Best christian bibles according to redditors

We found 34,000 Reddit comments discussing the best christian bibles. We ranked the 11,418 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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u/LordGrac · 524 pointsr/Christianity

After reading through your responses here, I feel the need to clarify for you exactly what an argument is and what it can do. You list examples like evolution and heliocentrism and ask how those might affect one's faith. In reality, these arguments do nothing to disprove God, and are in fact separate issues entirely.

The way you've been speaking so far, it seems like the arguments you're assuming are these:

  • The church believed the sun revolved around the earth
  • The earth in fact revolves around the sun
  • Therefore, God does not exist


  • Some Christians say evolution is false
  • Evolution is not false
  • Therefore, God does not exist

    Do you see the leaps here? The statement "God does exist" is not a logically valid inference from these arguments. They, in fact, cannot say anything about whether or not God exists; such is simply not a possibility in the premises. What they really can do is this:

  • The church believed the sun revolved around the earth
  • The earth in fact revolves around the sun
  • Therefore, the church was wrong


  • Some Christians believe evolution is false
  • Evolution is not false
  • Therefore, some Christians are wrong

    Now, does "the church was wrong [on this occasion]" and "some Christians are wrong" equate to "God does not exist?" No. It means that it is a logical possibility, yes, but it does mean that is certain or even probable.

    In addition, you'll find that these arguments are not conflicts at all for the vast majority of Christians, especially those who frequent r/Christianity. This is why:

  1. It is possible in our theology for the church to be wrong. The church is made up of human beings, and though those human beings have the power of the Holy Spirit, they are still humans and therefore quite capable of sin and being wrong.

  2. The "heliocentrism debate" centered around Galileo is often blown way out of proportion. The issue was how the Church was going to handle someone challenging their authority. Heliocentrism itself was almost a negligible issue, though it was indeed an issue. Additionally, Galileo's proof for heliocentrism was lacking for the science standards of his day (natual philosophy of this time was strongly influence by Aristotle and his deductive method - induction was not considered valid, and heliocentrism relies on induction). See this article on the issue.

    You should also be aware of the philosophical foundation for science. Science is inherently naturalistic, which means that it cannot interact in any way with things outside of nature (related: it is also incapable of 'proving' anything, only math and logic can do that; science can only disprove and assume that which is most probable given the evidence). This includes God, as he exists outside of the universe as we perceive it. Dealing with things outside of nature is the realm of metaphysics, and metaphysics is largely philosophy and logic, not science. Thus, any argument that claims "science has proven God does not exist" is an argument resetting entirely on false beliefs about what exactly science is. This is what others in this thread have been saying.

    Given all that, you'd do well to know exactly what arguments do set out to disprove God - and there are very few of them that do so in a valid way. Thomas Aquinas, in his Summa Theogica, was in the habit of stating a point, giving three positions on this point, and then stating his view which was contrary to the three and then arguing against the three first points. In his section on "Whether God Exists?" he only lists two reasons; this is because very few of the arguments that claim to disprove God can actually logically do so. These are the arguments he lists:

  • God is an all-good, all-powerful being
  • An all-good, all-powerful being would be capable of eradicating evil
  • Therefore, an all-good, all-powerful being must eradicate evil
  • Evil exists
  • Therefore, God is either not all-good, not all-powerful, or does not exist
  • The God of the Bible is necessarily all-good and all-powerful, therefore the God of the Bible does not exist


  • Things that were previously explained using God are now explained without God
  • Humanity will continue to find explanations for things now explained with God
  • Therefore, humanity has no need for God to exist
  • Therefore, God does not exist

    Note that these aren't the arguments exactly as he lists them; I've updated them slightly to better reflect how they are used today.

    The second argument is yet another argument making a logically invalid conclusion from the premises. Whether or not mankind needs God to exist is irrelevant to whether or not he actually exists. Thus this argument falls flat.

    The first argument is known as the Problem of Evil, and it has been a huge issue for theists for a very long time. It has not been answered in a way that most theists find existentially satisfying, meaning that no matter how the problem is answered, evil is always a big problem in everyone's life, and it's always hard to understand why God won't just take it away. That said, the Problem of Evil relies entirely on this premise:

  • Therefore, an all-good, all-powerful being must eradicate evil

    We have to ask is that really so? And the answer is, we have no idea if it is or not. It is logically possible that an all-good, all-poweful being could co-exist with evil, even if we don't know how that is possible. Ultimately, this argument is an argument from ignorance, meaning that it relies on the fact that we don't know something to make its claim (The "God of the gaps" argument does the same thing, by the way - it says "Look, we don't know how x or y happen, therefore God"). This is a logical fallacy, and as a result the problem of evil also cannot logically disprove God - though the answer does very little to comfort someone dealing with evil.

    I highly recommend you watch Tim Keller on the Problem of Evil at Google. Tim Keller is a big-name pastor in New York in addition to being a popular apologist (meaning one who defends an intellectual stance - in this case, Christianity).

    I feel it's worth mentioning what is probably the most common argument against theism, and especially Christianity, most especially on the internet. This is the argument:

  • Theists believe things that I find crazy
  • Therefore, God does not exist

    You should be able to tell by now that this argument is not a true argument at all. The conclusion has nothing at all to do with the premise. It sounds crazy to some people that Christians believe in life after death, but that does not mean it is false, and it certainly does not mean God does not exist. It sounds crazy to some people that some Christians believe that bread blessed by a priest becomes the body of Christ, but that does not mean it is false, and it certainly does not mean God does not exist (a lot of the popular arguments against evolution use this tactic, and are also invalid). This tactic is the one most commonly used by Richard Dawkins.

    Ultimately, that 'argument' fails because it relies entirely on the perception of the individual and has absolutely nothing to do with logic. It merely disguises itself as logic.

    Now, if you really want to read more about why people believe God can logically exist, you want to look into books on apologetics. There are a whole lot of those, as it has been a popular topic for hundreds of years now, but two that are quite accessible and quite strong are The Reason for God by Tim Keller, who I mentioned above, and Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis, of Narnia fame. These two books deal with how God can logically exist, but there are a wealth of books on other apologetic issues, like how we can trust the Bible to be accurate (Reinventing Jesus is a very good book for this issue).

    Edit: error corrections, some paranthetical statements.
u/ron_leflore · 188 pointsr/todayilearned

Catholics claim to be followers of Jesus. They follow rules from tradition, handed down from Jesus through a continuous succession of popes. They think the Bible is a great book, but not exactly the word of God.

Fundamentalist Christians generally believe that Catholics have drifted from Jesus teachings. Instead, they believe the only true way to follow Jesus is through the Bible. They think that the Bible is the literal word of God and is exactly true.


For those interested in the apparent conflict between science and religion, a great book to read is by Francis Collins, one of the leaders behind the sequencing of the human genome, the current head of the NIH, and a deeply religious man, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

u/Underthepun · 184 pointsr/Catholicism

Welllll as a former atheist I am going to have to tell you that if "wanting to see the world as simpler" is your goal, I certainly don't think Catholicism will help. It turns out that God is complicated, theology is hard, and virtue is extremely challenging. I found atheistic materialism with a healthy dose of liberal politics made for a much simpler and especially easier worldview.

But truth isn't supposed to be what is simple and easy. And almost everything worth doing is going to be hard. Putting your faith in God isn't like having a nice sweet daddy/mommy who will kiss your boos boos any make everything better. Nope. Faith makes demands on you. Everything from not spouting off expletives when some ahole cuts you off in traffic to living chastely to putting other people and Christ first in your life. Anyone who tells you this is easy is lying. Selfishness and self-centeredness is always easier and will always tempt you.

That doesn't mean faith isn't worth having or worth doing. Your conscience convicts you long enough until you die and Christ will. The sooner you get started the better off you'll be.

Start here:
1 Read this to know God exists.

2. Read this to know sin is real and virtue is possible.

3. Read this to learn about truth and the authentic courageous intellectual life.

4. Read this to learn how one of the greatest Saints came into faith.

5. Read this for a little bit of everything.

u/Irish_Whiskey · 101 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> By "historical relevance" I simply mean that the four gospels were written by four different men and that each writing was independent of the other one.


Written by different people or groups? Sure. Independent of each other? Not even close. They were written by people over the span of decades who were quite familiar with the earlier sources of oral and written gospels, and included the same sorts of mistakes you'd expect people who were inventing and adding details to early stories to make.

Wiki is a good start, and there are a number of books on the topic that detail what we know of who wrote them, and how they were written.

> Yet, if history suggests that well intending men wrote the four gospels and there are four different stories that are all essentially the same then what am I to believe?

First, whoever said they were well-intending other than themselves? Second, these gospels definitely weren't written by the actual apostles themselves. Except for Paul's letters, all evidence is to the contrary. John, Matthew and others were written decades later by Greeks who made all sorts of mistakes about Hebrew culture, and some parts are written in Greek language not attributable to poor farmers and fisherman. Third, let's not forget there aren't four gospels, but forty, most of which the church left out and the remainders rewritten and selected to conform, which they still fail to do. The other gospels, which includes stories of Jesus not being the son of God, and his playing with dragons and killing people, were used to form some other religions, which weren't lucky enough to take over the Roman Empire and use it's power to spread a centralized message from Rome with a sword.

Finally, what are you to believe? The same thing you might believe about even better sources and 'reliable' books such as the Quran and Book of Mormon. That people wrote these stories based in part on some real events, but included all sorts of supernatural claims for obvious political/religious reasons in addition to the mistakes humans regularly make in attributing supernatural powers to events and people.

That's the thing. We have people in large numbers today claiming that such magical events occur, such as yogi's with millions of followers in India swearing to their miracles, and we don't take them seriously. There was no more reason to believe the gospels then, than there is to believe L. Ron Hubbard now. It's not even necessary to show all the evidence that large parts of the gospels were invented, none except parts of Paul were written by the person themselves, and most of the rest likely wasn't based on original oral testimony. All that's needed is to point out that confirming every piece of testimony as authentic still leaves it in a far worse evidentiary position than cults we laugh at regularly.


Someone comes up to you, and says that a dozen people started a group promising that their leader is the son of God, he's here to bring a few chosen people to paradise, and all you need to do is accept him as master and symbolically eat his flesh and blood and live with him on his communistical compound giving up all your possessions while cutting off ties to any doubting family members, and if you doubt him, you get an eternal torture chamber he just invented. Oh, and the leader died a while ago and so have his followers even though he promised the end of the world would happen in their lifetime. What you have doubts? Well four of these people are confirmed to exist and we know their stories! Surely that should remove any doubts as to them making things up! What you noticed that they contradict history books and each other regularly? Err... ignore that, all the stuff involving zombies, water-walking and demons jumping into pigs is still totally reliable.

u/Pelusteriano · 81 pointsr/biology

I'll stick to recommending science communication books (those that don't require a deep background on biological concepts):

u/TooManyInLitter · 81 pointsr/DebateReligion

How about the evolution of Yahweh/Allah as a second-tier God in a large henotheistic polytheism into a straight monotheism where there is only one God, where that God is Yahweh/Allah?

Here are some references on the growth of monotheistic Yahwehism from a historical polytheistic foundation to the development of the henotheism/monolatry, and then monotheism of early Biblical Israelites:

u/vfr · 77 pointsr/atheism

That search is what made me atheist. The truth is that there is no true history of the bible. It's long lost, a mystery. For instance, we have no idea who wrote the gospels.. .totally anonymous. We don't know who wrote the OT... At best we know Paul's letters and a few other books, and we know when certain things were added or changed (for instance the famous John 3:16 was added by a monk later on).

If you want some insight into the history of Christianity, here are some links. It's a messy world filled with 2000 years of apologetics muddying the waters. (specifically this one: Examining the Existence of a Historical Jesus: ) (responsible for converting most of Europe... by the sword. Dealth penalty for having any pagan items, sacked whole villages, etc). more:

Now, if you want some good books... I recommend:

Any other questions?

u/Altilana · 75 pointsr/ATBGE

Except that’s not what happens. They eat of the fruit of knowledge which is what kicks them out. It’s an allegory for adulthood/leaving behind innocence, knowing the difference between right/ wrong and being self aware enough to feel shame (hence covering the body.) The creation story is an explanation why humanity isn’t childlike, and living in paradise. A lot of modern translations have tamed down the sexual language in scripture but there is a shit ton of sex, and sex play going on in the Bible. The Book of Genesis by Robert Crumb is a silly read but good at shocking people into realize how much sex goes on in the Bible.

u/VermeersHat · 75 pointsr/AskHistorians

There's a staggering amount of material on this. The biblical scholars I know generally prefer the New Revised Standard Version translation. The New Oxford Annotated Bible is a good, solid annotated version. The Harper Collins Study Bible is good as well. It's often assigned in courses -- I believe because it's sometimes a bit cheaper.

The problem is that neither book is able to give you a comprehensive picture of biblical scholarship. If they tried, the books would be too heavy to lift. For that, I like the Anchor Bible Dictionary. It's huge -- and in fact Anchor has put out much more than just the dictionary -- but it has everything you need to know.

The best strategy would probably be to use the Anchor books as a reference to look up intriguing passages from the original text. Plenty of scholars -- like Bart Ehrman -- also publish survey texts that introduce the practice of biblical analysis and give an overview of the bible as a whole.

u/[deleted] · 73 pointsr/relationships

I grew up as a Jehovah's Witness and I was a staunch creationist, so I feel like I can see both sides of this equation.

I think that this is really a bigger issue than creationism. Evidenced by the comment that the goal of science is to prove the Bible wrong, or exists for the purpose of making Christians feel uncomfortable. This is about a fundamental difference in the way you see the world: approaching the world from the standpoint of belief first, or from the standpoint of observation first. I think that this difference in mindset will absolutely not diminish over the course of your marriage, it will constantly show up. I think your strategy of non-confrontation on this topic will not work long term, this needs to be cleared up if you expect a healthy marriage.

> How did you resist the temptation to cut their views apart with the glorious shears of science?

You don't. If he is a rational, thoughtful, intelligent man, then he is open to debate and personal growth. This is something he is wrong about, it's not insensitive or pushy to help him come a better understanding on this topic. Like I said, I used to be a creationist. I changed my mind because people challenged me, debated with me, investigated the consequences of my beliefs and pointed out logical inconsistencies. They didn't do it in an aggressive or rude way, but in a calm and rational way. I think you need to do the same thing. Sit down and hash this out.

> Tony knows that and is fine with it - we have had many rousing discussions about God, spirituality, philosophy, and what it means to be alive as well as regular intellectual conversations. He has (for the most part) always presented himself as a rational, thoughtful, intelligent man.

This makes it seem like he actually would be receptive to some discourse on this topic. I totally disagree with the other comments recommending bringing this up during pre-marital counseling. This is something that needs to be talked about between you both first. Having a conversation investigating the specifics of his beliefs would help you understand him better.

From personal experience, here are some arguments/lines of reasoning that were particularly helpful in making me realize my creationist beliefs didn't make sense:

  • If Noah brought pairs of all the land and air animals on the ark, how did he fit them all? There are 10,000 species of birds alone, and between 3 and 30 million species of animals all together. How did they all fit, and how did he mimic the habitats of the entire Earth such that they could all survive?
  • How do bacteria and viruses change such that new diseases appear? Where did HIV come from, did God create it? If so, why did it take so long to show up?
  • Why did God create humans with vestigial organs, such as the appendix and tonsils? Why is it the case that the appendix looks remarkably similar to the cecum seen in animals?
  • How did the light from other stars and galaxies reach Earth? If God literally created the universe in 6 days, there wouldn't have been enough time for light from distant galaxies to get to us, and the night sky would be substantially darker.

    It might be worth it for you to read up on Evolution before having the discussion, so you can get some ideas of your own. Maybe Dawkin's The Greatest Show on Earth or Coyne's Why Evolution Is True. It might even be useful to ask him to read one of the books. If he is an intelligent and rational man like you describe him, he is open to hearing the other perspectives and making an informed decision. If he absolutely refuses to read either book, then you've learned something else concerning about his personality - that he is not willing to make informed decisions, which would be good to learn now before you get married.
u/alwayshungry88 · 69 pointsr/Christianity

You should definitely check out The Language of God by Francis Collins. The guy was the director of the human genome project and is a believer in both evolution and God. Basically, science cannot prove nor disprove God OR atheism, because the mode of science is the natural laws (time, gravity, etc), and if God is supernatural then he exists outside of such laws. We cannot "test" for a creator.

u/shadowboxer47 · 67 pointsr/atheism

This is a rather long story, but I will try to make it short and sweet.

It started when I was, without warning and explanation, kicked out of my Church. I received a call the day after my first child was born telling me I was no longer welcome. To this day I do not know the reason, but I suspect personal vendettas. I found myself without a job and entered a crises of faith. This emotional blow started my path on what I would consider an intellectual journey.

After a few months, my wife and new child eventually found a few new churches to attend. I was looking for a new preaching job. I eventually moved several states away and decided to take a break for a bit and get a job in the "real" world. I still taught classes, preached occasionally, and even door-knocked, but it was the last time I was on church payroll. (God, you should hear the audio of my teachings. Talk about FUBAR.)

Eventually, my views became more and more "liberal' as I did more reading on scriptural interpretation. I began looking into Messianic Judaism and eventually came to realize that Jesus' supposed purpose was redundant. The forgiveness of sins were possible to the Jews even without sacrifice, and to Gentiles by living noble lives. What, then, was the purpose of the Christ? It seemed to me to make salvation infinitely more difficult... doesn't sound like something a loving god would do.

I started to search the Old Testament much closer and discovered several things. There are actually very, very few prophesies that can be ascribed to Jesus, and most of these are clear forgeries. For instance, the death of Jesus is never actually prophesied in the Old Testament. Something was amiss, and I started deep studies in textual criticism. I began to suspect the New Testament wasn't inspired and starting studying actual Judaism.

Around this time, I started reading the book, Misquoting Jesus and my eyes were opened. I was dumbfounded and started doing much deeper study. I concluded that the New Testament (and later the whole Bible) was simply a set of old documents. Certainly not inspired and certainly not perfect.

What was even more confusing is that many Christian professors/scholars knew this, but were still believers. This was completely nonsensical to me. In my mind, the inspiration of the scriptures were a critical corner stone of Christianity. If the witness wasn't infallible, than the entire religion fell apart like a house of cards. If god could raise Jesus from the dead, how much easier would it be to protect the evidence? If god couldn't perform that simple feat, then... well... FAIL.

At this point, I still believed in a god, and was very, very confused. I started studying other religions in depth. I bought dozens and dozens of books. The more I read, the more I realized a very profound, albeit simple, truth: virtually all religious people, deep in their heart, really believe they're right. How was I supposed to know which god to follow?

I then decided to go even further out of my box, and study evolution, from an "insiders" perspective. I probably have every single creationist / anti-evolutionist book in existence, but I figured if I had gotten Christianity wrong, and I was deceived, it could very well be possible that I didn't know jack shit about evolution--which turned out to be the case.

As soon as I understood the "miracle" of evolution, I instantly realized god was a fabrication; a lie. Reading The God Delusion put the final nail on the coffin. (Dawkins is my hero. I wish I could shake that man's hand. I felt he has saved my life. This man truly does great work. Whereas before I had a complete disdain for science, mathematics, etc., I now became eager to learn everything I could. Whole new worlds were opened up, and I wanted to know how everything worked. I mean, who knew nature was so cool?!)

TL;DR Damn, nature; you're awesome.

u/BeenBeans · 65 pointsr/Catholicism

Hi there! Also a former raised-Catholic-but-not-really-former-atheist/agnostic revert here.

There are numerous - almost endless - amount of resources out there, regarding the Church. (Considering the age of the Catholic Church, it's not surprising.) If you had more specific topics you were looking for, I'm sure people here would be more than willing to point you in the right direction.

For more general sources by platform:



  • There actually is a "Catholicism for Dummies".

  • Mere Christianity is a classic read for all Christians. It is not explicitly Catholic, but it gives a good foundation.



  • Father Mike Schmitz does a great job of explaining things concisely and with enthusiasm.

  • Bishop Robert Barron is also extremely popular on social media among Catholics. Great content.



  • Catholic Stuff You Should Know is one part goofy banter and one part reflections/discussions on Catholicism. I listened to them regularly when I had 1+ hour commutes each way :)

  • Catholic Answers is also a well-known podcast among Catholics. Haven't listened to them yet, but I always hear good things!



  • Regarding mass and its structure/meaning. Here is a link to a USCCB page that breaks down the mass structure and explains the significance of each section/prayer

  • On how to pray the rosary. Learning the rosary can be a big hurdle for neophytes, but it would still be fruitful to begin with perhaps just one decade.


    This subreddit is generally good at giving solid answers and advice, if you had specific questions/doubts/inquiries. It was actually probably quite an instrumental player in my reversion to the Church. And like you said, head to confession ASAP! Welcome back home, friend.
u/distantocean · 46 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Then I'd recommend you read the book Why Evolution Is True by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne. At worst you'll end up with a better understanding of just what it is you're rejecting.

Oh, and to answer your question, yes. The existence of a god (yours or any other) isn't just a default answer we substitute when some other answer isn't available--or not one anyone should substitute by default, anyway.

u/GenL · 44 pointsr/askscience

Your Inner Fish is a book about researchers who predicted one of the missing links between fish and amphibians, and then found it. Not a soft tissue prediction, but in the same vein. Great read.

u/mirroredfate · 41 pointsr/NeutralPolitics

From an economics perspective:

u/crayonleague · 40 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman - Jesus Interrupted (2010)

In this deliciously satisfying book, the author, a New Testament scholar, carefully reviews and assesses the New Testament with a detailed and extremely thorough analysis of the figure we call Jesus. This is not a rant, not an attack on Christianity, this is an objective and critical analysis of the New Testament, showing how the entire Jesus myth and indeed, all of Christianity is a purposely-designed fabrication rife with contradictions, inaccuracies, and sometimes outright falsehoods.

John Loftus - Why I Became an Atheist (2008)

If you want a one-stop total critique of Christianity, this is the book you're looking for. The author is a former Christian apologist turned extremely angry and prolific atheist. In this book Loftus attacks the full span of Christianity, addressing the philosophical arguments against theism, the historical incompatibilities and inaccuracies of the Bible, and the contradictions between creationism and modern science, and throughout it all is an undercurrent of personal experience as Loftus explains his own deconversion from devout evangelicalism to enraged atheist.

Concerning atheism.

These are for the people going "Well, I'm an atheist. Now what?" There's more to atheism than eating babies and posting fake facebook conversations on r/atheism. There's much more truth, beauty, and value in a universe without a celestial supervisor, where humans are free to make our own purposes and dictate our own paths. Thinking for yourself and recognizing the natural wonder of the universe is far greater than the false consolation any religion can provide you. These books show how.

Michael Martin - Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1989)

In this book, Martin attempts a two-pronged defense of atheism: first by attacking theistic arguments regarding the implausibility of morality and purpose without God, second by defending against attacks specifically on atheism. In such a manner he makes a strong case for both negative and positive atheism. Though extremely dated, this book is a classic and a must-read for any atheist.

Erik J. Wielenberg - Value and Virtue in a Godless Universe (2005)

In this book, Wielenberg advances a naturalist philosophy and addresses the problem of nontheistic morality as weakly espoused by the likes of Dostoevsky and C.S. Lewis. First he challenges the claims of theistic morality, next he advances naturalistic ethics and displays how theological justification is unnecessary for a good and moral life. Concepts such as intrinsic morality, inherent human tendencies such as charity and altruism, and the idea of moral obligations are all addressed.

Richard Carrier - Sense and Goodness Without God (2005)

In this book, Richard Carrier, perhaps most well-known as one of the major modern debunkers of the Jesus myth, continues the trend of expanding metaphysical naturalism, but this is a more complex and thorough work covering the full spectrum of a developed worldview, addressing nearly every topic beyond just morality, and presents a complete philosophical outlook on life that is easy to comprehend and evaluate. A solid starting point for the newly atheist.

My personal picks.

Now, since this is my list after all, and after typing up all of that, I think I've earned the right to make my own recommendations. These are books that I think people should read that don't necessarily have anything to do with atheism.

Markos Moulitsas - American Taliban (2010)

This book reads like a collection of loosely-related blog entries, some of them written by angry teenagers, and Moulitsas himself is no philosopher or professor, but is still an important read for those of you who haven't been paying attention. In this book, the founder of Daily Kos draws the extremely obvious and transparent similarities between the religious right of America, and the Islamofascists across the pond, and displays how modern conservatism has largely been hijacked and/or replaced by a complex political machine intent on maintaining the power of a small group of white, male, Christian elite.

Chris Hedges - American Fascists (2007)

Okay, time for a more sophisticated take on the issue than Daily Kos stuff. Those of you who plan on staying and fighting in the US rather than simply getting the fuck out while you still can need this book. With a critical and objective eye, Hedges displays the dark and tumultuous underbelly of America and shows how an extremely powerful and well-organized coalition of dominionists is slowly taking over the country and seeking to transform it into a theocratic state. Those of you who are moderate Christians and similarly despise the lunatic fringe of Christians should also read this book. Hedges analyzes this Christian Right movement, allied with totalitarianism and a denial of reality, that has declared a jihad (or a "teahad", if you're a Tea Partier) on secularism and even on Christianity itself, utilizing religion for its darkest and most sinister purpose - committing cruelty and intolerance upon others in the name of divine supervision.

CJ Werleman - God Hates You, Hate Him Back (2009)

This is one of my favorite books and is a great book to unwind with after a critical look at Christianity. The biggest problem with the Bible is not the contradictions, the outright falsehoods, or even the blatantly made-up and ridiculous bullshit about magic and miracles and supernatural nonsense - it's the fact that, taking it all at face value, the God described in the Bible is the single most despicable and terrifying fictional villain ever imagined by humanity. This is a character that seems to actively despise mankind, and in this book, Werleman shows why with a hilarious and thorough analysis of the Bible. This book reads like Monty Python and is just as funny - not meant to be taken seriously of course unless you're a Biblical literalist, but still a great read.

Well, that's all I got. This list took about half a day to compile and is itself also woefully inadequate, there's quite a bit of books I haven't gotten around to reading yet. But, it should be much more sufficient than the current r/atheism reading lists and I've done my best to include the most recent works. If you have any books to add that you feel are noteworthy, please feel free to post them. I hope this list can help many people in their understanding of philosophy and atheism.

u/HaiKarate · 40 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Freeman -- breaks down the composition of the first five books of the Bible, and why it seems a little funky to the average reader (hint: multiple authors and editing for each book).

The Bible Unearthed -- One of the top archaeologists in Israel today demonstrates why the foundational stories of the Bible can't be literally true.

A History of God -- Explains the known history behind the idea of the god of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and how that idea evolved from polytheistic roots.

The above three books would represent where most Bible scholars are on the issue of the historical authenticity of the Bible's stories.

u/modeler · 40 pointsr/askscience

Shubin's Your Inner Fish covered this from an evolutionary/development perspective - an amazingly fascinating read.

In a shortened, abridged summary: The head of a shark is a series of segments where each segment as one vertebra, and in ennervated by nerves from that vertebra, and each vertebra has one gill pair. Nice and logical.

However, in mammals, many of those segments are munged together to create a neck, throat, ears and larynx structures from the gills, and many other components have moved from their original segment into the mess. The new jumbled components are ennervated from their historic segment, leaving some nerves very long and weird paths - for example the recurrent laryngeal nerve exits the spine close to the larynx, loops down to the heart, then back up to the larynx. It all made sense in the shark...

u/Ohthere530 · 40 pointsr/atheism

I recently read the books on this topic by Ehrman, Doherty, and Carrier.

I found Carrier's case for a Mythical Jesus to be compelling, even though I found him to be annoying as a writer. He is rude to people who disagree with him and chooses language designed to offend. His writing is shrill and stiff. That said, his book is scholarly and well documented.

Ehrman argues for a historical Jesus. His book was almost the opposite of Carrier's. His tone was friendly and approachable. He seemed calm and reassuring. I kind of wanted him to prove his case. But his arguments sucked.

Doherty dissected Ehrman's case paragraph by paragraph. (I read Carrier first, then Ehrman, then Doherty.) Doherty raised many of the concerns I noticed myself. Ehrman's arguments just didn't make sense. Never mind the history or the evidence — I'm no scholar — his arguments didn't make logical sense.

I wouldn't say it's proven either way. Given the scarcity of evidence, it may never be. That said, Carrier made a surprisingly strong case against a historical Jesus. If Ehrman's defense of Jesus is the best that academia can do, I'd say Jesus is pretty much dead.

But I would love to see a serious and scholarly attempt to refute Carrier's work. Ehrman's work didn't cut it.

u/SunAtEight · 39 pointsr/atheism

Get yourself an annotated New Revised Standard Version. It includes alternative translations and copious footnotes from an academic source-critical perspective, along with very informative essays and maps at the back.

Note: I have the Oxford Augmented Third Edition. Looking at the reviews, make sure you get the version you want. I think I might have linked the paperback edition lacking the concordance ("College Edition"). A concordance is useful, but you also probably don't want something this big in paperback, especially since the price isn't that different.

u/Valendr0s · 38 pointsr/atheism

Here's my subscription list in YouTube in alphabetical order:

  • C0nc0rdance - dedicated to cutting through scientific hype and helping the laymen understand the real science behind the hype. Not so much anti-religion as pro science.

  • cdk007 - Evolution explanations. General creationist lie busting. Try his "Logic of Religion" Series.

  • DarkMatter2525 - sort of a humorous site, he pokes fun more than most, but he exposes some fallacies.

  • DonExodus - His older stuff is better IMO, but still a very solid channel.

  • dprjones - some good stuff here, he's more up on the YouTube drama than some of the others.

  • Evid3nc3 - Some interesting, "how I became an atheist" stories. But the real gem of this collection has to be: A History of God part 1. Which is essentially a book report on the book "A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam"

  • GreatBigBore - His newer stuff is way off base of his older stuff... He used to do critiques of creationist/atheist debates, creationist papers, and religious propaganda, pointing out every logical fallacy he can find. Try the "God's Quality Control 2.0" series.

  • Jon LaJoie - not religiously related, but HILARIOUS nevertheless, you needed a break anyway - start with everyday normal guy and keep the laughs coming.

  • National Center for Science Education - The group trying very hard to keep Evolution in schools and Religion out of them. Dr Eugenie Scott is probably one of my personal heroes.

  • NonStampCollector - very funny, has lots of biblical contradictions in here. He loves em. Funny guy. But if there is a hell this guy's goin there unless god's got an infinite sense of humor too...

  • Philhellenes - If there was an atheist church, this would be the pastor. Warning, it can be a tear jerker... Science Saved My Soul. Deliberately uses religious tactics to invoke emotions in scientific minds to great effect.

  • potholer54 - Another personal hero. Former science news correspondent, destroys creationist arguments with his huge hammer of justice. Also has Potholer54debunks.

  • ProfMTH - again, older stuff is amazing. His "Brief Bible Blunders" series was really good.

  • QualiaSoup - Now we're cooking with fire. This guy is who you're looking for. He destroys religion's base arguments. He decimates every argument with his soft accented voice. Putting faith in its place is where I'd start.

  • A single video by smsavage32 - Was Jesus a Myth? - very enlightening.

  • TheraminTrees - Here's the brother of QualiaSoup. Deals with the psychological effects of religion. Amazing two guys here, can't go wrong with them. I'd suggest Atheism as congruence and Transition to Atheism for his personal story.

    To recap, almost everything in TheraminTrees and QualiaSoup's channels are just amazing.
u/ChaoticAgenda · 37 pointsr/aaaaaatheismmmmmmmmmm

I was a little over-zealous so the first thing out of my mouth after introductions was, "Why do you guys worship somebody who murdered so many people?"
They were a little confused since they couldn't think of any times he did that so I reminded them of the flood where he almost destroyed the entire human race and Sodom and Gomorrah.
They tried to justify it by saying that God can judge us for our sins. I pointed out that sin could only exist if God decided to stay silent while watching Eve get tempted. You can't honestly expect a person with no knowledge of good and evil to understand that what they are doing is wrong, yet we are punished for it to this day.

At this point they wanted to just cut their losses and leave me with one of their books so I offered to give them my copy of A History of God too and they could learn about how the polytheistic Canaanite religion led to polytheistic Judaism and from there to monotheistic Judaism. The trade was declined, but one of the guys said he would look into it.

I felt pretty good about the whole exchange. I didn't change any minds, but I defended my position solidly where they could hardly think of what to say.

u/burf12345 · 35 pointsr/atheism

> I don't think I ever was a good muslim except for not eating pork.

Being a "good Muslim" is not a good thing

> My teacher said something about even though evolution is widely accepted it has not been fully proven yet.

Your teacher is wrong, there have been a ton of experiments that further prove why evolution is true.

I recommend reading The Greatest Show On Earth, by Richard Dawkins, it'll teach you quite a bit about evolution

u/BranchDavidian · 34 pointsr/Christianity

It's funny that the number one reason given for why Jesus didn't really exist is just a quote from Bart Ehrman, who had to write a book about Jesus existing to try and put an end to this growing trend in pseudo-history that says he didn't.

u/MisanthropicScott · 32 pointsr/atheism

I always recommend Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin because it's less antagonistic and more matter of fact about our evolution. Another good choice might be The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond. Again, I'm trying to think of the less obvious and less vitriolic choices than Harris or Dawkins. Handing him something entitled "The God Delusion" is likely to just shut off his brain instantly.

Oh ... to combat the Young Earth mentality, you could consider something like A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

u/NewManTown · 31 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

Kind of a combination of things - but in general the age old adage "if it ain't, broke don't fix it" applies here.

See about 500 million years ago the basic body plan for tetrapods was decided upon. From this basic body plan very few modifications have been made. For whatever reason four limbs, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, two kidneys, two lungs, two ovaries/testes, but one heart and one liver worked for it so it works for us.

Its not just humans that have these basic structures - birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and other mammals all have this basic body plan. Yes some have lost their limbs - like snakes, and others have lost an ovary - like birds...but underlying it all is that same basic blueprint. You may be interested in the book your inner fish.

u/The_New_34 · 31 pointsr/Christianity

As a Catholic, I can assure you Catholics ARE Christians. Mel Gibson is a Catholic... sort of. He's a Sedevacantist.

Man, call yourself a Christian! I would also recommend looking into the Roman Catholic faith or the Eastern Orthdox faith (we're the OG Christians, lol).

Yes, get a Bible, but DON'T read it cover-to-cover. Once you get to Leviticus, you'll be like, "What the actual f--- is going ON here?" Start with the New Testament, specifically one of the Gospels. I personally love the Gospel of Luke because of how it portrays Mary, but the Gospel of John is quite good, too. It's very symbolic and is perhaps the one you could study the deepest.

if you're finding it hard to understand some of the New Testament of the Bible (the part with Jesus, the letters of Paul, and the Book of Revelation,) I would recommend buying the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible. It's an actual, readable Bible that contains commentary throughout. The version I linked is only for the New Testament. The Old Testament analysis is still being compiled, but it's almost done.

Also, listen to Scott Hahn's podcast where he breaks down various sections of the Bible.

As for reading materials outside the Bible, I can highly recommend Mere Christianity, by C. S. Lewis, Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton, and Chesterton's other work The Everlasting Man.

Oh yeah, PRAY! Just have a conversation with God! Talk to him about anything you want! Pray to God, ask the Blessed Mother for intercession, or any of the saints

If you're confused about the various denominations of Christianity, Here's a basic flow chart.

Here's the Nicene Creed, which is a mash-up of what (most) Christians believe

Also, I highly recommend the Podcast Pints with Aquians! It's an analysis of the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, who's life mission was to combine faith with human reason and prove that it was not unreasonable to believe in God, but perhaps it is unreasonable to not believe in God.

I, along with everyone on this sub, will be praying for you! Good luck on your faith journey!

u/lemmetrainurdragon · 30 pointsr/gifs

It's not that weird. We share a lot of the same neurobiology. The seeds of our emotional brains are present in other animals. The late Jaak Panksepp did a lot a lot of great work on the neurobiology of animal and human emotion. Here's a TED talk by him:

Humans didn't evolve the capacity for emotions out of nowhere, just like we don't have eyes or arms or a spine out of nowhere. (For more detail, I recommend Neil Shubin's Your Inner Fish, and Panksepp's The Archaeology of Mind.) The rudiments are there in the animals, whose ancestors we share, though they may have gone onto divergent evolutionary pathways.

u/NukeThePope · 30 pointsr/atheism

Welcome, and thank you for your question! It happens to be about a topic near and dear to my heart!

I've done a blog post on the subject of the Jesus Myth. It mentions the book Nailed which is all about this topic. You can catch the author's summary in this talk.

Richard Carrier, a scholarly historian, points out a hell of a lot of holes in the resurrection story in this talk. It's done to an atheist audience, so it's not quite as polite as you may be used to hearing at Christian meet-ups ;)

u/love-your-enemies · 30 pointsr/Catholicism

There is a person in the Bible who says to Jesus, "I believe. Help my unbelief!" (you can find that story and the context of the phrase in Mark chapter 9). I always thought that was a profound sentiment, and it's a phrase I think about whenever I experience doubts.

I would say that most or all Catholics probably experience doubts about the faith at some point in their lives. I wouldn't let concerns about whether you could believe in God hold you back from Catholicism if you really thought you wanted to join the Church.

There is a somewhat famous Catholic, Blaise Pascal, who even said that unbelievers should basically "fake it till they make it"; they should basically try living as a faithful Catholic and see what it does to them and their thoughts. He thought that if someone regularly went to Church and tried praying to God, that they might start to feel a connection with God, and that would make it easier to believe, and that they might actually start believing it all. After all, why should we expect someone to believe in God and find it convincing if they never give it a shot? The only other way to acquire any amount of belief at all, that I can think of, would be through some kind of convincing argument.

I think that idea from Pascal makes sense. If God really does exist, then it would make sense that trying to reach out to God in some way would probably do something. God has not promised everyone a miraculous sign or proof of His existence, but you also never know how God will choose to react to people's prayers and inquiries. All you can do is try and not expect too much since we know that even for the best Catholic saints in history, a lot of them only got vague visions at best (edit: after thinking about this more, I realize in the bible it does say to pray expectantly. so maybe "don't expect much" is wrong, too. i still need to understand all this stuff better myself, it seems). I am Catholic and I can say I've never even experienced anything like that. I pretty much believe because I have studied some Catholic apologetics and I was convinced by the arguments, but also because I was raised Catholic and I have practiced the religion for a while now, and I have sometimes felt a connection to God in a kind of esoteric or abstract way. I think more proof about this stuff would be great. But we are not entitled to proof.

Maybe apologetics would help you to believe. Since you studied science, maybe those kinds of logical arguments would help you. There are plenty of options. One option that comes to my mind is this book by Ed Feser. I know a lot of people here like Peter Kreeft; I did a quick search on Amazon and found this book by him. I know Kreeft has talked about the beauty of Catholicism before so maybe his writings will appeal to you. Some other names you could look into would be C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton.

I actually fell away from Catholicism for a bit in my college days, and came back through Protestantism and some Protestant philosophers. I was very influenced by William Lane Craig, who has a lot of great apologetics works. You could check out writings and podcasts on his website or one of these two books: 1, 2.

I probably don't have any good advice to offer about the situation with your boyfriend. I have very little relationship experience myself. Maybe if one day you do really get into Catholicism, and learn more about it, you could debate theology with him and see if you can convert him. I think that Church history is a good way to try to convert people. In my experience, a lot of Protestants never even think about the fact that the Catholic Church claims to be the Church established by Christ, and that the Bishops today have been ordained by previous Bishops, going all the way back to the original disciples of Christ through a process known as Apostolic Succession. In addition to stuff like that, there is also the fact that the transubstantiation of the Eucharist is a concept that existed in the very early Church as well, and the Catholic Church is the only Christian Church which has preserved this tradition.

I ended up writing a novel too. Anyway, good luck to you. Feel free to reply and ask questions if you want any more info from me. I was happy to read your story.

u/weirds3xstuff · 28 pointsr/DebateReligion

I. Sure, some forms of theism are coherent (Christianity is not one of those forms, for what it's worth; the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma being a couple of big problems), but not all coherent ideas are true representations of the world; any introductory course in logic will demonstrate that.

II. The cosmological argument is a deductive argument. Deductive arguments are only as strong as their premises. The premises of the cosmological argument are not known to be true. Therefore, the cosmological argument should not be considered true. If you think you know a specific formulation of the cosmological argument that has true premises, please present it. I'm fully confident I can explain how we know such premises are not true.

III. There is no doubt that the teleological argument has strong persuasive force, but that's a very different thing than "being real evidence" or "something that should have strong persuasive force." I explain apparent cosmological fine-tuning as an entirely anthropic effect: if the constants were different, we wouldn't be here to observe them, therefore we observe them as they are.

IV. This statement is just false on its face. Lawrence Krauss has a whole book about the potential ex nihilo mechanisms (plural!) for the creation of the universe that are entirely consistent with the known laws of physics. (Note that the idea of God is not consistent with the known laws of physics, since he, by definition, supersedes them.)

V. This is just a worse version of argument III. Naturalistic evolution has far, far more explanatory power than theism. To name my favorite examples: the human blind spot is inexplicable from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution; likewise, the path of the mammalian nerves for the tongue traveling below the heart makes no sense from the standpoint of top-down design, but it makes perfect sense in the context of evolution. Evolution routinely makes predictions that are tested to be true, whether it means predicting where fossils with specific characteristics will be found or how fruit fly mating behavior changes after populations have been separated and exposed to different environments for 30+ generations. It's worth emphasizing that it is totally normal to look at the complexity of the world and assume that it must have a designer...but it's also totally normal to think that electrons aren't waves. Intuition isn't a reliable way to discern truth. We must not be seduced by comfortable patterns of thought. We must think more carefully. When we think more carefully, it turns out that evolution is true and evolution requires no god.

VI. There are two points here: 1) the universe follows rules, and 2) humans can understand those rules. Point (1) is easily answered with the anthropic argument: rules are required for complex organization, humans are an example of complex organization, therefore humans can only exist in a physical reality that is governed by rules. Point (2) might not even be true. Wigner's argument is fun and interesting, but it's actually wrong! Mathematics are not able to describe the fundamental behavior of the physical world. As far as we know, Quantum Field Theory is the best possible representation of the fundamental physical world, and it is known to be an approximation, because, mathematically, it leads to an infinite regress. For a more concrete example, there is no analytic solution for the orbital path of the earth around the sun! (This is because it is subject to the gravitational attraction of more than one other object; its solution is calculated numerically, i.e. by sophisticated guess-and-check.)

VII. This is just baldly false. I recommend Dan Dennett's "Consciousness Explained" and Stanislas Dehaene's "Consciousness and the Brain" for a coherent model of a materialist mind and a wealth of evidence in support of the materialist mind.

VIII. First of all, the idea that morality comes from god runs into the Problem of Natural Evil and Euthyphro's Dilemma pretty hard. And the convergence of all cultures to universal ideas of right and wrong (murder is bad, stealing is bad, etc.) are rather easily explained by anthropology and evolutionary psychology. Anthropology and evolutionary psychology also predict that there would be cultural divergence on more subtle moral questions (like the Trolley Problem, for example)...and there is! I think that makes those theories better explanations for moral sentiments than theism.

IX. I'm a secular Buddhist. Through meditation, I transcend the mundane even though I deny the existence of any deity. Also, given the diversity of religious experience, it's insane to suggest that religious experience argues for the existence of the God of Catholicism.

X. Oh, boy. I'm trying to think of the best way to persuade you of all the problems with your argument, here. So, here's an exercise for you: take the argument you have written in the linked posts and reformat them into a sequence of syllogisms. Having done that, highlight each premise that is not a conclusion of a previous syllogism. Notice the large number of highlighted premises and ask yourself for each, "What is the proof for this premise?" I am confident that you will find the answer is almost always, "There is no proof for this premise."

XI. "...three days after his death, and against every predisposition to the contrary, individuals and groups had experiences that completely convinced them that they had met a physically resurrected Jesus." There is literally no evidence for this at all (keeping in mind that Christian sacred texts are not evidence for the same reason that Hindu sacred texts are not evidence). Hell, Richard Carrier's "On the Historicity of Christ" even has a strong argument that Jesus didn't exist! (I don't agree with the conclusion of the argument, though I found his methods and the evidence he gathered along the way to be worthy of consideration.)


