attacks him, calling what he writes garbage without actually providing any single argument as to why that is true. Here's the Amazon listing for The God Delusion with a 4 1/2 star rating from 3,300+ random internet people. https://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248
Are you ready to state why his arguments are bad or why he is garbage, or are you just going to continue to use the defense of "he writes about biology, therefore he can't write about philosophy and everything he writes is wrong", like a child?
You only answered half the question. Strawman. Tell me which books from those atheist philosophers that you listed have you read? Just curious, have you even read The God Delusion or have you been indoctrinated to hate Dawkins from secondary sources alone?
This isn't even fun. I wish you would try to bring up quran or hadith sources are try to prove your points rather than bashing a single author. I would love to showcase how contradictory/evil/sexist the quran is. If only you'd try that. And yes, I've read the quran and various hadith and still have half the quran memorized from my childhood. I actually read the shit I'm talking about, unlike you who hasn't read The God Delusion and has been indoctrinated to hate Dawkins and other atheists. Let me guess, you also hate Sam Harris, but haven't read any books by him, right?
Leaving the church can be an emotional and harrowing experience especially, if like me, you are a generational mormon. My dad was a convert but quit the church when he bailed on the family but on my moms side my grandfathers family goes back to the pioneers and my grandmothers parents were converts in California during the depression. For generations my family has been indoctrinated in the mormon belief system. I walked away from the church almost ten years ago but it took about four years to come to terms with it. At 40 years old I still have stuff creep up on me out of nowhere. Leaving tscc is a traumatic experience, we lose part of our identity, we lose parts of our community, we lose parts of our family. We have been the subject of generational psychological abuse and coping with that trauma is difficult enough but when we leave we are subjected to more abuse for having left. Leaving the church is a traumatic event piled on top of a lifelong traumatic event. I was able to come to terms with my hangups when, for unrelated reasons, began doing some research into PTSD and began to understand why my upbringing in the church was impacting me long after I left. I would recommend doing some readings on PTSD and overcoming indoctrination, it really helped me come to terms with me.
If you haven't you might want to take a look at Deism which is basically God created the universe and then moved onto other things. Thats right God has ADD.
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and God Is Not Great by Christoper Hitchens are great books to read when coming to terms with the loss/end of religion in your life. You don't have to go full on atheist, Dawkins even has 7 degrees of theistic belief, but reading those two books can help understand many things.
you have the demon haunted world
I have the god delusion
1984 - George Orwell
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell - Tucker Max
Any book by Mary Roach- her books are hilarious, random, and informative. I like Jon Krakauer's, Sarah Vowell's, and Bill Bryson's books as well.
Some of my favorites that I can think of offhand (as another poster mentioned, I loved Devil in the White City)
No Picnic on Mount Kenya
Guns, Germs, and Steel
The Closing of the Western Mind
What is the What
A Long Way Gone
Alliance of Enemies
The Lucifer Effect
The World Without Us
What the Dog Saw
The God Delusion (you'd probably enjoy Richard Dawkins' other books as well if you like science)
One Down, One Dead
Lust for Life
Lost in Shangri-La
The Case for God and The Bible: A Biography by Karen Armstrong are both good. The God Delusion is a simple breakdown and explanation of most major religious claims. Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World by the Dalai Llama is an interesting book on ethics. The Koran: A Very Short Introduction by Michael Cook is 150 funny and insightful pages on Islam. Under the Banner of Heaven is a shocking and fascinating account of fundamentalist Mormonism. The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan discusses religion, and Cosmos and Pale Blue Dot are my secular versions of holy books. And of course given the occasion, I can't leave out God is Not Great.
I recommend avoiding authors like Lee Strobel and Deepak Chopra. Both are essentially liars for their causes, either inventing evidence, or deliberately being incredibly misleading in how they use terms. Popularity in those cases definitely doesn't indicate quality.
How about putting this book on her desk?
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:
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.
Some of my "intellectual" favorites:
I would suggest reading a more primary sources and less internet.
This is where I started probably before you were even born:
Dawkins reiterates Smith's agnostic vs atheist debate over 30 years later here:
This is logic and language. If you say you haven't decided on a political party you are a non-Republican. If you say you haven't decided on God you are a non-Theist. Because of history, unlike non-Republican we have a word for non-Theist called atheist.