I don't think that I can dissuade you of your belief. But, I do hope to explain to you why, even if you find your arguments intuitively appealing, they do not conclusively demonstrate that your belief is true.

u/Pope-Urban-III · 27 pointsr/Catholicism
u/VonAether · 26 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You said in another comment below that others were treating you as a troll or an idiot. I don't think that's necessarily the case: many of us are just trying to present the facts, and may be a little bit frustrated due to how YECs typically react. For example, my earlier comment about how creation science does not count as science, and how Geocentrism is incorrect, I did not set out to treat you like an idiot (and if I did, I'm sorry). I did treat you as ignorant, which isn't as bad as it sounds. I'm ignorant to a lot of things. Everyone is. But I love to learn, because I love to expand my knowledge.

Ignorance can be cured. Stupidity can't. We encounter wilful ignorance a lot, and it gets very frustrating, so that colours what we say.

If you're genuine about your desire to learn more, I'll drop some suggestions for further inquiry. Some of the language may be abrasive, but please keep an open, skeptical mind:

u/KeanuReevesPenis · 26 pointsr/JordanPeterson

You might want to actually learn about CS Lewis.

In Mere Christianity, Lewis bluntly states, quote, that “a Christian society would be what we call Leftist.” His references to capitalism (competition, profit, the accumulation of wealth, marketing, inequality, self-interest) are always critical, often hostile. He insisted that “If you are a Christian you do not have to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong”.

He also routinely criticized British Imperialism, the continuing effects of slavery, and critiqued glorified notions of “the family”. His buddy was crypto-commie George Macdonald, and he was surprised that the United States did not have a “socialist” English-style National Health Service, which he treated as common sense.  On more than one occasion - and in print - he called for economic equality.  When Churchill, in the reactionary 1950s, wanted to award him a “CBE”—Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Lewis turned it down, because he did not want to be associated with, quote, “anti-leftist propaganda.” He was also a friend of Edith Nesbit, the friend of Karl Marx’s daughter and repeatedly condemned fascism and the far right (especially in Spain) and detested conservatives like Evelyn Waugh. His attitude toward nationalism is especially revealing; he opposed the, quote, “fanatical Nationalist who tells me to throw away my scruples about universal justice and benevolence and adopt a system in which nothing but the wealth and power of my own country matters.”  “Universal justice and benevolence” are basic liberal values he explicitly said on more than one occasion. He even consigned two of England’s hero-sized nationalist monarchs—Henry V and Henry VIII—to Hell.  He also was buddies with the great English Marxist, William Morris, and notice how often the theme of social revolution turns up in Lewis’s books for children. 

And, though he has a reputation in America as a kind of evangelical Christian, Lewis abhorred mixing religion with politics.  “Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst”.  His language is blunt.  “Theocracy is the worst of all governments” and he openly called his beliefs “liberal” and “humanist” and expressed sympathy for the socialists hauled up before the McCarthy hearings, which he did not approve of. Up until he death, he expressed that humanity needed a new economic democracy, and his much touted "Mere Christianity" (perhaps his most popular book in the west) has surprising things to say about capitalism:  “Moses and Aristotle and the Christians agreed in forbidding interest. . . . three great civilisations had agreed in condemning the very thing on which we have based our whole life under capitalism". In a Christian society, he said, “There will be no manufacture of silly luxuries and then of sillier advertisements to persuade us to buy them. A Christian society would be what we now call Leftist”.

But of course, like Orwell (and numerous civil rights leaders), CS Lewis is whitewashed in the west.

u/Bilbo_Fraggins · 26 pointsr/atheism

That's why I think it's important to use one ranked by inanity. Choosing only the strongest problems keeps the fallacy of composition at bay. What tends to happen is the person can easily rationalize and dismiss one of your claims, and then use this to poison the well, saying all of them are suspect.

It's often better to only bring up the big problems than mix big and little problems together, for this reason.

My favorites:
Paul both went to see the disciples immediately and didn't go see them for 3 years.

Another great one is how Judas apparently hung himself, then bought a potters field with the money he returned to the priests, where he proceded to trip and disembowel himself.

Ain't that some shit.

Still, nothing is less believable than the ark narrative and the global flood, where water covers all-mountains under all-heaven after falling from the sky and coming up from the waters under the earth. The whole thing takes a whole year(or so, the narrative is hard to piece together), leaving absolutely no geologic evidence. Then the animals somehow return to where they should be biogeographically, and the pyramids that were already built didn't get water inside, etc.

Also, despite this the flood magically does not melt the ice cores that go back 800,000 years. The evidence against the flood is overwhelming, and even that page only scratches the surface.

Biblical literalism dies at the flood narrative. It simply must be, at best, metaphorical. Maybe your church accepts the flood as metaphorical, in which case the NT arguments above are some of the better ones.

I'd also say the biblical contradictions aren't the worst problems Christianity has to face up to. Much worse are the problem of inconsistent revelation, the lack of an historical Adam, the evidence of archaeology and higher criticism.

u/darkdantedevil · 23 pointsr/

I'll just leave this here:

I got my information from reading a book called Nailed: Ten Christain Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All

Here's a video of David Fitzgerald presenting the basic arguments.

Authors and Historians alive during Jesus's Time who had reason to notice him, but did not mention him:

Seneca: Wrote a book On Superstition and discussed every religious sect of his time, pagan, jewish, etc. He makes no mention of Jesus or his cult. St. Agustine attempts to explain this away in City of God

Philo Of Alexandria: Wrote a book about Pilate's Persecution of the jews, but makes no mention of Jesus.

Those are just a few, this is a comment, not a book, so let's move on.

There are claims that Jesus is mentioned in historical documents. Most notably Josephus.
I won't quote the passage, but it is a blatant forgery. After extolling how wonderful and Christy this Jesus fellow was, the next paragraph continues "About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews in disorder". Another sad calamity? It is blatantly obvious this paragraph of Jesus was inserted at a later date.

Watch the link or read the book if you want more evidence.

u/tazemanian-devil · 22 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for getting those nasty watchtower cobwebs out of your head, in other words, here is what I did to de-indoctrinate myself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Next, learn some actual science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website.. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read works by Stephen Hawking

Read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Learn about critical thinking from people like Michael Shermer, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline..

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

Another great source is the youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that you can use to become a more knowledgeable person.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/MoralJellyfish · 21 pointsr/AskHistorians

A History of God by Karen Armstrong is a pretty good and accessible text about how the God concept changed over time

u/MagicOtter · 21 pointsr/Catholicism

Former fedora atheist here. For a long time, I felt like I belonged to the "skeptical, rational, atheist" tribe. But at one point I became disillusioned with the crowd, and realized that I no longer want to be part of it. I started looking for alternatives, groups I'd want to be a part of, and I settled upon Catholicism. I first approached it from a purely secular perspective, as a serious and reliable institution. But I ended up accepting the faith and God as well.

Here's my progression, what drew me in more and more:

I. The intellectual life. I was always fascinated by science. It was interactions with promoters of dishonest creationism (usually evangelicals) that originally pushed me towards rejecting religion and to become a militant atheist.

Then I read a book that changed how I view the relation between Church and science: God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science. I now follow @catholiclab and similar profiles on Twitter, which post interesting facts about Catholic scientists. It's simply astounding how this information is completely absent from contemporary popular culture.

II. Just on an emotional level, feeling "closer" to Catholics. It helped that my family is Catholic. On YouTube, I've watched many videos by Bishop Robert Barron, Fr. Mike. They are very lucid and reasonable in addressing contemporary issues. I'm sure there are many others.

I'm also reading biographies of martyrs who died persecuted in modernity by revolutionary ideologies. My TODO reading list includes books by Thomas Merton, Joseph Ratzinger, and the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

III. The aesthetics. I'm subscribed on Twitter to profiles like @Christian8Pics which post a lot of inspiring imagery. Familiarity breeds liking. I also listen to music on YouTube: liturgy, Medieval chants, Mozart's Requiem, Byzantine chants (usually Eastern Orthodox).

All these sideways might seem very strange to a Catholic convert or someone raised Catholic who stayed Catholic. But if someone is immersed in a materialistic, mechanistic and atheistic worldview, there's no available grammar or impulse to even take God or the life of the Church into consideration.

IV. Actually knowing what theism is all about. The "god" dismissed by popular atheist debaters is a caricature of God as understood by classical theism and the actual tradition of the Church. So is the "god" argued for by Intelligent Design proponents, biblical literalists, fundamentalists.

I read 2 books by Edward Feser (Catholic) and David Bentley Hart (Eastern Orthodox) to finally become comfortable with this very simple point. The books I read are, in order:

By Edward Feser:

  • The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism

  • Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide)

    By David Bentley Hart:

  • Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies

  • [The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss] (

    Each author has his own biases, which might trip the reader up at times (Hart is biased against evolutionary psychology for some reason). But these books produced in me a fresh view of where to begin seeking for God. They gave me the confidence to proceed.

    Atheism always addresses "god" as if it's simply one entity among others, part of the natural world, for which one ought to find physical traces and then one simply "believes in the existence of god" (much like you'd believe there's a car parked outside your house, once you look out the window and observe it's there -- meaning it could just as well NOT be there).

    Creationists just muddy the waters with "god of the gaps" and "Paley's watch" style theories, which simply postulate "god" as an explanation for why this or that aspect of the natural world is a certain way, a tinkerer god which molds the physical world into shape, or which created it at some point in the past.

    This has nothing to do with how God is presented by the authors I quoted, and they go to great lengths to make this point.

    I started by understanding that there needs to be an ultimate answer to certain metaphysical questions which, by definition, can't have a physical answer (e.g. "why does there exist a physical world in the first place?"). There's a qualitative difference between physical questions and metaphysical ones, and the gap simply can't be breached by adding more layers of physicality. Hart makes this point very well (he differentiates between the Demiurge that deists, atheists and creationists discuss, and God as the "necessary being" of classical theism).

    The ultimate metaphysical cause is "necessary" because it's simply a necessity for the physical world to have a non-physical cause which keeps it in existence. If the only thing that existed was a quantum field that didn't produce any particles, or a single proton that always existed and will always exist, the "necessity" would be exactly the same. Nothing would change even if it turned out our Universe is part of a Multiverse.

    Then, through reasoning, one can deduce certain characteristics of this ultimate answer, which ends up forming the classical theistic picture of God as a "necessary being" which continuously creates every aspect of the physical universe. Feser is very good at explaining this part and especially at underlining how tentative and feeble our understanding of the unfathomable is. He also explains why it has to be a "being" rather than an unknown impersonal cause. It's a humbling experience.

    But as Bishop Robert Barron stated in his interview on the Rubin Report, philosophy only takes you halfway there. Looking back, the existence of God simply makes sense and is a no-brainer. Faith doesn't have to do with "accepting that God exists with no evidence". Faith is about what you do once you realize that the existence of God is an inescapable conclusion of rational thought. What do you do once you realize that He exists and is conscious of us? You have to go beyond the impersonal, and engage, interact. Here's where prayer, the liturgical life and spiritual exercises come into play.

    Unlike conversion, faith isn't a one-time historical event, it's a daily effort on one's part to drive one's thoughts towards the infinite and the ultimate cause of everything. This requires individual effort, but it is not an individual venture. One has the entire tradition and life of the Church to guide you: selfless persons who dedicated their lives to help people like you and me.

    Here's how Feser, in his "Last Superstition" book, describes the various ways of conceiving of God:

    >To understand what serious religious thinkers do believe, we might usefully distinguish five gradations in one’s conception of God:

    >1. God is literally an old man with a white beard, a kind if stern wizard-like being with very human thoughts and motivations who lives in a place called Heaven, which is like the places we know except for being very far away and impossible to get to except through magical means.

    >2. God doesn’t really have a bodily form, and his thoughts and motivations are in many respects very different from ours. He is an immaterial object or substance which has existed forever, and (perhaps) pervades all space. Still, he is, somehow, a person like we are, only vastly more intelligent, powerful, and virtuous, and in particular without our physical and moral limitations. He made the world the way a carpenter builds a house, as an independent object that would carry on even if he were to “go away” from it, but he nevertheless may decide to intervene in its operations from time to time.

    >3. God is not an object or substance alongside other objects or substances in the world; rather, He is pure being or existence itself, utterly distinct from the world of time, space, and things, underlying and maintaining them in being at every moment, and apart from whose ongoing conserving action they would be instantly annihilated. The world is not an independent object in the sense of something that might carry on if God were to “go away”; it is more like the music produced by a musician, which exists only when he plays and vanishes the moment he stops. None of the concepts we apply to things in the world, including to ourselves, apply to God in anything but an analogous sense. Hence, for example, we may say that God is “personal” insofar as He is not less than a person, the way an animal is less than a person. But God is not literally “a person” in the sense of being one individual thing among others who reasons, chooses, has moral obligations, etc. Such concepts make no sense when literally applied to God.

    >4. God as understood by someone who has had a mystical experience of the sort Aquinas had.

    >5. God as Aquinas knows Him now, i.e. as known in the beatific vision attained by the blessed after death.

    What I've been talking about is at #3. Atheists and creationists are debating #1 and #2. #4 is a gift to be accorded by grace, and is what people strive for in their spiritual life. #5 is the ultimate goal of the Christian life.
u/succhialce · 20 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I don't find that funny, I find it hugely disturbing. Learn about how your Bible was created and then see what that does for you.

Also please don't just downvote this guy because he's a religious person, that is counter-intuitive to the discourse here.

u/WastedP0tential · 20 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

You wanted to be part of the intelligentsia, but throughout your philosophical journey, you always based your convictions only on authority and tradition instead of on evidence and arguments. Don't you realize that this is the epitome of anti – intellectualism?

It is correct that the New Atheists aren't the pinnacle of atheistic thought and didn't contribute many new ideas to the academic debate of atheism vs. theism or religion. But this was never their goal, and it is also unnecessary, since the academic debate is already over for many decades. If you want to know why the arguments for theism are all complete nonsense and not taken seriously anymore, why Christianity is wrong just about everything and why apologists like Craig are dishonest charlatans who make a living out of fooling people, your reading list shouldn't be New Atheists, but rather something like this:

Colin Howson – Objecting to God

George H. Smith – Atheism: The Case Against God

Graham Oppy – Arguing about Gods

Graham Oppy – The Best Argument Against God

Herman Philipse – God in the Age of Science

J. L. Mackie – The Miracle of Theism

J. L. Schellenberg – The Wisdom to Doubt

Jordan Sobel – Logic and Theism

Nicholas Everitt – The Non-Existence of God

Richard Gale – On the Nature and Existence of God

Robin Le Poidevin – Arguing for Atheism

Stewart Elliott Guthrie – Faces in the Clouds: A New Theory of Religion

Theodore Drange – Nonbelief & Evil

[Avigor Shinan – From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends] (

Bart Ehrman – The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

Bart Ehrman – Jesus, Interrupted

Bart Ehrman – Misquoting Jesus

Burton L. Mack – Who Wrote the New Testament?

Helmut Koester – Ancient Christian Gospels

John Barton, John Muddiman – The Oxford Bible Commentary

John Dominic Crossan – Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography

Karen Armstrong – A History of God

Mark Smith – The Early History of God

Randel McCraw Helms – Who Wrote the Gospels?

Richard Elliott Friedman – Who Wrote the Bible?

Robert Bellah – Religion in Human Evolution: From the Paleolithic to the Axial Age

Robert Walter Funk – The Gospel of Jesus

u/MrTimscampi · 20 pointsr/SzechuanSauceSeekers

Let's at least link to a well translated version of the book, shall we ?

Here's the New American Standard Bible

Note: I'm atheist, but I've been doing some research about bible translations out of an interest to read the thing at least once and pretty much everybody says the New American Standard Bible is the best translation available in English. It's translated from the oldest versions of the texts available, has translation notes and removes some passages added by the King James version.

Some of the conversations that resulted from this post pushed me to research a bit more. In the end, for my reading of the Bible, I ended up going with The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha. It features a more neutral translation and is generally the standard for academic studies of the Bible. It uses the NRSV translation, which you can read here.

It has been brought to my attention that, while it features a more than correct translation, the NASB is a bit more geared towards Protestants. As my main goal for researching the various Bible translations was finding a good, neutral Bible to read as an atheist, I decided to further my research a bit and found out about the NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), which is approved by pretty much everybody but the most conservative sub-branches. The specific version I used mentioned above contains commentary from Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Atheists, so I feel that it represents as wide of a belief spectrum as possible and satisfies my objective better. It is also the de facto bible used for academic studies and research.
End of edit

u/MegaTrain · 20 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I'm no historian, but have been interested in the Jesus myth question since I lost my faith a few years ago. I am a fan of Richard Carrier, to reveal my own bias.

A few thoughts that I think are fair:

  1. Arguing that Jesus is a myth is not a good strategy for arguing against Christianity. Mythicist Richard Carrier acknowledges this and points to an excellent article by philosopher Daniel Fincke.

  2. The truth is that a historical Jesus existing is, in fact, the broad consensus of most Biblical scholars, even those who are not Christians. Obviously, this doesn't mean that it is necessarily correct (even a consensus can be wrong), but it is the consensus at this point.

  3. There are some really, really crappy mythicist theories out there. Zeitgeist the movie is a good example.

  4. Up until now, there has not been a peer-reviewed scholarly case made for mythicism. As of June 2014, Richard Carrier published a peer-reviewed book on the subject, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, but it is too early to say what impact, if any, this publication will have on the consensus. Carrier is compiling a list of responses to his book and his replies to their criticism.

  5. There is some indication that other Biblical scholars are moving toward agnosticism on this subject. This article by Carrier mentions several that appear to be softening on the subject, or even joining the ranks of mythicists.
u/epieikeia · 19 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Richard Carrier has explored this issue recently in a two-book series (Proving History, and On the Historicity of Jesus. Here is a lecture he gave while the second book was in progress, if you want an overview of the arguments. He's the most prominent historian I know of who considers a mythical Jesus most plausible.

u/xb10h4z4rd · 19 pointsr/exchristian

>Any books you can recommend covering this?

[a history of god] (

>Old Testament actually referred to other Gods actually being thought to exist. Do they not read it?

i've been apollogetizied on those already, they are either not real gods but metaphors for worldly things or it was taken out of context /s

u/Under_the_Volcano · 18 pointsr/badhistory

I was interested enough to pull-up the book on Amazon. Holy shit, are there a lot of terrible, xenophobic, ill-informed 1-star reviews.

A handful of the crazy:

>Let's get one thing clear right off the bat. First-century Palestinian Jews underwent rather serious training and were anything but illiterate. Their literacy in fact far surpassed that of the average American high school student of the 21st century.


>Ask yourself, who was most threatened by the popularity of Jesus : Pontius Pilate or Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin? Follow the money. Where did the thirty pieces of silver given to Judas come from? Caiaphas


>At the Great Judgement of God, we shall find out one day how the Lord & Savior & Creator Jesus Christ rates this book. I will not be surprised if we learn that Satan (the great deceiver, the Devil) has written this book of lies himself.


>This book is a book of lies written with intent to undermine and to foster the Islamic claim that Jesus was just another man, and there is no god but Allat, the moon god.


>This guy should go back to sand land and let us enjoy looking at girls in bikinis. I borrowed the book and threw up all over it half way through.

u/NomadicVagabond · 18 pointsr/skeptic

The two best books for getting a basic understanding of the writing and transmission process of the Bible are:

Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? for the Hebrew Scriptures

Burton Mack's Who Wrote the New Testament? for the Christian Scriptures

u/Johnlongsilver · 18 pointsr/history

Huh? The consensus among historians that the Exodus is a myth is pretty overwhelming. Even Israeli historians agree. Not everything that doesn't fit Jewish religious narrative is "anti-semitic".

u/samreay · 17 pointsr/DebateReligion

Sure, so apart from a lack of reason to accept those extraordinary claims I listed before, I would also defend the statement that we have firm evidence that Christianity is a human invention, a simple product of human culture.

This should not be too outlandish a claim, as even Christians can probably agree that most of the worlds religions are creations of our changing society (after all, Christians probably would disagree that Hinduism, paganism, Nordic, Hellenistic, aboriginal religions were divinely inspired/authored).

By looking back into the origins of Christianity, and the origins of the Judaic system from which it is derived, we can very clearly see changes in religious deities and stories, as the religion began incorporating myths from surrounding areas and as general patterns of beliefs changed. From what we can currently understand, it appears the the origin of Christianity started as a polytheistic pantheon with at least Yahweh, El, Baal and Asherah. It then moved slowly from polytheism to henotheism to monaltry to monotheism, as was relatively common in the Axial Age.

All of this points to the religion not representative of singular divine inspiration, and instead being representative of being a product of human culture, changing along with society.

This is a rather large topic of course, and if you want further reading, I recommend:

u/Ibrey · 17 pointsr/Catholicism

Christianity has a long intellectual tradition that sees a complementary relationship between faith and reason, and the prevailing view among Catholics is that rational arguments alone, without reference to revelation, can prove certain theological facts such as the existence of God; the divine attributes, e.g., God's simplicity, eternity, omnipresence, immutability, impassibility, justice, goodness, etc.; and the natural immortality of the human soul. Faith builds upon this rational foundation not by adding something extra that is accepted without proof, but by accepting teachings beyond our natural grasp on the authority of someone that reason tells us is infallible: if one Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, that is an unmistakeable sign from God that what he taught is correct.

If you want to dig in to that intellectual tradition and examine the arguments in detail, one good place to start would be Aquinas by Edward Feser. Aquinas' thought has become the mainstream of Catholic philosophy, but personally I consider his main work, the Summa Theologiae, to be too long and inaccessible to recommend as a starting point. Feser's book offers an approach better suited to modern readers, including a detailed analysis of Aquinas' famous "Five Ways" to prove the existence of God.

u/herbiems89_2 · 17 pointsr/de
u/dmcable · 17 pointsr/atheism

You chose the red pill, friend. Welcome. Now you get to see how deep the rabbit hole really goes.

Sounds like you need to read some Hitchens. I strongly recommend god is not great. He shared some of the same views you clearly have on religion - that it is inherently pernicious and disparaging.

u/spaceghoti · 17 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

> What would it take to change your mind, ie; convince you that a god exists ?

Independently verifiable evidence.

> Even if the bible and the gospels were completely internally consistent, completely historically accurate, written by eye witness accounts who were part of the story and heavily documented from multiple sources. Would you believe it and all its miracles and claims to be true ?

If it could be independently verified, then yes.

> Any book recommendations on wether a historical Jesus existed ?

I think Richard Carrier is a good place to start. Fitzgerald is good, too.

u/BEER_ME_THAT_BAGEL · 17 pointsr/AskHistorians

The book 'Zealot' by Reza Aslan has a chunk of it devoted to the decades before and after his life including several other people who gathered followers and claimed to be the "Messiah"

u/nullp0int · 17 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Let's dismantle your friend's arguments:

> Because something can't come from nothing...

Prove it. If he can't, his argument already falls apart. People assume that "something can't come from nothing" is a fact, but what evidence backs this up? Every single human being has been surrounded by "something" for every instant of his or her existence. Not once has any person experienced absolute "nothing". Thus any statement about the properties of "nothing" (besides being self-contradictory, as "nothing" cannot have properties) is complete and total Making Shit Up. This is begging the question.

> ...there had to be a being intelligent enough to create it

If something can exist without prior cause, then clearly prior cause is not always needed for existence. Therefore the demand that the universe have a prior cause is unreasonable. Furthermore, the universe is not a "thing" - it is the set of all things. Assuming that the whole must have the characteristics of its parts is the fallacy of composition.

> Because god exists outside of science, he doesn't need a scientific explanation.

"Outside of science" is a nonsensical statement. Please define or stop using this. Also, this is special pleading.

> The chances of abiogenesis occurring is 1 in 10^40,000. Most statisticians agree that these chances are far too improbable for such a thing to occur that it's essentially impossible.

This is Just Plain Wrong. The chance of abiogenesis occurring is not 1 in 10^40,000; people who think so are basing their beliefs off junk science and junk math. See: here for details. By the way, the whole "most statisticians agree..." is a ploy by your friend to hide the fact that he just pulled a random unsubstantiated number (10^40,000) out of the air and expects you to accept it.

>Nearly all genetic mutations are big and negative...

Again, Just Plain Wrong. See this and this. Your friend needs to do a little more research.

> ...therefore evolution having mutations that are small and positive is nearly impossible.

Your friend is showing his ignorance regarding evolution. Mutations are neither positive nor negative without context. A mutation which is helpful under certain circumstances is harmful under others. See the previous two links for more.

> Everything in nature seems perfectly designed for human beings.

Yep, cancer, natural disasters, predators, odorless toxic gases, plagues have all been perfectly designed to suit human beings. Toss your friend alone and naked into the wilderness and see how far that "perfectly designed" environment takes him. Better yet, toss him into the 99.99999999% of the universe that is not Earth and see how long he survives.

Furthermore, saying that "everything looks designed" is self-defeating. Ask your friend to show you an example of something which is not designed. Let's say he suggests X. Point out that, according to his beliefs, God did in fact design X, thus your friend has demonstrated an inability to tell the difference between things that are designed and not designed. In addition, if literally everything around us is designed, then he very concept of being designed loses all meaning (in the same way that theists like to say that good without evil loses all meaning).

> There's no way to explain that/the complexity around us with mutations.

Again, does not understand evolution. He should read this before making more ill-informed statements.

> There had to be a creator.

Even if this were true (it's not, given that every single thing your friend has said above is utterly wrong) - but even if this were true, there's nothing that says that this creator is anything like human notions of "God".

u/Kai_Daigoji · 16 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The New Oxford Annotated Bible is a great place to start if you really want to dig in academically.

u/snivelsadbits · 16 pointsr/dankchristianmemes

Imo, NIV cuts out a lot of rather inconvenient language that doesn't jive with modern Christianity and King James uses overly grand language for the sake of majestic effect. While there's nothing inherently wrong with either one, I prefer a translation that aims to have the most historically accurate reading. I use NRSV because it's the most academically focused translation but uses standard English and notates whenever important words have debated meanings or when names have important connotations (e.g. the roots of Elohim or YHWH) or there's notable shifts in narrative, contradictory messages, etc. My copy also has accessible scholarly essays giving historical context and extensive footnotes focusing on how readers contemporaneous to the books' writing would have interpreted the material. Here's an amazon link for 14 dollars :)

u/ethertrace · 16 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist
  1. The Gospels are contradictory and inconsistent.

    Matthew 27:52-53 is my favorite example. That's not a minor difference. In fact it's a huge oversight that Mark, Luke, John, Paul, and Peter all never mention. Would this not have been a useful event in trying to convince people of the divinity of Jesus? Did they not mention it because it simply did not happen? If that's the case, why should one believe any of what the authors of these books attributed to these men?

    I'm not disputing the idea that eyewitness testimony is unreliable and sometimes contradictory. I'm disputing the idea that saints rising from the dead, wandering around, and appearing to many is an event of minor consideration that could be easily missed or deemed unimportant enough to mention by all but one person.

    > Cornelius Tacitus one of the most prominent first century Roman historians stated

  2. Cornelius Tacitus wasn't even born until 56 AD. To try and utilize him as some sort of credible firsthand eyewitness is absolutely spurious. He was reporting what other people were saying, and it shouldn't be allowed to escape the critical eye that he never mentions anything about the resurrection, just the death of this "Christus." Even if a historical Jesus existed (which I'm not thoroughly convinced of), his existence does not mean that every other thing said about him in the bible is de facto true.

  3. I can't believe people are still trying to use Josephus. The Testimonium portion your friend quoted is a forgery by later Christian scribes. David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed, talks about this in a response to a review of his book:

    > The following paragraph starts by saying “About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder.” Another sad calamity? But what sad calamity? Josephus has just presented a commercial for Jesus, not a sad calamity! This reference skips over the Testimonium entirely and points to the previous section. That passage, where Pilate sets his soldiers loose to massacre a large crowd of Jews in Jerusalem, certainly fits the bill as a sad calamity, but no versions of the Testimonium do, “reconstructed” or not.

    > Many commentators, including Doherty, G. A. Wells and Peter Kirby, have noted that without the Testimonium passage, the continuity between the passages flanking it flows seamlessly into each other. This fact alone is a tremendous indication that the passage is 100% entirely fraudulent.

    Watch this video of Fitzgerald speaking at Skepticon. It gives a pretty good background to the historical evidence from a non-Christian perspective. Richard Carrier is another great historian to look into on this topic.

    > The Church itself shouldn't exist if Jesus never resurrected. Early Christians wouldn't have died under Nero and other tyrants if they had not had proof that Jesus was resurrected in the first place.

    Someone saying this to my face would immediately pay a price in ill-concealed laughter. As if tyrants have never persecuted people simply because they were a threat.

    > Is it irrational to believe that there is something beyond the physical world? Something beyond just what the five senses can evaluate?

    There are plenty of things we measure that cannot be evaluated by our five biological senses (though we actually have more than five). Magnetism, light outside the visible range, small amounts of ionized radiation, the existence of various elementary particles are some that I can think of off the top of my head. But we have done this through science and we don't call it magic or "the spiritual world."

    Let's put it this way: Science is the process of applying skepticism and logic to evidence to explain those observations about the world we inhabit. There is nothing about this definition which would preclude the existence of ghosts, for example, if we could definitively observe that ghosts exist. Science as a skeptical position doesn't start with theories, it starts with data. Without data, all theories are just speculation with no grounding in observable reality. So, to the person claiming that ghosts exist, the scientist says "give me data."
    Now, the position to which people who believe in spiritual realms often retreat is "the spiritual world is beyond the scope of the physical. Evidence is impossible to obtain."

    Well, that's just dandy, isn't it? If it's impossible to observe the spiritual world because it is completely separate from the physical world, then how the hell do you know anything about it at all? If we cannot see ghosts because they do not interact with light, cannot touch ghosts because they do not interact with matter, etc. then we're effectively talking about an entity that by definition can have no interaction with our reality and you can have no knowledge about. If they do interact with light or matter, then we can have observable evidence for testing their existence.

    To suggest that there's some parallel dimension that can't be investigated whatsoever with any physical method is to say that it can have no effect upon our world.
u/Pharticus78 · 15 pointsr/exchristian

I read,”Why Evolution Is True “ by Jerry Coyne.

It’s an easy read and lays out an argument that I can’t find flaw with.

Only the most obtuse could peruse this scientific aggregate and still try to deny the age of the earth and evolution.

u/davidjricardo · 15 pointsr/Reformed

Here's my reading list on Reformed Perspectives on Creation. I don't agree with everything written by all of the authors, but they are all worth reading. The also aren't all written from a Reformed perspective, but many of them are. If you are looking more for a Scientific perspective I'd particularly recommend Collins, Jelsma, and Haarsma since those are the ones written by scientists instead of theologians. If you didn't see it already, I also listed a number of other resources by Collins yesterday in the post about his AMA.

u/Venus100 · 15 pointsr/exchristian

This was what first made me start the process of deconversion. I had for a long time held that some form of theistic evolution must be true. I had read Francis Collins, and John Walton books, and thought my reasoning was logical.

The tiny seeds of my eventual deconversion were planted however in a discussion/debate with my mother-in-law. She is a staunch creationist, doesn't think anyone who believes in evolution can possibly be a christian. We had a long discussion about the issue, and she kind of came around to my point of view--or at least didn't think I was going straight to hell anymore. But in the course of this conversation, she off-handedly made some comment about evolution meaning there was always death. We didn't really talk about the subject any more than that.

But it kept popping into my mind over the coming days. And for some reason, I had never considered this idea before. Months later, after much research, reading and considering, I came to realize that I could find no acceptable explanation for what "the fall" was, if it was a merely symbolic event. If there was always sickness and pain and death from day one, then the world was always "fallen". And without a fall, my understanding of who Jesus was and what he did was on VERY shaky ground. So it was the beginning of the end for me.

u/sharplikeginsu · 15 pointsr/TrueAtheism

As you've already found, evidence that conflicts with people's worldviews is hard for them to accept. (A high-end case of Confirmation Bias). They will reject the source on whatever grounds they can find. And if it's a source that's effectively been a burr under a lot of Christian's saddles, they will find a lot of people giving putting fuel on the "don't trust that source/evidence" fire.

One of the angles I like to discuss with people is how likely it is that the majority of the old testament is mythical. If you haven't read it, check out The Bible Unearthed. It provides a large volume of explicit evidence (from missing evidence of settlements, to place names that are clearly out of time, to the counter-evidence for where 'Israel' really came from, etc.) which shows that massive chunks of the OT are entirely mythical. (Not all, but significant portions.) If the premises are true it becomes very hard to decide what 'truth value' the remaining text has. Why would you depend on it as a guide for how to be saved (or for anything other than ancient literature) if it's inaccurate in profound ways?

I linked to Amazon, because you can check out the 1-star reviews, and the comment replies to them. You can see that, predictably, people claim these findings have been 'debunked' and 'discredited' and that the author is 'not a scholar' and 'not an archaeologist.' But none of them actually provide any evidence that it's the case, and the sorts of counter-authorities they quote are theologists, not archaeologists, or archaeologists who are explicitly and openly religiously biased in their searches.

u/OcioliMicca · 14 pointsr/Catholicism

Please correct if I'm wrong (anyone on here), but this is an objection to St. Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, which you can read about more here. St. Anselm believed you can prove God's existence without any empirical knowledge. About 100 years after St. Anselm's death, St. Thomas Aquinas was born. St. Thomas Aquinas actually criticized St. Anselm's argument as well, you can check out this short clip that goes over it.

Aquinas argued for God's existence differently via the 5 proofs, which does use empirical knowledge to prove God's existence. I would highly recommend you go through that and check out Edward Feser's Five Proofs of the Existence of God. Also, if you're more curious about philosophy you can read about Epistemology or the study of knowledge and justified belief.


You and your friend can also check out/ watch Edward Feser's apperance on Pints with Aquinas.

u/JohnJaunJohan · 14 pointsr/atheism

A fellow named Francis Collins lead the Human Genome Project. He's an Evangelical Christian according to Wikipedia. I read his "Language of God" book a while back, about the process of mapping the human genome. It is essentially his defense (on the one hand) of why evolution is the way everything happened, and why (on the other hand) he believes the things he does. Interesting read.

u/MMantis · 13 pointsr/Christianity

> Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel

That book cherry-picks scientific facts when it serves its purposes and dismisses others when it does not. The author knows Creationism is indefensible so he settles for the middle ground, Intelligent Design. The scholars cited are at the fringe of their fields of study. There are medical doctors out there who are anti-vax, or who advocate homeopathy. Does that lead any credence to the anti-vax or homeopathic movements? No, it does not. So, the book you presented is a great example of alternative facts, and your sentence "The only alternative facts come from unbelievers who suppress the truth in exchange for a lie such as Dawkins, Harris, and others" is absurd, there are plenty of honest believers out there who spouse untruths regarding a wide range of topics due to ignorance. To be clear, I believe in the Creator, but His modus operandi, His method of creation, is imprinted upon the Earth itself and not to what Christian tradition thinks it should be. As Paul said, God's attributes are perfectly seen through the things that were created.

I in turn respectfully recommend you read The Language of God by evangelical author and one of the heads of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins.

u/private_ruffles · 13 pointsr/atheism

Books and Concepts:

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam:

Well-sourced Wikipedia articles describing the evolution of Jewish monotheism from polytheism:

Enuma Elish:

Library of Ashurbanipal:

Canaanite Religion:

Did Jewish Slaves Build the Pyramids?:

Taanach Cult Stand:

Israel Enters Recorded History in Egypt at 1200 BCE:

Jeremiah's Monolatrist Polytheism:

Exodus Renaming by P verified in The Bible with Sources Revealed:


All excerpts used in this video are either copyright-free or covered under "fair use" in Title 17 § 107 of the USC, including:

The Prince of Egypt:

Vector Attributions:

A huge thanks to Snap2Objects for the many businessmen vectors I use:

Iron Age Israel and Judah:

Cloaked Israelite Women:

Gods and Israelites of War:


Asherah and Baal:







Deuteronomy Flourishes:


Paint Splatters:

Image Attributions:



Babylonian Tablet:

Babylonian Exile:

Baal Epic:

u/astroNerf · 12 pointsr/atheism

> Christian here, and I am honestly looking to find what atheists believe is the best evidence against christianity or the Bible.

The best argument against it is that there is no credible evidence to support it in the first place. This might not agree with your current thinking but I will politely challenge you to come up with the best evidence you think demonstrates that Jesus is/was the Earthly avatar of the creator of the universe.

The bible itself is not evidence. The bible is the claim. Consider that there is no evidence outside the bible from the time the bible takes place that supports the existence of Jesus. All the mentions of Jesus outside the bible occur many decades after he was supposed to have lived. Worse, the gospel accounts are anonymous.

We know enough about the history of the bible from a literary perspective to know that it was written by men. (See my notes at the bottom of this comment.) What you think of the bible today is a collection of documents that was edited and copied repeatedly, then voted on by the Council of Nicaea - some books were omitted from the canon even though they are referenced by other books in the bible that are canon.

A few things worth pointing out:

  • If you accept evolution, then there was no first human. If this is the case, then where did original sin come from?
  • The Exodus did not happen. Even Jewish religious scholars almost universally agree that the evidence that should be there just isn't.
  • Think about why Mary and Joseph had to travel in order to be counted for the census. Romans were far more efficient than that and were interested in where people lived, and not where they were born. The short answer is that the prophecy required Jesus to be born in Bethlehem, so the census was used as an excuse to explain why he was born there and not in Nazareth, where his parents lived. The bible is filled with these kinds of odd things.

    Those are three things off the top of my head. Here's one list that has many more. Another list. One more.

    In the end though, there's no credible evidence for anything supernatural in any religions. I don't believe in Jesus or Yahweh or Zeus or bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster for the same reasons - no credible, compelling evidence.


    Some additional resources as I think of them.

  • A History of God by Karen Armstrong. Summarised in video form here. Details how Yahweh went from being one god in the Hebrew pantheon to the one true god of Abraham. There originally were several gods mentioned in the books that would become the bible, but were replaced by Yahweh. This explains a lot of really unusual things about Yahweh as a literary character. For instance, the first commandment suddenly makes sense - it was intended to cement the supreme authority of Yahweh in a time when many people were polytheists.

  • Check out Bart Ehrman's work, such as Misquoting Jesus. It's a great introduction to textual analysis.

  • Lastly, if you're still here and have not angrily closed your browser window in frustration, I strongly urge you to check out Qualia Soup's video titled The Burden of Proof. It demonstrates why it is your job to support your claims, rather than it is our job to disprove them. The person who makes a claim (ie, a god exists) is the person responsible for providing support for that claim.
u/Ducessa · 12 pointsr/Christianity

The Oxford Annotated Bible! Linkie.

"The premier study Bible used by scholars, pastors, undergraduate and graduate students, The New Oxford Annotated Bible offers a vast range of information, including extensive notes by experts in their fields; in-text maps, charts, and diagrams; supplementary essays on translation, biblical interpretation, cultural and historical background, and other general topics."

$32.99, 2416 pages.


  • Michael Coogan is Professor of Religious Studies at Stonehill College and Director of Publications for the Harvard Semitic Museum. He has also taught at Harvard University, Boston College, Wellesley College, Fordham University, and the University of Waterloo (Ontario), and has participated in and directed archaeological excavations in Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, and Egypt. He is the author of Old Testament text books and The Old Testament VSI.

  • Marc Z. Brettler is Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies and chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, Brandeis University.

  • Carol Newsom is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

  • Pheme Perkins is Professor of Theology at Boston College.

    Edit: Downvotes, nice. :)
u/LogiWan · 12 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Biblical Studies major here.

The consensus I have gathered from my B.S. professors is that the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is a relatively accurate English translation backed by a lot of scholarship. In my classes (at Azusa Pacific University) we always use the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, which uses the NRSV translation and is full of relevant scholarly annotations, introductions, and brief commentaries. I consider it indispensable. You can check it out here.

I've heard critiques that the NRSV can be biased toward "liberal/progressive" scholarship and translation. The ESV is also considered accurate, but has a more "conservative" bias, if that helps. Neither the KJV or the NIV are usually thought to be accurate, as both are dynamic equivalent translations (KJV is meant to sound pretty, and also has dogmatic translator's bias, and the NIV is meant to be relevant and easy to read for contemporary Christians. Neither is foremost striving for accuracy, which would be more of a direct equivalent translation approach).

TL;DR: The New Oxford Annotated Bible and New Revised Standard Version in general are relatively trustworthy and accurate the original texts. If you are looking for precise translation, NIV and KJV are not the best.

u/TruthHammerOfJustice · 12 pointsr/Catholicism
u/kent_eh · 12 pointsr/atheism

The full book is an expansion of this paper which he wrote previously.

u/swedishtaco · 12 pointsr/Christianity

It's not Christians saying this.

It's historians, the qualified professionals in the area.

I'm not sure what you mean by historical science, but the claim the Jesus existed is supported by the vast majority of historians.

The evidence is complicated, so if you're interested in the subject, you will need to do some reading.

I recommend this book:

u/tikael · 11 pointsr/atheism

>the Bible is authenticated by many things. In a word, it is a collection of historical documents that chronicle historical events. The only reason to believe that their recordings are less than factual is if one begins from the standpoint that only things that can be explained by science are possible.

Actually, no.

It would be biased to assume naturalism over supernaturalism, which sciences such as biology and physics do assume (for good reason). But the science of history does not make that assumption. You might consider reading The God Debates by John Shook as he actually covers that exact point in great detail.

The fact is that even people who started out wanting to prove the bible as factually correct have been forced to come to the conclusion that many of its historical claims are proven wrong not just by the science of history but also by other fields of science. For example, if we all descended from the handful of people on Noahs ark (who were all closely related anyway) then we would expect to see those markers in our genes. We do not however, and the level of diversity in human genes confirms our evolutionary view that humans have a mitochondrial eve around 200,000 years ago. Sure, the religious could say that god simply inserted the extra diversity in there but then you get into omphalism and many are wary to believe in a god who sets out to deceive them. Every time you have to invoke the supernatural in order to justify your worldview inevitably involves special pleading.

>By style, cross-referencing, and archaeology, the Bible appears to be recording historical events. The authenticity of the Bible is an entire field of study, and by far the Bible is the most deeply studied text in the world.

The bible is not even internally consistent, you could do a quick Google search for contradictions in the bible and you will find this list pretty quickly. But suppose the bible was internally consistent, and it can be safe to do so without ceding any argumentative ground since internal consistency does not alone determine whether a book is true, you say that the bible can be cross referenced with other sources but you don't provide examples. So lets take a minute to examine some of the inconsistencies with other sources.

In the bible Jesus is born during a census (the census is the reason for Joseph and Mary to be in Bethlehem), the only trouble is that the census does not appear to take place in any other records. At least, not in the form or at the time the bible claims it does. The bible seems to imply that Joseph must return to his ancestral home (Joseph was of the line of David and Bethlehem is the city of David.). To put this simply, the Romans did not require that someone go to the birth city of an ancestor 20-40 generations ago (the discrepancy is due to differing accounts of David's lineage between Matthew and Luke), to require this of someone would be utter chaos.

That is just one of the problems the bible faces. As pointed out elsewhere other big thorns in the side of using the bible as a historical account are the origin of languages, the exodus (or to a larger degree Jews being slaves in Egypt at all), and the global flood. There is no evidence to support the biblical accounts of these things. I recommend reading The Bible Unearthed. It is written by two Jewish archaeologists so they certainly do not set out to disprove the bible, but given the evidence they find they simply must come to the conclusion that it cannot be used as a historical text.

u/Kidnapped_David_Bal4 · 11 pointsr/Christianity

An old standard is St. Augustine's Confessions. A new one is N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God.

I find both authors compelling for different reasons. I think Augustine is great at just writing about what it's like to be human. He knew what psychology was before it was invented, and it takes a great deal of honesty and self-reflection and humility to write about what goes on in your head, rather than what you wish went on in your head.

As for Wright, I really like The Resurrection of the Son of God because I think apologetics need to start with the cross.

u/wedgeomatic · 11 pointsr/Christianity

He's written a number of books on the subject. The Resurrection of the Son of God is a big one.

u/Kelloggs801 · 11 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've just finished reading this:

I recommend it if you're looking for something like that.

u/matthewdreeves · 11 pointsr/exjw

Hello and welcome! Here are my recommendations for de-indoctrinating yourself:

Take some time to learn about the history of the bible. For example, you can take the Open Yale Courses on Religious Studies for free.