Agreed. I actually would have recommended 'Mere Christianity' (CS Lewis) as a better book than 'Case for Christ'.
I have heard Dawkins premise is a bit off, as well. I haven't had a chance to read it, yet and may not after reading this review about how Dawkins 'misstates the question as an opposition between theism and science, when the opposition is between the ontological views of theism and naturalism.'
You can't come up with $9?
I don't think you'll be getting the book, however, if you're on a budget Amazon has paperbacks for < $10 including shipping. I think it would probably help your ex a lot, sounds like she is ashamed and she shouldn't be. If I had an extra copy I'd send it to you but no such luck, sorry.
Indeed. I could always laugh off the criticisms of Christians, especially evangelicals ("My beliefs are crazy? You believe in biblical inerrantism! Do you know how crazy that is?") but I could not so easily discard the criticisms of atheists. I always maintained the reality of miracles and spiritual visitations to counter them, often telling them about Moroni's promise... and look at me now, I subscribe to r/atheism and I'm halfway through my second reading of The God Delusion. Gotta watch out for those atheists, they'll getcha!
Tosses link your way
Thanks for the response. I hoped for a little repartee.
>But there's also a difference between, say, the example you gave of a dragon and these Christian accounts.
No, alas, they are exactly the same. They rely on eye witness (personal anecdote) testimony and have no evidence. Again, if there WAS evidence you (they) would be the first in history to show it. Additionally, you might want to theologically think about your stance on evidence and whether or not there is any. If a god provided evidence of its existence, wouldn't that remove our free will that christians so desperately defend by compelling us to believe? (By the way, you might want to hear what Sam has to say about Free Will)
>you can look at those who have been willing to die for their faith
This doesn't make a thing true. Those who follow Allah say this exact same thing before they blow themselves up on the crowed Israeli bus. The stronger you say your faith is, the faster I walk the other way in fear for my safety. There's no telling where ardent faith leads. Oh yeah, the Crusades for one. 9/11 for another. I'm pretty sure the female genital mutilation crowd is willing to die for their faith too. How about those parents who let their children die of easily cured maladies because they'd rather pray for help to come? I'll bet they're pretty strong in their faith.
Which leads me to...
> insincere or just deluded?
I think the majority of those who profess a belief in supernatural woo-woo actually believe it. True charlatans are rare but exist nonetheless. The easy way to spot a charlatan is the request for money. "God made the universe but you need to give 'til it hurts 'cause he's out of money." Therefore, to answer your either/or question, woo-woo believers are deluded. You know there's a famous book with a title you might recognize, The God Delusion. The clue is in the title.
Since you finished with a question, allow me the same privilege.
Do you care if your beliefs are true?
*Edit: Hyperlinked to The God Delusion by Sir Richard Dawkins. Thought for sure you'd want more details.
Here are two-
I'm sorry, and I'm sure you're a good person, but if you're a muslim you're subscribing to, and therefore enabling, an ideology which encourages the murder and rape of people who don't subscribe to it.
You don't need to follow my advice if you don't want to but I highly advise picking up atheism. Start with these books:
Now go and read this.
After reading some of your comments below, my initial response was going to be to come back when you have an open mind. I don't think you'll get anything out of your pursuit until you do. But then I remembered myself in a similar mindset several years ago. If you'd really like to challenge your faith and develop a more rounded perspective here are some of the things I did that finally opened my eyes and helped me break free from the oppression of religion;
I went to Alpha when I was still a Christian, but when doubts were starting to form. They invite you in by sharing a meal together, watching Gumbel's presentation, and having discussion. The video segments are made up of the same old arguments stating that people are basically bad and need to be made right by the blood of Jesus. It's an effective tool on those who aren't able to or aren't trained in logical/cognitive fallacies.
> I've tried to respectfully challenge her on a couple of things, but she feels that I'm attacking her new found faith.
IMO this is a red flag. Being defensive usually doesn't allow for an open mind. Be wary.
> Are there any good books which help explain non-literalist Christian beliefs to someone who came from a literalist background?