Read Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

Also read A History of God by Karen Armstrong

Watch this talk from Sam Harris where he explains why "free will" is likely an illusion, which debunks the entire premise of "the fall of man" as presented by most Christian religions.

Watch this video on the Cordial Curiosity channel that teaches how the "Socratic Method" works, which essentially is a way to question why we believe what we believe. Do we have good reasons to believe them? If not, should we believe them?

Watch this video by Theramin Trees that explains why we fall for the beliefs of manipulative groups in the first place.

This video explains why and how childhood indoctrination works, for those of us born-in to a high-control group.

Another great source is this youtube series debunking 1914 being the start of the last days.

Next, learn some science. For example - spoiler alert: evolution is true. Visit Berkeley's excellent Understanding Evolution Website. Or, if you're pressed for time, watch this cartoon.

Read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne.

Read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Watch this series where Aron Ra explains in great detail how all life is connected in a giant family tree.

Learn about the origin of the universe. For example, you could read A Briefer History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Learn about critical thinking from people like [Michael Shermer] (, and how to spot logical fallacies.

For good measure, use actual data and facts to learn the we are NOT living in some biblical "last days". Things have gotten remarkably better as man has progressed in knowledge. For example, watch this cartoon explaining how war is on the decline.

Read The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker.

Watch this Ted Talk by Hans Rosling, the late Swedish Statistician, where he shows more evidence that the world is indeed becoming a better place, and why we tend to wrongly convince ourselves otherwise.

I wish you the best. There is a whole world of legitimate information out there based on actual evidence that we can use to become more knowledgeable people.

You may still wonder how you can be a good human without "the truth." Here is a good discussion on how one can be good without god. --Replace where he talks about hell with armageddon, and heaven with paradise--

Start to help yourself begin to live a life where, as Matt Dillahunty puts it, you'll "believe as many true things, and as few false things as possible."

u/CommissarPenguin · 11 pointsr/exchristian

>And apparently she thinks that science doesn't back up what Paleontologists have found so far. It's just amazing to me that people are so willing to listen so someone who doesn't even study this shit. Does anyone have any sources I can check out that can point me in the right direction on what's correct and what's not? I'm in the dark and have never looked into evolution or anything like it.

Read this book. This book is written perfectly for laymen and normal people, explains it all very well. Evolution isn't a "theory." Its a verified fact.

As to the rest of the lunacy, you'll need to list it out a bit more. I take it you're still living with them? Be careful how much you argue with them about it. But don't let creationist baloney hold you back in your scientific education. I never pursued biology and a potential career as a doctor partly because the church told me it was all lies. I'm still mad about that.

u/Jestersage · 11 pointsr/Christianity

NOAB. Pretty Academic, and contain the deuterocanon that Catholic and Orthodox use too.

u/mausphart · 11 pointsr/evolution

Here are some books, articles, websites and YouTube Videos that helped me on my journey from a hardcore creationist to a High School Biology teacher.


The Language of God - By Francis Collins ~ A defense of Evolution by the head of the Human Genome Project (Who also happens to be Christian)

Only a Theory - By Ken Miller ~ Another Christian biologist who accepts and vigorously defends the theory of evolution

Your Inner Fish - by Neil Shubin ~ The wonderful story of how Tiktaalik was found

Why Evolution is True - By Jerry Coyne ~ A simple and thorough treatment of evolution written for the mainstream

The Greatest Show on Earth - By Richard Dawkins ~ A wonderful and beautifully written celebration of evolution

The Panda's Thumb - By Stephen Jay Gould ~ A collection of eloquent and intelligent essays written by SJG. Any of his collections would do but this one is my favorite.


Crossing the Divide - By Jennifer Couzin ~ an article about an ex-creationist and his difficult journey into enlightenment.

15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense - John Rennie ~ a nice rundown of the major objections to evolution.


An index of Creationist Claims - Via the TalkOrigins archive ~ an impressive index of the major problems creationists have with evolution, as well as good, evidence based rebuttals.


Why do People Laugh at Creationsts? - Via Thunderf00t ~ a scathing review of outrageous sins of logic committed by creationists. Thunderf00t's style isn't for everyone, since he can come off as smug and superior

How Evolution Works - Via DonExodus2 ~ a nice and thorough overview of how evolution works

The Theory of Evolution Made Easy - Via Potholer54

Evolution - Via Qualia Soup ~ short (10 minutes), simple and well made, this is one of my go-to videos to help logically explain how evolution happens.

u/seagoonie · 11 pointsr/spirituality

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

u/BugeyeContinuum · 11 pointsr/cringe

Looked for it on Amazon and it has 93 1-star reviews. There are very few 2/3/4 star reviews and that makes it really obvious. Ugh :\

u/DeusExCochina · 11 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Yes. His book On the Historicity of Jesus is published by an academic house and passed peer review.

He's also previously published scholarly articles, but I don't have any handy.

u/Neuroleino · 11 pointsr/politics

>start with one lie that, if true, is sufficient, but then pepper in like two or three other things that are progressively less relevant

Bingo. And it's also the mark of a truly stupid liar, because each successive addition to the excuse chain brings down the mathematical probability that the core statement is true.

(Disclaimer: considering that I'm almost 40 but I only learned about this last year from this excellent book by Richard Carrier I think it's fair to say I'm a pretty dumb motherfucker myself, but I'll try to make sense.)

Take any statement A. You don't know whether it's true or not, but you can assign it a probability of being true. Let's say that the probability is 0.5 (50%) - a coin toss is worth your best guess at this point.

Then, imagine that there are more statements like that, let's call them B, C, and D. Again, you know nothing about the truth behind them, either, but you can again estimate that each of them has a 0.5 probability of being true.

Now, take three people:

Person 1 tells you "A".

Person 2 tells you "A and B".

Person 3 tells you "A, B, C, and also D, believe me, believe me".

At this point you still don't know anything about any of those four statements, but you can calculate the probability for each person of being full of shit.

Person 1 only claimed one statement, A, so the likelihood he's full of shit is 0.5 (50%).

Person 2 went further and claimed A and B. The probability that both are true is 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25.

Person 3 is the bigliest guy with the best words, believe me. The probability of his four-part statement chain is 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.0625 - that's 6.25%.

Because person 3 is a fucking moron he went and stacked multiple statements on top of one another, thereby bringing his full-of-shitness from a 50% likelihood to a whopping 93.75%. Just like that, what a fucking clown.

PS: You can of course have different probabilities for each statement, and they can differ from one another, too. But by definition if you don't know the truth for sure then it logically follows none of the statements can ever achieve a probability of 1. The conclusion is that every additional statement will always reduce the overall likelihood.

u/greatjasoni · 11 pointsr/TheMotte

Christianity had the monopoly on rational arguments for a thousand years or so. Catholics were obsessed with having rationally airtight justifications for their religion. Their priests are all trained in logic and it's their official doctrine to disregard anything irrational. There are plenty of proofs of God that are completely logically sound (people tend to disagree about the axioms) and many professional philosophers think they're valid (the majority specializing in them). Not accepting those arguments is a more common position but it's by no means easy. It's not some insane belief. To really untangle any of the sophisticated proofs of God requires a pretty deep grasp of metaphysics, modal logic, causality, etc. Their axioms are always broadly simple things like "some things have causes" which means to reject them you have to completely reject causality, or something else philosophically taken for granted.

Getting from that to specific religion logically is much more difficult, but again there are plenty of rational arguments for it. The historical evidence for Christ is overwhelming (by the standards of that period) and the skeptical consensus among historians is that the gospel accounts are largely reliable (again by the standards of the period) sans all the miracle stuff, which they only reject because they're miracles, not because they're contradicted by anything. You can easily make a case for Christ that sounds airtight. Frankly the only good refutation is that the priors for miracles are astronomically small, so even if we had a million times better evidence than we have now the rational answer is still to say no. But one can easily attack that premise by making a case for miracles, a universally reported human phenomenon with thousands of documented cases with no good explanation. This argument can be refuted too, but it's by no means so easy that you'd have to be insane or need 101 application of Bayesian reasoning. Christianity can be extremely sophisticated. I think the Catholic, and sometimes protestant, quest to make everything logically airtight is extremely misguided, but I have a hard time calling them insane.

I'm always recommending this book as the best intro to the subject. But also check out Alvin Plantinga and his contemporaries for more modern scholarly takes outside the church. Analytic philosophy (the branch that's actually rigorous) is full of theists.

EDIT: Scott reviewed another feser book here.

u/SensitiveSong · 11 pointsr/Reformed

I'd recommend checking these out:

Plantinga, Alvin. God and Other Minds. Cornell University Press, 1990.

Feser, Edward. The Last Superstition: a Refutation of the New Atheism. St. Augustine's Press, 2011.

Plantinga, Alvin. Knowledge and Christian Belief. Eerdmans, 2015.

Pitre, Brant. The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ. Image, 2016.

Feser, Edward. Five Proofs of the Existence of God. Ignatius Press, 2017.

u/Witty_Weasel · 11 pointsr/TrueChristian

For me I'm going to go a bit old school. First "The Abolition of Man" by C. S. Lewis, which argues for a sort of 'Universal Truth'. I thought it was endlessly fascinating, and it's really an easy, short read. (The audio book was only an few hours long). There's also Lewis's "Mere Christianity" which is once again easy and short. In it he sort of starts with a shortened version of the argument found in Abolition, and from there discusses why Christianity itself works as the 'Universal Truth'.

If your looking for something thicker, I would suggest G. K. Chesterton's "Heretics", which blasts away the philosophy of his contemporaries (Which is still applicable today), "Orthodoxy" which discusses his own conversion and his own search for truth, and "The Everlasting Man" which discusses the history of mankind and Christianity's role in it. (This was also the book that converted Lewis' intellect).

Chesterton is not necessarily a difficult read because of lengthy words, or because he references something no longer fashionable, but because of his ideas. I like to think I can understand things fairly well, but I had to pause often to go over a phrase, or to really think about a thought he presented. But both authors are very enjoyable.

u/Ask_Seek_Knock · 11 pointsr/Christianity

First, no one can convince you of God's existence except Him. I know, I was not raised Christian, not even close. I came to Christ as an adult, much to the amazement of my Christian friends and much to the horror of my secular friends and family. Ask, seek, knock Matt 7:7, it sounds like an easy solution but it isn't. If following God were simple then Jesus' death would have been unnecessary. If following Jesus were easy in a fallen world, then there would be no apostasy, there would be no need for caution, there would be no hypocrisy; but in reality there is.

Second, God calls us to love him with all that we are. Our hearts, mind and soul. God does not want mindless zombies. [Luke 10:27 & Deut 6:5] If you know a Christian who isn't thoughtful, then you probably know one who is deceived. In fact, throughout history you will find that many of the best educated people were Christians. All but one of the first universities in the fledgling US were Christian schools. Why? Because God warns us to be discerning so that we will not be deceived by lies, well told lies but lies all the same.

Third, read the Bible and study its' history. There is a lot of information available on these topics. Also study prophecy. Prophecy is given to the Church for several reasons, one of which is to testify to God's nature, the nature that allows him to lay out history before it happens.

Give God a chance and HE will show you his character and nature, but you do have to seek Him out. I'm sorry if that's not what you want to hear but it is true.

Resources, by far a drop in the bucket of the preponderance of information:

Is Jesus Real? Non-biblical evidence Short video, that goes over some of the information for a historical Jesus. Much is taken from the next link, The Divine Evidence.

The Divine Evidence Article Index Tons of articles to go through here.

Love Your God with All Your Mind: The Role of Reason in the Life of the Soul

Christian Martyrs Several part series, from Foxe's book Christian Martyrs of the world. This is an important part of Church history, it's good to see where the Church has been.

Mere Christianity Someone else suggested this and it's a good read. Some people have a negative view of Lewis, but I think his story and published writings are pretty inline with the Bible. At least the ones I have read.

u/aveydey · 10 pointsr/The_Donald

May I recommend a book you might find interesting? It's called The Language of God by Francis S. Collins. He is a prominent scientist and was head of the Human Genome Project. You can pick it up used with free shipping for $5 on Amazon.

u/InhLaba · 10 pointsr/booksuggestions

Unclean by Richard Beck

The Language of God by Dr. Francis Collins

The Lost World of Genesis One by John H. Walton

Birth and Death: Bioethical Decision Making by Paul D. Simmons

The Authenticity of Faith by Richard Beck

Beyond The Firmament by Gordon J. Glover

All of these were required reads for me as I pursued a biology degree at a Christian university. I hope these help, and I wish you the best! If you have any questions about any of the books, please feel free to ask!!

u/happyhooker485 · 10 pointsr/childfree
u/FatFingerHelperBot · 10 pointsr/satanism

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u/hammiesink · 10 pointsr/DebateReligion

Investigation of classical cosmological arguments, exemplified by Plato and Aristotle, and the attendant realization that the popular understanding of them is very poor, and accordingly that the popular objections to them carry no weight whatsoever. Objections like "what caused God" and "maybe the universe is infinitely old."

A quick example. The term "cosmological argument" immediately conjures up the notion that the universe must have had a beginning, something must have triggered it, we don't know what it was, so...Godidit! Except that this is only a very crude version of the kalam cosmological argument, which represents a very small portion of such arguments, and in a way is an anomaly since most cosmological arguments do not try to say that the universe had a beginning at all.

Rather, most cosmological arguments, especially those inspired by Plato and Aristotle, argue not for a beginning to the universe (both thought the universe is infinitely old), but rather for an uncaused cause at the "root" of reality at the present moment. Similar to how we might reason that a machine has a motor inside it based on the fact that we can observe its external parts moving. Read a book like Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide and, while it might not convert you to a theist, it may well make you see theism as a viable position.

u/Sergio_56 · 10 pointsr/Catholicism

Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide), by Edward Feser is supposed to be a good introduction to his ideas. I bought this book a couple weeks ago and am planning to read it when I finish two other books I'm working on.

St. Thomas Aquinas: The Dumb Ox, by G.K. Chesterton is an excellent biography of St. Thomas Aquinas. I have read this one, it's great.

u/velociRAPEtor600 · 10 pointsr/askscience

im not OP but try The greatest show on earth by Richard Dawkins, thats where i got started.

u/KnowsAboutMath · 10 pointsr/atheism

Well, we've already got The Book of Genesis by R. Crumb.

(It's actually really good.)

u/PopeKevin45 · 10 pointsr/atheism

Zero evidence equals zero reason to believe. Your understanding of how evolution works needs some help... try reading some non-religious sources. I suggest 'Your Inner Fish' by Neil Shubin.

u/Fortbuild · 10 pointsr/biology

One of my favorites, Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, puts evolution in a wonderful context. It focuses on the evolution of development and shows you just how related you are to all other animals.

u/sbsb27 · 10 pointsr/TrueAtheism

One of the main and repeated sources Christopher Hitchens cites in his "God is not Great" book is Jennifer Hecht and her book "Doubt: A history: The great doubters and their legacy of innovation from Socrates to Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickenson.

While not argumentative it is full of careful study and resources.

Karen Armstrong and her "History of god: The 4,000 year quest of Judaism, Christianity , and Islam" is a wonderful read as well.

I think the point about confrontation is a good one. So while there may not be many women debating about religion on the public stage, there are women writing great reviews of the development of religions.

u/tsvk · 9 pointsr/exchristian

Some books that have been often mentioned as good introductory texts about evolution for the layman:

Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Websites with general information: (old site:

The folks at /r/evolution might be interested in giving their view, too if you have any specific questions.

You could also look into the biology curriculum of your college and check out the introductory biology courses you will soon be taking, and buy in advance the textbook(s) that deal with evolution.

u/ungroundedearth · 9 pointsr/RadicalChristianity

I would get a good academic study bible that goes into depth about the authorship of each book as well as the socio-historical context of the whole thing. I have the New Oxford Annotated edition and it's fantastic. Putting it in context and breaking away from the idea that Moses wrote the Pentateuch or that Paul wrote some of the Epistles helped me break away from incorrect reductive fundamentalist understandings of the bible.

u/The_Real_Johnny_Utah · 9 pointsr/atheism

Want to have an educated opinion on this matter?

Read Zealot, a fine example of the differences of Jesus of Nazareth, a freedom fighting rebel of sorts, fighting against the tyranny of Rome - to the Jesus Christ figure of Religious folk lore.

Truly a good read in all honesty.

u/IWannaFuckEllenPage · 9 pointsr/rage

Here's the rest of the reviews if you want to rage some more:

Keep in mind that there are more 1-star reviews than 5-star reviews, despite the fact that a lot of the 5-star reviews are under Amazon Verified Purchase (which means they've actually bought and read the book, while the same seems to be absent with the 1-star reviews. I wonder why?

And sorry for the massive amounts of jpeg, but it's a 1400x5750 image.

u/DaSoleil14 · 9 pointsr/Catholicism

In terms of the existence of God, it was largely Anthony Flew's "There is a God" and C.S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" that got me to a place where I could at least be open the idea of the existence of God.

u/Diabolico · 9 pointsr/atheism

Allow me to spam you with a link:

Good read for everyone, atheist and theist alike, so long as you aren't a literalist (or especially if you are).

u/markevens · 9 pointsr/history

I'm not spouting nonsense, but academic consensus. But don't take my opinion for it, do your own research and find out for yourself!

You cited the Bible as a factual source, and an single sentence from a freshman level world history book. Here are some serious academic works on the origins of the Israelites and the development of monotheism.

The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

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

If you don't like reading, Yale also has a youtube channel where they publish videos classes and lecture. You can view Yale's entire Intro to the Hebrew Bible course.

Even theological schools accept this.

u/Kusiemsk · 9 pointsr/Catholicism

If you're wondering what makes Catholicism true among other religions, consider that Christianity is rather unique among religions for its truth value being directly tied to an historical event: Christ's Resurrection. If Jesus did rise from the dead, Christianity is decisively vindicated, regardless of the other religions' claims (which is not to say other religions may not have insights or elements of the truth, just that they are not the full truth in the way Christianity is). For that reason I advise looking into apologetics defending the resurrection. Here's a short reading list to get you started:

u/sailorjupiter28titan · 9 pointsr/WitchesVsPatriarchy

This is a page from R. Crumb's illustrated Book of Genesis. He's got a commentary section at the end where he talks about Savina Teubal's book Sarah the Priestess: The First Matriarch of Genesis

make sure to view the second image in the gallery

u/jlew24asu · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

> 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

u/7billionpeepsalready · 9 pointsr/religiousfruitcake

Here's a couple books you could start with your research. I know one is expensive, but it's a required book for some class so price is ridiculous. I found them at my library and also there are .pdf if you look.

Plato and the creation of the Hebrew Bible

Ceasar's Messiah

The Bible unearthed

Have fun, man.

u/irondeepbicycle · 9 pointsr/DebateReligion

Pet peeve. Citing a scholarly consensus is an argument from expert testimony, not from authority. The argument from authority is a poorly understood fallacy, and is asserted many times when it isn't applicable.

And yes, there's quite a bit of work into the field. I'd recommend Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist for an easy, good overview of the historical arguments (worth mentioning that Ehrman is an agnostic). This Wiki article isn't bad either.

I don't really see the point in going into this in great detail. It gets rehashed in /r/DebateReligion from time to time, and IMO the Sam Harris acolytes around here already have their mind made up.

u/OtherWisdom · 9 pointsr/AskBibleScholars

An accessible work written about this subject is Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.

More about this subject can be found at the wiki/FAQ pages here:

Specifically, numbers 12, 32, and 34.

u/WG55 · 9 pointsr/Christianity

I suggest you read Bart Ehrman: Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. He an atheist and scholar who is upset that his fellow atheists can be so credulous as to believe Jesus never existed.

At least read the introduction with the "Look Inside!" feature.

u/julesjacobs · 9 pointsr/Christianity

It turned into science because we found lots of evidence for it.

Here is a short video about it: What is the evidence for evolution? by Stated Clearly.

And a longer book about it: Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne.

u/NilNisiVeritas · 9 pointsr/CatholicPhilosophy

A radical deism which sees God as merely setting the world in motion and as not needed to keep things in existence can be shown to be metaphysically impossible (any given being is either contingent or necessary, and a contingent being necessarily implies a concurrent necessary being). As far as resources are concerned, check out Ed Feser's Five Proofs of the Existence of God, especially Chapter 6 in which he goes through proving the classical theist divine attributes (thus excluding the possibility of a mere deist impersonal God).

u/Phaz · 9 pointsr/Christianity

> No, I do not see enough evidence in evolution.

As an honest question, have you genuinely looked at the evidence? I feel like many people who say the evidence for evolution isn't convincing, have either not looked at the evidence, or have only very selectively looked at it through the lens of creationism (which often caricatures evolution in a way that many "new atheists" caricature Christianity & religion)

If you were genuinely interested, this book does a fantastic job. Yes, it's written by Richard Dawkins, but the subject is 100% evolution, nothing about God or religion. Even Dawkin's harshest critics on the subject of religion typically agree that he is a phenomenal scientist/biologist and one of the worlds best experts on the subject of evolution. That book basically lays out a lot of the evidence and not only builds a proper understanding of evolution (which many of its critics do not have) but answers many other questions about it you might not even of had.

u/Sonusario7 · 9 pointsr/Catholicism

Addressing your last question first: It is always good to hear someone out, no matter who they are or what they believe.


Some reading recommendations:

Start with the bible sections I've listed below, then move on to whichever of the books I have listed sounds most appealing to you. I don't want to bog you down if you don't have the time. (I personally would start with Feser)

Matthew 16:17-19 would be a good place to start. Then Isaiah 22 would be a place to see where that fulfillment in Matthew is met. As well as John chapter 6. These won't necessarily give you inclinations to believe in God, but they will give you the sense that if you believed in Christianity, then Catholicism make the best case over all other christian religions. To give you more context you should google Catholic sources for commentary on those readings.

Beyond the bible:

Five Proofs of the Existence of God by Ed Feser

The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ by Brant Pitre

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist: Unlocking the Secrets of the Last Supper by Brant Pitre

Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed

u/chain-of-events · 8 pointsr/todayilearned

R. Crumb has done The Book of Genesis. I have it and it is true to the text raw.

u/kerowack · 8 pointsr/atheism
u/keatsandyeats · 8 pointsr/Christianity

Sure. Well, let me make a couple suggestions:

  • My personal favorite not-an-apologetic is GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy (the link includes a free online version). That book sums up, paradoxically and romantically, Chesterton's views on God. It doesn't go out of its way to be convincing and doesn't take itself too seriously, which I love about it.

  • If you're looking for convincing yet personal (and not too lofty) accounts of a couple of scientists who are believers, I recommend theoretical physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne's Exploring Reality or geneticist Francis Collins' The Language of God.

  • The best logical arguments for God that have been around for centuries (and have been pretty well defended by the likes of men like Victor Reppert and William Lane Craig) were developed by Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. I suggest reading Peter Kreeft's easier-to-swallow shorter version.

  • I believe that Craig's Reasonable Faith does a very admirable and scholarly work of defending the faith philosophically.

  • William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience have nothing to do with apologetics, but have affirmed my faith in God personally. I add it here just to demonstrate, I suppose, that faith is highly personal and that God is revealed as well in the beauty and mystery of the poetic and artistic as He is in nature.
u/jswhitten · 8 pointsr/evolution

I wouldn't bother arguing with them. It's notoriously difficult to reason someone out of a position they didn't use reason to get into in the first place.

If you're interested in evolution, by all means learn more about it, but do it for yourself. You can start here for an overview:

And these books will explain in more depth:

u/CrazedBotanist · 8 pointsr/askscience

I would not read On the Origin of Species to get an introduction to evolution. It is quite long winded, but that was the standard of the time.

I would start with Why is Evolution True by Jerry Coyne and The Greatest Show on Earth by Dawkins. At this point you should have a good grasp on the basics.

After reading these if you want a more technical introduction I would suggests The Selfish Gene by Dawkins.

u/appleciders · 8 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

No. The New Revised Standard Version is the most common translation used in academic formats that prohibit working in the original language (e.g. undergraduate students who do not speak Greek or Hebrew). I'd recommend this version, which has excellent annotations and introductory essays about each book.

"Most literal" isn't necessarily useful in understanding the texts. Translating a saying or phrase too literally can result in mangling a euphemism, metaphor, or other non-literal saying. We speak and write non-literally in our everyday lives; it's a major part of language to understand which phrases are to be taken literally and which aren't. The New Oxford, which I recommended above, will note when the original text is using metaphorical language and give you a scholar's opinion of how to understand it as well as the actual words in question. It also give variant readings, which is hugely important in NT studies because we have many variant wordings in the manuscripts that have come down to us and sometimes those readings have significantly different meanings.

u/themsc190 · 8 pointsr/GayChristians

Welcome! We’re glad you’re here as well. It’s a great community, and I’ve grown so much from it. And I’m so glad folks in your new church are so friendly!

In terms of resources, I’d definitely encourage you to check out the Resources page over in /r/OpenChristian. Reading the Bible is tough, but there are ways to make it a little easier. I’d recommend an academic study Bible, like the Harper Collins Study Bible or the Oxford Annotated Study Bible, which have notes to contextualize and explain confusing concepts. (Be wary of some study bibles, because lots of them just promote fundamentalism under the guise of scholarship.) My suggestion on where is start is the Gospel of Mark, which is the oldest story of Jesus that we have in the Bible, and it is short, just about the length of a short story. If you try to read from front to back, it’s easy to get bored or lose track. Most Bible reading plans actually recommend jumping around!

I’ll highlight a couple resources from that list that you might like. If you’re interested in queer readings of the Bible, has a weekly podcast that’s just like 7 minutes long, which is a good place to get introduced to some techniques for reading the Bible as an LGBTQ person.

Two books that might interest you are Jennifer Knapp’s Facing the Music and Vicky Beeching’s Undivided, which are memoirs from lesbian Christians who were in the Christian music scene and subsequently came out.

If you have any more questions or want any more recommendations, feel free to ask or PM me! Peace!

u/bobo_brizinski · 8 pointsr/TrueChristian

So the ESV and the ESV Study Bible are getting tons of recommendations so I want to put a spotlight on excellent material that isn't as well known. I really like:

  • The Access Bible (NRSV) - scholarly and designed for beginners, very underrated in my opinion

  • The English Bible (KJV): Norton Critical Edition - scholarly, literary, superb footnotes and annotations, two volumes for the Old Testament and New Testament/Apocrypha. What I LOVE about this study Bible is how it contains a large appendix of Biblical interpretation spanning multiple centuries.

  • The New Oxford Annotated Bible (NRSV) - scholarly, very popular in seminaries and colleges, designed for more advanced students

  • The New Collegeville Bible Commentary (NRSV; Old and New Testaments in separate volumes) - scholarly, written by Roman Catholics but follows mainstream scholarship and good for non-Catholic students

  • The Life With God Bible (NRSV) - aka "the Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible", this is a devotional study Bible edited by many great evangelical writers like Dallas Willard and Richard Foster. It focuses on spiritual disciplines.

u/piperson · 8 pointsr/graphicnovels

Jason is kind of unique. He tells fiction with often long passages of no words. He has a really subtle sense of humor. You would have to look to alt comix for similar comics, stuff like;

Daniel Clowes - He's got a dry sense of humor and often writes satirically about life and culture. You can check out the movies he made with Terry Zwigoff, Ghost World and Art School Confidential.

Charles Burns' work is often surreal and some what disturbing though fascinating at the same time. he is most famous for his massive Black Hole about teen age STD's gone wild. He just finished a trilogy which is part auto bio and part surreal dream sequences, X'ed Out, The Hive, and Sugar Scull

I guess you could include David Mazzucchelli's Asterios Polyp in this group of similar works though it's really original. It's about an architect that goes through a midlife crisis though it's one of the most inventive graphic novels to ever have been made. He uses every aspect of the comic to communicate to the reader, from the drawings, to the type face, to the color and even the very design of the book. It's a must read experience, thought completely unique.

Robert Crumb often has a dry, satirical sense of humor to his work. He is most famous for his 60's underground comics as shown in the Complete Crumb #4. He's done some really beautiful biographical work like his Patton about country blues musician Charley Patton. His newest work is the illustrated Book of Genesis a massive strait comic adaption of the Bible.

u/woodrail · 8 pointsr/comics

hardcover 11 x 8.8 x 0.9 inches 224 pages of Robert Crumb goodness. $14.58 at Amazon

I bought it immediately of course. If you don't know Crumb then you have a wonderful surprise waiting.

u/witchdoc86 · 8 pointsr/DebateEvolution

My recommendations from books I read in the last year or so (yes, these are all VERY STRONG recommends curated from ~100 books in the last year) -


Science fiction-

Derek Kunsken's The Quantum Magician (I would describe it as a cross between Oceans Eleven with some not-too-Hard Science Fiction. Apparently will be a series, but is perfectly fine as a standalone novel).

Cixin Lu's very popular Three Body Problem series (Mixes cleverly politics, sociology, psychology and science fiction)

James A Corey's The Expanse Series (which has been made into the best sci fi tv series ever!)

Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief series (Hard science fiction. WARNING - A lot of the early stuff is intentionally mystifying with endless terminology that’s only slowly explained since the main character himself has lost his memories. Put piecing it all together is part of the charm.)



James Islington's Shadow of What was Lost series (a deep series which makes you think - deep magic, politics, religion all intertwined)

Will Wight's Cradle series (has my vote for one of the best fantasy series ever written)

Brandon Sanderson Legion series (Brandon Sanderson. Nuff said. Creative as always)


Manga -

Yukito Kishiro's Alita, Battle Angel series (the manga on what the movie was based)



Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind - Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (and how we are not as rational as we believe we are, and how passion works in tandem with rationality in decision making and is actually required for good decisionmaking)

Rothery's Geology - A Complete Introduction (as per title)

Joseph Krauskopf's A Rabbi's Impressions of the Oberammergau Passion Play, available to read online for free, including a fabulous supplementary of Talmud Parallels to the NT (a Rabbi in 1901 explains why he is not a Christian)


Audiobooks -

Bob Brier's The History of Ancient Egypt (as per title - 25 hrs of the best audiobook lectures. Incredible)


Academic biblical studies-

Richard Elliot Friedman's Who Wrote The Bible and The Exodus (best academic biblical introductory books into the Documentary Hypothesis and Qenite/Midian hypothesis)

Israel Finkelstein's The Bible Unearthed (how archaelogy relates to the bible)

E.P. Sander's Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63BCE-66CE ​(most detailed book of what Judaism is and their beliefs, and one can see from this balanced [Christian] scholar how Christianity has colored our perspectives of what Jews and Pharisees were really like)

Avigdor Shinan's From gods to God (how Israel transitioned from polytheism to monotheism)

Mark S Smith's The Early History of God (early history of Israel, Canaanites, and YHWH)

James D Tabor's Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity (as per title)

Tom Dykstra's Mark Canonizer of Paul (engrossing - will make you view the gospel of Mark with new eyes)

Jacob L Wright's King David and His Reign Revisited (enhanced ibook - most readable book ever on King David)

Jacob Dunn's thesis on the Midianite/Kenite hypothesis (free pdf download - warning - highly technical but also extremely well referenced)

u/Athegnostistian · 8 pointsr/atheism

I've read a book written by Jewish archeologists about the archeological evidence for events from the Old Testament. Turns out that King David and King Salomo were most likely real historical figures, while of course retrospectively vastly overrated and glorified.

But the stories about the Israelites being slaves in Egypt, the exodus, the “heroic” conquest of Kanaan etc. were only invented hundreds of years later.

Maybe a good gift for the person in question? ;)

u/ben_heath_ · 8 pointsr/exjw

The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman

u/I_aint_creative · 8 pointsr/Christianity

How much have you actually looked? No one wants you to pretend to believe when you don't actually believe, but reading standard atheist talking points isn't exactly strong research. Have you looked at, for example, anything like N. T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God?

u/FredJoness · 8 pointsr/TrueAtheism

It is hard to find work that can be considered completely non-biased. If it's written by a Christian it can always be considered biased one way, and if written by a non-Christian it can be considered biased the other way.

Bart Ehrman, an agnostic, has written a book on this subject and made audiotapes. He argues that Jesus did exist, although he did not closely resemble the Jesus described in the Gospels. They can be found in libraries.

Richard Carrier is one of the major arguers for the case that Jesus never existed.

u/kerrielou73 · 8 pointsr/exmormon

Yup. Once I had determined Mormonism was false, I researched Christianity and determined it was also false.

While I read others, these two books by Karen Armstrong killed any kind of literal interpretation of Judaism, Christianity, or Islam for me.

The Spiral Staircase

History of God

u/SsurebreC · 8 pointsr/DebateReligion
u/Cordelia_Fitzgerald · 8 pointsr/Catholicism

Have you read his book Five Proofs of the Existence of God? There's a whole section on this as well as four more proofs.

I'm very slowly working my way through it. It's very dense. I'm reading a little here and there and giving myself lots of time to process.

u/President_Martini · 7 pointsr/exchristian

The actual purpose of the tree of life, the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and humans in the garden of Eden.

  1. The snake is just a snake. It's never mentioned that it was Satan, anywhere in the Bible. Theologians went through some great lengths to conclude that The Lucifer and King of Babylon passages in the Bible were talking about Satan. The idea is terribly convoluted and a lot of the details (armor of jewels, admired and respected in the garden of Eden and so on) are ignored.

  2. The reason humans were made. We were to tend to the garden. Nothing else. It's says it directly in Genesis 2. There's plenty of mythology from that era that describes the creation of life out of mud (golems). It's a great part of ancient Jewish mythology and that region in general.

  3. Genesis specifically says that the tree of life is used to make sure that the animals and man live forever. It's a fountain of youth. Plenty of myth surrounding items that do just this.

  4. Genesis also says that the forbidden tree is the food for the gods, in this case, the god in Genesis 2 (different from the god in Genesis 1). It is meant for the superior beings. The creators.

    Put all these things together, and what you have is a classic myth with your typical "servant takes from the master and gets into deep shit" plot.

    So Yaweh creates a garden. Calls it Eden. It's not the world, because Genesis 2 tells us exactly what land on earth it covered, which was somewhere around where Iraq currently is. He makes man, specifically so that he can tend to his brand new garden that he's making. Then he starts churning all these animals out from the ground, and Adam is naming them as they come out from the mud. Yaweh then realizes that Adam needs a helper, so he makes him one.

    Then the part that we all were frequently reminded about happens (snake, tree, Eve, Adam, fig tree loincloths, etc.) but here is the best part:

    Gen 2: 22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” 23 So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

    Two things here: First, the snake wasn't lying. Adam and Eve did become like gods. Second, the fruit on the tree of life sustains the gods, as is indicative by the very words of Yaweh himself.

    So a quick summary of the whole second and third chapter: Yaweh made a garden for himself to hang out. The tree of life kept his minion gardeners (man and woman) alive for as long as he wanted to maintain his weekend getaway, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil was Yaweh's tree to eat from. It wasn't put there to give us some freedom of choice as we so frequently hear about. So the minions decide to eat what the gods eat and they are kicked out, doomed to fade into nothing. To turn into the dust they once were (or I guess specifically what Adam was. It never really tells what happens to Even except for wanting to have a man and having painful births). Also notice that there's no mention of hell. The story was written long before hell was even a concept in early Jewish beliefs. The only people that actually lived forever where those that were taken up by Yaweh in a chariot to chill with him. The rest of us just stop existing.

    This, and the rise of dualism during the Babylonian Exile are my two favorite things to discuss with Christians, if I ever have the chance. I also find the Documentary Hypothesis to be extremely fascinating. I recommend checking out Who Wrote the Bible if you get a chance. It actually makes the Bible fascinating, for a change.
u/AngelOfLight · 7 pointsr/atheism

Tangentially related to the Christian/Pagan thing, Richard Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? and Randall Helm's Gospel Fictions both demonstrate how the Bible arose as an amalgam of ancient myth and oral tradition. I believe Dan Barker also covers some of that ground in Godless.

u/tylerjarvis · 7 pointsr/Christianity

The 4-source theory (or the Documentary Hypothesis) holds that Genesis (along with the rest of the Pentateuch [First 5 books of the Bible]) were written by 4 different authors, and later compiled into the book that we have.

The 4 sources are JEDP, J is the Jahwist, E is the Elohimist, D is the Deuteronomist, P is the Priestly Source.

I'm assuming you're writing about the flood narrative in Genesis, which is generally accepted to be a Jahwist text, thought to be written around 950 B.C.E.

Use this to get legitimate sources.

There's also the traditional belief that Moses wrote the book of Genesis, which would place it at about 1250 B.C.E., but nobody really puts a whole lot of stock in that anymore.

Personally, I don't particularly buy the 4-source theory as it stands, as it seems to be an unnecessary explanation. It seems to me that the Pentateuch is a collection of Ancient Near Eastern myths compiled by one author, probably around 500 B.C.E. That's probably why you have some similarities with works like Gilgamesh and the Enuma Elish, because they all draw from the same oral traditions.

Anyways, I would look for sources on Wikipedia. Your best bet for good, solid information is on the documentary hypothesis. Let me know if you have any other questions, I'll see what i can do to help.

EDIT: Richard Friedman might be a good source. He has a few books that are accessible to the layperson. Particularly Who Wrote the Bible?.

I'd also recommend a few commentaries on Genesis. The best one I've read is the JPS Torah Commentary on Genesis by Dr. Nahum M. Sarna. It's got a lot of Hebrew stuff in it, but you can still get some good information about the Jewish interpretation of Genesis.

Good Luck.

u/mrdaneeyul · 7 pointsr/Christianity

Hey, welcome to the sub. :)

First off, you have the right attitude (more than many churchgoers, it seems). You want to understand and wrestle and have it be real. Good news: you're on the right track. Faith is hard, at least most of the time. I'm sorry others looked down on you for asking questions and trying to figure things out; they were wrong to do so.

I agree with what others here are saying: Genesis is probably not the easiest place to start, and you'll get even more bogged down in Numbers or in Chronicles. Start in one of the Gospels. I saw Luke suggested, and I'll throw in John. Luke's writing has more details, and John's might be easier to read.

Starting in the Gospels has a purpose: Jesus is really the major focus. There's a lot to gain from reading his words firsthand, and seeing his actions. You might find it a lot different from what the culture says about him. Take your time and soak it in, and I think you'll find him pretty compelling.

After that, Paul's letters are pretty great. Philippians might be a good one to read first, though they're all really short and won't take long.

I might also suggest reading a different version of the Bible. The NRSV is accurate, but can also be archaic and difficult to understand. There are a lot of debates over Bible versions, but don't sweat them for now; I'd suggest the ESV or the CEB (if you want to study deeper later, the NRSV might be better then).

You'll probably want to find a church. This can be hit-and-miss, depending on so many factors. You won't and shouldn't fit into a church that looks down on you for struggling with faith. To start, even though it might feel silly, talk to God about it. Doesn't have to be fancy, just a conversation asking him to help you find a good church. Visit a couple, and see if they try to follow the Jesus you read about in the Bible.

(And if you're in the Dallas area, let me know... you can visit ours! :D I know a couple other great churches in the area too.)

If you're looking for more resources, it depends on what you're interested in.

  • if you want to read the Bible online. Tons of versions (again, I'd go with CEB or ESV). I find it harder to read online, but it's good to have on-hand anyhow.
  • I second Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. It's a great read with some heavy concepts explained simply (Lewis was fantastic at this).
  • For the Resurrection (central to Christianity), check out Willaim Lane Craig's books, The Son Rises and Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?, and, for a debate, Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment?
  • For the creation story, Reading Genesis 1-2: An Evangelical Conversation is a must, as there are several viewpoints on Creation (another reason starting with Genesis might be difficult).
  • For doubt, I recommend Disappointment with God.
  • How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth is a good one for... well, pretty much what the title says it's for.
  • Along the lines of Mere Christianity, try G. K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy. It's free, but might be a bit harder to read.

    BUT... don't go crazy. Start with the Gospels and maybe Mere Christianity, and go from there.

    If you have questions about what you're reading, feel free to come to this sub or /r/TrueChristian and ask. To be fair, there will be several opposing opinions on more controversial issues, which is a double-edged sword sometimes. But most everyone is welcoming, kind, and happy to discuss anything.
u/discipulus_eius · 7 pointsr/Christianity

God bless you! :) I love how you have shared your testimony.
I'm a young Christian guy and, unfortunately, struggle with porn and masturbation as well. So I do relate to your troubles there.

As someone who is new to the Christian faith, you might find this book REALLY helpful:

It is called "Mere Christianity" by C.S Lewis, who, fun fact, is also the auther of the "Chronicals of Narnia" fiction series.

C.S Lewis was a devout Christian and has wrote many great books on the Christian faith. I would also reccomend his book "the Screwtape Letters" which is a book about demons. And it might help you with temptation, as you shall realise the spiritual reality of what happens whan you go through that tempation.

You also mentioned that your parents are Catholic, so they might appreciate that you learn Theology from the renowned Theologian,
Thomas Aquinas:

Thomos Aquinas is not only one of the greatest philosophers of Christianity, but one of the greatest philosophers PERIOD.

Just by reading, you can really learn a lot about the nature of God, what it means to
pray, how to properly interpret Scripture, understanding your
sexuality, the proper use of meditation etc.

Just reading one book can inform you a LOT.

I say this because, a lot of times, new Christians ask how or where
they can learn more about Christianity. Which is funny because the
answer is right in front of them. :) You learn more about religion
just as you learn more about everything else iln life. Through books.

Anyways. God bless you in your newfound relationship with Him.
May you grow in faith and find righteous abstinence from sin.
Pray for me as I shall pray for you.

Deo Gratias! +++

u/TweaktheReaper · 7 pointsr/latterdaysaints

I am listening to C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity right now and in it he goes over exactly this. Basically he says that saying one should do something because it's "good for society" or because it's "nice" is redundant and gets someone absolutely nowhere when trying to explain why someone ought to do or be something.

Instead this commandment to be good goes back to two things: The first is that God and Christ are good and all knowing, so when they ask you to do something it isn't as though they haven't thought through "why". And secondly, because God and Christ are good and something of them is within us (made in His image, as it goes) then that means there is something good within us that is worth respecting and nurturing because it is divine in nature. I like to call that goodness empathy, because without it we lack the ability to empathize, even with things we've not experienced.

Going off the second point, empathy is the best way to explain goodness for its own sake to anyone without a spiritual background. Empathy allows us to metaphorically experience the lives and situations of others without having to actually do it, and to some degree feel as they do in those situations. Because of empathy and the ability to feel as others do, we can discern the need to not do things to others, because it could cause a stir in us called guilt, or shame, or sometimes we can even feel the pain we inflicted on them, but within ourselves. Barring some kind of emotional perversion (read: sadism or masochism) we typically would not willingly desire to put ourselves in a state of discomfort, so ergo we should not put others in one either, lest we should feel that shame, guilt, or pain all over again. This is the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Without empathy the golden rule holds no weight, and empathy is by this premise something of a spiritual nature so it should be heeded.

To address your specific grievance, you must also consider the eternal nature of our lives. You're not inherently incorrect when you say that our lives are inconsequential in the scope of eternity, in fact I'm inclined to agree with you. However in the context of a spiritual progression, and one outlined by He on most high, it would be prudent to heed all what He has told us. We are told He loves us, that He created us all, individually, and that we are all, individually, the most precious to Him. We are also told that this life is simply a step in our journey, and the things we learn here and leave with are certainly not inconsequential because mortality has allowed us the ability to progress far beyond a spiritual form would ever allow.

Knowing this and operating under this premise, it is only logical to treat everyone well because we are all precious in His eyes, and to do everything we can to better ourselves because this is the greatest opportunity to do so. If you were given a kitten by someone you greatly respected, whose life and well being was in your charge despite it having its own free will, would you not cherish it (even if only to prove to whomever gave it to you that you cared as much as they did)? And if you were given the opportunity to go study under the greatest mind in whatever your chosen field is for the span of several hours, would you not soak up every single word they uttered? We need to be kind because we need to extend a certain amount of respect toward the work God has done to create us, as we are His children and He created us this way, such as we are, and He's proud of that. And we need to use that kindness and practice it here as mortals, because mortality is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Sorry for the wall of text, but this is pretty intense philosophy we're exploring here. I would also highly recommend either reading or listening to Mere Christianity, as C.S. Lewis is far more eloquent in explaining these things than I am since he was an educated philosopher, and I'm just a 24 year old trying to figure life out =)

u/love_unknown · 7 pointsr/DebateReligion

I have a couple of things to say. Nothing philosophical, really—you've looked at the philosophical disputes already, and ultimately I think what you need to make up your mind is time, contemplation, and journeying. Don't think this is something that you need to determine instantly; if there is a God (as, I think, the best evidence indicates there is), then he must be compassionate and certainly is not displeased by someone who deliberately takes the time to figure things out and pursue truth with an open heart.

You're 17. Do you have any plans to go to college? If so, do the institutions you're looking at offer any philosophy of religion courses? Self-study is great, but sometimes coming at an issue in an explicitly academic context helps people really determine and refine what they think.

I, for one, cannot imagine the God in whom I believe sending such a sincere seeker of the truth to hell. Christians believe that God is love, that love is God's very essence (and indeed, if they are correct, the philosophical arguments over at /r/ThroughAGlassDarkly should establish that one of God's characteristics is being all-loving). If you have the time, I'd recommend picking up the book The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis, a marvelous exposition into contemporary Christian thought regarding heaven and hell. In short, heaven is the condition of living in love, and hell is the condition of living without love—those who live in love presently on earth are already in an 'anticipated heaven,' as it were, while those who have surrendered to their own selfishness have already descended into a hell of their own making, a prison of their own subjectivity. I can't say for sure, obviously, but from this and other posts you don't strike me as someone whose concern for the satiation of subjective urges outweighs the longing for objective truth.

God is just, loving, and merciful. If you love others and act according to your conscience, I don't think you have reason to fear. Yet by no means cease from exploring. Read widely. If you're at all interested in Christianity I would recommend picking up C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity, any popular-level work by N. T. Wright, and perhaps Ratzinger's God and the World or any papal encyclical issued since 2005. If for now you're just trying to wrap your head around the question of whether God exists, I would suggest that you continue to study independently, and plunge headfirst into life, being open to ideas, to people, to new experiences. The reality of God is apprehended not just in philosophical argumentation but also experientially; if in your journeying it becomes evident to you that there is something more, something greater than the hum-drum of everyday life or the experience of material satisfaction and transient happiness, then perhaps you will understand that God is out there, and that he loves you.

u/desu_desu · 7 pointsr/politics


When you trace that history back, you see it starts about 400 years after Christ. It was passed on as (many conflicting) oral histories until it was finally written down, then it was mutated further through countless transcription errors and arbitrary edits according to various agendas, and then.......

You know, just read this:

Even if you get down to the reality of what anyone REALLY said, that proves absolutely zero about its supernatural quality. They're still just words and stories. A 2,000 year heritage makes it no more legitimate, in terms of being "the word of god" than a 150 year heritage. Sorry to burst your bubble, but being really, really old does not make it any kind of authority.

u/RxDealer · 7 pointsr/atheism

I always recommend "Jesus Interrupted". It has a non-harsh approach to showing inconsistencies in the Bible and specifically the gospels. The author is a former fundamentalist Christian scholar turned atheist.

If you give them something to aggressive, they will just shut down immediately.

u/DoctorBurger · 7 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

>The only thing I like about the Bible, New Testament, is that it tells the story of Jesus, and how he came to be and live, how he was, his story

There's actually good reason to think most of that account is fictional, and just a mix of legend and myth.

A good introduction, the book Nailed:

A talk by Richard Carrier and Skepticon II

u/efrique · 7 pointsr/atheism

> tell me all of the reasons why the bible is flawed

That's rather a tall order. There are many perspectives from which it is flawed, and within many of those, a great many problems.

Are you after things like contradictions? Then see this question in the FAQ

Are you after finding out how the New Testament was altered again and again, and why? Then you may want to try to get the book Misquoting Jesus

Are you interested in common mistaken claims about and hidden contradictions in the New Testament? Maybe you'd enjoy Jesus, Interrupted

Are you interested in finding out which parts of the new testament were written by people claiming to be someone else? Then try Forged

Are you interested in whether there's solid evidence Jesus existed at all? Then try Nailed

Are you interested in refuations of many Christian ideas by a bunch of different authors? Then try The Christian Delusion

and so on and so on...

> I also plan on telling my family about my new found Athiesm soon so, any advice in that regards would be greatly appreciated.

Please read the advice in the FAQ. This is not a decision to be taken lightly.


> why Athiesm is your preferred route

That's atheism (small a, e before i). It's not a choice, any more than I chose not to believe in leprechauns or Santa or flying monkeys. At some point I found I didn't have belief in these propositions. Discovering there weren't any gods I believed in made me without-god-belief. That's literally a-theism.

u/Justavian · 7 pointsr/atheism

I used to side with Hitchens on this - it seemed likely to me that some core figure existed - otherwise, why manufacture events like the census in order to justify how the character matched up with old testament prophecy? Why not simply manufacture the story from the start so that jesus was from bethlehem instead of nazareth?

However, i recently read Nailed by David Fitzgerald. What a great book! It is very well researched, and points out a lot of undebatable facts that show how unlikely it is that any person is at the core of the story.

I highly recommend it.

u/jrh3k5 · 7 pointsr/lgbt

A man named Jesus, perhaps, and people who did a few of things accredited to him, but there's no evidence beyond the Gospels (whose credibility is pretty much negligible as a historic source) that Jesus, the prophet of Christianity, actually existed. No contemporaries wrote of him, and the few that are supposed to are likely to be either forgeries or edited transcriptions.

David Fitzgerald does a great job of writing about this:

u/captainhaddock · 7 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

The big names would have to include OT scholars like Thomas L. Thompson, Niels Peter Lemche, Thomas Römer, Philip R. Davies, and John Van Seters, as well as archaeologists like William Dever and Israel Finkelstein. The top books on their respective Amazon pages are all very well-known works.

The best go-to book for beginners is probably The Bible Unearthed by Finkelstein and Silberman. Another interesting one that takes you through biblical history via two perspectives (religious tradition and historical evidence) is Israel's History and the History of Israel by Mario Liverani.

u/usr81541 · 7 pointsr/Catholicism

I have not read it, but I have been told repeatedly that NT Wright’s The Resurrection of the Son of God is an excellent discussion of the historical evidence for the Resurrection. It’s 740 pages long, so I imagine that he gets into the questions you’re asking.

I might also suggest Fr. Robert Spitzer from the Magis Center who has a 26 page overview of scholarship on this issue on his site. He includes references to other works you might find interesting in his footnotes. Section IV of that article addresses another of NT Wright’s works, Jesus and the Victory of God which also speaks to the witness of the early Church.

u/bezjones · 7 pointsr/AskReddit

I am another Christian who has read it. I know many others who have read it and have come to be more understanding of the atheistic viewpoint. I would also recommend it. :-)

I would also recommend for basic understanding of the Christian viewpoint:

u/bearadox · 7 pointsr/Christianity

BioLogos is always linked around here. It was founded by Francis Collins, an extremely successful geneticist and former atheist. He wrote a book which I've seen mentioned a lot but haven't read myself.

u/ErrantThought · 7 pointsr/Christianity

> As far as I know there isn’t any real hard evidence for it.

For a nice overview of the plethora of evidence for evolution, read Jerry A. Coyne's Why Evolution is True. He gives lots, and lots, and LOTS of examples. It's easy to read.

Even if you believe in creationism, you should still read it. It's really important to look at the evidence that the other side presents so you can make an informed rebuttal.

u/beatle42 · 7 pointsr/atheism

I've used the oxford annotated bible and think it does a pretty good job of matching your criteria (I actually have a slightly earlier edition to the one I linked to).

u/greym84 · 7 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Here is more info on the King James Version (KJV) compared to other translations.

On the KJV Today

Due to archaeological discoveries (e.g. Qumran), improvements in linguistics, and other things we have better translations. It's not uncommon for Christians to believe that the Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant, but some fundamentalists believe that the King James is the only divinely inspired translation (note, even the KJV has undergone updates and revision).

Why are there different translations?

While all translators have some bias, most are very deliberately objective. The variance in translation usually comes in style: Accuracy vs. readability.

How are they different?

BibleGateway is handy for comparing translations. Here's a familiar passage in several translations. The first translation is the KJV (revised from the original 1611, but not the most recent New King James). The second is the New American Standard Bible (NASB), which is the most literal and accurate English translation. It's modern English, but wordy. The third is the New Living Translation (NLT), designed to be easier to read.

Which translation should I use?

There is no best translation. There are solid modern translations that try to combine the accuracy of the NASB and ease of the NLT. The New International Version (NIV, 2011 update preferred) is the most popular translation, with the English Standard Version (ESV) probably being the best (I recommend the ESV as the go-to translation).

However, if you were going to own one Bible for academic study, I'd seek out a cheap used copy of the New Oxford Annotated Bible (the translation is a kin of the ESV). If you want to just read it, I recommend The Books of the Bible which is in a pleasant single column format, uncluttered by footnotes, verse numbers, etc.

u/TheBlackCat13 · 7 pointsr/evolution

Not a book, but the overviews on are a good place to start. Just start at the top and work down. It addresses some common theological issues.

You can also look at an index to creationist claims on the site, which has short answers to many points creationists raise, including a section on philosophy and theology.

You also might look at the unrelated biologos and clergy letter project for more theological support for evolution.

As for book, someone already mentioned "Why Evolution is True". Your Inner Fish is also a good place to start. The Greatest Show on Earth is also supposed to be good although I haven't read it.

If you do become interested in debating, or if you just have questions, it would be better to head over to /r/DebateEvolution, which specializes in the issue and has a lot of people very knowledgeable about the subject.

u/Sewwattsnew · 7 pointsr/evolution

Since it hasn't been mentioned yet, Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin is a good one. It's short, and easy to read, the author has a very friendly, conversational tone. It is primarily focused on human evolution, rather than evolution in general, though.

u/TheOboeMan · 7 pointsr/intj

When you really understand the metaphysics behind them, Aquinas' proofs become airtight. Edward Feser does a fantastic job explaining this in his book: Aquinas.

u/Capercaillie · 7 pointsr/evolution

Most of the books that people are recommending on here are great, especially Jerry Coyne's. If you're going to read Dawkins, his best for explaining the basics of evolution is Greatest Show on Earth. If you want to read a book by a devout Christian who does an outstanding job of explaining evolution, then explains how he reconciles his understanding of evolution with his religious beliefs, try Finding Darwin's God by Ken Miller. Good luck on your search, and I salute your hunger for knowledge!

u/silverdollarlando · 7 pointsr/evolution

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins is a good book that gives counter examples to creationists. It addresses radio-dating, plate tectonics, cool examples of animals, and missing links. Dawkins is a grumpy old atheist, so he may not be your cup of tea.

u/harlan_p · 7 pointsr/Christianity

NT Wright

The Resurrection of the Son of God (Christian Origins and the Question of God, Vol. 3)

This is a voluminous exploration. Wright is not perfect but this is a good tome.

u/qpdbag · 7 pointsr/biology

I just began reading Your Inner Fish recently. It's pretty great so far. Definitely a focus on shubins experience with paleontology, but he does go a fair bit into molecular genetics as well.

Can't really say much else until I finish it.

u/GlowingStrand · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

This book was required reading at my Christian seminary.

Two other relevant, interesting and easy-to-read texts from my M.Div. program were Denzey’s Intro to “Gnosticism” and Ehrmam’s The New Testament

u/evilmaniacal · 7 pointsr/TrueAtheism

You may be interested in Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, in which the author concludes that yeah, he probably existed. You may also be interested in this (still ongoing) series of blog posts reviewing the book, which does a nice job pulling out relevant quotes

u/GallifreyGhost · 7 pointsr/exmormon

The myths that grew up about him are an amalgamation of previously existing myths. He, the human man, existed. This is the view of virtually all historians (e.g. scholars) who study this period.

Here is a popular work written by someone who is in no way sympathetic to Christianity: Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth

u/JesusHMontgomery · 6 pointsr/exchristian

So, first, and I realize this isn't exactly comforting, but there will be a freak out time no matter what. There will be some time where you feel like the world is ending, and no matter what you do, it will still feel that way. It was that way for me (though we aren't the same, so maybe your experience will differ): every night, up late, praying and sweating and crying. Is there someone in the real world you can talk to? Having a meat body to grab onto for comfort is huge. Also, I wish I'd known about Reddit (not sure if it existed yet) when I went through my biz. This subreddit would have been amazing.

Ironically, part of what pushed me out of Christianity was learning more about it: being really on fire for it. When you learn church history from the church, it's very skewed and specialized, but when you step out of that and examine it from an objective historical point of view, things get crazy. And more calming.

In case you missed it elsewhere in this thread, John Shelby Spong was very comforting for me.

I think A History of God gets mentioned on this sub at least once a day. It's not an easy read, but immensely illuminating as it shows that, essentially, the guy we call god with a capital G is really just a lesser Canaanite deity worshiped by an insane shepherd. But because of Abraham's weird life, all of western history plays out.

It's been awhile since I read Jesus Interrupted, but if I remember correctly, it's about how what the historical Jesus probably said (because we can't possibly know) has been manipulated by history to satisfy different political goals.

Zealot tries to recreate to the best of the author's ability Jesus' world, the philosophies he grew up with, and the philosophies he most likely would have taught. Some parts of this read like an amazing novel, and it has some crazy historical stuff. It really blew my mind.

I read Pagan Christianity right at the start of my dark night. I've mentioned it before, and it confirmed a lot of my suspicions about Christianity actually being fancied up paganism (Zealot discusses that a little as well). It's written from very much a contemporary Christian perspective, so it has some errors that drive me nuts: i.e. Jesus almost certainly wouldn't have ever meant he and god were literally the same, because no half-serious Jewish person of any era would assert that.

It's stupid late where I am (and my toddler already makes sure I'm constantly sleep deprived), so the last thing I'll leave you with:

When I was going through my "dark night of the soul," I still considered myself Christian afterward for quite awhile. It's just that the kind of Christian I felt I had become was so radically different from what I had been that it warranted night sweats and crying. Since then, each progressive deconversion has been less and less painful by magnitudes. But while I was going through it, I kept thinking about a quote in some book I'd read about how, "God made you with the brain you have, the talents you have, the interests you have, and the curiosity you have: pursue that and glorify god." I reasoned (and I feel this is pretty solid) that if god were real, he'd have to be so outside our everyday experience that no one is getting it right; because if he weren't that alien to us, if he was even slightly comprehensible, he couldn't be god. And if god were real, he'd (it?) know how incomprehensible he is, and unless he were insane or evil, he couldn't possibly be just in punishing us for doing whatever we thought was best and in good conscience. The process was still painful, but it definitely made me feel better about ripping off that hairy band-aid.

If you don't already, I'd recommend writing as you go through all this. If you can stomach it, put it some place public, like a blog, so people can bear witness.

Dammit. I said I was going to bed 20 minutes ago.

Sorry-but-not-sorry for the wall of text.

u/Quadell · 6 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If you were to claim that Saturn does not have rings, many astronomers would indeed inform you that all credible astronomers disagree with you. If you wanted a survey of how many astronomers believe Saturn has rings, and how many do not, it would be hard to get a solid figure -- not because the issue is controversial, but because astronomers don't usually bother to even say that they believe Saturn has rings. It's just that obvious to all credentialed astronomers. The analogy is pretty on point, I have to say.

You should know that Dr. Ehrman is a highly regarded Biblical scholar, and an atheist. Detailed answers to all your questions are in the book mentioned above. You say you don't have access to it, but it's only $10 on Amazon. If you can't afford that, or if getting the answers to your questions aren't worth $10 to you, you could always head over to your local library and check out a copy, as I did. It really isn't a long book. Or, if you're averse to reading a book, there's a very informative video debate online between Dr. Ehrman and a prominent mythicist here, in which he lays out abbreviated versions of the same information that can be found in the book.

u/shroomyMagician · 6 pointsr/Christianity

The point is that Stephen Meyer is not an expert in any field of biology. Francis Collins is a Christian scientist who was heavily involved with the Human Genome Project when they were working on sequencing the entire human genome for the first time and is a reputable scholar among the scientific community as well as the current director of the National Institutes of Health. He published a book called The Language of God in 2007 which presents the case for evolution and its implications from a Christian perspective, in case you'd be interested in reading why the heck any scientist would accept as fact that you can trace your lineage back to a common ancestor with a strawberry. Evolution is not an intuitive concept without a decent understanding of the biological evidences that support it.

u/wildgwest · 6 pointsr/Christianity

I enjoyed The Language of God by Francis Collins. I think it's a good book for a presentation of theistic evolution.

u/KlugerHans · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Francis Collins, former head of the Humane Genome project.

Interesting book.

Here's another good one by the cell biologist Ken Miller.

He was also an expert witness in the Dover District school board trial where they tried to introduce Intelligent Design.

u/Nicoon · 6 pointsr/atheism

There are several books on the topic:

u/MJtheProphet · 6 pointsr/DebateAChristian

If we're going to get into the Bible as the source for a description of god, then we certainly have an issue. Which Bible are you reading? If its one of the millions of Bibles in the US, then its likely an English translation, and it isn't actually describing the god worshiped by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. For that, we have to go back to the Canaanite religion, which we've learned about from clay tablets found at the Ras Shamra site. The Canaanites were polytheists who worshiped a great number of gods. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were primarily followers of El Shaddai, "God of the Mountains", another name for El Elyon, or "God Most High". El Elyon appears to Abraham in human form at one point. Jacob is described as asking El Elyon to become his elohim, or primary god, in order that he might receive special protection. He also climbs a ladder to heaven and speaks with El Elyon in person, and later even wrestles with El Elyon.

Its also not the god of Moses. Moses was a follower of Yahweh, the war god of the ancient Israelites. Yahweh wasn't a Canaanite god, but he also wasn't a monotheistic god. In the (likely mythical) story of Exodus, the Israelites even note after gaining their freedom "Who among the gods
is like you, Yahweh?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?." (Exodus 15:11) It helps the verses make more sense to get the full context; upon reaching the promised land, the Israelites stray and worship other gods. That seems silly in today's version; why worship Baal or Asherah when you know that there is only THE LORD? But when you realize that Yahweh was just the war god, as Ares was to the Greeks, it makes more sense. Once you're no longer in a time of trouble, why not worship Baal (god of fertility and storms) or Asherah (the mother goddess) instead of Yahweh (god of the armies)? And its a lot more obvious why the Old Testament god was so obsessed with blood and death; he was the war god, like Ares.

Yahweh didn't become the primary god of Israel until the reign of King Josaih, a strict Yahwist, in about 640 BCE. This was the period of the Deuteronomic reforms; it was at this time that the book of Deuteronomy was "found" in the temple, supposedly a new book of law written by Moses that placed Yahweh above all other gods. However, its rather convenient timing and the linguistic signature indicate that it was actually a forgery, created for political expediency. Even here, though, there is still evidence of polytheism, in the Ten Commandments themselves. "6 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 7 You shall have no other gods before me." (Deuteronomy 5:6-7)

Only in about 570 BCE, when the Israelites were exiled into Babylon, did the monotheistic god "the LORD" appear. An author known as Second Isaiah had his words appended on to the original Isaiah, the book of Leviticus was authored, and the history of Israel was rewritten to say that El Elyon and Yahweh were the same god, and that this god was the only god. The other books extant at the time were rewritten to make it look like there had only ever been one god of Israel. So despite the story saying that this god has always existed, he only appears in the archaeological record 2600 years ago.

A very different picture appears when you know where all the stories came from, and put them in their proper historical context. The Old Testament just screams polytheism, even through the multiple rewrites and translations. I recommend A History of God by Karen Armstrong for more details. Or, you can find a good summary on YouTube from Evid3nc3.

u/lucilletwo · 6 pointsr/atheism

so_yeah does a great job clarifying the reason; if (as we do) you assume that the supernatural aspects of the bible are inaccurate, the logical next step is to examine the non-supernatural claims (the purely historical ones) to see if they are also flawed. After all, if you believe some portion of a source document is flawed, you should also examine the rest to look for more flaws.

If you are interested in the factual, historical, literary origins of the bible, I would highly recommend "The History of God" by Karen Armstrong (link)

It details academically the history of the authors, the events, and the social and political pressures which shaped the creation of different components of the 3 main western monotheistic religions (Christianity/Judaism/Islam). Highlights include:

  • The original shift from polytheism to monotheism
  • The distributed authorship of the pentateuch (first 5 books of the bible which form backbone of OT belief system)
  • The historical evidence (and lack thereof) for the figure of Jesus as the bible portrays him
  • The origins of the theology of the early church, such as the concept of Jesus dying to 'pay for our sins' (~70 AD), and invention of the concept of original sin (4th century).
  • The political pressures which shaped and created these concepts, and which lead to the adoption and spread of christianity through the roman empire

    It's very dry and intellectual, but I can't recommend a better book when it comes to understanding the origins of western monotheism. It is absolutely not a "new atheist" book written in an attempt to disprove individual stories or facets of the bible, rather it assumes from the start that many stories are some combination of fact and fiction, and focuses instead on the contemporary (at that time) reasons they were written and the factors that caused them to take hold, as well as how and why they mutated over time.

    TL;DR: The social and political history of western religion, and how it influenced the creation and adoption of individual stories and theological tenets.
u/CalvinLawson · 6 pointsr/atheism

Oh yeah; I was brainwashed hardcore. Ever heard of A Beka? I'll bet you have...

It's like any grieving process; it takes about a year, so you're getting close. Not that there's a sudden change but it does get easier.

There are some things you can do to help the process along.

Before you do anything, order this book. It's a short read and it will set your soul free.

Stay involved in your Christian friend's lives. Hang out with them; talk to them about religion. You'll quickly figure out what friends are worth keeping around. Also meet some new friends! Start building a community that isn't based on faith.

Stay in touch with your family. Don't cut them out of your life. You need family, even if they're kinda fucked up. You're going to have to deal with religion again, but make sure they understand you aren't hanging out with them to be preached at. And remember, family is more than just blood relations, especially just the immediate ones.

Lastly, but of utmost importance, educate yourself on religion. Learn more about Christianity than Christians do. Focus on religious history and learn to interpret the bible using higher criticism. Karen Armstrong is a good start for a lot of people, her book A History of God is a bit of an informal "Religion 101" textbook.

Hang in there!

u/Shmurphy7833 · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Every single person on this earth has their own idea about what religion is and how it originated, and you will encounter many more people with many ideas contrary to what you believe, so don't let your friends discourage you. You seem like you have a genuine desire to believe in God, so believe in him. In this life we are constantly being presented with new ideas and new experiences that shape the way we view things, the question is how will you chose to go about interpreting these new ideas and new experiences? Will you let something that challenges what you believe mold you and change your convictions, or will you fight to understand what you believe to be true, that there is a God and Jesus is his son? I write this as someone who has doubts everyday. Someone who questions constantly, and struggles with what you are struggling with now. However, I have come to learn that there will be a time to choose. What is it that you believe? And when you know it, fight for it, and hold on to it. Relish in the questions, take joy in the challenges, you are not loosing your faith, you are on the search for Truth, follow His voice.


Specifically, I think the most important place to start when trying to understand the miracles of Christ is His resurrection. Bishop Barron has a really good video on this.

I'll list some good books below which have helped me with these questions as well.


u/EsquilaxHortensis · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

To be honest -- and I promise that I'm making this as not-a-copout as I can -- my feeling is that if you're even taking the position that the entirety of the Bible is authentic and accurate, there's such a gulf of understanding between us that trying to bridge it would be well outside of the scope of a few posts.

I'll try to summarize as best I can, here.

Old Testament: The Torah was not given to Moses by God. Large portions of "God's laws" existed in other cultures before even the Jews claim that they were given to Moses. Like, word-for-word, verse for verse, verbatim. Sometimes with minor changes. The Law is clearly not entirely divine in origin, if any of it is (personally, I think I see the hand of God in places in Deuteronomy, but I'm not sure). Similarly, a great deal of the OT is founded upon pre-existing myths from other cultures in Mesopotamia. We're able to discern several different agents at work in the text, including people who clearly have very different conceptions of God, writing at different times, as well as any number of redactors. In some cases, it's pretty clear that the final version of the text was based upon a later writer completely failing to understand the original writer. In some cases, multiple incompatible versions of stories were combined into the text serially by redactors who clearly had no idea that the text was supposed to be "perfect". Check out the stories about how David met Saul, for example. Also, a lot of the traditional interpretations of things came about when the Jews noted the many flaws, inconsistencies, and absurdities in the Torah, and invented all sorts of amazing (and often ridiculous) explanations for them.

For more on this, I cannot recommend highly enough James Kugel's How to Read the Bible. It's written by a very intellectually honest orthodox Jew, which is very valuable to me because it's as unbiased as possible while still being sympathetic and open to the theist view. No joke, I will buy this for you in a heartbeat if you send me an address. It will radically transform and improve your understanding of these things.

As to the Gospels, you ought to be able to find any number of websites describing its inaccuracies and contradictions. Of course, there's a strain of fundamentalism that insists, through astounding intellectual dishonesty, that there are no contradictions. To assert this, one must use a definition of "contradiction" that would be prima facie absurd in any other context. The differing accounts of Jesus' birth, the date of the Last Supper, and so, so much more. Also, many of the accounts of Jesus' life are clearly, shall we say, modified to make the points that the authors cared about, such as Jesus's genealogy falling into nice round numbers that it actually didn't. Also, a lot of details seem to have been invented after the fact to give the impression that Jesus fulfilled prophecies that he likely didn't (As a Christian this doesn't bother me; I don't see the OT as inerrant, so it's not surprising to me that many of its prophecies were wrong). For example, the narrative wherein the family has to travel for a census (never happened) so that Jesus could be in the city that prophecy said the Messiah would be born in (he probably wasn't).

For more on this subject... I like Marcus Borg. Actually, this book by him and N.T. Wright does a great job examining such matters from multiple perspectives, as it's written in a format where they disagree with each other and give their own takes on things. Borg represents (IMO) rational but honest scholarship taken too far, whereas Wright represents a more traditional but still informed perspective. This book covers many important topics, such as many of the miracles, the nativity, the resurrection, and so on. If you want to be able to defend yourself against atheist attacks, buy this book if only for Wright's sections. But read Borg's, too. They'll open your eyes to so much.

Okay, now let's talk epistles. The wikipedia article on the subject of the Pauline Epistles is a great jumping-off point. For a more in-depth treatment, I really liked Ehrman's Jesus, Interrupted though it definitely deals a lot with the gospels as well.

I'd like to make two more points in closing. The first is that there's just no reason at all to think that the Bible is accurate and authentic in its entirety. None. It doesn't even claim to be. It can't. It wasn't fully compiled until hundreds of years after its constituent parts were written, therefore it logically cannot be self-referential. When (not) Paul wrote that all scripture is God-breathed, he couldn't have been including the books that hadn't been written yet. Also, as you'll see if you read Kugel's book, much of scripture is clearly not inspired. Some would argue that it's still the book that God wanted us to end up with, but that raises the question of why there are so many different versions. Some bibles have books that others don't. Some translate things in contradictory ways to others. There is just no way to suggest that there's some kind of special force watching out for this book; we'd first have to posit that there's a single "right" version and then ask how we know which that is.

Secondly, consider so many of the things in the Bible that are, to put it mildly, inconvenient. Are iron chariots God's Achilles heel (Judges 1:19)? Why didn't any contemporary writers (including the other gospel authors) say anything about the zombie horde that broke loose in Jerusalem (Matthew 27:52-53)? Oh, and let me tell you a story:

God made the world and he saw that it was good. Except, it wasn't. So he decides that he's going to kill everyone except for one good guy and his family. So two (or seven) of every kind of animal gets crammed into -- well, we'll skip this part, you know it. But anyway, afterward, God realizes that he's made a huuuuuuge mistake and promises not to do it again.

And that is where rainbows come from.

u/sp1ke0kill3r · 6 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

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

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

u/FloydFan6 · 6 pointsr/TrueAtheism

God is not great by Christopher Hitchens. If you are looking for someone that had a sound knowledge of Christianity, its history and scripture, Hitchens is the man.

u/MyDogFanny · 6 pointsr/atheism
u/rasungod0 · 6 pointsr/atheism

> are there any books written from a Christian point of view that don't make us look like complete idiots even when read from an atheist point of view?

I cannot recall any of the top of my head.

>Also if you have any book recommendations that will help a Christian understand atheism then it'd be a appreciated.

God is Not Great by Christopher Hitchens is the best introduction to atheism I've read.

u/doge_designer · 6 pointsr/videos
u/ZalmoxisChrist · 6 pointsr/satanism



That's the best we can do, since the evidence is suspiciously lacking and internally contradictory.

3 4
5 6

Happy Ēostre, and happy reading!

u/meabandit · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

> but a historical Jesus isn’t a point of contention for historical/biblical scholars.

Also existence of Bigfoot is not a point of contention for lifelong believers. I don't understand why you appeal to a source with such a conflict of interest.

Point of Contention

u/lingben · 6 pointsr/Documentaries

> people who believe that Jesus never existed despite historical data

please enlighten us and share just one contemporary historical evidence of Jesus' existence

for those new to this topic: there are none - every single piece of evidence comes much later, the earliest several decades after the death of Jesus. The more detailed and dependable "historical evidence" even later, at times hundreds of years later. None are contemporary.

for those curious to learn more via an PhD academic treatise on the topic:

u/Reasonable_Thinker · 6 pointsr/exjw

Dude, you need to research your shit. Stop this apathy and get some knowledge, it's the only thing that I know of that can stop the guilt your feeling.

The witnesses are wrong in a lot of ways, you made a really good step by joining this board. You need to be the change you want to see, research the bible and history, figure out what you actually believe and learn it well enough that you can defend it.

This will help you get over the guilt, IDK what to do about your family situation. That is something else entirely but I think its a really good idea for you to gain some real knowledge about the witnesses past and about their theology.

I recommend starting with "The History of God" by Karen Armstrong:

Its a great book, easy read, and I think it will help a lot. Good luck brother.

u/jell-o-him · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Some here will disagree, yet I think your cause is a noble one.

My suggestion would be to keep encouraging her to be a freethinker, question everything, and learn all she can about science. If she can be at a point where she understands that "science is more than a body of knowledge, it is a way of thinking" (Carl Sagan), if she can fall in love with the wonders of the creation of the universe and the evolution of life on this world, then you'll be done, as those things will show any thinking person the absurdity of religion as a moral compass.

If she likes to read, here are some books you might consider getting for her:

  • The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. An amazing argument for the use the scientific way of thinking in every aspect of our lives.

  • A Universe from Nothing by Lawrence Krauss. How math and science can fully explain the creation of the universe, and a powerful argument against the universe needing a creator.

  • The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins. The subtitle is The Evidence for Evolution. Meant as a book for readers your sister's age. Big plus is that if she likes it, she may want to read The God Delusion and/or The Magic of Reality.

    Edit: grammar
u/SageTurk · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Just gonna throw this out there - most of me and my wife's shelf breakers came from books or film that wouldn't traditionally be seen as related to mormonism. Our brains were just too wired to sniff that stuff out and reject it even if engaging with it. Instead I'd recommend two of the most powerful books I ever read and obiliterated my testimony without so much as a mention of Mormon history:

The Greatest Show On Earth by Richard Dawkins - Dawkins has a bit of a reputation as a vocal Atheist so your wife may already be biased. But if not - he is a wonderful writer, capable of relaying complex scientific principles in easy-to-understand layman's terms. So clear and levelheaded, it's essentially impossible to read this book and not have a minor stroke from the cognitive dissonance it throws on every concept of a divine creator that's ever existed.

Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan - Carl Sagan was the original 'make science cool and accessible' superstar and in my mind he still hasn't been topped. This book is a supremely entertaining, mind expanding and FAIR mediation on science and belief from one of our generations greatest thinkers.

Hope this helps (cause reading mormon history books if she isn't ready sure as hell won't)

u/redpepper261 · 6 pointsr/exmormon

Are you talking about Dawkins or the FreeThought blogger? Read The Greatest Show on Earth, it has plenty of science and clear thinking.

u/okrahtime · 6 pointsr/evolution

There are two books that I think would be good:

What Evolution Is

Why Evolution Is True

I liked both books. I am not sure how readable they are without a decent understanding of basic biology. Can you tell us how much background you have in biology? That may help with suggestions.

u/swordstool · 6 pointsr/evolution

I second the recommendation for Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True. Very very good and highly accessible. Then, if you want further detail, go to The Greatest Show on Earth.

u/EACCES · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Good advice from the other commentors here. I'll suggest the New Oxford Annotated Bible - it's the NRSV, and it has lots of footnotes and commentary throughout, and it points out places where the translation is less certain, possible alternate translations, etc.

u/BrotherGA2 · 6 pointsr/Christianity

These two are probably the most respected in academia. If you want to get just one, I'd go with the NRSV for both Jewish Bible and New Testament.

Just the TANAKH (Old Testament): The Jewish Study Bible: Featuring The Jewish Publication Society TANAKH Translation

TANAKH and New Testament (The Christian Bible): The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version

u/uncovered-history · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Not a Christian, but I own a New Revised Standard edition that I bought during undergrad since I was studying the New Testament and it’s regarded as the best translation by pretty much every historian I had read.

Edit: this precise one to be exact. Super helpful for anyone wanting to take more of a historical rather than theological approach to the Bible.

u/kjdtkd · 6 pointsr/Catholicism
u/baddspellar · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

I'm glad to see there were a few respectful responses to your question, including /u/vnk. I think the biggest challenge for modern thinkers is that we tend to downplay any way of seeing things that doesn't involve the methods of science, e.g. physical observation, measuring, etc. And then when someone like you asks the obvious question of why it still looks, smells, and tastes like bread and wine (observations) people get all kinds of upset. I remember long ago someone angrily responding to a similar question from me that "there's no bread and wine there anymore!", as if that were a helpful response. The "accidents" of physical form are indeed still there, and if you ran the body and blood through any scientific apparatus they'd indeed tell you, "yep, bread and wine".

It took me a while to come to grips with this, and it required me to acknowledge there are other ways of thinking.
Here's a fairly readable book on the Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas that might help you learn how to think of things from a different perspective. You don't need to abandon the scientific way of thinking. In fact, you shouldn't, as it has led to tremendous improvements in the human condition and so it would be a terrible thing to abandon. It's just that life, and God, are too big and too important to see from just one limited perspective. You may have a hard time accepting this for a while. Try your best to be open to it.

I'll add that, yes, I believe in transubstantiation.

u/ur2l8 · 6 pointsr/Christianity

Of course.


The Last Superstition

His blog (check out his latest blog post, actually, and read (or listen to) his speech)

Philosophy of Mind - not directly related to religious belief, but gives background to understand some of the inconsistencies in an atheistic worldview

u/kaesekopf · 6 pointsr/Catholicism

Aquinas by Edward Feser.

In it, he also handles/discusses the Five Proofs for God by Aquinas. Should also be somewhat useful to fight off that drifting.

It gives a pretty good intro. It's also pretty deep, but, yknow, still really good.

Edit to add link to Amazon:

Also, here's a post from Feser's blog, a review on his book:

>Dominicans Interactive is a new online initiative of the Irish Dominicans. (Check out their Facebook page and website.) Today the website reviews my book Aquinas. From the review:

>>The chapter on natural theology deals with all five of Aquinas’s proofs for the existence of God… as well as containing a short treatment of the divine attributes (God’s simplicity, perfection, goodness, immutablity, and so on). The reader will encounter in this chapter one of the most robust defences of the validity of every one of the arguments for the existence of God (Five Ways) available in the English language… This chapter is a tour de force and bears witness to Feser’s deserved reputation as a master of natural theology. Both students and established scholars ought to acquire a copy of the book for the sake of this chapter alone.

>Very kind! The review also warns: “[A] note of caution: Feser’s book, while it ought to be required reading for any introductory course on Aquinas’s philosophy, is nonetheless very challenging for the neophyte.” That’s worth emphasizing. The book’s subtitle “A Beginner’s Guide” is a bit misleading. It was not part of the original title when the book was contracted, and writing a “beginner’s guide” was not something I had in mind when working on it. What happened is that after the book was finished the publisher decided to fold it into their “Beginner’s Guides” series. In fact most readers will find it more challenging than The Last Superstition, though not as challenging as Scholastic Metaphysics.

u/spydez · 6 pointsr/AskReddit

But the coached creationist will say, "Macro has never been proven! No new species have been formed! No matter how much you selectively breed dogs, you still end up with a dog that can interbreed with other dogs!"

The proper answer, of course, is to shove Your Inner Fish down their throat... that or smile and back away slowly.

/used to be a well-coached creationist, so hopefully I'm still allowed to make fun of them... >.>

u/Honey_Llama · 6 pointsr/DebateReligion

Thanks for your nice message.

These arguments made a big difference in my life and if they make a difference in someone else’s life (or at the very least challenged them to give serious consideration to the evidence of natural theology) I am very happy to hear it.

I understand your reservations about the argument from desire. I think I mention in my discussion of it that it has only moderate force but has an important place in the cumulative case.

I would highly recommend some further reading because my posts are all capsule versions of arguments that are presented and defended with much greater rigour in my sources. If you only ever read two books on this subject let them be The Existence of God by Richard Swinburne and The Resurrection of the Son of God by N. T. Wright. If you have an iPad or Kindle both are obtainable in a matter of seconds online.

And regarding your question, I recommend this video: The whole thing or from around 6:00 if you’re short on time. In short: Aquinas suggested that wealth and poverty can each be either a blessing or a curse. Much more would need to be said to give a satisfactory answer but I think that is a good starting point. And of course if third world poverty is something that could be ended if first world countries were totally committed to ending it, then ultimately it is a consequence of moral evil.

All the best :)

u/US_Hiker · 5 pointsr/Christianity

OT: Most things after the Exile are pretty accurate. Prior to the exile, there's lots of factual details, but many of the grand narratives aren't factual. This isn't necessarily shocking, because the OT isn't a history book.

I recommend highly this book for the actual archaeology community's view on the issue.

u/MarcoVincenzo · 5 pointsr/atheism

No one seems to have mentioned it yet, but Neil Silberman and Israel Finkelstein devote quite a few pages to this topic in their book The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. The entire book is excellent and well worth reading.

u/legofranak · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

If you're very new to OT biblical analysis, as a fellow lay person, and even though it's not intended to be a 2 Kings analysis per se, I highly recommend Finkelstein and Silberman's The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

2 Kings is sort of the linchpin for OT biblical archaeology. Virtually all the OT texts preceding 2 Kings appear to have been written (or at least redacted) at some point during the periods of the monarchies we read about in 2 Kings. So when reading this text in particular, you have to come at it with two questions in mind:

  1. What events written here actually happened (or at least sort of happened like the way they're told here)?
  2. Who wrote this, and when?

    These topics are typically in tension when you're trying to analyze the texts using the modern textual-archaeological hybrid approach. What we know from the archaeological record may suggest a reason that a story was told in a certain way--emphasis on one person may mean that the story was told by a political or social supported of that person's family. And what we read in the texts can help us fit pieces of the archaeological record together, or even fill holes. As you can imagine, some people give more credence to the biblical record as a factual record, while others sort of acknowledge it only when it coincides with the archaeology. But even those folks will then still try to fit the author into the historical context, again basing their understanding of the author's context on the archaeological record.

    In 2 Kings especially, this tension plays with what you're reading, because the historical context of the author is much closer to the context of the story itself (at least more closely than, say, the context of the author/redactor of Judges vis a vis the context of Judges). It makes it a little difficult to know where to begin; that's certainly something I encountered when I started learning about this kind of textual analysis. What I liked about Finkelstein and Silverman's book is that it does a bit of both: there is a broad, comprehensive historical context for what we know happened, and what may-or-may-not have happened, for the stories relayed in 2 Kings (especially the latter end of it), with a constant referencing back to the archaeology that supports what we know (and don't). And then there is discussion of the context and motivations of the author(s) of the texts, fitting those people (whoever they were) into the political and social movements of the time. It's a juggling act, but for me the narrative of this book was strong enough to carry me through, and allow for understanding how both biblical text and biblical author fit into their times.

    The caveat to this recommendation is that you should know at the outset that Finkelstein's views are by no means universally accepted. He is an ardent minimalist, and his evolving views of the origins of Benjamin and Judah and on what facts the Saul-David stories were based on have continued to be challenged. But as an introduction to the major topics affecting the study of that period, and of the major texts written in and/or about that period (primarily 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles), I found this book to be engaging and educating.
u/Ike_hike · 5 pointsr/AskBibleScholars

Sure thing!

If you want something accessible on a college level that I have used in my courses, I'd recommend The Hebrew Bible for Beginners by Lohr and Kaminsky.

Another magnificent but weightier text that touches directly on source critical issues and the history of scholarly theories is James Kugel's How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture Then and Now.

Those are both broad surveys for beginners. On the more narrow question of dating and good for someone with a bit of Hebrew background, an important new-ish book is How Old is the Hebrew Bible: A Linguistic, Textual, and Historical Study by Ron Hendel and Jan Joosten. They do a great job of summarizing the current state of the question. It's the closest thing I have to offer as a consensus or mainstream view.

For a more "minimalist" or skeptical view that focuses on the historical origins of biblical narratives, I would recommend beginners take a look at The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finkelstein.

Later this summer, I am really interested to see John Barton's forthcoming book A History of the Bible: The Story of the World's Most Influential Book. I haven't seen it, but he's great and it seems like a serious piece of scholarship.

u/LettmypeopleGo · 5 pointsr/exjw

My younger teenage self liked this one: King Arthur by Roger Lancelyn Green. I simultaeously found this book and a tape of Led Zeppelin's greatest hits. They synced up incredibly well. "Battle of Evermore" especially, although Lord of the Rings probably fits that song best.

What kind of books are you interested in?

An idea! -> You might get some awesome ideas and do some great exJW awareness by posting this question over at /r/books. Explaining you were in a religion that controlled what you could read and think...the members over there might get a kick out of helping you with suggestions!

[edit] Oooh, you wanted useful books. Sorry. I think I badly wanted to reread the King Arthur book (just watched Excaliber again on HBO/Netflix), so I didn't pay attention to the word "useful". Sorry!

The Bible Unearthed was fascinating.

u/LadyAtheist · 5 pointsr/atheism

I recommend The Bible Unearthed for a history of the writing of the Old Testament, based on archaeology:

u/haroldhelicopter · 5 pointsr/exchristian

If you are interested in a arcaological perspective on where Judah/Israel really came from etc, I cannot recommend "The Bible Unearthed" enough! Its a a real eye opener and a fascinating read on some real history.

u/Cherubim45 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

The video provides a summary of a more detailed argument he gives in several of his books (two of which are linked below), but the gist of the argument is that, all factors considered, the claim that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead has more explanatory power than other hypotheses.

u/dschaab · 5 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> Christianity is not an evidence-based religion. It's like all other religions, which is faith-based.

While I agree that faith is a necessary component of Christianity, you seem to assert here that faith and evidence are mutually exclusive. I think this is a false dichotomy akin to the oft-repeated "science versus religion" debate topic of the last century.

Faith alone does not a Christian make. True faith always makes itself known (always "discovers itself" in the words of Edwards) in the life of the believer. In other words, faith produces evidence that demonstrates its efficacy. A love for God, a hatred for one's sin, and a spirit that strives to obey God's commands are some examples of this evidence that is apparent not only to the believer but to surrounding people. I certainly see this in my own life.

But this is not to say that one's faith cannot be bolstered by external evidence. In this category we have arguments for the existence of God and the historicity of the events described in the New Testament documents. Chief among these is the resurrection, which Paul identifies as the linchpin of the entire Christian faith.

> The resurrection of Jesus is not historical at all. The historicity of Jesus ends with his crucifixion.

As /u/RighteousDude has already pointed out, we "prove" facts of history not in a binary sense, but with degrees of confidence. Another way to put this is that given the body of evidence (documents, oral testimony, artifacts, and so on), we seek the explanation that can account for all the evidence and do so far better than any competing explanation.

The resurrection should be treated no differently. Given the evidence, virtually all scholars (to include skeptics) agree that 1) Jesus of Nazareth died in Jerusalem by crucifixion, 2) his disciples were transformed from cowards into men who boldly claimed that they saw Jesus after his death and who went on to become martyrs, 3) James (the brother of Jesus and a skeptic) was converted in the same manner, 4) Saul of Tarsus (initially an enemy of Christianity) was converted in the same manner, and 5) the tomb was discovered empty. There are many more facts that can be extracted from the available evidence, but these five are perhaps the most critical, and as mentioned, nearly everyone who studies this subject agrees on them.