I wouldn't keep pointing in the direction of belief, but rather point in the direction of truth (Plus, we were taught to hate Rob Bell in church):
Read The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins...you will be more at peace
Read this. Come back, six month.
The obligatory two books are Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' God is not Great (How Religion Poisons Everything). Both are fantastic, Dawkins tends to focus more on Christianity and Hitchens is more widespread showing how dangerous it is across the board with many diverse examples.
For a broader sense start reading up on Philosophy and other religions, you will find that Christianity is nothing special and is quite weak in some areas. Familiarize yourself with the fallacies that are common in religious explanations as well. This way when the indoctrination starts to creep up you can look at the reasons you believed and see through them for what they are. Such engrained behaviors can be hard to shake, especially when guilt is involved as religion is a master craft at guilt manipulation. Once you see through the magic trick it looses it's power.
Another great book is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, it shows how evolution works from a genetic level. I know you said you accept evolution and that is great, this will give you a more in depth look into the mechanics of the process and how we are no different than any other life form aside from our development tree. Its easy to read and understand, in fact this book really helped me break away from some of the mentalities of religion since it shows how humans really arent anything special and are very young.
Another author is Sam Harris, he has a lot of books that can help a deconvert find meaning in things they once valued without the need for religion, on subjects like morality, free will, spirituality, and other aspects.
Here is Hitchens' book on youtube read by the man himself:
God is not Great
> You simply disbelieve because you refuse to try to understand.
I don't know about cephalgia, but for me: false. I "simply disbelieve" because there's a severe lack of evidence.
> If evolution explains all, how does evolution just "decide" it is going to do what it does?
You lack information of how evolution works. Go read The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins, or The God Delusion... If you dare.
> ... there is no reason to believe that when life was creating itself, ..., that conditions would change or that it would need to adapt... that's called consciousness
Again, a lack of information, because that's not how evolution works.
> but it fails in glaring fashion at explaining how it came to be in the first place
And again, a lack of information, because that's not what the theory of evolution explains.
> it's an idea, it can't create anything.
Again... (I think you're getting the idea here)
> Every cell in your body acts like a well oiled machine.
Say that to my face when I had 12 operations all related to my cleft lip, with which I was born with.
Upvoted for a really great response.
I would second crillbilly's recommendation of reading Dawkins', specifically The God Delusion. He deals with pretty much every question you've asked here. Complexity and mystery don't necessarily equal a God. If that were true, you could throw anything into those "gaps" in our knowledge. I believe that's where the infamous "spaghetti monster" came from. I could tell you he existed, and if you never find him, that just means you haven't looked in the right place.
There will always be things we won't know, and one can always hold those "unknowables" hostage as proof that there's just one more layer we've yet to peel away in our search for God. But my philosophy on that is: belief is what you want it to be. Its importance is only what you ascribe to it. You don't need it to live a happy life, only if you've talked yourself into believing that you do.
tl;dr - Read Contact by Carl Sagan. Striking a balance between faith and science is pretty much all he did, and he did it well.
>I feel like we've been approaching God incorrectly the whole time.
Humanity has mapped out a hell of a lot of territory on the God issue, from a priori arguments to a posteriori arguments, arguments from mystical experience, pragmatic arguments, appeals to faith. Are you familiar with this body of literature? If so, where is there to go from here? At this point in our cultural evolution, I find it difficult to come up with anything worth saying that hasn't already been said.
>(I come from a Christian background, and I have had to dissent with everyone who taught me the things that I know).
That must have been difficult. A lot of people go through a similar experience. I was raised in a non-religious household - it's not that my parents were atheists - the subject just never really came up. So I never got religious, but I found the subject interesting so I've done a fair bit of studying on comparative religion and arguments for and against God. If you want to look at a very readable case for atheism, Dawkins' book The God Delusion is about as good a starting place as any. Though if the idea of atheism is depressing to you, you might give it a miss. The world doesn't need more depressed people. =) I think there is wisdom in Robert Anton Wilson's quip that in order to do good, you have to feel good."
>I don't know, because I don't necessarily believe that God does exist, just that he could.
So would it be fair to call you an agnostic? I was agnostic for years.
>It is in this regard different than science, where I fully trust those who came before me, because they accepted that they could have been wrong.
I wonder if you're putting too much trust in science. Scientific conclusions get overturned all the time - that's part of what makes science awesome. To use an evolutionary analogy, science is like natural selection, forever weeding out ideas that don't live up to the evidence, whereas religion is like genetic drift, floating along unable to improve itself because it is unwilling to admit that it might have been wrong.
I am experiencing The God Delusion right now, baby!
dude, it's just $10:
The God Delusion
while reading David Robertson's responses chapter by chapter in
The Dawkins Letters
If you really want to understand atheism, read a book.
To start with, I recommend the essay/lecture Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927). Here it is in text form, which would be only about 10 pages if you print it out. Here it is in audio form on YouTube at about 39 minutes.
If you read that, and you want more, try Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion
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.
I think you can find books on evolution and societal norms to be interesting. Someone already gave you some political philosophy. Maybe take a look at these for fun:
Give her a copy of "The God Delusion".
If you'd like to read a book about arguments like these, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins discusses this very argument (and many others) in Chapter 3, "Arguments For God's Existence". This specific argument is covered starting on page 103, in the section titled "The ontological argument and other a priori arguments".
I presume you've read the bible, have you read the case against? Here are two books I recommend. 1 and 2. I'm not going to answer your argument as it goes beyond rationality and is too poor to continue a rational debate. Please educate yourself either through what I have shown you or other means.
A fellow mammal.
liking python is almost enough to overcome not knowing enough about evolution.
By the way, I'd be happy to support your campaign by sending you a copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins ;)
The God Delusion
1 book: The Portable Atheist.
For further reading: God Is Not Great and The God Delusion.
Here's some that I recommend:
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. A classic. Deals with censorship, dystopian future society (very similar to our current way of life), criticizes television, etc.
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell. Both deal with corrupt government, religion, conformity, etc.
VALIS by Philip K. Dick. A disturbing account of Dick's own struggles with finding a personal God. In fact, I can recommend anything by Philip K. Dick.
And, of course, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. It's an essential.
If you liked Cosmos by Sagan you might like Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time Updated and Expanded version (link to original version). I would also recommend Richard Dawkins' God Delusion if you are into that kind of thing (I only got a chapter into it so far). American Sniper by Chris Kyle is pretty good IMO (its his story of when he was a Navy Seal sniper in Iraq).
If you are looking for non-fiction I'm starting getting into comic books so I'd recommend Deadpool and Preacher. My last recommendation would be Stephen Coonts's series on Tommy Carmellini.
If I think of anything else I will PM you.
Assuming you're not just a troll, read this book: http://www.amazon.com/The-God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248
Admiring the beauty of the Universe is already a form of worship, I would say. There is no need to add more imagination to the things we know and the things we do not know. God(s) as you pointed out are attempts of explaining the unexplainable. The "god of the gaps" it is called... your observation is very sane and demonstratively correct. If you now start asking questions, being amazed by the wonders and at the same time the multiple explanations that were given over time to the most mundane things. You can see why and where religion started from.
Good luck in your journey or as "The Legend of Zelda" points out: "it's dangerous to go alone, here take this": https://www.amazon.com/God-Delusion-Richard-Dawkins/dp/0618918248
Not long after I went off to college. I'd heard and read all the terrible things in the bible, but my loss of faith actually had to do with really studying the history of religion for the first time, and understanding how humanity's changing understanding of the world and growing sense of morality had influenced every major and minor change in dogma along the way. (Very similar to how I was able to dismiss creation when I learned about evolution in school.) I had already started to become more like a "deist" rather than a "theist" without realizing it, but I also had plenty of "religious experiences" that made me feel a personal relationship with god and kept me from dismissing it completely.
My first real challenge to my belief didn't happen until I investigated a church other than the non-denominational type I'd always been taken to growing up. I did this because my very serious boyfriend at the time was mormon (Who is now my atheist husband ;) and of course wanted to give it an honest look. But naturally I was skeptical. I looked on the internet for information, and to make a looong story short, I knew that it was untrue. (Like, literally plagiarized. Heh, literally...) But in researching one religion, I unknowingly started studying them all, and I encountered a lot of new arguments because of this (and just from being on the internet everyday helped with that too. Reddit was a big influence) and I remember deciding that I could not dismiss his religion or any other without truly looking into my own. So I decided to read arguments against everything I'd been taught, like a scientifically minded person is supposed to want to do.