So given these facts, what is the best explanation? Many have been proposed over the years, such as ideas that the someone stole the body, or that the disciples fabricated the story, or that Jesus never actually died, or that the disciples hallucinated, or even that this entire story is fiction. But each of these ideas completely fails to account for the whole body of evidence in some way or another. The best explanation that accounts for all the evidence is simply that God raised Jesus from the dead, and that the disciples, James, and Saul were all eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus.

The case I've summarized above is drawn from the work of Gary Habermas, whose
Historical Jesus is an approachable introduction to the life of Jesus that pays special attention to the extra-Biblical sources. If you're interested in a more thorough treatment, N. T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God_ is a great choice.

u/thomas-apertas · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Not sure what sorts of perspectives you're looking for, but NT Wright is a top notch academic writing from a somewhat conservative Anglican perspective, and has written a ton on these two guys:

Jesus and the Victory of God

The Resurrection of the Son of God

Paul and the Faithfulness of God

And if ~3200 pages isn't quite enough to scare you out of attempting the project, you should also read the first volume in this series, The New Testament and the People of God.

u/cwfutureboy · 5 pointsr/todayilearned

Dr. Richard Carrier's new book further cements the Mythicist view as very plausible.

u/Bab5crusade · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Actually there is a good book that answers your question.

Here is an 15 video summarizing the ideals of the book that the current god came from a mixture from the polytheistic gods of Canaanites and Babylonians.

u/LordBeverage · 5 pointsr/philosophy

> and that means it is the end of the discussion is vapid

No one said that is the end of the discussion. They said it answers the question asked.

> short sighted, and lacks serious contemplation of the issue

Again simply asserted and not argued for.

> On top of all of that, it is overly simplistic.

No its not. In fact, though I doubt you've ever seriously studied evolutionary theory, it is quite complicated.

> In other words, saying we do what we do because of evolution presupposes and begs so many answers and questions that it is often times not a respectable or acceptable answer for those seeking greater understanding...

I don't think you have any idea at all about which questions and or answers are presupposed by explaining any of this in terms of evolutionary theory. A few specific (non-metaphorical) examples would be nice.

Again, you need to be careful: No one is saying everything we do makes sense in direct evolutionary terms. Skydiving doesn't seem to make any sense in evolutionary terms. But excitement, adventure, and thrill seeking do.

> For instance, if I order a pizza and want to know where it came from, Pizza Hut, while a valid answer doesn't address the greater(possible) context.

Answering "pizza hut" answers the question you asked. If you would like to know more, you must ask different, better questions. You didn't ask "where does the dough in my pizza come from?" you asked "where did my pizza come from?". This is not lazy, unimaginative, or vapid, it is accurate to the question asked. If you have a better, more specific question, there are other answers that make perfect sense in terms of pizza hut.

> While some of the questions to which I ask may never be known, to assert them as unimportant or lacking in value shows a bias and a personal prejudice that could very well lead to ignorance.

First, this doesn't follow. Just wanted to call your attention to that. Examining a question to discover that it doesn't really mean anything requires some of the most careful thinking humans do, and no-one could properly show that a question doesn't have value without first understanding what that value or meaning seems to be. And no, doing this does not engender any kind of bias or prejudice, in fact quite the opposite, it requires complete, accurate understanding.

"What is the color of envy?" Certainly green. But wait, that question doesn't make any sense. Emotions don't have colors. The question "why have we culturally associated negative emotions with colors which in certain constituents (vomit, rot, defication) trigger disgust?" is a much better, more meaningful question. But envy doesn't actually have a color, it is an emotion.

Second, nice straw-man. I suspect you're carrying baggage over from previous conversations.

> While I am not directing this at any person here, I am saying that I've seen many atheists lack either the willingness or comprehension skills necessary to consider other arguments/evaluate their own.

Ah yes, baggage definitely carried over from previous conversations. Never mind that this assertion, completely out of left field, shows a pretty gross generalization, I doubt you look any more intellectually capable or willing to them.

> Simply put, claiming that the reason for us being here is because evolution "just is" blindly assumes too much.

Like what? Again, I don't think you have even the slightest idea.

> After all there is no proof of this such a position, and even more so then that, there are good possible arguments to be made to the very contrary.

Oh lordy here it comes.

Read a book. Seriously prove yourself to be not a hypocrite and go buy those two books right now. And read them in full, charitably, even if you're not a creationist.

> Regardless my main point is simply this, many people(atheists) who argue for evolution as an answer worthy of general acceptance within humanity (for our be all end all origins of existence) have given up on the serious consideration of other alternatives

Yes, because the alternatives have been so thoroughly trounced, debunked, and defeated which evolution has been so thoroughly explanatory, consistent, and supported.

> as such are generally not interested in a fruitful discussion but merely want to espouse their dogmatic world view.

"Fruitful discussion" isn't just discussion which includes totally erroneous, impossible things. Upon your asking about where your pizza came from, my suggesting that we pay serious attention to my hypothesis that it was pooped out exactly as is by a superhero I call Pizza Man three minutes ago would not be a means to fruitful discussion. Having a diverse discussion isn't having a fruitful one. A fruitful discussion proceeds toward truth, it doesn't include as many possibilities as possible for their own sake.

> It's a completely different thing to say that since evolution created us we should just believe that is the totality of our origins.

Again, the stench of baggage here is heavy. First, if evolution created us, evolution created us, that is the totality of our origins. The question you're trying desperately to beg includes evolution creating us by the hand of a sky wizard. If that were the case, it wouldn't be evolution creating us. It would be evolution and a sky wizard. No evidence of the sky wizard, no reason to think he created us through evolution. No reason to think he didn't either, but in order to think he did (and that's what were worried about, if he did), ya need evidence.

And again with the straw-man. No one is saying that since we understand our evolutionary origins necessarily and sufficiently, we must now never consider any further possibility or amendment at all, ever. Quite the opposite, science is constantly doing it's best to discover that evolution is wrong- this is part of the scientific method. It doesn't seem to be able to do a very good job to that end (indeed more and more support keeps showing up), and that's why we take evolution so seriously.

We we don't do is give every random suggestion or hypothesis automatic credence as equally likely to be true just because some guy thought of it. You must have evidence that your hypothesis is true, or it is tentatively, parsimoniously considered not true (not 'false' mind you, 'not true'- as in lacking established truth value).

u/thoumyvision · 5 pointsr/Christianity

If you're looking for something from the Christian perspective, but also properly historically researched, I have been told that the finest book on the subject is The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright.

I have not personally read it, although I do own it and will hopefully get around to it some day. I have read some of his less scholarly works, which, amusingly, often reference this and the other two enormous books in his "Christian Origins" series.

u/DjTj81 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

I went through a similar phase in my life, and while I was worried about the fact that there wasn't enough scientific evidence for Christianity, I realized that I also didn't really have scientific evidence for most of anything I believed about morality or free will. And I didn't have a particularly good explanation for why the evidence points towards the universe having a moment of creation and why the universe appears to operate by a reliable set of rules. I realized that most of my life is not lived based on the confidence intervals required for scientific experiments, and I found I could very comfortably justify my faith based on my own life experiences, the testimony of others, and the historical evidence that does exist.

One book that helped me was [The Language of God] ( by Francis Collins (leader of the Human Genome Project and current director of the National Institutes of Health who became a Christian as an adult). Even if it doesn't convince you to become a Christian, it may help you better understand your girlfriend's faith and how it is compatible with science.

u/magicjamesv · 5 pointsr/Christianity

You should read The Language of God by Francis Collins. It's a fascinating book that does a fantastic job of explaining some of the ideas behind that school of thought, whether or not you agree with them. It's had a tremendous influence on my interpretation of Genesis.

I would try to explain how the book changed my views on this topic, but I probably wouldn't do a good job of making it make sense on here.

u/RyanTDaniels · 5 pointsr/Christianity deals head-on with this controversy in a polite and open manner. Seriously, they rock.

The Language of God, by Francis Collins, is a great starting point for the science-end of the issue.

The Lost World of Genesis One, by John Walton, is a great starting point for the Bible-end of the issue.

The Bible Project's podcast episode Science and Faith handles this issue wonderfully, as per the norm with Tim Mackie.

There are loads of other places you could go, but these are great starting points that can lead you to other sources of information. They were very helpful for me.

u/Repentant_Revenant · 5 pointsr/TrueChristian

The Language of God by Francis Collins.. I went to a Christian college, and this book was actually my first required reading, before classes even began.

Francis Collins is one of today's leading scientists (he headed the Human Genome Project), and also a devout Christian.

u/jen4k2 · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Richard Dawkins is actually a very good writer and very challenging, but from a scientific point of view.

Christopher Hitchens is also very good, a very entertaining writer and speaker. He comes from a philosophical, historical and theological point of view.


Who you SHOULD be reading to counter their view is Hitchen's cancer doctor, Francis Collins. He wrote the book I'm reading on now, "The Language of God."


He's heard every scientific and philosophical argument against God, and writes about them here.

Collins is highly respected by the "New Atheists," and writes a really good book!

u/akwakeboarder · 5 pointsr/answers

I love what everyone is saying here.

Science and faith are entirely compatible. Science is studying how the world works. If you believe in a deity, then science is studying what that deity created.

For a Christian perspective on this, I recommend Francis Collin’s book The Language of God. Francis Collins is the director of the National Institutes of Health in the US and was (one of) the leading scientists on the human genome project.

u/vfdfnfgmfvsege · 5 pointsr/politics

This is a good graphic novel version of the bible. Good for people who don't actually want to read it.

u/redwoodser · 5 pointsr/philadelphia

Thanks. The article was written by Christopher Hitchens, the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. He was while alive one of my favorite people on the planet. His politics at the end were not as progressive as they had been for many decades, but his genius for taking down everything religious was imho, the best the world had ever seen in thousands of years. In fact I saw him in person at the Library, just down the street from the new Mormon buildings on Vine Street, not long before he died. I wept like a child when he was gone. My hero.

u/zeroJive · 5 pointsr/exchristian

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:


u/ScientismForNone · 5 pointsr/badphilosophy

I follow the words of the great Prophet Harris (Peace be upon Him). But I have great respect for followers of Dawkins, for they are people of the book.

u/Atheizm · 5 pointsr/atheism

I'm pretty sold on the Christ Myth theory. It was a pretty easy sale since I kind of strongly suspected that the Biblical Jesus Christ was the syncretic blend of Jewish messianic cults and a Greek mystery school demigod.

What pushed me firmly into the Christ Myth theory camp was reading Nailed by David Fitzgerald. Nailed takes the top apologetic claims of historical evidence of Jesus Christ and shows you what bullshit they and the apologists that use them are.

u/Gilgameshismist · 5 pointsr/atheism

Actually, there is absolutely no evidence that Jesus ever existed, even worse, there are more pointers that indicate that he most likely never existed at all.

Eg. the historian David Fitzgerald wrote a well researched book about this;

Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All

(btw this isn't anything new, historians who have claimed this before just have been ignored without addressing their claims)

link to the book:

u/hibbel · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

It's hard to disprove the existence of someone or something 2k years in the past.

However, I'm not sure why many atheists think he most likely existed. I have a number of assumptions, though.

  • Yea, so if there was a historical Jesus, that doesn't mean he was the son of god, so it's a question that's not relevant for my atheism. Why argue over it?

  • Someone must have started christianity, so likely it was some "christ" guy.

  • Lots of scholars seem to think there was a historical Jesus, so why doubt it?

    Personally, I like what David Fitzgerald had to say about this in "Nailed" but I can understand why even atheists go with one of the arguments above.
u/EvilTony · 5 pointsr/worldnews

This book Who Wrote the Bible is a really interesting take on the subject. As far as I can tell it's completely objective and doesn't attempt to address the validity of religion.

IIRC analyzing the book (the Old Testament specifically) like any other reveals at least 4 different "voices" that suggests at least 4 authors, and numerous contradictions. For example the 2 versions of Noah's flood that appear in the Bible are compared side-by-side and they're quite different, etc.

u/wingsup · 5 pointsr/exjw
You can find any of these books on Amazon.
Karen Armstrong A history of God.
I loved this book. "who wrote the bible, by Elliot Friedman
Spelling Edit

u/Joseph-Urbanek · 5 pointsr/Catholicism
u/chimchar66 · 5 pointsr/dankchristianmemes

[Misquoting Jesus]( Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart Ehrman is a great place to start. It's a great introduction to the field of studying the changes of the Bible throughout the centuries (I don't remember the concise Greek name). It's a fascinating read.

u/I_Skullfuck_Children · 5 pointsr/atheism

Oh don't act like you don't do it too! ;)

If you have a bit of trouble accepting the bible as mythology, I also recommend this video series. It's about one christian guy's deconversion process over a few years. It is quite good as it's from a christian perspective (it resonated with me for that reason).

Deconversion Series

And this book.

There really is a "click" in your brain at some point where you realize that the bible can't possibly be true and you feel really stupid for ever believing it... but then you realize that just because the bible is totally and utterly an idea gone mad, that there still might be "something" out there in this universe... and that's fine. I have no problem with deists, it's really the only honest theistic position.

u/tedivm · 5 pointsr/religion

Jesus Interrupted is a fantastic book that explores the actual history of the bible. It goes over how they've dated each book, how ideas have evolved over time, and what can or can't be considered accurate.

I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the bible as a historical document as well as anyone who wants to know how christianity has grown and evolved over time.

u/sanschag · 5 pointsr/biology

I think Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale is one of his best. It takes the traditional bacteria to human story of evolution and flips it on its head, escaping the sense of directed progress that so often occurs in evolutionary books. I would also second the suggestion for Shubin's Your Inner Fish.

u/freedagent · 5 pointsr/biology
u/kathmandu_to_you_too · 5 pointsr/biology

This isn't exactly what you're looking for (it has much more to do with pollination and fertilization than it does germination), but the hammer orchid has a structure that looks like a certain insect. The orchid has evolved a part (the labellum) to look uncannily similar to the female Thynnid wasp (at least to the males). When the male Thynnid wasp tries to copulate with the labellum, the orchid swings the two backward, smashing the wasp against pollen packets, which stick to it. The wasp then flies away and is tricked again by a second orchid. This time, however, the pollen from the first flower enters the stigma of the second and fertilizes it.

I'm just a high school student, so professionals out there please correct me if I'm wrong. I apologize profusely for any errors or misconceptions.

  1. Here is the Wikipedia page where I got most of my information.

  2. Here is a Youtube video demonstrating the orchid/wasp interaction and offering some more details.

  3. And here is a link to Richard Dawkins' book The Greatest Show on Earth which devotes a good amount of time to discussing how the hammer orchid evolved and is also a very good book about evolution itself.

    Hope this helps!

u/PoobahJeehooba · 5 pointsr/exjw

Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History available on iTunes podcasts as well.

Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of our Nature is a fantastic total annihilation of Watchtower’s constant fearmongering about how much violence there is in the world and how it’s only getting worse.

Basically anything by Richard Dawkins is evolutionary biology gold, highly recommend his book The Greatest Show on Earth

Neil deGrasse Tyson recently released a great book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry that gives so many mind-blowing facts about our universe in quick-to-read fashion. His podcast StarTalk Radio is fascinating and fun as well.

Bart D Ehrman is a fantastic biblical scholar, his book Forged examines the Gospel writers and why many are not who the religious believe them to be.

u/DeepBass2k5 · 5 pointsr/atheism

I would highly highly recommend "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. It was actually used as a text book for a capstone evolution course at my university it explains the basic and very complex ideas of evolution in a very simple manner.

u/tomrhod · 5 pointsr/RationalPsychonaut

The study of the origin of life is an ongoing process in the scientific community. A reddit comment is hardly the place to summarize an entire area of ongoing scientific study and research.

If you'd like to know more, wikipedia has a page on it which delves into the many competing and conjoining theories on the origin of life as we best understand it now.

There's also the Miller-Urey experiment concerning the so-called primordial soup specifically. That established the kind of conditions in which simpler organic compounds form more complex ones, and how that relates to early earth conditions. It's all really interesting to read about.

Also that's different than evolution. And if we're having an argument as to whether evolution is a real thing, I don't even know where to begin with that. The evidence for it, available from a wide variety of sources, is so voluminous that anyone wanting to seriously learn about the scientific study of the evolution of life can find an abundance of literature discussing evolution of creatures both small and large. Richard Dawkins discusses much of what that is in his book The Greatest Show on Earth.

If you'd like a source from a less controversial figure, Prof Jeffrey Coyne (an evolutionary geneticist at the University of Chicago) has a good book: Why Evolution is True.

u/tom-dickson · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

You can always pray - one of the most beautiful prayers in the Bible is "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

And anyone can go to Adoration and pray - here's a list of places.

All the intellectual argumentation can only get you so far; the real experience is personal, and prayer is the first step. You could study for years to prove your wife exists, but you won't love her until you talk with her.

u/KolaDesi · 5 pointsr/DebateReligion

> I'm happy to discuss, but's it's not a part of OP's topic or debate.

I knew, but since you appeared friendly and I can't comprehend how an atheist can convert to any religion, I thought to take the chance and ask.

> It was the combination of everything (science, logic, experience), which is what Bayesian logic requires.

Funny how science and logic (not experience, of course) brought me on the opposite side. What's up with Bayesian logic? I've never heard that argument.

> If you really want to know, watch the following testimony. His experience was a lot like mine, except his was much longer :

Not gonna lie, I watched only a half. It was interesting, but nothing suggested that he wasn't dreaming and fitting his dream into a specific narrative, helped by his upbringing. Afterall he was raised Catholic, then rejected religion (but still believed new age religions, astrology and other quackery) and then had a Christian experience? How odd...

I'm still hoping to hear an experience that can be replicated by a second, third, fourth, tenth person and can be consistent in its description. The idea of a loving god sounds awesome, but I still haven't find a good reason to believe it's true. Yet I always hope to find an experience (what better proof than evidence, no?) which can convince a skeptic.

I don't know if you've read my other comment under yours, but I'm quite accustomed to people experiencing divinities in their lives, and they all happen to experience the most relevant "person" of their religion. I've never commented them but one, and the girl was firm that her calculations (cherry picked and wrongly summed) made sense. They were calculations. It was practically a math problem to be solved. And yet she rounded these calculations to make God happen. Oh well.

> I recommend starting with this book if you are serious :

Judging by the comments, they appear the usual rational explanation given by western philosophy, such as the cosmological argument and so on. If that's so, have you read the counter arguments about them? What do you think about them?

u/MrPeligro · 5 pointsr/DebateAChristian

That's not much of an argument. A better source. Here's a book by a christian theologian that talks about the history of God. I still find it surprising she remains christian after this, but shes a theologian. Most theologians find evidence to contradict their beliefs but ignore it anyway.

Delusion for sure.

u/Shoeshine-Boy · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Personal research, mostly. I'm a big history nerd with a slant toward religion and other macabre subject matter. I'm actually not as well read as I'd like to be on these subjects, and I basically blend different sources into a knowledge smoothie and pour it out onto a page and see what works for me and what doesn't.

I'll list a few books I've read that I enjoyed. There are certainly more here and there, but these are the "big ones" I was citing when writing all the comments in this thread. I typically know more about Christianity than the other major faiths because of the culture around me.

Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years - Diarmaid MacCulloch

A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam - Karen Armstrong

The next two balance each other out quite well. Hardline anti-theism contrasted with "You know, maybe we can make this work".

The Case for God - Karen Armstrong

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

Lately, I have been reading the Stoics, which like Buddhism, I find to be one of the more personally palatable philosophies of mind I have come across, although I find rational contemplation a bit more accessible to my Westernized nature.

Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters - Translated by Moses Hadas

Discourses and Selected Writings (of Epictetus) - Translated by Robert Dobbin

The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius - Translated by George Long

I'm still waiting on Fed Ex to deliver this one:

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy - William B. Irvine

Also, if you're into history in general, a nice primer for what sorts of things to dive into when poking around history is this fun series on YouTube. I usually watch a video then spend a while reading more in depth about whatever subject is covered that week in order to fill the gaps. Plus, John and Hank are super awesome. The writing is superb and I think, most importantly, he presents an overall argument for why studying history is so important because of its relevance to current events.

Crash Course: World History - John Green

u/trolling2day1 · 5 pointsr/exchristian
u/Alif_Allah · 5 pointsr/bahai

Our immediate experience of the presence of God in our life, like when praying and reading scripture etc. gives us adequate rational grounds to believe in God.

When this belief is questioned, however, it can become doubted and in that case we need a defeator of that doubt. For such a situation, rational evidence for the existence of God can help us. The rational evidence should be rooted in the philosophy of nature and not natural science (in my opinion). This is important to note, since arguments based upon natural science can lead to god-of-the-gaps arguments which we should avoid at all costs since we are Bahá'ís and believe in the harmony of science and religion. We should therefore avoid arguments like the Intelligent Design Argument.

The Kalam Cosmological Argument is easy to understand and effective (though I have some reservations but still it's generally a good argument). You can understand this argument from here.

I would recommend you Five Proofs for the Existence of God by Edward Feser.

If someone demands scientific empirical evidence of God then try to make him/her understand that the demand commits us to scientism which is a self-refuting position. Rational evidence is good enough.

This video by Ian Kluge will be of help.

Here is William S. Hatcher's proof for the existence of God.

In this document Alvin Plantinga provides more than a dozen arguments for the existence of God.

There are many facets to this question and I can say a lot more about this if you require. There are many ways to know about the existence of God. If you still need help please feel free to PM me.

u/sweetcaviar · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

Ok, well it all depends what stage of the journey you are at. Since you have been an atheist, the first priority will be to convince yourself philosophically of what exactly God is, and that God exists. Probably the best concise reference for this would be Five Proofs of the Existence of God by Edward Feser (a professor of philosophy who was, in fact, an atheist himself, and is now a Catholic). Once you are in relative certainty about the existence of God, you need to know why the Christian theology represents a direct revelation of God to mankind. Obviously, the best record to attest to this fact is the Bible itself. I would really just recommend reading through the whole thing front to back if you haven't yet. If you get stuck in some of the Old Testament, flip over and start reading through the New Testament, and just make sure you cover all your bases there. Don't be afraid to come back with questions you might have about any scripture you read. Another good read might be an exposition on why we can trust the narrative on the resurrection of Jesus, where you might be interested in The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Gary Habermas, an evangelical Christian scholar. Once you're there, you'll be most of the way along your journey into the faith and you might still question why the Catholic Church is the "right" one. There are dozens and dozens of resources responding to various Protestant objections to the faith, but honestly the best thing you can do is probably Catholic radio and podcasts. And actually, if you listen to "Catholic Answers" podcast (just search it on YouTube, daily podcast that you can listen to on Catholic radio or on YouTube live 6-8PM EST daily), you'll get a variety of quality information that runs the gamut from classic philosophical proofs for God from Aristotelian arguments to details of objections to the historical office of the Papacy in the 16th century, and everything in between, and the guys who do the apologetics on there are really humorous sometimes.

So if you're really detail oriented and want to wade into some books, maybe start by taking a look at those. If you just want an enjoyable and easy way to broach all these topics at once, I'd suggest start looking at the "Catholic Answers" videos. You could even call in to the podcast and get your specific question answered on air!

Hope this helps!

u/Why_are_potatoes_ · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

Answering Atheism is great. For Aquinas I would add that Ed Feser's [Aquinas] (

u/jared_dembrun · 5 pointsr/Christianity

So I only saw one other guy give you apologetics material, and another person made the point that life is pointless if there is no God (which I agree is true).

But you're asking for intellectual material.

I would start with Dr. Edward Feser's Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide). It's $12 paperback on Amazon, $5 on kindle if you have a kindle-enabled device.

After this, if you find yourself convinced, I would go with The Last Superstition by the same man, for $15 paperback on Amazon or $12 on kindle.

Next, you can read excepts from the Summa Theologiae at your leisure for free on

If you're very intellectual, Ed Feser's book Scholastic Metaphysics can really get you into Thomism after you've done the above, or you can pick up some MacIntyre.

u/bag_mome · 5 pointsr/Catholicism

Feser does cover some natural theology if I recall correctly, but Torrell's book definitely deals a lot more with theology. Reading both Torrell's Saint Thomas Aquinas, Vol. 2: Spiritual Master and Feser's Aquinas wouldn't hurt though

u/moootPoint · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

In regards to understanding the psychological impetus driving the mythic themes/archetypes of the early Levant cultures I found the work of Joseph Campbell to be an excellent starting point.

The Oxford Annotated Bible is another book i've found useful for its addition of supplementary historical context.

u/10thPlanet · 5 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The Oxford Annotated Bible is the standard "scholarly" study Bible, I believe.

u/ThaneToblerone · 5 pointsr/Christianity

Given that English was still in its infancy during the life of Muhammad I don't think you'll be able to find an English translation from before Islam came around.

If you want to get at Scripture from a solidly academic perspective I'd advise you to pick up a New Oxford Annotated Bible. It has very good, scholarly footnotes and continues to be widely used throughout major seminaries and universities as the gold standard for scholastic study.

u/BoboBrizinski · 5 pointsr/Christianity

I dislike the ESV Study Bible - it obscures or dismisses the scholarly consensus on many books, which is academically dishonest.

I highly recommend the Access Bible. Its notes represent mainstream biblical scholarship. It uses the NRSV, which is a cousin of the ESV and is actually easier to read in my opinion (you can compare them on - the NRSV and the ESV are both revisions of the RSV.)

I would also recommend the New Oxford Annotated Bible.. It's a little more technical and meaty than the Access Bible. It also uses the NRSV. More importantly, its notes are excellent and represent mainstream biblical scholarship. It comes in an older edition (with shorter, more conservative notes) using the RSV (which is the basis for the ESV and very similar to it.)

Another study Bible I like is the Oxford Study Bible. This uses the REB (Revised English Bible) - this is a British translation that is not related to the RSV/NRSV/ESV family. It's a fresh, creative and easy to read translation that nicely complements the formal translations.

Finally, there is the Norton Critical Edition of the English Bible, KJV. It's very unique for a study Bible, because it focuses on how the KJV influenced English literature. Although the KJV is hard to read, the notes clarify some of the obscure English language.

So... I guess the lesson is that there are a lot of choices out there. But since you're a beginner, I'd highly recommend the Access Bible before you explore the other stuff.

u/doofgeek401 · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

That depends on what you are academically studying.

If you are studying the text, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) holds close to the original Greek New Testament.

The standard English translation used for academic study is the NRSV, in particular, the Oxford Annotated Bible and Harper Collins is widely used in major universities. It has the great advantage of being ecumenical, translated by people with a wide variety of theological viewpoints, rather than sectarian translations like the New World or NIV Bibles; and of being modern and thus based on a pretty up-to-date set of manuscript traditions, where the KJV (for example) suffers simply because the translators had less to go on.

Also, check out:

The Jewish Study Bible

Jewish Annotated New Testament

I would recommend, however, that if you want to academically study the Bible, you need a Greek New Testament and a Hebrew Old Testament, a Greek Lexicon and Grammar, a Hebrew Lexicon and Grammar, and several years of study.

subreddit posts on Bible versions/ translations:

List of essential commentaries for each book of the Hebrew Bible:

approachable resources for lay people on biblical scholarship and reading Recommendations for newbies:

u/TheMainEvant · 5 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Many academic institutions standardly use the the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha--containing scholarly annotations, introductions, and commentaries, it is an excellent option.

u/pedanticnerd · 5 pointsr/booksuggestions

The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha is the gold standard scholarly version of the book. It is widely read in non-religious universities as well as in seminaries and by interested autodidacts. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation was done by an editorial board including the world's foremost biblical scholars, and is widely considered the most accurate translation you can find without relying on being able to read Hebrew and Greek. The maps, notes, and annotations in this text are extensive and interesting.

American Evangelicals mostly reject the NRSV (and mainstream academic study of the bible in general), which is one reason why the older version of the translation (NIV) is the most common translation around. The really hardcore conservative Protestants rely on the KJV (or occasionally the NKJV), and consider even the NIV to be untrustworthy.

Also, if you are interested in the Jewish or Catholic versions of the bible, I can recommend some of those.

u/leaftrove · 4 pointsr/biology

Why Evolution is True -Great intro to evolution

The Blind Watchmaker- Dawkins' best introduction to evolution book. If it intrigues you have a look at his other works.

Definitely watch this. One of the best and most simple lecture series on Evolution. By none other than Dawkins himself. Very basic in presentation and entertaining series:
Growing up in the Universe

Why dont you take a university class on Evolution? Or just take a bio 101 class which is going to teach evolution briefly in 1-2 lectures.

I just stumbled upon this course. Which is a evolution course at Yale Open Courses that you might want to check out:

u/amertune · 4 pointsr/latterdaysaints

Good study bibles: The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible or The HarperCollins Study Bible.

Another good one for great insights into the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament): Jewish Study Bible

u/HarryHeine · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Our Bibles today are far better than the Bibles of Constantine.

You want one that has the Deuterocanon (or Apocrypha) in it. Like the original King James did. :)

This should be a fine choice for the Catholic 73 book version:

If you want some of the other Orthodox canons with >73 books you'll need to look for them more specifically.

u/GabeThomas22 · 4 pointsr/ChristianOccultism

The NOAB is the definitive bible for in depth study IMO.

u/iammenotu · 4 pointsr/atheism

If you are interested in an academic, albeit theologian's (IIRC), point of view on reasons for differences in the bible, such as the several different versions of the creation story in genesis, the several different versions of the flood and ark story, etc., the above book, "Who Wrote The Bible" by Richard Elliot Friedman, is an excellent layman's read. It is a bit dated, but is well researched and an interesting. It is not a Christian or apologist book per se, from my memory, but a book based on Mr. Friedman's doctoral dissertation at Harvard. It only covers the contradictions from the first 5 books of the bible (the Pentateuch), but still a worthwhile read in my opinion, and can be purchased for cheap on Amazon.

u/katsuhira_nightshade · 4 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Academic Biblical studies encompass a very broad range of subjects, but I'll try to cover a bunch here. In my opinion, though many people who frequent this subreddit may protest, the best overall introductory text to Higher Criticism of the O.T. would be R.E. Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?. Although Friedman holds a number of fringe views and the vanilla Documentary Hypothesis has overall fallen out of favor (though there has been a recent revival of it), this is definitely the best-written and most entertaining introduction to the basic theory (I read through the entire thing in about 3 days). If you're looking for more on DH after that, Joel Baden's book, The Composition of the Pentateuch, is much more scholarly and explains the logic behind source division using numerous test cases (providing both the original Hebrew and translation).

For literary studies, just start with Robert Alter. I'm not really sure if this falls under the category of "academia" or is what you were looking for, but it's certainly an interesting analysis of how the Bible (both as a whole and by source division) tells its stories.

The only book I've read on the foundation of the Bible in the mythology of surrounding cultures is Tim Callahan's The Secret Origins of the Bible, which wasn't written by a scholar, but the author sources just about everything he writes; think of it as a Wikipedia for Biblical mythology--not entirely trustworthy, but fine for reference and finding further information. This one's also the only book on this list that has information on the New Testament as well.

Finally, make sure to check AcademicBiblical's wiki! It has tons of resources including videos, articles, etc. that can help you out.

I don't really know of any good books for Hebrew language since I've just been studying it in school my entire life. If you do seem to find a good book/course though, make sure that it's in biblical Hebrew and not modern Hebrew, as a lot of the language is very different. Having studied Arabic myself though, I can tell you that it'll give a significant leg up in learning Biblical Hebrew. For example, the way that words are constructed by fitting 3 letter roots into certain formulations is the same in Hebrew, and the vocabulary of the two languages are often close cognates. Once you've learned Hebrew, it's much easier to pick up Aramaic (I know that as well), but if you're just learning it to read Daniel/Ezra, it's not worth learning the whole language; the grammar is practically the same and the words are also similar enough, so at that point it's easiest just to fake your way through it with knowledge of Hebrew and and good translation to check against (NJPS, NRSV).

u/samisbond · 4 pointsr/todayilearned

JasonMacker is correct, they were indeed monolateral polytheistic.^1 What Algenib is talking about is simply what some forms of modern Jewish interpretation cover, but he should have been more clear in his post, as many people seem to think this meaning exists within the text, which we know it cannot.^a


|^1 “Israelite Religion”, H. W. Attridge, ed., The HarperCollins Study Bible, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2006), pp. xliv-xlv


|^a I recommend HarperCollins Study Bible or The New Oxford Annotated Bible - both will go over the subject in great lengths - but any scholarly study Bible will do.

Further Readings:

Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman

"In the Beginning", A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/extispicy · 4 pointsr/Christianity

The documentary hypothesis is definitely alive and kicking! There will always be scuffles dating assigning specific passages, but that the OT has been heavily edited is not in question.

The go-to introductory book is Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible?, though I think his insistence of the dating of DP/PD is falling out of favor. The companion book "The Bible with Sources Revealed" has the text written in different fonts so it is easy to visualize. (Or you could try here.)

u/ComeHereOften7 · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I'm happy for you and will be praying for ya. I highly recommend checking out the book Mere Christianity by C.S Lewis. It gives a well thought out overview of the Christian faith.

u/YoungModern · 4 pointsr/exmormon

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart D. Ehrman -this is the place to start with New Testament history

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman

u/jesusonadinosaur · 4 pointsr/DebateAChristian

>The only thing that they've conceded to is that there is not enough significant proof that it happened for it to be considered a historical event, which is far different than saying that it did not happen, or claiming that there is proof that it did not happen.

No. This isn't remotely true. The consensus (due to the postitive evidence against, not just the complete and utter lack of evidence, even where evidence should be expected) is that it did not happen. Not just that there is no evidence.

"William Dever, an archaeologist normally associated with the more conservative end of Syro-Palestinian archaeology, has labeled the question of the historicity of Exodus “dead.” Israeli archaeologist Ze'ev Herzog provides the current consensus view on the historicity of the Exodus: “The Israelites never were in Egypt. They never came from abroad. This whole chain is broken. It is not a historical one. It is a later legendary reconstruction—made in the seventh century [BCE]—of a history that never happened.”[4]""

"The consensus among biblical scholars today is that there was never any exodus of the proportions described in the Bible,[14] and that the story is best seen as theology, a story illustrating how the God of Israel acted to save and strengthen his chosen people, and not as history.[5] "

There is a great book on the subject

u/ValiantTurtle · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I'm slowly working through NT Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God

u/tachometr · 4 pointsr/atheism

For anyone interested, there is a great talk from David Fitzgerald about the evidence of Jesus. And then there is a talk by Richard Carrier about the Jesus myth theory. Then there is also great deal of debates where Richard debates opponents of the myth theory. You can look and see, if their arguments seem valid. Lastly, Richard Carrier wrote a book which should be his complete case for the Jesus myth theory along with apologists arguments (didn't read it but I'm going to).

u/pleatedzombus · 4 pointsr/occult

His illustrated Book of Genesis is a real treasure.

u/dangling_participles · 4 pointsr/exmormon

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:

u/porscheguy19 · 4 pointsr/atheism

On science and evolution:

Genetics is where it's at. There is a ton of good fossil evidence, but genetics actually proves it on paper. Most books you can get through your local library (even by interlibrary loan) so you don't have to shell out for them just to read them.


The Making of the Fittest outlines many new forensic proofs of evolution. Fossil genes are an important aspect... they prove common ancestry. Did you know that humans have the gene for Vitamin C synthesis? (which would allow us to synthesize Vitamin C from our food instead of having to ingest it directly from fruit?) Many mammals have the same gene, but through a mutation, we lost the functionality, but it still hangs around.

Deep Ancestry proves the "out of Africa" hypothesis of human origins. It's no longer even a debate. MtDNA and Y-Chromosome DNA can be traced back directly to where our species began.

To give more rounded arguments, Hitchens can't be beat: God Is Not Great and The Portable Atheist (which is an overview of the best atheist writings in history, and one which I cannot recommend highly enough). Also, Dawkin's book The Greatest Show on Earth is a good overview of evolution.

General science: Stephen Hawking's books The Grand Design and A Briefer History of Time are excellent for laying the groundwork from Newtonian physics to Einstein's relativity through to the modern discovery of Quantum Mechanics.

Bertrand Russell and Thomas Paine are also excellent sources for philosophical, humanist, atheist thought; but they are included in the aforementioned Portable Atheist... but I have read much of their writings otherwise, and they are very good.

Also a subscription to a good peer-reviewed journal such as Nature is awesome, but can be expensive and very in depth.

Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate is also an excellent look at the human mind and genetics. To understand how the mind works, is almost your most important tool. If you know why people say the horrible things they do, you can see their words for what they are... you can see past what they say and see the mechanisms behind the words.

I've also been studying Zen for about a year. It's non-theistic and classed as "eastern philosophy". The Way of Zen kept me from losing my mind after deconverting and then struggling with the thought of a purposeless life and no future. I found it absolutely necessary to root out the remainder of the harmful indoctrination that still existed in my mind; and finally allowed me to see reality as it is instead of overlaying an ideology or worldview on everything.

Also, learn about the universe. Astronomy has been a useful tool for me. I can point my telescope at a galaxy that is more than 20 million light years away and say to someone, "See that galaxy? It took over 20 million years for the light from that galaxy to reach your eye." Creationists scoff at millions of years and say that it's a fantasy; but the universe provides real proof of "deep time" you can see with your own eyes.


I recommend books first, because they are the best way to learn, but there are also very good video series out there.

BestofScience has an amazing series on evolution.

AronRa's Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism is awesome.

Thunderfoot's Why do people laugh at creationists is good.

Atheistcoffee's Why I am no longer a creationist is also good.

Also check out TheraminTrees for more on the psychology of religion; Potholer54 on The Big Bang to Us Made Easy; and Evid3nc3's series on deconversion.

Also check out the Evolution Documentary Youtube Channel for some of the world's best documentary series on evolution and science.

I'm sure I've overlooked something here... but that's some stuff off the top of my head. If you have any questions about anything, or just need to talk, send me a message!

u/otakuman · 4 pointsr/atheism

You can't base your choices on whatever your boyfriend or brother tell you.

You need to start thinking for yourself. And by thinking, I mean going out and search for stuff. We can only give you pointers to what books we recommend to you.

I can point you to this essay:

If you prefer the expanded book, it's here: "Nailed: Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed at All"

After that you can go and read other atheist books, like Richard Dawkins' "God delusion" or Christopher Hitchens' "God is not great".

Then you can read whatever christian propaganda you're told.

u/TheFlyingBastard · 4 pointsr/europe

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

u/iadnm · 4 pointsr/ENLIGHTENEDCENTRISM

Christianity wasn't legalized until 313 C.E. and it didn't become the State Religion until 380 C.E. we can reasonably declare 380 C.E. as the beginning of the Catholic church. Before 313 Christians were persecuted throughout the empire. Also, did you even read the second link?

>The Short answer is no: Tacitus is not the only or main reason why modern historians (whether Atheist, Agnostic, or Christian) believe the historical Jesus existed. I am going to copy and paste my answer from a previous post and also suggest that if you want in depth answers into what evidence we have for the Historical Jesus to read one of these two books:
>Ehrman, Bart: Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth
>Crossan, John Dominic: The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant Ehrman is a very vocal Agnostic (borderline Atheist) and Crossan is a Christian, just to give you both sides of the coin. I recommend Ehrman because he's one of the most engaging historians on this topic, period.
>Why do historians overwhelmingly agree that Jesus was historically a real person?
>First, we need to address one key issue that most people don't understand, so people on both sides of this argument like to take certain things out of context. It needs to be known that we have practically no primary sources for many secondary (non-monarchs or major political figures) characters in antiquity. This is what the historical Jesus was (a secondary character in his day). If we simply say "we have no archeological evidence, so he doesn't exist" then we need to say that Aristotle and Socrates did not exist because, like Jesus' story, we are left with written accounts that have been repeatedly copied through various generations.
>Now when it comes to the historical Jesus (and what we know of him) well it's simple in a few ways. The first, is that although the gospels and other New Testament books were all written decades after Jesus died (however Paul started writing between 45-49 CE), they are independently attested. Yes, from a historical perspective (and personally for myself since I am agnostic) the miracles and resurrection are considered embellishments to help encourage early people convert to this new Jewish sect.
>What does this mean
>Now although much of this information cannot be relied upon for historical purposes, some of it can pass the test of historical plausibility. What do I mean by that? Well, every historian, when examining evidence, has a set of criteria they must use when comparing written accounts of any event. Part of doing this, is taking these four accounts, and cross examining with each other and seeing if any of the minor details (things that lack religious implications that would be less likely for people to make up) correspond to most or all of the documents. What you'll find is that many of these minor details correspond consistently in ways that you wouldn't expect-- this is something you almost never see with mythical figures.
>You'll also see that the early Gospel writers likely had to create explanations for certain things about Jesus because his name was likely somewhat known around the time of his death. I'll give a brief example:
>Two of the gospels deal with the birth of Jesus. Without going into too much detail, it's easy to make the argument that both Matthew and Luke did not get their information for this narrative from the same source. They are constantly at odds with each other over many specific areas of this story (example: in Matthew, Mary and Joseph already lived in bethlehem and then had to move to Egypt and then, years later, move to Nazareth. In Luke, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, traveled to Bethlehem for a theoretical tax registration, waited there for 32 days after Jesus was born, and then returned immediately to Nazareth).
>Most historians believe it is likely that both of them made up nearly all (if not all) of the parts to their stories because they were trying to fulfill the prophecies from the Old Testament. See, in the book of Micah, it was predicted that a savior would be born in the city of David (Bethlehem), so these writers wanted to make sure that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy. But wait, they had a real issue to deal with. It was probably well-known that Jesus was from some small town called Nazareth, thus he didn't fulfill that part of the prophecy. So, to deal with this, early gospel writers created these narratives to explain how this person from Nazareth could have still been from the city of David.
>If Jesus was a mythological figure that sprung up out of thin air, there would be no reason to say he was from Nazareth, they would have said he was from Bethlehem and just left it at that. This is what we typically see for made up figures. Keep in mind that this is one of dozens of examples where the writers did this to meet personal agendas of their time.
>What historians also find is that it is nearly impossible for a sect or cult to immediately spring up without a founding figure. After Jesus' death, the remaining followers were probably a group of people of about 20-30 people, and it expanded rather quickly -- probably hitting the hundreds within the decade after his death and by 50 CE, they had spread throughout the Roman Empire. Most scholars believe that the book of Mark, written between 65-70 CE, was actually written in the city of Rome for a local church there. This type of growth and expansion is, by historical standards, incredibly fast. The rapid rate of growth suggests, for historians, that a real figure of Jesus existed, had a few followers who immediately disbanded after his death. Yet, for those whom remained, they started preaching about his life and resurrection, which was likely very enticing for their day.
>I hope this gave you a glimpse into the answer for this. If you'd like more examples I can provide them.
>Addendum I wanted to add one more thing that I forgot to mention in my original post, and it's something that I find to be extremely important but is often overlooked. Tacitus is often identified as the first Roman to discuss or mention the historical Jesus or his followers which is actually not correct. The first mention of Christians actually comes several years earlier, around the year 112 CE (although I've read one scholar claim it was maybe even during the decade before that) by a Roman governor. Here's an excerpt from another Ehrman book on the topic:
>"The author, Pliny the Younger, was a governor of a Roman province. In a letter that he wrote to his emperor, Trajan, he indicates that there was a group of people called Christians who were meeting illegally; he wants to know how to handle the situation. These people, he tells the emperor, “worship Christ as a God.” That’s all he says about Jesus. It’s not much to go on if you want to know anything about the historical Jesus." -- Ehrman, Bart D Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) HarperCollins. (2009-02-20) pp. 149
>As Ehrman points out, it's not much to go off of, but it is important that we have multiply attested sources talking about the rapidly growing Christian base at this time.

u/Beaus-and-Eros · 4 pointsr/COMPLETEANARCHY

The theory about there being no direct historical figure behind Jesus is a pretty interesting one but is much more of a fringe idea in historical circles. If you're interested in reading up on it at all, here's a pretty good book on the subject

u/Morpheus01 · 4 pointsr/atheism

> we don't see science as the enemy, we may deny things that are not proven definitively (i.e. evolution,darwinism)

Are you sure that you are not denying things that you do not WANT to be proven definitively (ie. evolution, darwinism)? If evolution was proven as "definitively" as germs causing disease or the earth being round, would you then stop denying it?

All of modern biology (aka. science) is based on evolution, how is that not seeing science as an enemy, if you deny basic modern science?

These resources may help you understand what has been "definitively" proven:

Ken Miller on Human Evolution

Why Evolution is True: Jerry Coyne

u/tomtwopointoh · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Also, this book.

u/blue_roster_cult · 4 pointsr/DebateReligion

You should read N.T. Wright's Resurrection of the Son of God as it changed my mind about whether the resurrection could be established on historical grounds.

u/wsmith27 · 4 pointsr/Christianity

That's a good book, but I was talking about his scholarly work, The Resurrection of the Son of God. It's a 740 page dissection into it. It's on my to read list, but I haven't read it yet.

u/kvrdave · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Francis Collins has great stuff on molecular stuff. He was the head of the Human Gene Project under President Clinton back when we were still mapping it. The Language of God is a good one.

u/r0lav · 4 pointsr/Christianity

I suggest you take a look at these two AMAs from this past year:

u/MantisTobogan-MD · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

Five Proofs for the Existence of God is really good for the philosophical arguments in favor of God.

The Case for Jesus does an excellent job of proving the historical accuracy of the attributions of the Gospels and what they claim about Jesus Christ

u/Thomist · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Have you looked into (theistic) philosophy at all? That's where you will find the real intellectual firepower in terms of making the case for God's existence. A book like this for example.

u/throw0901a · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

The book "Aquinas" by Edward Feser:


    Note: they are based on Aristotle's thinking, so are not biblical or based on revelation. Purely logic. (And no, neither Hume nor Dawkins, refuted them.) A series of blog posts that summarize the book, but if you are intellectually serious in (re-)investigating the topic, but book is best (and only ~200 pages):


    It has (the potential) to get to a logical reason for an omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God. You'll have to look into the historicity of Jesus for Christianity specifically: perhaps try "The Resurrection of the Son of God" by N. T. Wright (anything by him really).

    For why Catholicism specifically in Christianity, try "The Fathers Know Best" by Jimmy Akin, who does a lot of Q&A on Radio:


    As to why not other religions: science. Most other world views deny one (or more) of the following tenants which precent knowing the natural world better:

  • The world is real and not an illusion (Hinduism, Buddhism).
  • The workings are the world are predictable, and not due to fickle reason deities. (paganism, Islam)
  • The world is understandable by humans because we have reason.
  • It is worth exploring the natural world. (Islam)

    For why (modern) science could have only developed in Europe, and not the Middle East / Muslim world or China, see "The Rise of Early Modern Science" by Toby E. Huff. For why India was handicapped, "Intellectual Curiosity and the Scientific Revolution" by Huff.

    I think these books have the potential to explain why one should go from atheism to deism, to Christianity, to Catholicism.
u/chase1635321 · 4 pointsr/askphilosophy

Possibly longer than you're looking for but here's Edward Feser's overview of Aquinas. (He's also one of the few modern people who would defend much of Aquinas's metaphysics)


There's also the Plato Stanford article on Aquinas here:


and a summary of On Being and Essense here:


Note that much of the jargon: essense, matter, form, final cause, formal cause, etc. are pulled from Aristotle's metaphysics. So if you haven't already, read up on that.

u/brtf4vre · 4 pointsr/Catholicism

If you are coming from an atheist background I think you should start with some more foundational material before checking out the Bible. The Catholic Church is the sole keeper of the complete truth that has been revealed by God to humanity.

However, like other truths, new conclusions can build upon previous knowledge. Just like modern mathematics has built upon Gauss and Newton and Pythagoras etc. If you did not understand geometry it would be difficult to understand calculus. If you just started reading about calculus but had no concept of finding the area of a rectangle you might not understand calculus or assume you are being expected to just accept calculus as true using "blind faith". In the same way, God has revealed to us that we should not murder people (10 commandments), and the Church was able to build upon that foundation the conclusion that abortion is a sin since it is ultimately the killing of an innocent human (murder). If however, you just read somewhere that the Church opposes abortion but had no knowledge of the 10 commandments you might not understand why that conclusion was made and instead assume it is just some arbitrary religious teaching.

The foundation you need to first establish is that God exists, and this can be known (in the same way you can know 1+1=2) through reason. Even Aristotle was able to know this. The most famous proofs of this are St Thomas Aquinas' "5 ways". There are many resources including books and good YouTube videos exploring this topic, I would recommend Answering Atheism as a good start, or if you want to try a college level, more rigorous book, check out Aquinas for Beginners. Check out this quick 17 minute video for a great start.

So that is where I think you should start, and after you convince yourself that atheism is false you should come back here to learn why the Catholic church is God's true church.

To address a few other things. First, the Bible is not a book in the commonly used sense of that word today. The Bible is actually a collection of books written across a wide time range in different genres. So a more accurate question would be: "do I have to take the library 100% literally? The answer is of course no. That does not mean the Bible is not 100% true, it just means that the truth is not 100% conveyed directly via literal interpretation. Some evidence would be this quote from Jesus "If any man come to Me and hate not his father and mother...he cannot be My disciple" which seems to be in direct contradiction with the 4th Commandment "Honor thy father and mother". So if the Bible is 100% true, and things that are true cannot lead to contradictions, then at least one of the quotes must have some other meaning than the literal text. So how do we know what is the case here? That is what we have the Catholic Church for, so again when after you convince yourself God exists you should come back here to understand why you should trust the Catholic Church to interpret these questions and more.

If you are specifically concerned that becoming Catholic means you have to literally believe the universe was created in 6 days I can assure you the short answer is no, you do not need to believe this.

1 more thing Ill add it about the word "faith". A common atheist position is that religions are based on blind faith with no evidence. This is not the Catholic definition of the word. Faith is not about making true/false claims. Evidence is REQUIRED for True/False claims. Now not ALL evidence is in the form of scientific experimentation, but that does not mean the Church requires you to just hold certain things as true on "faith alone" with no evidence. Instead, think of the word confidence. The latin roots are "con" "fide" which means "with faith". So faith has more to do with confidence or trust than true/false certainty. An example might be that we use reason and logic as evidence to know God exists, or historical testimony as evidence Jesus rose from the dead. Then, knowing these things as true, we have faith that the teaching God has revealed are true and in our best interest in things we should do. There is no way to proof scientifically whether or not we should steal something, and if we are even in a situation where we are tempted into doing that we may think that we should do it because we really want to or don't think we will get caught or whatever. Faith means trusting in God's recommendation to not steal things even if we think it would be a good idea or seemingly justify it to ourselves.

u/UncleRoger · 4 pointsr/atheism

Buy her a copy of The Greatest Show on Earth.

u/qarano · 4 pointsr/exjw

"The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. It is a very easy to follow book about evolution, how it works, and why we know it's fact.

u/MagnusEsDomine · 4 pointsr/Christianity

Save your $20 and buy this book instead. Let us know what you think after you've read it!

u/tldr · 4 pointsr/atheism

Definitely Bart Ehrman. "Misquoting Jesus" is his most popular work:

u/Dr-Z0idberg · 4 pointsr/atheism

You sound like you want to be agnostic/atheist but your afraid of having the title associated with yourself out of fear of judgement.

Nothing you have said makes any sense if you are a real believer. Why cherry pick the Bible like that while claiming it is still divine? It makes no rational sense whatsoever.

I challenge you to read Jesus Interrupted by Bart D. Ehrman to learn a little bit of the true history of the Bible and Jesus and see if you still have the same view afterwards.

u/ibanezerscrooge · 4 pointsr/Christianity

>methodically state the case for why creation is most likely and/or why evolution is unlikely.

You will find lots and lots of the latter. Very little of the former.

>I'd also be happy to read GOOD anti-creation books as well, provided they meet the above criterion of not being mocking.

Those would just be science books based on the academic literature, wouldn't they?

Here is my reading list form the past few months. These would be pro-evolution (a.k.a science). Creationism is mentioned in a few of them, but almost in passing because Creationism is simply not a factor in legitimate scientific research, so it gets pretty much no consideration.

Knock yourself out. ;)

  • Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin - Also, watch the three part series that aired on PBS hosted by Neil Shubin.

  • Endless Forms Most Beautiful by Sean B. Carroll - An in depth look into developmental evolution.

  • The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets, and People by Neil Shubin

  • The Link by Colin Tudge and Josh Young

  • Before the Dawn by Nicholas Wade

  • Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA by Daniel J. Fairbanks - This and the other Fairbanks book listed below are the only books on this list with the intent to refute what creationists contend. He does this not by presenting the creationist argument and then trying to refute. He does it by simply presenting the evidence that science has born out regarding human evolution and genetics.

  • The Story of Earth by Robert Hazen - this is a cool book about the history of the Earth and life and how geology and biology worked in tandem with other factors to produce life from the point of view of a protein biologist.

  • Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth by Richard Fortey - Good general overview of evolutionary and geologic history.

  • The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity by Edwin Douglas - This is the most academic book in this list and, as such, is the most difficult to read. It is a concise look at what we know about the Cambrian Explosion from the scientific literature.

  • Life's Ratchet by Peter Hoffmann - Very good book about how the chaos wrought inside cells by thermal motion at the molecular level leads to the ordered functioning of the machinery of life.

  • What is Life? How Chemistry Becomes Biology by Addy Pross - Super interesting take on the question, "What is Life?" He comes to a very interesting conclusion which might have implications for abiogenesis research.

  • The Machinery of Life by David S. Goodsell - A neat little book that gets you acquainted with what it's really like inside of cells. A good companion book to read with Life's Ratchet as they highlight different aspects of the same topic.

  • Evolving by Daniel J. Fairbanks

  • Neanderthal Man: In Search of Lost Genomes by Svante Paabo - Very interesting book about the drama, blood, sweat and tears, Dr. Paabo shed to develop the techniques to sequence ancient DNA. You simply won't find books like this and Your Inner Fish above amongst Creationist literature because they simply don't do what these scientists do out in the field and in the lab.
u/NapAfternoon · 4 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

Yup, pretty much.

If you are interested in learning more about this then I recommend two books:

  1. Ancestor's Tale

  2. Your Inner Fish
u/imjustanape · 4 pointsr/Anthropology

That is exactly what I am interested in doing! So since I have spent quite a lot of time thinking about this I believe I can help. As for what to read: I started with Your Inner Fish because it brings human evolution back to when we first got out of the water and explains very, very early brain evolution and development of the brain in utero. Also an easy read. Next I have been tackling "Evolution of the Human Brain" by Lieberman (can't find an amazon link for it, sorry). I'll admit it is not an easy read and it is not impeccably edited but I believe all the facts are there and it is very comprehensive. You can learn a lot from this book. I will also suggest The Brain. Now, I can't speak to the quality of this one because it has just come out, but the guys who wrote it are incredibly smart and I expect nothing but great material from them.

As for schools: you must know now that it really all depends on the person you want to work with. They could be anywhere in the world. I mentioned before, this is my thing, so I can tell you that the schools I have interest in because they have one or more people researching this area are: UC San Diego, George Washington U, possibly NYU if you can tie it into neuroscience and work with the medical center, then there are people abroad as well if that's something you would consider.

Hope that helps.

edit: the book is called "Evolution of the Human Head" not Brain.

u/totalown · 4 pointsr/exchristian

I Recommend Your Inner Fish

u/thatgui · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've heard Your inner fish is good. They did a the part show on the book for PBS. I've only seen the first part so far, but it was really good. I don't remember any mention of religion although it's possible I missed it. You could watch it together.

Edit : [Here] ( is a link to the show.

Edit 2 : [The book.] (

Edit 3 : I also highly recommend DHW as illusive atheist mentioned. Great book for the pros of science and skepticism.

u/penguinland · 4 pointsr/atheism

The bible is a collection of mostly-mythology, written by several different cultures over centuries. It has its roots in Chaldean mythology, and developed from there. From the best archaeological evidence we have right now, the following never happened: the garden of eden, cain and abel, the tower of Babel, Noah's flood, Abraham/Isaac/Jacob, Joseph and his coat, the Israelites being enslaved in Egypt, Moses and the exodus, the conquest of Canaan by Joshua.

David might have been a real person, but the stories about him are more legend than fact (he was a minor chieftan at best). Similarly, Solomon might have been a real person with stories made up about him. It's plausible that Jesus was a real person, but the vast majority of the stories about him are fictitious. As far as we can tell, there is no evidence for any of the miracles described in the bible. It's very likely that Paul was a real person who wrote letters to real churches discussing the issues of the day.

For more information, I encourage you to go to your local university and talk to the archaeology department, or read A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/Zamboniman · 4 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

There have been purported holy books written since probably ten minutes after writing was invented for the first time.

We know that many of the myths in the bible were copied from earlier myths. We know that many of the parts of the bible are the same story rewritten by different people.

There are many excellent sources of study in how the bible came about. You may be interested in beginning with something like Karen Armstrong or Google the various wonderful books on the subject.

The current original version of the bible, not accounting for various translations and changes in interpretation and by subsequent councils and dictatoral decree for various political reasons, was crafted during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD where various decisions were made by voting about what content to put in, ignore, avoid, etc.

u/Chiparoo · 4 pointsr/TrueAtheism

A History of God, by Karen Armstrong

It's a history of how the concept of a single deity came to be, and how Christianity and Islam came to branch off Judaism.

Note: this isn't an "atheist" book per se, but an academic one revealing some great facts about the evolution of religion.

u/Jim-Jones · 4 pointsr/atheism

I recommend this: [The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb] (

Pisses off Christians no end.

> I have not purchased this book, but have read the first chapter online. As a Jew, I am personally affronted by picturing God as an old man with the flowing beard and robes. God is noncorporeal and God's name ineffable, and the Ten Commandments warns us against any kind of god-imagery, which can lead to idolatry.


> The nudity in this book, though probably true, is objectionable, and unnecessary. Not recommended. I would not keep it in my library -- not wanting to sell it, it went to the dumpster.

u/Roller_ball · 4 pointsr/WTF

The artist in the second picture, Crumb, came out with an illustrated bible. It's actually pretty good.

u/Shareandcare · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

I've never heard of this book, and I cannot find any other references to the Author 'Filius Venus' which throws up some red flags.

The Native American approach makes me think Mormons, but it could always be something more open in interpretation.

A History of God By Karen Armstrong is reputedly very solid, so whatever claims this book makes should have to line up with her account. Otherwise something strange may be going on.

u/exackerly · 3 pointsr/europe

Interestingly, the most radically orthodox versions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are all fairly recent developments, dating back to about the 18th century. Karen Armstrong's A History of God is especially good on this.

u/EntropyFighter · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

This is from "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong (pp. 20-21 in the paperback version).

> The Israelites called Yahweh "the God of our fathers," yet it seems that he may have been quite a different deity from El, the Canaanite High God worshiped by the patriarchs. He may have been the god of other people before he became the God of Israel. In all his early appearances to Moses, Yahweh insists repeatedly and at some length that he is indeed the God of Abraham, even though he had originally been called El Shaddai. This insistence may preserve the distant echoes of a very early debate about the identity of the God of Moses. It has been suggested that Yahweh was originally a warrior god, a god of volcanoes, a god worshiped in Midian, in what is now Jordan.^17 We shall never know where the Israelites discovered Yahweh, if indeed he was a completely new deity. Again this would be a very important question for us today, but it was not so crucial for the biblical writers. In pagan antiquity, gods were often merged and amalgamated, or the gods of one locality accepted as identical with the god of another people. All we can be sure of is that, whatever his provenance, the events of the Exodus made Yahweh the definitive God of Israel and that Moses was able to convince the Israelites that he really was the one and the same El, the God beloved by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

^17 - L.E. Bihu, "Midianite Elements in Hebrew Religion," Jewish Theological Studies, 31; Salo Wittermeyer Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 10 vols., 2nd ed. (New York, 1952-19667), I. p. 46.

It's also worth noting that Yahweh originally was a mid-level deity in a Canaanite religion (as also detailed in the Karen Armstrong book and the book "The Evolution of God".) Baal was another mid-level god in this religion, which helps to explain why he's in the Bible. There are poems to El (the high god in the Canaanite religion) that have been found rewritten to be for Yahweh. In a literal sense, gods were transmuting and evolving in this time. This makes the answer to your question likely 'no'. But I'm extrapolating from the referenced sources. It's more like they didn't think about gods the way your question asks about them.

u/Trinition · 3 pointsr/atheism

History of God by Karen Armstrong

u/YankeeRose · 3 pointsr/atheism

Ugh. If you want to get her something she might actually read, consider "A History of God" by Karen Armstrong.

u/ignignokt2D · 3 pointsr/exchristian

Apologies for being vague. It was an interview I heard years ago, and I couldn't recall the details. I managed to find it again. It's The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb.

u/cypressgreen · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb I bought it for my son, although I admit he's only skimmed it. My son is 14 and a self described atheist, while is dad is a hypocritical christian. A christian couldn't really object much to the book, as it's just the whole book of Genesis with nothing added.

u/deakannoying · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

Also Did Jesus Exist?

These are scholarly books, not emotional conjecture.

u/TheOvy · 3 pointsr/askphilosophy

I'm an atheist. Jesus nonetheless probably existed, as is the historical consensus. In their field, it's analogous to denying climate change - you can do it, but everyone would be right to ignore you, and your conspiracy theories will always pale in comparison to the actual methodology of historians. If you sincerely want to learn more about how we know that Jesus likely existed, try Bart Ehrman's book:

u/Ancient_Dude · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

You would probably enjoy Did Jesus Exist? by Bart D. Ehrman.

Ehrman is a well regarded main stream expert in academic Biblical studies. He writes well and alternates between publishing articles in academic journals and publishing popular books. He has written and edited 30 books, including three college textbooks. He also authored six New York Times bestsellers. He is currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Bart Ehrman had a Christian religious conversion experience while in high school. He attended a bible college after high school then went on to University to study Christianity academically. Along the way he lost his faith because he could not square the existence of a loving God with the existence of pain in the world. He describes himself as "an agnostic with strong leanings towards atheism" but most of his family, friends and colleagues are Christian.

Modern writing on this subject began with The Quest of the Historical Jesus by Albert Schweiker in 1906. Most books about the historical Jesus usually end up concluding that (surprise!) the historical Jesus matches each author's preconception of who Jesus was.

u/larkasaur · 3 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth gives a pretty good summary of why there is such a strong consensus that Jesus existed, among the historians who study that time.

They don't throw out the New Testament as evidence, just because it was written by Christians and has miracle accounts. Historians often make use of evidence that can't be taken literally.

There's also a lot to be said about the implausibilty of the claim that Jesus didn't exist - because in that case you have a theory that a Jesus myth was created without a basis in a historical Jesus, and historians can evaluate whether that theory works. Bart Ehrman goes over that, too.

u/mavnorman · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Why evolution is true by Jerry Coyne is concise, and keeps the bashing of creationists to a minimum, if I recall correctly.

u/kangareagle · 3 pointsr/askscience

I'm late to see your comment, but you may find this interesting:

Coral produces annual rings and daily rings. If you add up the number of daily rings between annual rings, then you can figure out how many days were in that year.

Radioisotope dating showed that some fossilized coral that had been found was about 380 million years old.

Now, 380 million years ago, days were shorter, about 22 hours long. So there were more of them in a year.

To find out whether the day really was 22 hours long when the coral lived, they just counted the rings (or made a grad student do it).

Turns out that there were 400 daily rings between each annual ring, which correlates to 21.9 hours a day.

21.9 is close enough to 22 to feel pretty good about it. A great example of different parts of science coming together to verify each other.

Source: Why Evolution is True, by Jerry Coyne

u/chingychongchangwang · 3 pointsr/evolution

Definitely check out these books. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne

It’s may not go as deep as some others but it’s an easy read book that keeps you engaged and is totally worth your time. I love this book so much because it’s very approachable for anyone. It’s filled with easy to understand examples, and I find that it’s a great refresher for myself every now and then. It’s also a great book to give or recommend to others who may not know much about the subject.

As others have mentioned, Darwin’s book is more of a piece of history than anything else. It was absolutely groundbreaking at the time but we know so much more now. Plus, the way it was written definitely shows it’s age and makes it a kind of a hard read.

u/PiercedEars2KeepWife · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Natural selection is not defined as "survival of the fittest," that's just a colloquialism to help people understand the basic idea. The basic idea is that there is some process by which organisms who are more fit than others will reproduce more often, outcompeting those who are less fit. Natural selection is simply the mechanism that takes genetic mutation and environmental conditions and outputs organisms that succeed. It also outputs organisms that don't, hence the idea of 'out competing.'

I'm on mobile, so here's an ugly link to a good definition and high level overview:

The phrase "survival of the fittest" reduces the idea down by trimming away the details to make a nice, intuitive catch phrase. However, that loss of information does lead people to misunderstand what natural selection really is.

As for your link, I'll respond with one of my own, if you're interested. I'm not an expert and don't keep the details of evolution handy. The book "Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne goes into great detail about why the Theory of Evolution does make predictions and that those predictions are testable and verifiable. That will suffice as my rebuttal to Dr. Henry Peters' forced "tautology." After all, wouldn't you rather hear it from an expert than some internet stranger?

There are plenty of other books like Dr. Coyne's that would do just as well, however. I was able to check out his book for free at my local library, but here is the Amazon link ($14), so you have the details:

u/Miragoat · 3 pointsr/atheism

I want to jump in and say that there's (imo) a great book written on the evolution of the three Abrahamic religions, and it's not written with the tone of a religious person. Here's the Amazon page.

u/darksmiles22 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus, Karen Armstrong's A History of God abbreviated in part of Evid3nc3's youtube deconversion series though with a few unfounded theological assumptions according to this guy, and Wikipedia articles on the documentary hypothesis and historical Jesus are all good.

P.S. It looks like I am late to the Ehrman and Armstrong parade :(

u/blairop · 3 pointsr/history

Check out Karen Armstrong's books on the subject. Very scholastic yet still original and interesting.

"A History of God" and "Fields of Blood" are great introductions that still get in depth into the subject matter.

Found them to be very good.

u/troutb3 · 3 pointsr/atheism

3.3.3 Atheism: A History of God (Part 1) by Evid3nc3. Very good video. Much of the subject matter is from A History of God by Karen Armstrong.

u/hedgeson119 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Check out the Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism.

Check out a copy of the books The Greatest Show on Earth or Why Evolution is True from a library. You can also get one of them for free on Audible, but you will miss out on the citations and diagrams.

See if you can watch or read The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking. I watched the miniseries, it's pretty good. It used to be on Netflix but no longer is.

Cosmos is great, and is on Netflix. If you want to watch videos about Cosmology just type in one of the popular physicist's names, Brian Greene, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Lawrence Krauss (his Universe from Nothing book is really great, so are his lectures about it), Sean Carroll etc.

Let me know if you want to talk, I'm always up for it.

u/mersch · 3 pointsr/atheism

I thought this book did a great job of listing big, high-level evidence for evolution.

u/The_Mighty_Atom · 3 pointsr/exchristian

I would echo the other commenters' advice about keeping your sanity and surviving the next few years.

My addition to this discussion is book recommendations. If you want to learn more about evolution, check out the books Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne, The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins, and Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin.

Reading these books will pretty much inoculate you against creationist bullshit (pardon the vaccination pun), and give you a great foundation in understanding one of the most basic facts of science --- evolution.

We all wish you the best as you navigate these difficult years. Please use this sub as much as you need! :)

u/roontish12 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Origin can seem pretty dated and tough to understand for people today. There are much better books out there which are much more up to date, and easier to understand.

Your Inner Fish

Why Evolution Is True

The Greatest Show On Earth

u/Loknik · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> They should make an annotated Bible that includes the genre and writing style you're reading in, and how it should be interpreted.

It exists!

u/i_make_song · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The Bible is a collection of small works written by many people from a select variety of cultures over a period spanning many (many, many, many) years. Each separate work was frequently changed intentionally and unintentionally (in insignificant and significant ways), and as I understand it we actually don't have any of the original manuscripts. There is a ton of physical evidence for the frequent changes to various manuscripts because we have so many copies. The Biblical manuscript page of Wikipedia does a much better job of explaining this.

So even if we had perfect translations of the existing bajillion manuscripts (we don't) it wouldn't matter because they aren't the original manuscripts. I don't think it's very likely that they had any sort of otherworldly knowledge on them, but hey anything is possible right? It's just not very likely. I think a better exercise when debating is pointing out clearly immoral passages that cannot be interpreted in multiple ways (try 2 Kings 2:23).

Any serious historians (including Christian historians) do not believe we have an inerrant Bible. Although that sure seems to be the rhetoric coming from the religious right.

Some translations are also much more academically rigorous than others. Rupurt Murdoch literally owns the NIV translation and the NIV translation is overseen by only 15 people. You can interpret that however you would like.

I personally recommend the The New Oxford Annotated Bible. I have it in Kindle format (basically a DRM protected PDF) as it's a fantastic translation. As I understand it is the translation most often used by biblical scholars.

The Bible is actually fairly complicated compilation of writings with all of the different sources and languages that are complied together, but it's a fairly interesting story.

I'm by no means an expert on this stuff, but I've tried my best to be as accurate as possible. Someone let me know if I've slipped up somewhere.

Honestly, the topic is extremely deep, and my interest in the bible has become almost nonexistent over the past few years.

I've debated with countless "the Bible is the inerrant word of God" people with pretty solid evidence and points and it all seems to be that these people use circular logic. I'm not saying they're unintelligent (they're actually quite intelligent) they seem to be clinging on to an improbable belief or in some sort of delusion/denial state.

I think a better question is who decided these people literally talked to "god", and how did they determine what was canonical? Why couldn't I just write a new chapter of the Bible today?

Sorry if my rambling is incoherent.

u/Xoipos · 3 pointsr/nederlands

Zeker amusant. Vooral omdat deze persoon de king james bijbel gebruikt, waarvan bekend is dat deze grove fouten bevat. De NRSV is tegenwoordig de beste vertaling gebaseerd op nieuwere vondsten zoals de codex vaticanus en de codex sinaiticus. Dit en andere verschillen wordt zeer duidelijk in de Oxford Annotated Bible uitgelegd. Mocht je een Nederlandse editie willen, zou ik de Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling aanraden.

Om nog maar niet te beginnen over dat wat niet met feiten onderbouwd kan worden...

u/Mstp1982 · 3 pointsr/exjw

For accuracy online, there is the NRSV - For a physical copy, The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version This one is used in college courses.

u/SabaziosZagreus · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

For the Hebrew Bible, read the NJPS (New Jewish Publication Society) Tanakh (available online for free here). If you want a Jewish point of view accompanying, get the Jewish Study Bible featuring the (New) Jewish Publication Society Tanakh. Do not read the original (1917) JPS Tanakh (it is very outdated and was really a revision of a non-Jewish translation). Also do not read the Complete Jewish Bible or the Orthodox Jewish Bible as these are actually both Christian translations pandering to Jews.

For Christianity, read the NRSV. If you'd like commentary, there's always the NOAB with the NRSV.

For the Qur'an, my Muslim friends default to the Yusuf Ali version. It's a little old and dated though. A friend and I used the version by M.A.S. Abdel Haleem. It's easier to read, but he sometimes goes for the figurative meaning over the literal translation. It's also a little stylistically different than some older translations (not a good or bad thing, just saying). I think it's gaining some popularity among some circles.

u/skinny_reminder · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I think for your purposes the New Oxford Annotated Bible would be a good selection. It includes the apocrypha and gives a little background on the history and circumstances each chapter was written. That really helped me understand what I was reading by placing it in historical context. This bible is widely used by scholars and people studying the bible.

u/gamegyro56 · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Definitely NRSV. You might want a Study Bible, which has annotations that explain most passages, as well as intros that explain each book/group of books. I'd go with the New Oxford Annotated Bible or the HarperCollins Study Bible (the non-Student one has a concordance, but you have to get it through one of those Amazon third parties).

u/Rockfiend · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Thanks for the recommendation! I have thought about that but it seems too biased to me (even though it's biased in my favor). The bible I have is academic and it seems to be unbiased for the most part. I love it--it has great intros and footnotes and the translation itself seems reliable.

u/christiankool · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

>See the issue with that is that if you believe the Bible is supposed to be "God's word" then why did God let it become so misinterpreted?

The Bible is not God's Word, Jesus is ( John 1 for an example). The Bible is a library/collections of different types of literature (i.e. poems, myths, histories, fictional accounts [ex. Jonah], letters, apocalyptic texts, etc.

So, why do Christians revere the texts found within and how did the texts get chosen anyway? Well, that's a long story do we're going to have to go general.

The Old Testament books were chosen on what Judaism was using around 1 CE, the Septuagint (Greek). In fact, it's thought the Jewish canon was chosen in reaction to Christianity and only had what is known as the Hebrew Bible. For some reason, Protestants kicked the extra texts found in the Septuagint to a different location in the bible and called it "Apocrypha". It was still on there until "recently" when they wanted to save printing costs. For instance, Lutherans, Anglicans, etc. still have readings from the Deutrocannon.

The New Testament is different. In the West, there was no "set canon" until the Reformation and Council of Trent. In fact, Luther wanted to kick out James (because he thought it was contrary to "faith alone) and Revelation. Though he kept Revelation because he could use it against Rome.

The New Testament canon was formed before they were set, however. (I believe the earliest canon was Marcion and then the earliest that resembles the current one was Augustine?) The letters of Paul were being circulated throughout the area. The Gospels were written as "remembered history" as well as interpreting Jesus through the Septuagint. With this in mind, the church chose the texts based on the author of the text (Apostles), how common they were found throughout all the churches, how "catholic"/"orthodox" they were, etc. And the Church is thought to have been guided by the Spirit in these matters.

Now the nature of scripture is that it's both human and divine. Humans wrote the scriptures in historical contexts by certain literary means. So, of course you're going to get contradictions on the surface level of reading. There's 4 different gospels telling the story of Jesus in at least 4 different ways! (But that's why you have to know they're written as "remembered history" and interpretations.) That doesn't diminish the "authorship"/inspiration of God. That is only found in the proper context: liturgy and prayer. As Robert Sokolowski wrote:

>The role of the church as the speaker of the scriptures is brought out when she presents the scriptures as the word of God, but this role is even more vividly performed when the church reads the biblical passages in her liturgy and when she incorporates parts of the scriptures in her teachings and prayers and makes it possible for us to think and to pray in the same manner. We take fragments from the scriptures and compose our prayers and thoughts from them. The church’s use of scripture in her teaching and actions makes possible for us a way of life that is coherent because reconciled with God. It is in such situations of prayerful reading, whether in the church’s liturgy and teaching or in the private prayer of believers, that the scriptures most fully come to life. It is there that they serve, not as an object of our curiosity, but as the words through which God speaks to us and we to God. At this point the primary author of the scriptures, God himself, comes to the fore and acts as author, as the one who authorizes and speaks. At this point the human authors, who have finished their work, recede into the background. - Phenomenologies of Scripture (God's Word and Human Speech)

I don't agree with him on everything (I take a more Eastern view of Holy Tradition), but it's a start.

>The lake of fire.... English King James Version... but there are other reference through the Bible to the furnace and such.

Firstly, the KJV is outdated on scholarship. If you want a universally accepted translation, used in both Secular and Religious schools, I'd suggest the NRSV. I'd also suggest getting a New Oxford Study Annotated Bible or HarperCollins Study Bible. Just get away from the KJV.

I'm pretty sure I covered the gauntlet with my previous post. I didn't realize you wanted me to go super specific. But, just in case, Jesus speaks in parables a lot.

>I don't really know what you're asking by rejecting God and rejecting idea of God, sounds like one and the same if you're only talking about abrahamic religion.

I'll provide an analogy to point you in the right direction. It is not meant as a literal 1-to-1 comparison. Say that I met your mother. I noticed she was yelling at the cashier at the grocery store. She tried stealing a lighter while the cashier was grabbing her cigarettes. He noticed that. She kept denying it and denying until she left cursing out the cashier.

To you, your mom doesn't even smoke and is as calm as Snoop with a doobie. Why would she ever be so mean?

We meet up and start talking about your mom. You bring up how wonderful she is and I start to get freaked out. I say, "That is not your mom. Your mom is rude. You must be talking about another lady. Because if that's the case, then your mom doesn't exist or was replaced." I'm not actually denying that your mom exists, only your idea of mom.

>As for getting to hell God sends you there, I was raised Baptist and the interpretation I was taught was about believing in Jesus, if you believed in Jesus you went to heaven and if not you go to hell.

I grew up an Evangelical (Assemblies of God) where Genesis was to be taken literally. I remember in 9th grade (!) trying to argue with the science teacher about evolution (God, thinking back I cringe hard). Then I learned Genesis 1 is written as a poem and that Genesis 2 is not a scientific creation account, rather it's a mythic story outlining our relationship with God, the earth, and everything else. What I'm saying is, once you learn something new it will be incorporated into your "worldview" and you'll need to react.

A different example with a similar point: as a child I was taught that the USA Revolution happened because of the Tea Tax being too high. "The taxes are too damn high!" They said and fought off the Brits. Then, as I got older I learned that there was way more to it than I knew. Was I initially wrong? Well, no... But there was more to the story than I thought.

>But the fun part is that our interpretations don't really matter anyway...

Literally everything is interpretation or at least affected by your biases and such. We've moved past positivism.

I'm going to skip over the hell bits because I'm obviously not your target audience. Everything your saying, I don't accept. Read the last post again and talk to me on my view, not this strawman you've created. Christianity is not monolithic. There are certain things that must be agreed upon (like the early church councils and creeds - whether or not you "accept" them, all Christians articulate their views) to be considered Christian - orthodox not heterodox. But, outside those, honestly few, points, you're good to disagree.

>And if you want my real opinion and there is a God as described in the Bible he isn't worthy of worship, he's a psychopath who is just toying with us.

I'd like to remind you that humans wrote the texts in this library called the bible and that they had certain viewpoints and could have easily interpreted things as God's doing when it wasn't. Or that it's actually known that the YHWH is a step up from other gods. For instance, you know when God commands Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac then says, "lol jk here's a ram."? Well, that story is not about God demanding Abraham to kill his only son (!), rather it's a story to show that God doesn't need human sacrifice! Unlike those gods over there...

>The way that religion works...

You're not even close. Religions are the Forms in which the Divine/God is being experienced by human beings. They are the bones of a structure of experience. Religions are that which describe God as understood by the people.

Once again, I'm on my phone - though at home now.

u/irl_lurker · 3 pointsr/rpg

This is the version that I'd use. Read the essays before the books--they and the annotations at the bottom make some good clarifications and give a lot of cultural context you probably wouldn't be aware of.

u/mistiklest · 3 pointsr/Christianity

New Oxford Annotated NRSV with Apocrypha. It has all of the Greek, Slavonic, and Latin canons, and thereby the Protestant canon, and it's a very well respected academic translation.

The psalms are pretty ugly, though.

u/flannelpancakes · 3 pointsr/exmormon

I believe they also referenced Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Friedman. I haven't read it but I plan to very soon.

u/boner-of-rage · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Fair warning though: If you start to openly push back after reading up some on Ehrman and a few other sources mentioned (I posted a wiki link to stuff on the NT papyri in an above comment) and your family is as hardcore fundamentalist as they sound from your description, be ready for a shitshow. ---if you need to get out

Also, Richard Eliot Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? is a great introduction to the Pentateuch and the Documentary Hypothesis. For all the emphasis Christians place on the New Testament and how Jesus resurrected and everything, he clearly seems to have believed the Old Testament to have been true and accurate, per the gospel writers. Problem is that it's way more complicated and problematic when it comes to sources/verification than even the New Testament.

u/EarBucket · 3 pointsr/Christianity

The wiki article would be a good place to start. Richard Elliott Friedman's Who Wrote the Bible? is a good popular-level look at the idea.

u/jebei · 3 pointsr/atheism

I've had a similar obsession with the bible over the years. It made no sense to me when I was part of a church but everything opened up once I realized it's one of the best insights we have into the ancient mind and I find it fun to read now.

The top response to this post says the god of the Old Testament is the same as the god of the New but that's because they are looking at it only as a religious text. Looking at it as a historical document you can clearly see a progression over time from a Polytheistic War god at the beginning who demands blood sacrifices to a Monotheistic vengeful god of a chosen few. The New Testament is clearly written with Greek/Roman influences and a kinder god that was changed in ways to better fit and grow in that society.

If you haven't read it already, a good first book on the subject is Who Wrote the Bible by Friedman. I like The Bible Unearthed by Finklestein and Ehrmann's books are good too. There are dozens of other good overviews that show the Bible's progression from ancient campfire stories to the form we see today. After reading a few, I don't see how anyone can seriously believe the Bible is the unerring word of god.

I know I'll never convince my family members that Christianity is wrong so I've focused my efforts to get them to understand the bible was written by man. Even if we grant them that a god actually spoke to Moses and Jesus is his literal son neither man wrote the words in the book. Later men took the stories and wrote them down. The books of the Torah were finalized 600+ years after Moses is supposed to have lived. The Gospels were written 50 years after Jesus is said to have died. These writers were not gods and to say they were divinely inspired is a cop-out. They interpreted what they heard but these men were also products of their times. They practiced blood sacrifice and accepted slavery nor did they have a fraction of our understanding of the world. It's why you can't take the book literally.

There may be truths in the Bible but you have to look behind the words to find them.

u/uwootm8 · 3 pointsr/islam

Hey man.

The difference between doing history with Islam and doing history with the Bible is that Islam already had a historical critical method during its crucial years. Thanks to hadith criticism, we have information that we are absolutely sure come from the Prophet and/or his companions.

One of the principles of hadith criticism is multiple attestation. The historical critical method (that which Bart Ehrman and all other historians would also use) contain such a principle as well. If there are multiple sources we know for certain are independent (ie. they cannot get together and agree to report the same thing), then we know that the claim really goes back to the source.

This is not true with the bible. So the historical critical method would be used. Some assumptions that they have are:

  • Orthodoxy developed over time (so statements from the Prophet about future sects must be thrown out- it is simply seen as a way for sunni Islam to have fabricated the hadiths so as to discredit their opponents).

  • Principle of dissimilarity. This is reverse of the first principle I listed. It states that if there is something in the historical source (usually speaking of a religious text) that directly contradicts orthodoxy, it is probably true, because the orthodoxy would not invent this. An example would be the dubious 'constitution of medina' because it gives rights to the jews that the caliphate did not (sort of an equal standing political place). I have issues with this principle. Just because the orthodoxy did not invent it, how do you know that it was not invented by a person of heterodoxy? You don't know what this information would serve. For example, how do you know this constitution of madina was not fabricated by a jewish man wanting to raise the status of jews?

  • Anachronisms, "too convenient" etc. Basically if a text contains something that we know could only be known later, it is false.

    Also, if a piece of information is too politically convenient, then it should be disregarded. Because politicians invented it.

    (there are more principles, e.g. principle of verisimilitude)

    Now, the method is great, however the problem is is that it is only going to take you so far. A lot of these principles should be overturned by multiple attestation.

    For example, if it is multiply attested that the Prophet said X thing, yet the event itself happens to benefit a group of people, then one should simply accept that the Prophet really did said this, and these group of people, rather than inventing this tale up (because it would have been multiply attested so invention of it would be highly unlikely or impossible), simply looked back at the Prophet's words and then acted in a way so as to take benefit of it. I believe the abbassids (not sure who exactly) did this with the hadith about the army with black flags. OR it was simply a coincidence.

    Now, it must be noted that orientalists can and do apply the HCM on Islam. Keep in mind that (atleast up until the last couple of decades with new historical information and some brilliant research) many consider hadith to be forged altogether. From this you know of a group of people I would term the revisionists, and you see their arguments quoted on atheist and Christian blogs everywhere. However most of their theories, in my opinion, are really atrocious. One idea is that the group of people called "muslims" did not exist, rather the Prophet called all Christians and Jews and Pagans under the banner "mu'min". This theory is advocated by people who believe the Qur'an to be from the Prophet's time by the Prophet himself. However, the assertion is ridiculous and only works if you ignore 1/3rd of the Qur'an. Another assertion is that Mecca was not the birthplace of Islam. But such a conspiracy (who changed the 'birthplace'? Why did nobody object at all? Even if there were different sects, eg. shia, proto-sunnis, etc) would be far more difficult to believe than to accept that Islam really did start in Mecca. But then, where did the Prophet Muhammad get his information? That area, according to people who reject hadith, did not have any monotheistic religions. So it must be explained.

    I could go on and on but I'm gonna stop at that.

    >On the Jews and inventing scripture, would you say that the claim that Mosaic law is eternal, would be one of those inventions? Also, what material do you recommend in regards to investigating such fabrications?

    I am actually talking about the Pentateuch, the five books of the bible that Christians and Jews call the "Torah". These are definitely not from Musa (a.s.) as they claim it is. There is a very large amount of evidence against it. The most obvious is that its internal evidence dates it to a time far further than Moses (a.s.). I will give you a blatantly obvious examples:

    >Deuteronomy 34, the account of Moses' death, including the phrase in verse 6, "no one knows his burial place to this day."

    Clearly someone after him is writing this, or else they would not say "to this day"

    >Genesis 12:6 - Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.

    But they were still there when Musa (a.s.) was alive, so obviously this statement was written after he died.

    There's a lot of proofs. Nobody doubts that Moses did not write the Torah (even Christians will say stuff like "well he wrote it and then someone later redacted it into a language the common people could understand at the time" which is silly IMO).

    I would recommend that you start here:

    But first please read the five books of Moses! I still have not yet finished this book because I'm getting through the bible. It's a great book BTW. Very good intro. Note a lot of things they say contradicts Islam, because of their assumptions that revelation isn't true / moses is probably a mythical figure or something / a lot of other assumptions which you can puzzle out yourself I think.
u/BracesForImpact · 3 pointsr/TalkHeathen

He must support his claims with evidence. If you make the opposite claim, support yours the same way. He has cheap evangelical tools that are not experts in their field. You have both Christian and non-Christian scholars on yours.

For a good overview, I would recommend Who Wrote The Bible by Richard Elliott Freedman

u/Sahqon · 3 pointsr/exchristian

> If not, I've been lied to and held to impossible expectations my whole life and that's hard to swallow.

You must realize that when you believed without question, you also "lied" to everybody else about the same thing. You are not a single person being lied to, you are part of a group in which likely no one is lying to anyone else, they just don't know any better (than you do), and everybody else is just confirming to the others that "of course we are right".

Read some books about the history of the religion (The Bible Unearthed or Who Wrote the Bible for the OT and the Jesus Wars for the NT are a good and rather entertaining overview), and maybe read Sagan's The Demon Haunted World to clear up some things about who believes what and why it's not necessarily a lie, but might still not be the truth. Seriously, it's about UFOs, lol.

r/academicbiblical is also good (and free), but it's sort of short answers to specific questions about the Bible. Their wiki is the best though!

u/--O-- · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I think it's sad how many Christians know so little about the history of their own religion and holy book. I really recommend you pick up a book on the topic... amazon has many. e.g:

For OT specifically, also check out the Yale Open Course on it:

u/imatexasda · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

My religion class used Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Friedman. This is not an annotated text like some of the other suggestions (i.e.- it won't go line by line and give you notes on what the context of the verse is) but rather, it's a look at the question of authorship and the context of authorship. It might be a good entry point into a study of an annotated bible.

u/Bakeshot · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Have you read any books about people discussing why they believe? I found that helpful when I was in a similar situation.

Orthodoxy by Chesterton is really great.

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis is one usually recommended as a go-to.

Out of curiosity, how old are you?

u/TallahasseWaffleHous · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Yeah, that's pretty weird.

I may have to re-read my copy of R. Crumb's "Genesis".
While he's not a theologian, He illustrated the entire thing from a very literal and complicated point-of-view. Highly recommend just for the amazing illustrations!

>Crumb became so fascinated by the Bible’s language, “a text so great and so strange that it lends itself readily to graphic depictions,” that he decided instead to do a literal interpretation using the text word for word in a version primarily assembled from the translations of Robert Alter and the King James bible.

u/zzzlater · 3 pointsr/atheism

here is working link

u/inkblot81 · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

I've noticed a few on my library shelves, but haven't read them all yet:

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. It's Bechdel's memoir about her father, and an excellent read.

The Lives of Sacco and Vanzetti by Rick Geary. It covers a milestone legal case in 20th century US.

Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. It's a text on the nature of comics, in graphic novel form. It's a classic.