Like you, I made a reddit post around this time, asking for sources and wanting others to tell me why they made the decision. Still identifying as christian, I didn't even know what information was out there, and what sources would be a best place to start. On that post I was given a link to this video series (edit: also linked by someone else) and when I had finished it I was an atheist. My "official" transition happened in just two hours, but really it made me realize how much I already didn't believe and taught me about a lot of other things about the bible I'd never heard such as the Documentary Hypothesis and the origins of Judaism. It was just my "last straw."
What you should look into next really depends on what might interest you the most or have the biggest impact. Here's a site that lists a ton of relevant books by category. Two I personally would highly recommend: "The God Delusion" which is fairly popular and a great place to start for a comprehensive understanding of the main issues, and "A History of God" is absolutely amazing for understanding the natural evolution of religion.
Why not find a cheap copy of The God Delusion, put it conspicuously on his desk before he arrives to class, then see how he reacts? If he immediately tosses it in the trash, that might be a warning sign to drop/add and find a different instructor.
> Can you cite to any peer-reviewed historians other than Ray Price for your position? Can you explain why the book is "drivel"?
It's published by InterVarsity. It's a christian apologetics publisher. If I post a book by Dawkins as my proof that he didn't exist, would you accept that? If so here's my equivalent 'proof'. I couldn't make it through the entirety of your book. The authors will say one thing "consistency is what matters" then throw that out the next page, and just accept inconsistent evidence. It's just awful.
> I'm not seeing you provide any reasoning or reference to authority (other than, "there's no evidence because I choose not to recognize any of the evidence"),
If you'd post any that was real, I'd look at it. But there isn't any. Just a few books written 300 years after he died, with so many contradictions that they're useless as a history book.
> so at this point it seems like you are simply stating your opinion.
My opinion is that Jesus did exist. I just walked the Via Dolorosa, and went to the Holy Church of the Sepulchure last month. But I don't delude myself that there's any 'proof', and none should be needed. That's what faith is all about.
>If so, then I can't respond. If your opinion is that chocolate is better, I'm not going to try and convince you to prefer vanilla.
Likewise, it's simply your opinion that he did at this point. You've posted nothing substantial, then ask me to do so. Which I will. Now its your turn to not post something horrible and shitty as 'evidence'
Here - the only peer reviewed work to ever be published on the topic. we'll call this one 'better than anything you can provide'
have fun being confused!
The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins.
One of the best books I have ever read.
Tell her to netflix the cosmos. He makes many subtle stabs at superstitious beliefs in the series. If must have Carl Sagan, I have not read it but it but there are tons of good reviews for Demon Haunted World. However for the purposes you're describing you should recommend The God Delusion. I have read it and its a flawless victory defeat over believers.
Have you asked her to read God Is Not Great or The God Delusion?
Have you read these books yourself?
Is her family religious?
I'd get her this:
God is a delusion
Van Til went so far as to call the atheist delusional. After many many conversations with atheists here and on /r/debateanatheist, I tend to agree with him.
But of course, when the atheist does it, it's perfectly fine, right?
The God Delusion it is pure stupidity from someone who thinks everything suddenly came into existence. Totally fucked up idiot.
I'm not a troll and I don't throw a "shit fit". But I definitely DO demand an apology when a fundie says something as offensive as that. I don't understand how any logical human being would have the gull to say "Bless you" when someone sneezes. It's simply insensitive to other beliefs whether religious or not and nonsensically insane.
People who do that need to know that they can't just go around hoisting their absurd beliefs on people just because of a natural sneeze. They deserve the utmost ridicule and they need to know that they're uneducated, delusional , and forthrightly moronic.
There should be no compromises when it comes to dealing with a fundie, and frankly, Arrow156, I think you're either with us or against us. If you're defending the extremist fundies, than you're clearly against us and definitely don't have a place in this subReddit. Those conciliating ideologies that say it is okay to be a Christian is the kind of cancer that destroys rationale and logical thought and enlightenment.
^tl;dr you're an idiot