The Book of Genesis, illustrated by R. Crumb. He illustrated the entire text of this book of the bible.

And here's a good list from The Atlantic Monthly: (I've read and enjoyed a couple of these titles, so I feel safe in assuming the others are just as good)

u/countjared · 3 pointsr/atheism
u/artman · 3 pointsr/

I recommend Robert Crumb's The Book of Genesis. Much more, uh faithful to the text and times. Preview has nsfw Crumb nudes.

u/infidhell · 3 pointsr/atheism

Only $14 on Amazon I'm buying it. And if it's good, I'll probably give more away on Christmas.

This is my way to support the author/publisher so that can make more comics based on the books of the Bible. And maybe one day, Michael Bay will make a movie out of it.

u/tekko001 · 3 pointsr/comics

I heard he was working on this about two years ago, glad to know its already out, judging by the comments on Amazon its also worth the money... I'm buying it :)

u/thenewyorker1 · 3 pointsr/AdamCarolla

back in the loveline days, and pre 9-11, he was pretty vocal about the Christian right, especially as it pertained to the morning after pill / abortion debate. he once said something on this podcast about the different types of atheists there are, to summarize 'An atheist like me doesn't believe in anything, an atheist like Penn Gilette HATES GOD.' which i find funny, but also accurate. there are types out there that rage against theism, what Christopher Hitchens called anti-theists in his book God is Not Great.

aceman is just a guy who was raised with no religion and reason to buy into one or create one, he's just a man looking out for what's pragmatic.

u/mrstickman · 3 pointsr/vegetarian

Christopher Hitchens, in his book God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, devotes a short chapter to pigs. It's a cogent bit of prose.

Oh look, here's a reading of that chapter.

u/k3x_z1 · 3 pointsr/atheism

Used by God Sorry OP

Buy this to your mother, and watch yourself get kicked of your house :P

u/atheistcoffee · 3 pointsr/atheism

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

u/mrbergis · 3 pointsr/atheism

I'd suggest God is Not Great to really get under their skin. While they may not get past the title, there are some very eloquent arguments in there that don't stem from a scientific viewpoint.

u/Additup · 3 pointsr/atheism

Believing in the sky fairy is for those who do not want to think for themselves and need an imaginary friend who always listens to them. Organized religion has caused so much pain in the world and hopefully eventually society can move past it

u/lanemik · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

Recommended reading material:

God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.

The End of Faith

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

u/fathermocker · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

Not true. You should read the book Nailed, by David Fitzgerald (you can find it for free on Library Genesis too, but I won't link to that). He makes a compelling case that this "strong evidence" is not so strong after all. It's certainly worth a read.

u/MrStuff · 3 pointsr/atheism

Hrmm. If you've got a library, I've got books:

For New Testament contradictions, you'll want him to read Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman, in that order. For a video, this one at least gets the basic point across. Skeptic's Annotated has a good list too.

For the immorality of the Old Testament, Evil Bible or Skeptic's Annotated.

Morality: Andy Thompson's lecture at AAI 2009.

Jesus not existing: Nailed.

u/DeadnamingMissDaisy · 3 pointsr/nottheonion

Well, since you've made a massive edit, allow me to correct your error.

Yes, there are numerous examples of the iron age bible lifting wholesale bits of poetry from bronze age Ba'al texts. One example is the famous "lift up your heads, oh gods" which became, nonsensically, "lift up your heads, oh gates" in Psalm 24:7. (Hint: gates don't have heads, at least not the ones in ancient west semitic cities)

This is clear example of outright theft by hebrew priests.

It doesn't mean that the Canaanite god Hadad was ever syncretized with Yahweh. We do know that El was, however.


The Early History Of God by Mark S Smith

Stories from Ancient Canaan, Second Edition edited by by Michael D. Coogan and Mark S. Smith

The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman

u/austinfitzhume · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Regarding the bible, for Old Testament I'd recommend The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts

And I haven't read it yet, but for New Testament my wife recommends How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee

u/metanat · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

I got kind of lazy with the links, but anyways here is my collection of Christianity related books, links etc.


u/brojangles · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

Here's a good article which also contains some interesting info on the whole "cud-chewing" thing:

The Abominable Pig by Martin Harris (pdf):

I would also recommend The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman and Israel Finkelstein for a detailed treatment of early Israelite archaeology.

ETA. For some reason I can't seem to get the first url to format as a hyperlink. Maybe because it's a pdf. I guess you have to copy and paste it. If anyone knows how to fix that, let me know.

u/PrimusPilus · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

> the Jews during Exodus left egypt supposedly around 1250 BCE

There's no historical nor archaeological evidence for a Jewish captivity in Egypt, nor for the Exodus as portrayed in the OT.

See Finkelstein & Silberman's The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts for details.

u/myusernamestaken · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Damn, 16 hours and no response, /r/trueatheism usually eats this shit up.

I don't have much to say, but i'd assume it's a fairly easy task. In The Bible Unearthed, Finkelstein and Silberman convincingly demonstrate that the entire OT is pretty much bullshit (arguing from an archaeological viewpoint).

I had thought that most scholars believed that it was written by David, Isaiah and Moses, not only the latter. The author only sources 4 academics to form his conclusion as well.

u/rookiebatman · 3 pointsr/atheism

Actually, Jericho is one of the points against the historicity of the Old Testament. They dug up the place and found no evidence of battle or conquest or walls that had ever come down.

Here are the Bible archaeology links I have. Not sure if any of them cover Jericho, but I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find on Google.

A more thorough treatment can be found in The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts.

u/This_is_Hank · 3 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed should get you started. The book by the same name mentions the gods of the Canaanites but I'm not sure it made it into this video.

And maybe Richard Carrier's Christianity without Jesus. In this talk he covers some of the earlier gods with similar attributes to Jesus, mentions how Judaism changed a bit after the Persian conquest, and again after their fall to Babylon showing how elements from foreign religions were adopted and incorporated into Judaism.

Another video that mentions the origins of Yahweh is from a really awesome video series by YouTuber Evid3nc3 A History of God for part one and here for part two. It is a synopsis of Karen Armstrong's book A History of God.

Hope these are at least in the direction you were wanting to go.

u/Treesforrests · 3 pointsr/Christianity

You guys could read this.

Haha. That's kind of a joke (since it's almost 750 pages long). But seriously, I've been wanting to read this for a while now.

u/irresolute_essayist · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

The resource I hear most recommended is N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God:

u/HerbertMcSherbert · 3 pointsr/atheism

The heavily upvoted assertions in this thread simply tell us what we want to hear. Hence there are so few requests for citations and sources for these statements.

For those genuinely interested in reading research from both sides (rather than simply the flavour of the month sensation 'the real Jesus is this' author), why not check out a source such as NT Wright's 'The Resurrection of the Son of God', a 700 page work by a man who is arguably one of the best historical researchers and lexicographers of the period and its surrounding times.

Surely either people are genuinely interested in an issue, or they're merely genuinely interested in having their own preferences confirmed.

Wonder if the downmods will flow in...sometimes it seems the wonderful Redditors who I've enjoyed good honest discussion with are being replaced with diggbots who simply downmod anything that disagrees with their own view. Reddiquette people...this contributes to the discussion by offering a well-researched alternative viewpoint.

u/secondary_trainwreck · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God ( provides a readable and well sourced summary in the first several chapters. The discussion is of course directed to the central theme of the book -- the bodily resurrection of Jesus -- but that provides a useful counterpoint to Jewish ideas of the 'afterlife'.

u/darkman2040 · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

I would start with the Compendium on Catholic Social Doctrine for specifics to how the Church views government, the state, and the Church's relation to it.

I apologize for the Vatican link but that is all I have. Normally I wouldn't' be embarrassed but the Vatican's site is...well...horrid in design. But there are paperbacks if you are interested.

For philosophy in general I would recommend Edward Fesser's Aquinas: A beginner's Guide:

Fesser is a bit polemic in his other works, but he does an excellent job of explaining the big differences between the thought of Aquinas and other medievalist and more modernist thinking that we take for granted.

u/Fr-Peter · 3 pointsr/AskAPriest

Here's a handy 90-day reading plan, which takes you through the narrative books of the Bible. It's a good place to start when reading scripture, giving you a good look at the story of Scripture.

Aquinas is the premier Catholic thinker. I wouldn't recommend you start reading Aquinas unless you have firm grounding in Aristotelian philosophy. But that's not to say you can't learn about Aquinas' thought. You might find books like A Summa of the Summa, Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide, or The Dumb Ox useful introductory texts to his works. After you're comfortable reading him, you can jump in to some primary texts.

You can absolutely study theology and/or canon law formally. Just be aware that there aren't to many jobs you'll be able to get with a theology degree under your belt. Your options would be pretty much just professor, priest, or religion teacher.

Edit: Also, if you haven't done so already, read the Catechism or the Compendium of the Catechism.

u/moreLytes · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Ah! I think I can help! The trick is that intellectuals who think about God tend to dismiss the possibility of Him fitting into a scientific theory. But they don't dismiss the idea as false on these grounds - they believe the world to contain things that science cannot or has not discovered.

You might be interested in learning about natural theology (the study of God through secular means).

Some theologians for God argue for his existence on the basis of metaphysical models. For example, Thomas Aquinas in his Quinquae Via argues for God in this way. If you accept his very technical, specific, and interesting ways of thinking about the universe, then he can be very convincing.

Another group, more heavily favored by modern analytical philosophy, are led by a thinker named Alvin Plantinga. These people construct extremely technical arguments for God (see the modal ontological argument for an example), and also explain how they think God's existence explains certain facts that we all agree on.

For the former group, I'd recommend this book. For the latter, this one. Let me know if I can expand any point of this unfortunately-broad response.

u/deirdredurandal · 3 pointsr/exchristian

This is a better investment than the lot of them, from an honest learning perspective, even if you don't agree with the conclusion. Ehrman is a seriously flawed source where, while you're still going to get exposed to some objectively true information that will be new to you, the logical fallacies and assumptions can do as much harm to developing a realistic understanding of the subject matter as it can be of benefit.

u/ziddina · 3 pointsr/exjw

I'm very sorry to hear this, but it is natural for people to waver & wobble a bit.

When one looks at the behavior of natural systems, it's never a straight line from being (say) a desert to a green plain - or vice versa. There are always upticks and down-dips in the graph.

>He asked me again if I was going to stop going to meetings. I said "I wish I could tbh, but I'm gonna have to......................" (I paused just to make sure how he would react). He replied with "Good. As long you keep going", and he also says "if we don't have this then what do we have? Being out there in the world??"

If there was a tactful way to ask him whether your attendance made him look or feel better, I would have asked him about that.

I'm NOT tactful.

I would suggest several avenues of approach, but you'll have to consider very carefully what the effects of these suggestions might be, before you do anything:

The lack of affection in the congregation makes you feel like you're attending due to obligation, not because of any love amongst the brothers. If you can come close to stating his feelings about being "[made to] feel guilty for not being at meetings and he reluctantly goes because he feels pressured" without obviously mimicking his comments, you might be able to get a kindred feeling about how both of you really view the constant demands to attend the meetings.

What if he'd been born somewhere else? Afghanistan? Amish country? Mennonites? He wouldn't know about the Jehovah's Witnesses - but would STILL have the same attitude about being "no part of this world".

>He also said he doesn't like to talk about not going to meetings and I said if I can't talk to him about it then who would I talk to?

DON'T talk about it. Let it slide. True apathy is one of the biggest enemies the Watchtower Society has. Whenever you talk about attending the meetings, you are reinforcing the guilt he's feeling, even (especially!!!) if you're talking about the meetings in a negative way.

On the other hand, real apathy just ignores things, wishing they'd go away. Real apathy seeks out excuses to avoid attending meetings. If he's having a spurt of spirituality right now, but his past behaviors show that he really doesn't want to do it, then your best response would be to show up at some meetings with him, but fake a headache for others. When you do go to meetings with him, keep your responses flat. No response afterwards. Just so bored with it, you can't even be bothered to react negatively. If you've got an electronic tablet, then read something else while you're at the meetings.

Have you ever done a first-aid class where they teach the students how to pick up a fully-relaxed, unconscious person? That lesson amazed me; if a person goes completely limp it is VERY difficult to pick them up. A small person of around 100 pounds is harder to lift if they're as limp as a cooked noodle.

If you feel you need to attend any more meetings with him, then just go completely limp [so to speak]. NO negative resistance, but also absolutely no interest whatsoever.

Personally I'd pull up some of the books written by authentic bible scholars & read them during meetings, like "The Early History of God - Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel" or "Did God Have a Wife?", or

Whether or not Jesus existed:

There's a whole world of research out there, that the Watchtower Society absolutely doesn't want their members to have a clue about. You could gain far more knowledge about the real (man-made) origins of the bible while you're sitting there in the meetings. You could be sitting there, cool as a cucumber, learning more about the bible than any male leader of the Watchtower Society knows, even the 7 men on the Governing Body.

That would keep your mind occupied while your husband struggles with the guilt & obligation of an unloving, manipulative cult.

For that matter, you could also read about how cults manipulate people, while you're at the meetings. Anything to feed your mind while he loses his - er, while he gets a belly-full of the banality, hypocrisy & idiocy of the WT meetings & literature.

u/ggliddy357 · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

You might want to pick up Richard Carrier's latest work.

u/Zomunieo · 3 pointsr/atheism

I suggest moving the Lataster (Washington Post) and Tarico (Alternet) to the top of the list. These are concise well written articles that serve as a good introduction, and are more authoritative (reviewed and edited by the publisher) than the many personal blogs on the list.

There's a few duplicates as well.

One link to add - Richard Carrier's book:

u/ugarten · 3 pointsr/atheism

If you want to read about Jesus mythicism, Richard Carrier's book On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt is a far better place to start.

u/Atanar · 3 pointsr/de

>Du greifst nur die Talpioth Särge heraus.

Du kannst also nicht bestreiten das in deiner Liste Mist steht. Was sagt das über die Verlässlichkeit der Endaussage?
>Wieso sollten die anderen Argumente nur schlecht und nicht belastend sein?

Weil sie dem Schluss, der daraus gezogen wird, nicht entsprechen.

>Hast du belastende Argumente für diese Sichtweise oder ist es mehr ein Glaube?

Die Historisierung von mythischen Gestalten kommen in der Antike andauernd vor, siehe Äneis oder Gilgamesh. Zudem ist es aus der historischen Abfolge der NT Schriften ersichtlich das eine Historisierung erst im Verlauf der Ausbildung des Christentums zustande kam. Zudem fehlen Hinweise, die man bei einer tatsächlichen historischen Existenz Jesus erwarten würde, vollständig, währen die Hinweise, die wir haben, bestens durch die Existenz einer Gottesgestalt die historisiert wurde erklären lassen ( "Argument der besten Erklärung")
Ich würde dir ja Richard Carrier und als Gegenposition Bart Ehrmann zum Lesen empfehlen, allerdings scheint es mir dass du nichtmal das kritisch gelesen und beurteilt hast was du selbst postest.

> Und eine Abhandlung über die Augenzeugenfrage.

Was als Augenzuegenbreichte in deinen Quellen gelten, wird unter historischen Methoden als "Gerüchte" abgetan.

>Auf Wikipedia heißt es:

Ein Konsens von Forschermeinungen dient dem wissenschaftlichen Prozess, nicht als endgültige Wahrheit. Der Konsens ist in diesem Falle geprägt von nicht belastbaren Argumenten.

>There is no evidence today that the existence of Jesus was ever denied in antiquity by those who opposed Christianity

Wenn man da die Bedeutung hineinliest du du wahrscheinlich darin siehst, versteht man den Kontext von Religionen der Antike nicht. Das ist kein üblicher Kritikpunkt und ist daher auch nicht zu erwarten.

u/ruaidhri · 3 pointsr/ireland

> your religion is based on a text written over 1400 years ago

All four Canonical gospels, the letters of Paul etc, Acts and Revelation were all written by 110-140 AD at the latest, although it was probably earlier.

Source: Currently reading this book, On the Historicity of Jesus, which is putting forward a thesis that there was no historical person who is Jesus Christ as described by the New Testament. Full of fascinating stuff they never teach you in school, like the letters of Paul were written around 60AD before the Gospels, and never mention Jesus as a human being, only as a risen celestial being/god.

u/tonytwobits · 3 pointsr/Christianity

I am at 3 years and counting. I am now 24. I am in the same boat as you in some ways. I NEVER thought that I could be an atheist and was incredibly involved in the church. I fully believed it and VERY much enjoyed it. Youth group, men's group, worship team, mission trips the whole works. But now, like you it is hard for me to imagine being swayed back.

For a while I wanted it to be true. After a while that began to fade as I realized how much bigger the world is without the god of the Bible. I am so much happier now. I guess a better way to describe it is I am much more satisfied and feel much more fulfilled about my life. I know it is a bit cheesy and dramatic, but this video had a big effect on me as I became an atheist. One line in particular addressed this feeling of wanting god to be true:
> Could it be that someone promised us something so beautiful that our universe seems dull, empty, even frightening by comparison?

At first that is kind of how I felt. I was promised heaven. I was promised that I was going to live forever with the creator. However, another part of the video addressed this and is one of my favorite lines:

>We were told long ago and for a long time that there was only the Earth—that we were the center of everything. That turned out to be wrong. We still haven’t fully adjusted. We’re still in shock. The universe is not what we expected it to be. It’s not what they told us it would be. This cosmic understanding is all new to us. But there’s nothing to fear. We’re still special. We’re still blessed. And there might yet be a heaven, but it isn’t going to be perfect. And we’re going to have to build it ourselves.

I know that I will never be as sure about my atheism as I was about my Christianity. But I have learned that is a good thing. It was un-healthy how sure I was in Christianity. Nobody can honestly be a true gnostic atheist and that is ok.

I will say however that I can be pretty sure that the god of the Bible is not god, but to say that I am 100% sure that there is no god is a irrational statement to say.

I did a lot of studying as I was becoming an atheist. Honestly I know the Bible better now that I ever did as a Christian. The more I learned the more unsure I was about Christianity.

There is a book you might like. It is called a A History of God. I am reading it right now and it is very good and I recommend it.

How do you feel now as a atheist? About life? About yourself? I am just wondering because I wonder if it was some of the same things I felt. I like talking to people as they are changing their world view in one way or another :)

u/plissken627 · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

Am I still going to believe the bible is the errant man-made inspired word of with all of the [contradictions,]
( cruelty and violence, absurdity intolerance etc, and that's just in the new testament, don't even get me started on the old testament (it's on the sidebar in that site.)

And the the fact that it is generally agreed by archaeologists, historians and theology studies and evidence that the Israelite religion was derived from Babylonian polytheistic mythology.

u/mzial · 3 pointsr/atheism

I'm sorry to say it, but your arguments are based on ignorance. Please take physics/biology/chemistry classes. Anyway (I'm going to quote you, because there are multiple questions per point):

> the big bang theory. as it states, it is a theory, yet people take it as truth.

Yes, and with reason. There is scientific evidence for the big-bang theory. Please note that 'theory' and 'theory' are two completely different words.

> In no way has it explained how, from "nothingness" became everything.

No it hasn't. Does your god explain it? I don't think so. And although science can't explain what exactly causes nothing to be something, we do observe it. Remember: the total energy of the universe is zero.

> if a big bang really did occurr, why is the matter in the universe clumpy, not evenly distributed?

Matter pulls matter together. Please take a physics class or read this.

>why haven't the laws kept on evolving?

Why should it?

> no-one has ever been able to produce heavier elements,

Of course we have. Please see the periodic table.

> to make the heavier elements you need incredible heat and pressure(stars) but to make the stars you need heavier elements.

No, stars are made up of Hydrogen which fuses into Helium. You don't need heavy elements to form stars. As a matter of fact, stars only form when light elements gather. When stars die, heavier elements form. These explosions are called supernovas.

> nobody has any idea how you would create a star, not even the slightest.

Again, ignorance. See this page.

> if it were any older, it would have been so close to almost touch the earth.

Sunday school fairy tales. The moon moves away from us with a speed of 3.8 cm a year and is positioned 363,345 km (minimum) from us. Thus, it could be 10 billion years old. And no, we're not sure how the moon formed, current theories seem very unlikely. Anyway, this isn't a reason to believe in a genocidal deity.

> jupiter has moons that rotate both ways, right-hand and left-hand. nobody has any idea why is it like that.

Evidence, please.

> life started from nonorganic materials and somehow became living. no-one has ever observed this happen, neither have they ever been able to reproduce the aminoacids(building blocks of life) needed to build life in a laboratory.

That has nothing to do with evolution. Next.

> species start having offspring that are not like the parents. have you ever seen a dog produce a non-dog? sure there are different dogs, but in the end they are dogs. it has never been observed that birds start suddenly hatching lizards.

You're trolling, right? Please, read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins.

Oh, and btw; I'm sorry for my fellow-atheists are calling you names. Please, not all of us are like that.

u/aristotleschild · 3 pointsr/TheWayWeWere

> Here dy'd their Parents' hopes and feares

> Once all their joy, now all their teares.

Wow. See, if the epitaph had been trite or overly-euphemistic in order to preserve the reader's comfort, a link would be broken here. I'm glad the author didn't do it. History like this connects us to our basic humanity and thus back to each other, I think.

Or even beyond humanity. Richard Dawkins pauses to eulogize an Australopithecus child and its mother (they were early homonids) in one of his books. The child was eaten by an eagle:

> “Poor little Taung Child, shrieking on the wind as you were borne aloft by the aquiline fury, you would have found no comfort in your destined fame, two and a half million years on, as the type specimen of Australopithecus africanus. Poor Taung mother, weeping in the Pliocene.”

u/spinozasrobot · 3 pointsr/AskReddit

OK, folks may call me a nut, but you might want to try Evolution by Loxton. It's for younger readers, but you could literally jumpstart yourself in an hour.

Then, read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne as well as The Greatest Show on Earth by Dawkins.

Honorable mention goes to Dawkins' An Ancestor's Tale.

u/xaogypsie · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Surprised by Hope by NT Wright.

Along with his scholarly work on the Resurrection, The Resurrection of the Son of God, quite literally changed the way I looks at my faith.

u/matttk · 3 pointsr/europe

Part of it is an obsession with nationalism. How do you say you're different than a Serb? Oh yeah, you're Catholic. It's sad though that people continue to brainwash their children instead of giving them a free choice to decide what they want to believe.

Does anyone really think the average person would believe in Jesus if they only found out about him in their adult life? The story is ridiculous and almost everything in those books is provably false. (yes, there was an historical Jesus)

u/LAKingsDave · 3 pointsr/hockey

I'm reading Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth

It's not a religious book, even though it would appear to be. It's a historic look at Jesus' life, written by an Islamic dude.

It's been pretty good. But I wouldn't say it's great just because it seem like the author has to come to a lot of conclusions based on lack of evidence from Jesus' time. Interesting for sure though.

u/Odontodactyllus · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The author makes a real attempt to portray Jesus as he would have been historically. Worth reading!

u/bearparts · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Jesus Christ didn't exist. However he is based on an historical character or is a composite of several individuals living approximately at that time in similar geographic locations. He certainly wouldn't have been known as Jesus Christ, and many of the acts described in the bible didn't actually happen. You can think of it in similar terms as story about a guy named Dave, that is based on the story of a guy name Steve. Steve, the historical character lived in Salt Lake City and so did the mythical Dave. Both of them were described as being Rabbi's who were born in the same decade.

If you want to understand what mainstream historians believe about the historical Jesus of Nazareth I recommend this book.

Edit: Essentially Jesus Christ is an idea personified in human form.

u/musicman99 · 3 pointsr/exmormon

This scholar argues Jesus was a purely mythical character (like Zeus or Osiris) who was later placed in a historical context decades after the fact:

On the other hand, this other scholar argues for the historicity of Jesus (that he actually was a person), and postulates what the real Jesus actually taught (VERY different from the modern Christian message!)

Scholarship right now seems to be split between these two camps.

u/Flocculencio · 3 pointsr/AskHistorians

Reza Aslan's Zealot gives a good overview of this, or for a (much) longer read Diarmaid McCullogh's Christianity. The short answer is that the difference between the proto-Christians and the other followers of Messianic Jewish preachers was that the Christians had Paul who reworked the message to be inclusive of Gentiles. This changed Christianity from just another wild Jewish fringe sect to a contender for the hearts and minds of people who perhaps were not quite fulfilled by the existing social structure (for example, women- it's quite notable just how many women actually are referred to in Acts of the Apostles cited as prominent members of the early church, considering that this was a society in which women were almost totally sidelined from the mainstream)

u/TextofReason · 3 pointsr/news

Not necessary. The book's Amazon rating is testament to the effectiveness of the segment!

Get your copy here!

u/Sengura · 3 pointsr/cringepics

Funny thing is, Jesus was never in school. He, like most Jews living in what is now Palestine, was an uneducated illiterate.


u/gustieboarder · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

This book might be worth a read, saw it from a post in /r/atheism yesterday.

"Zealot" by Reza Aslan takes a historical look at Jesus. The author is a Muslim professor (used to be a Christian), who has been researching the historical life of Jesus for some twenty years.

Zealot on Amazon

Link to article with video of Reza in an interview with Fox News

Link to original post from /r/atheism

u/InsomniacDuck · 3 pointsr/ChristianApologetics

This is an interesting argument, one that Francis Collins calls the "signpost" argument - that the fact that we have this tendency for belief is evidence (not proof, but evidence) the G-d wants us to seek him. Fair enough. But it doesn't follow that our god-sense evolved for a purpose, let alone that purpose (where's the selection pressure? Who's failing to reproduce for lack of a god-sense?).

An alternative, and I think more parsimonious, explanation is that belief in a higher power is a side-effect of certain psychological capacities that, in the proper context, are highly adaptive. In particular, I'm talking about theory of mind: our ability to perceive other people as thinking agents, like us but independent of us. Robert McCauley gives a detailed treatment of it in his book Why Religion is Natural and Science is Not, but this article is much quicker and to the point: we apply theory of mind where it doesn't belong, and the consequence is religious belief.

u/BigBearSac · 3 pointsr/atheism

Thanks for the advice. I understand what you are saying, but we are both coming from a position where we have a need for mutual understanding. It is her desire to better understand what I think and vice versa.

She actually opened the topic by suggesting I read

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

she also said she would be willing to read anything I suggest.

EDIT: I think I am Dyslexic I always put the "(" on the text and the "[" on the link!

u/I_Flip_Burgers · 3 pointsr/facepalm

> Dinosaurs contradict creation theory.

Possibly. But many branches of Christianity do not endorse YEC.

> Evolution contradicts 'god made humans to be above all others', since our ascendance is based on (essentially) chance.

For some this is true. But again, many Christians are theistic evolutionists.

> Other planets and the nigh-certainty of extraterrestrial life contradicts 'god made earth/the entire universe. The (measurable!) Big Bang theory already does that though, of course.

I don't see the contradiction unless you mean that it contradicts that God made the universe specifically for human beings. In that case, this is a point of contention that was shared by many early natural philosophers, even non-Christians. The Ptolemaic geocentric system of the universe was valued because it put human beings at the center (among other reasons). But, this seems to be a problem less about Christianity and more about human importance in general.

> If Christianity is not the first religion, it suggests that people will make up origin stories to comfort themselves, and Christianity is just one of them. This is of course a different branch of science (anthropology I think?), but a valid one afaik.

Good point. There is a reason why anthropology has one of the lowest proportions of religious people of the scientific disciplines. But, a religious person could argue that people generate origin stories so as to fill a God-instilled void in themselves (I am not making this argument, I'm just saying that it is a possible one).

> Furthermore, if God made the world and everything in it, why would he a) make other religions; and b) let people carry on for thousands of years without knowing about God, and in fact believing in the wrong gods. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Good point, but this is venturing beyond science into theology.

> Now I agree every single one of those points can be refuted if you try hard enough. The point is though, you have to try.
In order to refute the points above, you have to decide that the first christians were flat-out wrong in taking the bible factually and that it was always meant to be allegorical.

Good points, and this is why some Christians have such difficulty with certain scientific discoveries. If one holds a literal interpretation of the Bible, it is much harder to reconcile modern science with Christianity. But, is this a flaw in Christianity itself or a flaw in certain human doctrines about Christianity? Personally, I do not see logical inconsistency with people who adjust their doctrine according to new scientific discoveries. In the book I linked, several of the authors discuss how Christianity helped shape modern science, but the inverse can also be true; science can help shape Christian theology. Isaac Newton, who is "Mr. Science" for many and often used as the posterboy for atheism, invoked the concept and several attributes of the Christian God to explain several of his scientific findings in his Letters and General Scholium. But, he also made theological arguments about the nature of Christ and the timeline of Christ's return based on his scientific beliefs. Adapting one's beliefs according to new evidence is never a bad thing in science or theology.

> I could also bring up the fact there are other religions in the world today, and THEY all claim to be the only one. Or the fact that kids who are taught things at an early age internalise them. Or the fact that there is no such thing as a miracle with evidence and that they haven't happened since the advent of portable cameras.

These are interesting arguments, but again, they are theological (or at least philosophical) ones, not scientific ones.

> There are other arguments of course. But I think it comes down to this: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The claim of an omnipotent being in the sky watching us, leaving us entirely alone, and judging us when we die is an incredibly extraordinary claim with an equally extraordinary amount of evidence and logic stacked against it - and frankly, not much for it.
If you, claiming to believe in science, can see all the evidence and still believe in God...there's a problem. They are mutually exclusive.

Here, you hit on the primary conflict that people perceive between science and Christianity. How do we find truth? In post-Baconian natural philosophy/science, evidence is seen as the gold standard for establishing truth. But, what is evidence? For a data scientist, evidence might be a statistically significant difference between two populations. For an evolutionary biologist, evidence might be certain aspects of the fossil record. In general terms, one may consider evidence to be the end result of an inductive line of reasoning or a correctly predicted outcome from a hypothetico-deductive reasoning. But, as it turns out, even these last two are not "proof" in the traditional sense (see The Problem of Induction and Hypothetic-deductive model Discussion. Many Christians also see evidence of God in nature. Francis Collins, for example, is a brilliant scientist who played a pivotal role in the Human Genome Project and is the director of the National Institutes of Health, and he sees evidence for God in evolution The Language of God. Does Collins offer evidence? You may not think so, but it is worth thinking about how his account is fundamentally different from "scientific evidence." Evidence is not a bad criterion to use for establishing truth, but there are many kinds of evidence, and very few forms of evidence provide logical proof. Now, I am not trying to discredit the value of a scientific approach for understanding truth; of course, such a method has proven to be incredibly useful for understanding and manipulating our world. However, I am suggesting that science, at least in the eyes of many people, does not hold sole authority over truth.

>I don't deny the profound effects christianity has had on the human race, including the development of science, literature, art and contribution to law and government. I just don't think it's real, nor do I think it's possible to logically reconcile belief in god with science

The great part about this debate is that you alone have sole jurisdiction over your own beliefs, and I certainly am not trying to convince you to think in another way. But, it is sometimes worth thinking about why so many people see science and Christianity in a different light.

I certainly understand the insistence that science and Christianity are fundamentally incompatible, but I hope that I have given you a few points to consider. If you are interested in this topic, it may be worth reading more about the relationship between science and Christianity. It's a great opportunity to be exposed to new ideas and to avoid falling into the historical fallacies that both Christians and non-Christians are prone to.

u/fennsk1 · 3 pointsr/dataisbeautiful

As I see it, here's the core problem: The Bible isn't a scientific document that can be easily parsed into data, despite creationists and atheists wanting to treat it as such to raise it up and tear it down, respectively. In reality, there's little reason to think that humankind is capable of a full understanding of the spiritual dimension. It's even less reasonable to hold the Bible accountable for being scientifically accurate when such talk would have gone WAY over the heads of the people the books and letters were written directly to, who knew nothing of astronomy, electricity, etc, etc, etc.

It's fine to focus on the the absurdity of the creationist approach by pointing out scientific issues, but the Skeptic's Annotated Bible goes overwhelmingly too far and lists tons of "contradictions" that are actually paradoxes, antimonies, misinterpretations, or mistranslations (even more prevalent since the SAB's source is a an 18th-century King James Bible).

If you want some interesting reading on the subject, check out The Language of God, written by one of the heads of the Human Genome Project, who sees the Bible and nature as two books through which we see reflections of God's truth. At the heart of things, he states that "science is not threatened by God; it is enhanced" and "God is most certainly not threatened by science; He made it all possible."

u/tartandtangy · 3 pointsr/medicalschool

You might be interested in this book

Its written by a scientist on their story of coming to Christianity. And by "a scientist", I mean none other than Francis Collins himself.

u/FM79SG · 3 pointsr/philosophy

> Well, it's important to first understand where the burden of proof lies.

Question is if it indeed lies with theism.

The burden of proof does not always fall on people who make a statement about something existing.
For example if I claim "the world is not real but just an illusion" or "the laws of nature do not exist they are only illusions", etc... I am rejecting the existence of something, but I thing common sense would lead us to think that such statements are not the "default" and thus the person denying the existence of the world has the burden of proof.

Atheists are quick to put the burden on theism, but atheism and hard agnosticism make several statements, some positive some not, that DO imply a certain view of the world that really are really problematic.

The most common is naturalism (or worse, reductive materialism) which has a lot of problems which even leads some atheists to reject it (which raises a lot of problems if one wants to remain atheist) or accept the idea that we ourselves are illusions (or rather our minds) and other apparent absurdities, which again are problematic on many levels.

So yeah, accepting atheism to it's full logical conclusion, as Alex Rosenberg does in the book I link above makes atheism less of a default position than one might want to.


>That being said, there are common proofs against the idea of a god. For example, in Euthyphro, one of Plato's dialogues,

Euthyphro dillemma is not a problem for Classical theism (which is what philosophers Aquinas fall under and what most Christian, Jew, Islamic and some others like some Hindu and Jainist have historically held and many still do). It works at best for certain moieties of theism, perhaps including some protestant "theistic personalism" views that are somewhat popular today.

Not to bog down the discussion I'd defer to philosopher Edward Feser (and the mountain of literature on the subject too) who aptly explains why Euthyphro dillemma is a false dilemma and not really problematic why raising Euthyphro dillemma is basically showing one has not done his homework regarding theism... and really an argument only pop-atheist make since it works against people who have no training in philosophy and theology.

Same goes with another pop-argument from evil which is today mostly an appeal to emotion and not a logical problem.


>Likely the best proof against an omnipotent god is that there are metaphysical rules which go beyond god, and therefore god is not everything. An example of these rules is that the creation must abide by the laws of the creator.

What would be these metaphysical rules?
Such claims you make now again might work for "god as a mere being among other beings" view, but does not work for Classical Theism, where God is not "a being", but rather being itself, or Ipsum Esse Subsistens as Aquinas would have put it (althoug he was not the only or first one), hence it makes no sense to talk about "metaphysical rules which go beyond god" at all.


> What I should have said is that it is inherently illogical to believe in god because all proofs are fallacious in nature.

Only they aren't and every single time I hear a refutation it's always some sort of lame strawman, like for example Dawkins "refutations" in "The God Delusion", where he only proves he does not even understand what is going on (like most of the book).

Also as I have said elsewhere, the five ways in the Summa are merely sketches. Aquinas goes in further detail elsewhere on some of the proofs but many other Thomists and philosophers in general have worked on them.

So the claim "because all proofs are fallacious in nature" is the equivalent of "if evolution real then why monkey exist?" that some anti-evolutionary crackpots raise.

More serious atheists like JL Mackie who dealt with them seriously were not so dismissive (and some of their criticism has been very useful to theists as well).

>If you believe it IS logical, then provide the argument and I will disprove it.

Problem is that just like you do not explain evolution convincingly in 1 page, arguments for God also require space.

Since I mentioned Feser above I would link to one of his books where he presents five proofs (which are not the five ways), including various objections and answer to such objections.

If you are really interested read through it (instead of just finding uncharitable reviews which anyone can do). If not, then there is no point for discussion.

More importantly, as I said elsewhere, to understand one must read the actual arguments of the people defending a certain idea, not just the second hand critique. You would not study an idea just by reading its critics.


Finally I would say that even IF the proofs for God would fail as you claim (which I disagree) it doesn't make theism automatically irrational (seen the philosophical problems of the atheist position I mentioned above).

u/LurkingSoul · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Seems to me you are already at step 1: desiring a relationship with God. Prayer is a great place to go next. Praying can be as simple as talking to God. Reading the Bible can also be a form of prayer! Want a place to start? Look up what today's readings are in a church calendar, and pray about them.

You may feel more comfortable following a more structured style of meditation, such as praying the Rosary to meditate on the life of Jesus.

Also, I don't know if it is Sunday where you are or if there is a church near you with a mass today, but I recommend making one if you can. There may be one in your area you can make weekdays in addition to Sundays, or you can try to go next Sunday and the following Sundays.

Read about the lives of the Saints! Some of them have gone through a great deal, you are not alone. Their lives are full of inspiration and demonstrate how the Holy Spirit works through us. I recommend the Laudate and IBreviary apps. (Former has many things including saint of the day and interactive Rosary, later has the Liturgy of the Hours.)

There is a wealth of Christian philosophy and in general philosophy is interesting and useful so I will also recommend a bunch of philosophy. I also recommend this introductory guide to Aquinas. Lastly, I will pray for you. I hope this was useful to you. God Bless!

u/bslorence · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

I discovered classical philosophy, which is to say the system of thought developed by the greatest of the pre-Christian, pagan thinkers of Greece (principally Plato and Aristotle), and refined and recruited into the service of theology by the greatest Christian theologians (principally St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas).

This system of thought was largely a given in the West in general until about the 17th century, and remains a given in much Catholic theology. It posits a basic metaphysics (i.e., a set of fundamental philosophical principles) without which it is exceedingly difficult to make much sense of anything at all. These principles are not simply asserted but rather are the result of a long tradition of careful reflection and refinement.

Among many other things, the classical philosophical tradition holds that three things quite pertinent to religion can be known with certainty by reasoned argument: (1) the existence of God, (2) some of God's attributes such as omnipotence, omniscience, and eternity, and (3) the immortality of the soul.

If you spend some time reading Edward Feser you can get a fantastic and easy-to-read layman's introduction to classical philosophy. In particular he has two books for beginners, one non-snarky and one quite snarky.

u/S11008 · 3 pointsr/DebateReligion

>Did I read this right?


>Also, could you link me to where you've demonstrated the sturdiness of the unmoved mover argument?

Me? I'm going off of hammiesink (well, and Feser), who is going off of Feser, who is going off of Aquinas, who is using an Aristotelian framework.

This is a decent summary. However, as I told someone else, I recommend two other books on it-- the first is a polemical (and yet also addresses the arguments), and the second is a short guide to the arguments.

u/P1Hornet · 3 pointsr/Christianity

>Because there's no argument


u/pemberleypearl · 3 pointsr/Catholicism

My brother bought me Aquinas: A Beginner's Guide. I told him I would love a book as a present and he knows my amazon password. He's an atheist but he said Aquinas was the only name he recognised going through my wish list so he picked this one!

u/stainslemountaintops · 3 pointsr/Christianity

Thomas Aquinas' cosmological argument. Here's a quite easily understandable graphic that explains the basics of it. If you're interested in reading more about it, I'd recommend checking out this subreddit or reading this book (or listening to this lecture by the author of that book) for more detailed summaries/"translations" of it, since Aquinas' original formulation is a bit hard to understand without proper context.

u/Jaagsiekte · 3 pointsr/NoStupidQuestions

Others have great answers, but I think I can add a bit more.

The adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies more often than you might expect for evolutionary traits. The reason why most species have a similar body plan is because we all share a single common ancestor that lived in the ocean over 350 million years ago. This is the tetrapod body plan. Their body plan, for whatever reason, is the body plan that won out over all the other options of that time period. From the fossil record we know that there were a bunch of different kinds of fish living, some with really strange body plans (like 10 digits on each limb). For whatever reason, the body plan that one out was very successful can gave rise to all the tetrapod animals you see today. Why that body plan was special we may never know. We can't know exactly for sure what pressures were placed upon that animal that it developed that body plan in the first place and then subsequently why that body plan made it so successful.

We have two front limbs, two hind limbs, two kidneys, one liver, one heart, two lungs, two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, one brain, five digits in each hand because thats the way the tetrapods looked like all those millions of years ago. We are what we are because thats how they were. Ichthyostegais an example of a fossil species that had this body plan, the body plan that would rule above all others, and would dominate the landscape until this very day. Of course various modifications have been made over the millennia - snakes have lost their limbs, some have developed unique traits like antlers, feathers, or scales and still others have developed pouches for carrying around babies or uteruses to grow matter, underlying it all, deep at all their cores, including ours, is this singular body plan. If you look closely enough you can begin to see the shared characteristics that have been conserved through the hundreds of thousands of generations of all vertebrate (and then tetrapod) animal species on the planet today.

You may enjoy the book Your Inner Fish which explores why the way we are the way we are based on shared and conserved traits from our distant fish ancestors. It was also made into a PBS documentary.

This fun song about Tiktaalik, an early ancestor to tetrapods is relevant as well.

u/Padawanbater · 3 pointsr/booksuggestions

Neil Shubin - Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5 Billion Year History of the Human Body

If you like science, this one specifically talks about the authors discovery of Tiktaalik and it's association with our human bodies of today

u/TheFarmReport · 3 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Closing the glottis to prevent water from entering the lungs while breathing with gills in amphibious development. Gill breathing can be blocked by carbon dioxide, just like holding your breath to convert air to CO2 usually dissipates the hiccup gill response.

u/Roycewho · 3 pointsr/quotes

There is neither Good nor evil. There simply, “is”.

We use words to describe something’s “is-ness”. However what it “is” depends almost entirely on the context in which it appears and/or how it is perceived by the observer. The difference between narcissism (bad) and confidence (Good) is how the phenomenon manifest.

Many of these ideas are better articulated by experts such as

Edmund Husserl and his theory of phenomenology

Also discussed by Mark Twain in “Mere Christianity”

Robert Anton in “Prometheus Rising”

u/ShavedRegressor · 3 pointsr/atheism

Sadly, some intelligent people fall for religions or cults. Mr. Lewis was one of them.

I enjoyed his fiction as a child, but I can’t say the same about Mere Christianity. It sounded like someone doing his best to rationalize nonsense.

u/lastnote · 3 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Have you thought about reading any christian theology books? I find reading opposing perspectives and ideas helps to strengthen my own. If I can make a few recommendations...

The Reason for God - Timothy Keller

Jesus Among Other Gods - Ravi Zacharias

The End of Reason - Zacharias

Christian Apologetics - Norman Geisler

Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis

I would highly recommend everyone read Wayne Grudem's "Christian Beliefs". It's an abbreviated version of "Systematic Theology". Very short but concise overview of basic christian beliefs.

I can only recommend christian material as I haven't read a lot of other religious text. Christianity is the most relevant religion where I live, so understanding has been helpful in conversing with the religious folks around me.

u/guyanonymous · 3 pointsr/skeptic

This is a fairly interesting book that examines the 'errors' in the bible from the mistranslations to the purposeful changes.

u/Glaxnor · 3 pointsr/

>I find it strange that John, probably the most famous of the four gospels, would be considered apocryphal by anyone.

If you're interested, I suggest reading Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman. Meanwhile, I'll give you his brief summary of this particular item:

>Despite the brilliance of this story, its captivating quality, and its inherent intrigue, there is one other enormous problem that it poses. As it turns out, it was not originally in the Gospel of John. In fact, it was not originally part of any of the Gospels. It was added later by scribes.

>How do we know this? In fact, scholars who work on the manuscript tradition have no doubts about this particular case. Later in this book we will be examining in greater depth the kinds of evidence that scholars adduce for making judgments of this sort. Here I can simply point out a few basic facts that have proved convincing to nearly all scholars of every persuasion: the story is not found in our oldest and best manuscripts of the Gospel of John; its writing style is very different from what we find in the rest of John (including the stories immediately before and after); and it includes a large number of words and phrases that are otherwise alien to the Gospel. The conclusion is unavoidable: this passage was not originally part of the Gospel.

u/tripleatheist · 3 pointsr/DebateAChristian

> Where's this evidence of it being edited?

If you would do some research as opposed to simply asserting the Christian party line, you'd find that the Bible has a marked tendency to change over time along with the political and theological pressures of the time. Ehrman, who you've referenced elsewhere, spends some time in Misquoting Jesus considering the Comma Johanneum, for example.

tl;dr - the Bible isn't some monolithic, unbiased source of truth. It's just as much a part of the game of telephone that is Christianity as are the testimonies of personal experience and anecdotal miracle accounts.

u/Petey · 3 pointsr/

Actually it's beyond dispute.

u/XandarsMeteor · 3 pointsr/exchristian

I'm in the process of finishing up the final pages of Bart Ehrman's "Misquoting Jesus".

Depending on what sort of "evidence" your gf is open to, this is a great book for pointing out the fallacy of a divinely-inspired New Testament. It's not a giant list of verses that have been altered, omitted, added, etc (like I had sort of wished), but it's a great smack-in-the-face book without being loaded with "religion is horrible" statements (which I feel turn a lot of people off to being open to the rest of the message).

Good luck!

u/Knodiferous · 3 pointsr/DebateAnAtheist

FYI, just for future reference. It's "premise", not premiss. And precedent, not president. Consistency, not constancy. I'm not trying to make anything of it, I just proofread by instinct, and I can't use a red marker on here.

> unwritten premiss to your points seem to be that precise word for word constancy needs to be present for these texts to be constant with eye wittiness testimony

I don't think anybody's claiming that John pretends to be an eye witness to the tomb opening; after all, he said only one woman was there, so clearly he wasn't there himself. Obviously there's a lot of hearsay in the gospels.

But the events of easter morning, and my other favorite example, Jesus's last words before dying, are really really absolutely crucial. These are the fundamental parts of the whole new testament, and the whole christian faith.

The fact that all of the gospel writers get these wrong, is actually kind of a big deal. Read some more Bart Ehrman. This is actually the main topic of Jesus, Interrupted. Regardless of the fact that Jesus seems to have different personality traits in the different gospels,

How are we supposed to treat this book as the word of god, when it's clearly the fallible work of men who didn't even bother to get their story straight, and who can't remember the simple details of the most important events of their lives?

u/mormonminion · 3 pointsr/exmormon

Bart Ehrman takes an objective look at the New Testament, basically debunking the entire thing. Jesus Interrupted is excellent.

u/Borealismeme · 3 pointsr/atheism

Firstly, let me introduce you to's index of creationist claims with the correlated rebuttals. The transitional fossil notion is one that has been debunked time and time again, get your sister to read CC200 and CC200.1 and try to rebutt those points. When she admits she can't then get her to promise never to repeat this ridiculously stupid argument again. Ever. We're tired of this one being brought up when it was debunked literally decades ago.

The Prophecies of Daniels are so vague as to be interpretable to mean just about anything you wanted. And no, the bible isn't backed up and proved by history. Buy her a Bart Ehrman book.

The evidence of the big bang is in fact THE WHOLE FUCKING UNIVERSE. And no it isn't proven. The thing about talking about events that happened billions of years ago is that we didn't have video cams set up to TIVO it. As such, we're forced to do things like exhaustive surveys of background radiation and try to piece the puzzle of what happened together. This is hard work, and hard science and your sister is welcome to find raw data and try to compute it herself. If she doesn't, then she really has no background or business or knowledge to critique the work of those who have. She's talking out her ass. Even further, even if we had no idea what happened instead of the rather good idea that we do have, then our answer would be "we don't know what created the universe". Because with science, when you don't know the answer to something, the best answer is "I don't know", not "Let's make up an invisible sky fairy and say he did it".

The word "true" doesn't apply to radiometric dating. It is based on sound science and it is accurate. Again, she's talking out of her ass. Tell her to prove that atom decay is somehow magically inaccurate and then we can talk. Also, since there are radiometric dating methods for a number of different elements, it's hard to see how she can claim every single one is faulty, and yet still enjoy the comforts of nuclear power, since the principles that drive a nuclear power plant are the SAME EXACT ONES that drive any (and every) other radioactive isotope.

u/Strid3r21 · 3 pointsr/exchristian

I'd highly recommend [Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible] (

u/Khufuu · 3 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

Bart Erhman's Jesus Interrupted

or many other popular books by the same author

u/Beaver1279 · 3 pointsr/religion

Read this.

u/SaxonySam · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis:

>In the beginning, the everlasting God spoke both time and the universe into existence.

Gary Baxter, A Defense of the Bible:

>God did not have a beginning as He is outside of time.

Norman Geisler, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association:

>As Creator, God is as different from the universe as an architect is from his architecture.

CS Lewis, Mere Christianity:

>[Christians] think God invented and made the universe—like a man making a picture or composing a tune. A painter is not a picture, and he does not die if his picture is destroyed.

There are many more examples, but these should illustrate the point. This sentiment appears to be relatively common among evangelical and fundamentalist Christians.


>People love just making stuff up.

That's why arguments need to be honed to combat their ideas, and why I commented as I did: OP's argument won't be effective on such people.


Edit: clarification

u/etrnloptimist · 2 pointsr/Parenting

Not sure if you're really interested in getting into a disucssion about this, but CS Lewis wrote a very excellent book called Mere Christianity which I would highly encourage everyone to read, whether Christian or atheist.

In it, he basically says what you said -- that the Golden Rule dictates how we interact with others.

But he also made the broader point that you need more than that to be a good person. He talks of having a moral compass even when nobody else is around.

For instance, if you were on a desert island, where there is no other living being, there still exists both moral and immoral behavior. No action of yours could possibly hurt or be influenced by another person.

However, even though the Golden Rule does not apply in this situation, it is still possible to be a good or a bad person. You may lead an unhealthy lifestyle. Eat too much. Drink too much. Don't exercise. Be filled with self loathing or self importance. None of these would affect another person. They are all personal vices. What principles, then, govern your behavior in these circumstances?

u/IRedditbe4 · 2 pointsr/Christianity

We all have doubts. It's part of being human and being a Christian. As you mentioned you are still looking for truth and are open to the idea of theism. I would just recommend a few books for reading that are great intellectual reading about the subject. That being: The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism and The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus
as well as anything by CS Lewis notably [Mere Christianity] ( and Screwtape Letters.

All the best in finding truth friend, and although you may doubt Him (even as Apostles, greatest evangelists, martyrs, missionaries also did) I would not advise ruling out Christ just yet.

u/dichosa · 2 pointsr/atheism

Does she believe in a literal bible? I really like this one: Misquoting Jesus You don't need the hardback but I was too lazy to look further.

u/Omegastar19 · 2 pointsr/AskReddit

Misquoting Jesus, by professor Bart D. Erhman. Its a wonderful book that gives a solid introduction to New Testament historiography, specifically written for people who do not know a lot about it. I recommend reading it.

u/BloodSoakedDoilies · 2 pointsr/politics

WHAT??? Changing the Bible to suit the environment??? Say it ain't so!


I HIGHLY recommend the book Misquoting Jesus. After reading this scholarly analysis of the origins of the books of the Bible, you will be shocked that anyone still believes anything in that book.

u/saltedwyfe · 2 pointsr/atheism

I highly recommend Bart Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus.

The author is a biblical scholar who started off as an evangelical christian, but realized he was an agnostic during his graduate studies.

u/KlueBat · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'm convinced his photocopier is broken.

You have no idea how dead on you are here. I'm just finishing up with a reading of Misquoting Jesus and I can say that the book we call the Bible today bares only a passing resemblance to the letters the original disciples wrote to early Christians.

So many things were changed over the years due to typos, transcription errors, good intention corrections, as well as flat out changes to match the agenda of a scribe who happened to be copying.

Read this book and you will never look at the Bible the same way again. This goes for the those who are religious as well as those whom are not.

u/mavaddat · 2 pointsr/atheism

Funny you should ask, since that is the subject of his latest book.

In short, yes, Ehrman believes that there was a first-century Jewish man named "Yeshua" (the proper English transliteration of the Aramaic ישוע, which we incorrectly call "Jesus") who made messianic claims, garnered a sizable following among his fellow Jews, and was probably crucified.

However, Ehrman has made a career out of demonstrating exactly how the New Testament is unreliable as a source of historical information (see for example, Misquoting Jesus or Jesus Interrupted).

If you're interested to learn more about his new book, here is a brief reading he did for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

For more on Ehrman's opinion on the reliability of the Gospels, see his debate with fellow New Testament scholar Craig Evans.

Hope that helps!

u/Independent · 2 pointsr/history

I really like history books that don't at first seem to be history books, but are explorations of societies sometimes seen through the lens of a single important concept or product. For instance, Mark Kurlansky has several books such as Salt; A World History, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World, The Basque History of the World, Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea that teach more history, and more important history than is usually taught in US public schools.

History need not be rote memorization of dates and figures. It can, and should be a fun exploration of ideas and how those ideas shaped civilizations. It can also be an exploration of what did not make it into the history books as Bart Ehrman's Lost Scriptures: Books that Did Not Make It into the New Testament or his Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why and Elaine Pagels' The Gnostic Gospels attest.

I don't wish to come across as too glib about this, but I feel like the average person might well retain more useful knowledge reading a book like A History of the World in 6 Glasses than if they sat through a semester of freshman history as taught by most boring, lame generic high schools. I feel like often the best way to understand history is to come at it tangentially. Want to understand the US Constitution? Study the Iroquois confederacy. Want to understand the French? Study cuisine and wine. Want to understand China? Study international trade. And so it goes. Sometimes the best history lessons come about from just following another interest such as astronomy or math or cooking. Follow the path until curiosity is sated. Knowledge will accumulate that way. ;-)

u/iamazreal · 2 pointsr/IAmA

>However even when humans transcribed the Bible (Paul, Moses, Matthew, David, Solomon etc.) wouldn't that simply be inspired by God through humans?

First of all these humans typically were not the ones writing the Bible. They were orally transmitting the words to scribes. With that said, If (and I say if not really believing this to be possible) we say that these original speakers had the exact words inspired from God we are still dealing with about 1000 layers of abstraction. Firstly the scribes may have written the original words incorrectly (ok no big deal a few words were out of place or slightly different). The period for about 200-300 years directly following the death of Christ (supposedly the period when all of the books were written although we don't have hardly any fragments from these years bigger than a business card) Christians were heavily persecuted and their writings were destroyed frequently. Under this type of pressure, a huge amount of changes were likely made. So let's just say (completely implausibly at this point) that some fairly error free versions made it past all of this then the Bible as we currently know it begins to get formed. Half of the books/letters that people have been using for the past 200+ years are thrown right out of the window because they do not fall in line with the beliefs of the decision makers. Ok, let's assume that the people making the decisions about which books make it into canon are completely correct. Then they decide to translate these into latin. When they do this, they decide to use the more common newer versions of the texts rather than the older (closer the original events) versions. This is where it really starts to get rough. We currently have machines and that old adage copy of a copy. Well they had scribes and monks copying text over and over again. Not only were these scribes responsible for this, they were also life-devoted theologians. All of them having differing opinions about the meaning of some of the text. With this said many of the ancients copies read more like commentaries. I could go on and on, but it should suffice to say that the origin of the Bible is suspect at best I find it hard to believe that these processes could be inspired. This is especially troublesome for those that teach that the word for word English translation of the Bible is absolute truth

>I'm curious as to which theological courses (or articles) in particularyou studied that would put the falliability of the Bible into light?

No courses in particular. It was the books that I read that surrounded the courses that really brought it all to light. The biggest influence was learning greek and studying the origins of the gospel of John. If you want a super light summary reading that will at least give a you a glimpse into what I'm saying you may want to read misquoting Jesus

EDIT: Note that everything I said only applies to the new testament. The Old Testament is even worse in this regard, but most protestants don't care much for that half of the Bible anyway :).

u/ifihadasister · 2 pointsr/atheism

Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman.

u/harassed · 2 pointsr/atheism

I'd go get yourself a copy of "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart D. Ehrman which I think is probably the most damning indictment of the bible as "literal truth" there is. Basically, it describes the fact that there are more DIFFERENCES between different known versions and translations of the bible than there are actually words within the whole New Testament. By showing how many scholars, scribes and others have changed, reworded or added their own beliefs to the various versions of the texts over the centuries, it pretty much proves that the bible is most certainly not the inspired word of god but the flawed work of of man.

Here's a link to a talk Mr Ehrman gave:

And here's an interview on NPR:

And here's the Amazon link (which has a look inside thingy):

u/BearnardOg · 2 pointsr/atheism

Mom needs to read "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Dawkins. If she has actually unhitched her reasoning from the yoke of religion, then there is no way that she can make it through that book and still doubt that evolution is a fact - which it is.

Dad is trickier. He seems to be at the stage where he thinks "church is bad, but god is good." I was there for a long time myself. If he is a reader, maybe you could turn him on to the works of Bart Ehrman, especially "Misquoting Jesus". If you can get him in front of a computer for 90 minutes, the YouTube series "Why I am no Longer a Christian" by evid3nc3 is mind-blowingly good.

But better still, you read and watch these things and master their content. Then present the arguments to your folks because it sounds like they want to listen to you.

u/joejance · 2 pointsr/atheism

If I recall, at least 3 of the books are believed to be based on 1 original work, which itself probably post-dated the supposed existence of Jesus by many years. It has been a while since I read it, but I believe Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman discusses this.

I found this article on Wikipeida while trying to remember which books:

Sometimes it's difficult to keep track of all of this nonsense while living your life.

u/FeChaff · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Since you know about Richard Carrier I would assume you already have read some of the well known Anti-religionists like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, Dennet, Stenger, etc. If you are talking about secular biblical scholarship and historical analysis there isn't anyone who keeps me interested as much as Carrier, but I haven't read much in that subject. Some others include Robert Price and Bart Erhman.

There are several good essay compilations by John Loftus which are more generally directed at Christianity. They include essays by Carrier and Robert Price and a number of other secular thinkers. The Christian Delusion I think is the first in that series. Hitchens's The Portable Atheist is another good collection which includes older writing aimed at all religion. Bertrand Russell is a great, too.

u/VaccusMonastica · 2 pointsr/Christianity

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

Book Suggestions:

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

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

u/czah7 · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

The books mentioned. Amazon Zombie bot should be around to reply shortly.

"The Bible Unearthed" by Israel Finkelstein.

"Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman

"Forged" by Bart Ehrman

u/plaitedlight · 2 pointsr/exchristian

I'll just encourage you to give yourself time and recognize that this might be something like a grief process. It is exciting and amazing to suddenly see so much of the world and people more complexly. But there is real loss associate with leaving the religion of your youth. Be kind to yourself.

Some resources that really helped me:

podcasts: Life After God; Voices of Deconversion

youtube: CrashCourse Big History and World Mythology; Pale Blue Dot and Humanity (short speeches by Carl Sagan)

blogs: cstroop

books: Pure; Jesus Interrupted (or really anything of Ehrman's) (these are Amazon links, but local libraries are a great option)

u/cashmeowsighhabadah · 2 pointsr/exjw
u/jasoncaspian · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

Sweet. Pretty much any book by Ehrman is super easy to read. He's an amazing author. My two favorites by him are Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them) and How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee if you feel like exploring him further.

Please let me know if you or your mother have any questions. I love discussing these topics.

u/seifd · 2 pointsr/atheism

If the Bible is the word of God, it'd have certain properties. I'd expect it to be right about the history and nature of the world. All evidence suggests that it isn't. Biblical understanding of history and nature is right in line with what you'd expect from ancient people.

I would expect God to be able to keep his facts straight. The Bible does not. From what I've read, scholars seem to have a pretty good handle on who wrote the various parts of the Bible based on the agendas revealed by these contradictions.

Finally, if the Bible was the word of God, all his prophecies would come to pass. They have not.

Finally, I'd like to note that there are Biblical scholars that hold this view. They include Robert M. Price, Bart D. Ehrman, Richard Elliot Friedman, and Burton L. Mack. I guess they're all misinformed too. If only they had studied the Bible.

u/B_Master · 2 pointsr/atheism

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

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

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

u/tannat · 2 pointsr/atheism

Check up exodus on wikipedia, archeology references.

Or this book:

u/Michamus · 2 pointsr/atheism

The Bible Unearthed by Prof. Israel Finkelstein (CV)

It was the second result.

u/SayItLikeItIs · 2 pointsr/Israel

> No, it actually isn't.

Again the bald assertion devoid of evidence. "Indigenous" means "originating in an area". The Israelite ethnic identity originated in a very specific area: the north-central highlands, which is not within the modern State of Israel. We've already discussed some of the evidence, and I provide more below. If you have evidence to support a claim that the Israelite ethnic identity emerged somewhere other than the north-central highlands, or even simultaneously in the north-central highlands AND somewhere else, please provide evidence.

> Your link says "Arab (Palestinian)". Completely consistent with what I've been saying, which is that Palestinian Arabs are Arabs who live in Palestine, not different ethnically than Jordanian Arabs or Syrian Arabs.

Then why specify "Palestinian"? What the Wikipedia article actually says is that "Arab (Palestinian)" is an ethnic group. I don't really care if you call the ethnic group "Palestinian" or "Palestinian Arab" or "Arab (Palestinian)". The point is that it is a distinct ethnic group, part of but not the same as the "Arab" ethnic group.

> the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation

A group of people can't simultaneously have one ethnic identity and be part of a nation? Evidence please.

> I don't know enough about Russians to comment, sorry.

Do you know enough about the Jews to comment on this statement: "Jews are Semites, which means they are not a separate ethnicity from the other Semites - agreed?" I notice you conveniently skipped over that one.

> Come back when you have real evidence, not some biblethumpers.

The fact that they were biblethumpers doesn't inherently make what they say untrue. I thought it was a useful summary, but there's plenty of additional evidence.

Finkelstein and Silberman: "These [new archaeological] surveys revolutionized the study of early Israel. The discovery of the remains of a dense network of highland villages — all apparently established within the span of few generations — indicated that a dramatic social transformation had taken place in the central hill country of Canaan around 1200 BCE. There was no sign of violent invasion or even the infiltration of a clearly defined ethnic group. Instead, it seemed to be a revolution in lifestyle. In the formerly sparsely populated highlands from the Judean hills in the south to the hills of Samaria in the north, far from the Canaanite cities that were in the process of collapse and disintegration, about two-hundred fifty hilltop communities suddenly sprang up. Here were the first Israelites." (p. 107)

Apparently one of the indicators of the emergence of this new culture in the highlands was the lack of pork remains in the highlands, whereas there were a lot of pork remains in archaeological sites in other area: "Facing the “enemy” or “other” (i.e., the Philistines) who came from the southern coastal plain (and originally from the Aegean world), the highland settlers reinforced a “contrasting” identity that stressed components that were very different from those of the Philistines. Since the latter consumed pork,the Israelites made the avoidance of pork into a“flag” that was used to show how different they were."

Then there's the Egytian stele, which Wikipedia describes thus: "The name Israel first appears in the stele of the Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah c. 1209 BCE, "Israel is laid waste and his seed is no more." This "Israel" was a cultural and probably political entity of the central highlands, well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony, but an ethnic group rather than an organised state."

Despite the above-mentioned conflict with the Philistines, there's less evidence than I expected of a violent conquest, so it's possible, despite the evidence of Procopius, that the Israelites weren't actually conquerors of the State of Israel. To me, the evidence isn't conclusive either way on the "conqueror" question - thanks for prompting me to look into this; I like to learn new things. But ALL evidence points to the Israelites originating in the highlands, which makes them not indigenous, and therefore foreign to the State of Israel.

I'm very curious what you're going to come up with to try to counter this. I'm sure you'll come up with something. What do they say about Zionists? "Using evidence like a drunk uses a lamppost: not for illumination but for support." Sigh.

> Doesn't sound much like they are willing to share.

There are other ways to share besides chopping Palestine into ethnically pure pieces. The Palestinian Arabs were quite willing to share - i.e., continue to live side-by-side with the Palestinian Jews they'd been living with for generations; they just didn't want to be dominated.

Or does "sharing" mean "not identifying your state with the majority ethnic group"? So for example, a people who were good and decent and willing to share would not refer to themselves as, say, "the Jewish state" when there was a non-Jewish minority?

I would really like to understand the different between the First-Class Land Rights of "indigenous" people and the Second-Class Land Rights of other people. All you've said is that they're "superior". What does that mean? Does a single "native" person have the right to boot out every non-native person? Or take 10%? Or what?

u/53R63 · 2 pointsr/exjw

I'm reading The Bible Unearthed at the moment. Pretty much covers the early history of ancien Israel up to the return from the Babylone. A great read so far.

u/bdwilson1000 · 2 pointsr/ChristianApologetics

What modern archaeology says about the bible events:

And yes, the Documentary Hypothesis (non Mosaic authorship) is the current consensus in the field. I have not read any books on it myself, but you can read an overview of it here:

u/Parley_Pratts_Kin · 2 pointsr/mormon

Read these books in this order:

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

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

    Now, after reading these, return and report and give us word.
u/mudgod2 · 2 pointsr/changemyview

Linking to wikipedia but it has references to the authors / historians

"On the one hand, it is not possible to write a historical biography of the Prophet without being accused of using the sources uncritically, while on the other hand, when using the sources critically, it is simply not possible to write such a biography." - Motzki

By sources he means Islamic sources.

It's like you can't accept the Bush or Trump (or Clinton) narratives as true without going to third parties / other means of verifying what happened and what's true.

Similar wikipedia link about the Exodus that links to other primary sources

Here's a book by archaeologists about the exodus

u/SwordsToPlowshares · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Someone else recommended NT Wright, and while I think that's very good scholarship his tome on the resurrection is a very tedious read and for the most part just a huge overview of what people in the ancient Mediterranean world believed about the afterlife. I guess you could skip those parts and only read the conclusions and the last couple of chapters, though.

I'd mainly recommend Mike Licona's "The Resurrection of Jesus: a New Historiographical Approach". It's also a very long read, but more to the point on this subject and very carefully argued. Also, The Jesus Legend by Boyd & Eddy is a very good read on the reliability of the gospels in general.

u/best_of_badgers · 2 pointsr/AcademicBiblical

N.T. Wright wrote a quite lengthy book about it.

u/2ysCoBra · 2 pointsr/philosophy

>our religion, ie: for Judaism

I was under the impression that you didn't believe the Torah. Do you?

>Put up or shut up.

I'm not sure how you would like me to, but I'll list some resources below. If you would rather delve into it by having a strict dialogue between the two of us, that's cool too. I may not be able to respond quickly every time, depending on how this carries forth, but I'll do what I can. As you mentioned, your soul is "at stake and all that."

Gary Habermas and N.T. Wright are the top two resurrection scholars. Michael Licona is also a leading scholar on the resurrection debate. Philosophers such as Richard Swinburne and Antony Flew have even shown their faces on the scene as well.


u/Ellemennohpee · 2 pointsr/atheism

> Also on the first page of Genesis, God says "Let US make humankind in OUR image, according to OUR likeness". Wait, I thought there was only ONE God according to the bible? The "majestic plural" crossed my mind, but that isn't used anywhere else.

Have you ever read A History of God by Karen Armstrong? Amazon Link. It does a good job explaining this.

There are actually tons of references like this in the old-testament/torah to the polytheistic religion that Judaism grew out of.

u/adamwho · 2 pointsr/atheism

For information about how the old testament has been rewritten many times to reflect changing cultures and beliefs see A History of God by Karen Armstrong or a [nice video covering some of the issues](

u/Darth_Whatever · 2 pointsr/Christianity

Karen Armstrong's A History of God

u/Gregoriev · 2 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

The history of Jewish hatred is basically attributed to, as mattosaur said elsewhere in the comments, usury. However, it goes beyond that to another factor (or really set of factors): Jews have, historically, had a (relatively) small, tight-knight, endogamous community with views and practices considered barbaric and something selfish or unaccepting (before the rise of Christianity, the Roman empire charged a Jewish tax after the Roman-Jewish war for those who kept wanting to practice their faith. Before that, though, the mood in Greece and Rome was that all gods had some element of truth to them so they readily embraced other gods, like the Egyptian and British (Welsh now, I guess) pantheons of gods. Judaism has held, since the historic adoption of monotheism into the religion (a fascinating affair by itself, which you can learn more about by reading A History of God by Karen Armstrong or watching it summarized by the YouTuber Evid3nc3 in his wonderfully calming voice), that one of Yahweh's name is Jealous, for he is a jealous god, and that you can hold no others. As a result, they seemed somewhat odd to the all-accepting Romans/Greeks/Egyptians. Christianity obviously disliked Judaism for their lack of accepting of the supposed messiah, Jesus, as well as the issue of usury later on in Europe, and the issues with Blood Libel and the argument that Jews killed Jesus directly.

u/Dudesan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Always glad to help.

If it's not available in your Friendly Local Lending Library, check out here:

u/Muzak__Fan · 2 pointsr/atheism

Atheist here, but I study the Bible from a cultural/historical perspective. You are correct, but you could expand on the reasoning a little more. In Abraham's time, people were polytheistic (i.e, pagan). Monotheism as a concept had not been developed yet.

Human sacrifice to gods was a common practice then, and families would usually sacrifice their firstborn son because it was believed that the fertility god would use up much of his power on the first child specifically. The sacrifice was thus thought to restore the god's power.

When Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac to god (specifically, the god El), he did so without question because this would not be against the norm. At the last minute, El stops the ritual, not just because Abraham had shown his faithfulness, but also to demonstrate that El was more powerful than the other gods at the time and such human sacrifices were unnecessary.

Of course, the basic story itself makes no sense to us now because we project our own sense of morality onto the past, even if we do not understand the context of the time it was written. Still, just because someone is an atheist does not mean he is more educated than the theists who actually believe this stuff. Educate yourself.

Source: A History of God by Karen Armstrong

u/skankingmike · 2 pointsr/AskReddit
u/ATmega32 · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Here's a shelf cracker for you. I read this book in early 2000's and the similarities within these seemingly different religions are remarkable.

u/g33n · 2 pointsr/self

I've been asking myself some of the same questions, so I picked up A History of God and started reading.

I don't think there's anything pathological about your experiences or not praying, but the age at which you changed your habits may have something to with it. I was not tremendously religious as a child, but I did something similar - I could never sleep, and would always go down to tell my mom as much, and all she could do was send me back to my room. So, I started trying to banish my demons, literally - I imagined the earth floating in space, demons approaching from all directions, and there I was, in my bed, the sole defense against them. So I'd muster up all of my will and imagine releasing it, a tremendous blue sphere pushing the demons away, back to where they were the night before, so that for the next 24 hours at least the earth would be safe.

I understood even at this young age that these weren't actual demons; I understood that I was creating a metaphor and trying to resolve it in a way that could let me sleep. But I kept doing it night after night, and it didn't help any.

I've realized that, since then, I took to sleeping on my front. I thought it let me sleep easier, but that, too, came at a cost - as an experiment, I tried sleeping on my back again this month, and found myself waking up more quickly, fully, and more refreshed than anytime in the last ten or so years. I think what I had taken to doing was practically suffocating myself to sleep - I think the weight of my body was causing me to breathe more shallowly and fall asleep more easily, but also costing me rest. So I'm back to where I was in my teens: how do I banish the thoughts and worries that plague me at night?

Two responses, then.

One: If you're spiritual, read something like the book I suggested above and take to heart the ideas of a more transcendant deity than the one that Western Christianity favors. God is not personal; it is aspirational.

Two: No matter your religious views, consider practical meditation: prayer, buddhism, thinking about unsolvable problems in your favorite domain (for me, it's P vs. NP). Thinking about something that is impossibly hard to grasp, but that is interesting, can make the buzzing go away and allow you to fall asleep more easily and more peacefully.

I wish you the best.

u/PrescottSheldonBush · 2 pointsr/DebateReligion

If I remember correctly, according to this book all the gods crawled out of a "primordial ooze" of some kind. It was polytheism before it was monotheism. That was adopted from another religion that already existed at the time. Here's a video on Youtube that might cover it.

u/mephistopheles2u · 2 pointsr/exAdventist

Read Karen Armstong's History of God and gain a perspective on how God is a conception (not a perceptiono) of man.

If you want community, try a Unitarian church. Great people and totally open and inclusive with no judgement.

If for some reason you are hung up on Sabbath being the true 7th day, read about the Jewish Calendar and how they kept a lunar Sabbath, not a solar one (even 300 years after the time Jesus is slotted into). So EGWhite's assertion that the Sabbath kept today is the same as creation is utter nonsense.

Give yourself a chance to learn how thoroughly you have been deceived. You will gain a freedom that the church will never provide.

u/Notasurgeon · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

While these are not all specifically about religion, here are a few things that I think everyone should read at some point in their lives.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (this is where the term 'paradigm shift' came from).

Karl Popper on politics

Karl Popper on science

Get some historical perspective on the philosophy of science

The Power of Myth

A History of God

u/rdudejr · 2 pointsr/exjw

I don't want to change your mind - I certainly battle with the concept of a higher power (which I feel is important) being atheist. However you should check out "the history of god". Gives some color into one possibility of why the OT came out the way it did.

Edit: book is called "A History of God"

u/Angry__Engineer · 2 pointsr/atheism

Recommended Reading

A History of God

Check that out.

EDIT: More broader then these are probably what you're looking for:

Religion is Natural

Religion is A Nautral Phenomenom

Since there have been tons of religions, it's kind of hard to fit them all into one book.

u/The_Fooder · 2 pointsr/TheMotte

I'm surprised no on mentioned Jordan Peterson's extensive analysis of Genesis, which may be one of his more useful contributions to the public record, IMO. He views and describes Genesis through the lens of psycho-social development, and makes, what I think is a pretty compelling description of how a person can hear these stories and see themselves within the narrative as protagonists aligned with the ancients seeking a covenant with God (Peterson's definition of God is roughly, that which represents the highest attributes and ideals). If anyone was interested in this reading and this topic, I highly suggest listening to the Peterson lectures; I found them very interesting.

One final thing on this point, Peterson remarks quite frequently about the self-referential nature of the bible, that it has numerous links throughout the text back to other stories and that these should often be taken as updates, revisions and remarks on the original tales. It's one of the things that makes the New Testament so interesting to me because it acts as a commentary on the body of work that had been meticulously edited and passed around for a few thousand years recasting the meaning of the Old Testament as the means to the NT ends, i.e. forgiveness of Sin for our endless bullshit into a new age of grace ennobling us to move forward.

I'd also add that R. Crumb's illustrated Genesis is amazing and really drove home the human element underlining these stories. While his aesthetic is more cartoony than realistic, he's clearly a master of his craft and really drives home the emotion and strife of the various actors and lays out the stories in a fun and thoughtful way.

u/throwawayaccount94 · 2 pointsr/ReasonableFaith

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

I suggest you look at these two books.

u/TradSkeptic · 2 pointsr/exchristian

Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman is a good overview of the evidence.

u/corpsmoderne · 2 pointsr/atheism

I had this argument 1 million times now, but here we go again:

I'm an atheist and I despise Christianity probably as much as you. That being said, I don't let my ideology blur my quest of the historical truth.

While I agree that the evidences for an historical Jesus are weak, I've never encountered a decent mythicist hypothesis explaining what we know about the creation and spread of the early church. Some of these points are:

  • John the Baptist did exist
  • Peter and James the brother of Jesus existed (attested by Paul and non-christian writers), it's hard to be the brother of an invention.
  • the early church was split between a judeo-christian community (lead by James) and a pagano-christian community (maybe lead by Paul), which is very hard to explain if you believe that Paul invented everything, like a lot of mythicists do.
  • Christian groups were present in Palestine, Egypt, Anatolia, Greece and Rome as soon as 60 CE

    > a book that's been translated and rewritten several times.

    The NT is not one book but a collection of books, some of them interrelated, but the historicity of Jesus is attested by several independent sources:

  • Paul
  • Mark
  • the (hypothetical) source Q
  • John

    There is no evidence that any of these books were translated: they were all written in Greek. Some of them probably used Aramaic sources, but none of these original sources survived. Yes, most of them experienced several stages of writing.

    For a serious take on what secular historians think about this issue :

    ninja edit: as a conclusion, I respect "weak mythicists" who are just saying that we can't extract biographical information about Jesus from the NT, even if I disagree with them, but hardcore mythicists are just irrational, driven by their ideology.
u/LolaRuns · 2 pointsr/Austria

>Es ist nicht historisch gesichert, dass es diesen Jesus überhaupt gegeben hat.

Das ist eine typische völlig sinnlose Herangehensweise die auch nur für Leute die verliebt in Gedankenexperimente sind interessant ist. Bart Ehrmann (der übrigens eher aus der Skeptikerposition argumentiert) nimmt das in seinem Buch ziemlich gut auseinander. Occams Razor sagt es hat einen Jesus gegeben weil er Spuren in der Geschichte hinterlassen hat. Nur weil wir wenig sicher über sein Leben sagen können bedeutet nicht dass wir nicht ziemlich sagen können dass etwas JesusVonNazarethförmiges in dieser Zeit existiert und eine größere Menge an Menschen schwer beeindruckt hat, weswegen sie angefangen haben über ihn Bücher zu schreiben. Wir wissen über die überwältigende Mehrheit der Menschen die zu dieser Zeit gelebt haben wenig (ie jeder der nicht wichtig genug war um eine Statue von sich zu bauen oder eine Münze über sich zu drucken), das heißt nicht dass sie nicht existiert haben.

Das neue Testament ist ein historisches Dokument ihrer Zeit (= die Zeit ein wenig nach JesusVonNazareth). Nur weil sie in vielen Details unzuverlässlich ist (was übrigens Ehrmanns Lieblingsthema ist: dass die Bibel unzuverlässig ist, aber in vielen Fällen auf sehr vorhersehbare Art und Weise) ändert das nicht dass sie ein Dokument ihrer Zeit ist (er geht auch lang und breit darauf ein warum wir über viele andere Figuren die wir als historisch betrachten oft nur eine Quelle haben oder nur stark unzuverlässige Quellen, zb weil die nur von Feinden geschrieben worden sind, weil die Gruppe der die Person angehörte selbst noch keine Schrift hatte). Und dass Leute nicht ohne Grund anfangen Bücher zu schreiben und communities zu gründen => Und dass keine der Alternativthesen eine glaubwürdigere, fundiertere Erklärung liefert warum da plötzlich um diese Zeit herum Leute angefangen haben sich seltsam zu benehmen.

> Ich hab halt den Eindruck, solche Nachrichten zielen darauf ab, Gläubige Menschen zu bashen, oder harmloser ausgedrückt, sie in ihrem Glauben herauszufordern.

Hast du den Artikel überhaupt gelesen? Der tut doch eher das Gegenteil, er nimmt sich dem gängigen Vorwurf "Momo = pedo" an und erklärt basierend auf Quellen was der Kontext war und was noch in Momos Leben abging. Das meine ich mit dass es hier zwei Gruppen mit unterschiedlichen Motivationen gibt. Ich glaube nicht dass es der Sinn des verlinkten Artikels ist dass er gläubige Menschen bashen will, er wendet sich eher an/gegen Leute die das so machen indem er aufzeigt was seiner Meinung nach Fehler in deren Argumentation sind.

>Religion ist sowas widerspeuchsvolles und kompliziertes, da hilft es nicht auf Widersprüche hinzuweisen, die sind längst rationalisiert oder überhaupt nicht relevant.

Das mag so sein aber ich würde behaupten dass es erstens sehr wohl zweifelnde Menschen gibt und die wenigstens Menschen so sind dass sie nur rational oder nur emotional sind. In den meisten Menschen existiert beides und zweitens dass es in der Regel die Religionen SELBER sind die versuchen ihre eigene innere Ableitungslogik zu geben. Darum gibts ja überhaupt christliche und islamische Theologie. Was tut die denn anderes als schon seit Jahrhunderten an verschiedenen Zitaten rumzuwichsen?

u/PM_ME_GHOST_PROOF · 2 pointsr/dankchristianmemes

Ha, thanks!

I'm familiar with the debate you speak of -- but this is a different, very real, very stupid debate from people who believe Jesus didn't exist. Like I said, they're pretty much antivaxxers: they latch on to bits of misinformation which they use to argue a fringe position, and wage war on anyone who dares disagree. They've also taken over a lot of the atheist community. Here's a debate where Bart Ehrman (a Bible scholar I really like) debates mythicist Robert Price. Ehrman also wrote a whole book refuting the hypothesis. Here's another massive resource refuting mythicism from redditor and historian u/timoneill.

u/red1dragon588 · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

As a heads up, historical Jesus is a FAQ on the /r/AskHistorians wiki.

I don't have much to add, so I'm not sure if this will qualify as a top-level comment, but I hope this answers your question, as these answers are all well-written and sourced. Additionally, a book that is often recommended on this topic is Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman.

u/Searchery · 2 pointsr/religion

>Actually, there still is no consensus in archeology if he actually existed.

That's not true. The vast majority of serious historians of ancient history agree he existed. That doesn't mean they all agree with Christian faith claims about him – there are plenty of Jewish, atheist, agnostic, etc., historians who reject Christian claims that Jesus is divine or rose from the dead, but still agree that he was a real historical person, a 1st century Jewish religious teacher who was crucified by the Romans, and the religious movement he founded evolved into historical Christianity. See, for example, Bart D. Ehrman's book "Did Jesus Exist?". (It is worth noting that Ehrman is an ex-Christian and an agnostic, but he still maintains the scholarly consensus supports Jesus' existence.)

Christ myth theory is almost entirely amateurs (or people who are experts at fields other than ancient history dabbling outside their sphere of professional competence). There are close to zero serious academic historians who support it.

>That said, the set of evidence that does most align with him probably existing has him being High Priest Yeshua of the Essenes

That's a speculative fringe theory, it isn't mainstream scholarship.

u/squonk93 · 2 pointsr/DebateAChristian

The "Jesus" of Christianity is largely fabricated, I agree.

But, reading Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman convinced me that Jesus of Nazareth existed, taught stuff, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

I like what ex-Evangelical blogger Neil Carter says about the historicity of Jesus:

>When climate change deniers want to insist that our actions have no impact on global temperatures, they display a remarkable disdain for an entire discipline populated by credentialed professionals in that field who say otherwise.  It doesn’t seem to bother the deniers that they themselves have no specialization in the academic field they disparage because in any field of study there will always be at least some small contingent who go against the consensus.  The existence of those outliers is justification enough for the deniers to say, “This business is far from certain, you know.  Just look at these four people who disagree!”
>That’s how I feel when people in the skeptic community argue that Jesus never existed.  They are dismissing a large body of work for which they have insufficient appreciation, most often due to the fact that they themselves have never formally studied the subject.


Honestly, I don't remember the evidence that Bart Ehrman brought up to prove that Jesus was real. But Ehrman is an agnostic NT scholar who vociferously opposes those who deny the existence of Jesus. Most scholars agree that Jesus at least existed, and Ehrman explains why.

u/harlomcspears · 2 pointsr/AskHistorians

When you say "historicity," are you talking about whether or not Jesus existed or what the historical Jesus would have been like?

Bart Ehrman, an atheist, has a book on the former that pretty well represents the consensus of historians that Jesus did, in fact, exist.

I haven't read this, but this book looks like it might be a good intro to the historical Jesus. I don't know all of the scholars on this list, but the ones I do know are good, and it shows a spectrum.

u/ckwop · 2 pointsr/atheism

Read this book. It deals with this topic in detail and it's written by an agnostic.

The overarching thesis of the book is this: Paul actually met Jesus's brother James. James must surely have known whether or not Jesus existed!! James being Jesus' brother is attested to in multiple gospels which were written by independent people.

The idea of a suffering saviour seems natural to us now only because Christianity is ubiquitous today. Back then, it was nothing short of a heresy. It is not a "natural" myth that would have been expected in a Jewish community. The messiah was meant to restore Israel through battle.

That is the book in two paragraphs. The justification for these claims is quite complex and I won't make his argument for him here. Just read the book.

u/Mablun · 2 pointsr/exmormon

Why Evolution is True

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

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

Guns, Germs, Steel

The God Delusion

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

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

u/OddJackdaw · 2 pointsr/DebateEvolution

Jerry Coyne has an entire wonderful book rebutting Creationism and at the same time laying out all the evidence for, well, Why Evolution is True. While I don't remember anything specifically about biodiversity, if you want to address the most common creationist arguments, it is the best go-to book.

u/DRUMS11 · 2 pointsr/Columbus

Go read Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. It's an excellent book that answers every single one of your objections, with plenty of citations that you can actually go look up for yourself.

edit: See also, the Nova special on the Dover Intelligent Design trial in which, more or less, proponents of creationism put up their best defense and are crushed.

u/scarydinosaur · 2 pointsr/atheism

Many things can be explained better with evolution. Evolution is a theory, in the scientific sense, and that means it's veracity is tested by current and emerging evidence. If it didn't have the explanatory power for most of the evidence then it wouldn't be so popular. So it certainly doesn't explain everything, it just explains the data we have so far. There are countless things we simply don't know yet.

If you're open to understanding the core aspects of Evolution, please read:

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

Why Evolution Is True

As for freewill, it depends on the atheist. Some believe in free will, while others don't think we actually posses it.

u/carpecaffeum · 2 pointsr/askscience

How about "Why evolution is true" by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne? It's meant to be accessible to pretty much everyone.

u/jjberg2 · 2 pointsr/askscience

In what sense do you consider Dawkins "biased" such that any other writer on the topic of evolution wouldn't be? The Selfish Gene is quite probably the best introduction there is to evolutionary concepts for someone at your stated level of education, and any beliefs or positions that Dawkins might hold that you may consider "bias" will be held by just about any other author on this topic. It's just that he's the loudest, so that's why you've heard of him.

That said, I have heard very good things about Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True, although I have not read it myself.

u/Kralizec555 · 2 pointsr/atheism
u/MekkaGodzilla · 2 pointsr/atheism

If you feel you don’t know enough about biology, you might be interested in reading:
Your inner fish
Why Evolutions is True

u/SomeRandomMax · 2 pointsr/TrueAtheism

Personally, I find the subject of Evolution fascinating. Almost no subject causes more disagreement in our society today, yet at it's core it extremely simple and almost trivial to understand the basics. People go out of their way to misunderstand it, which is amazing considering just how simple it really is.

There are lots of great books on the subject, but I personally recommend the book Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. It is easy and clear, and presents all the overwhelming evidence in a straightforward manner.

u/Dathadorne · 2 pointsr/evolution

This is a great resource: Why Evolution is True, Jerry A. Coyne

The easiest way to do this is to present the data with some really great examples in this book, and to argue that it at least looks like life on earth has evolved from a common ancestor.

If you can get them there, then most of the work is done.

u/city-runner · 2 pointsr/exchristian

LeAgente answered things better than I could. Also I was thinking of checking out these books that relate to your first question:

Why Darwin matters: the case against intelligent design

why evolution is true

I haven't read them, but took note to maybe read them (probably through this subreddit I heard of one). It seems like they're geared towards people who were raised without much education on evolution or from YEC backgrounds. Reviews said they laid things out well. You may be interested.

Also...if anyone has read these...what'd you think? Any other recommendations?

u/idigdigdug · 2 pointsr/Judaism

Lots of comments here trying to argue that you're "doing Judiasm wrong" or "not hard enough" ("Of course mitzvos aren't fun... that's the point!") so I'll offer the kofer perspective.


  • Start a blog (if kids do that these days, tumblr?) and write about your thoughts and ideas. The process will help you figure out what you think. You will also get feedback from readers who will challenge you and help you sharpen and defend your point of view. Google phrases like: jewish skeptic blog, orthoprax, frum skeptic. You'll find a whole community of people asking the same questions you are.

  • Do the mitzvos that you find meaning in. Try alternatives to mitzvos that turn you off to Judiasm. For example, I get nothing out of davening so when I go to shul I bring a book that offers some personal or spiritual growth and read that on Shabbos instead. (I do not go to shul during the week).

    Here's a bunch of stuff I've found informative in my personal journey:

    Skeptic reading:
  • On the origin of the Torah - Who Wrote the Bible by Richard Elliott Friedman
  • On the origin of the Universe - A Brief History Time by Stephen Hawking
  • On the origin of people - Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne

    Skeptic viewing:
  • To see a pair of magicians aggressively attack illogical thought - Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (if you don't have Prime just YouTube it).
  • To see a bombastic, arrogant, smart, funny atheist debate R' Boteach - Christopher Hitchens and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach Debate on God - There a lots of these on YouTube. Many are worth watching.
  • Mythbusters - A good place to be entertained and learn how to attack a question/problem analytically.

    Skeptic Listening:
  • This American Life: 290: Godless America Personally, I found Act Two with Julia Sweeney particularly meaningful.