An interesting read by clinical psychologist Hector A Garcia which looks at the failings of religion from a psychological perspective. How gods are created in the likeness of man and more particularly, the Alpha Male characters, prevalent in the Middle East around the time of the establishment of the Abrahamic religions.
Asimov’s Guide to the Bible
As always, this brilliant author, brings a new dimension to the Bible with his very methodical approach to put the bible into its historical context. He examines why much of the bible doesn’t appear in historical texts and vice versa. Possibly the most comprehensive study of the biblical texts every undertaken.
The Bible Unearthed
The authors reference a vast knowledge of archeology in compiling a book which seeks to separate biblical fact from fiction. The Bible Unearthed examines biblical stories ranging from Exodus to David and compares these to what the evidence tells us.
Yes. Surprise! Another Carl Sagan book on the list. Cosmos was my introduction to the wonders of the universe. Cosmos may be a little dated, having been published originally in 1980, however Carl's writings on the search for knowledge and man's scientific achievements, remain as relevant today as ever. No collection of books for atheists and skeptics would be complete without it.
The Demon-Haunted World
Sagan challenges western education systems and the lack of focus on scientific studies. He fearlessly attacks pseudoscience in all its forms and questions a world where crystals, auras and astrology attract more attention than geology, medicine and astronomy. This is our number one choice in the top 10 books for skeptics.
Einstein's Relativity and the Quantum Revolution: Modern Physics for Non-Scientists
I have to start by saying two things about this book. Firstly, I cheated and listened to the audiobook on Audible, which is narrated by the author and is absolutely intriguing. If like me, you have come across the concepts of Relativity and Quantum physics at various stages of your education, any chance to go back there and listen to someone knowledgable on the topic is worthwhile. Also, there is no direct religious reference in this book, that I can recall. I still think that anyone who wants to understand more about the universe we live in would to well to have a read! (ummm, listen).
The End of Faith
Sam Harris takes a look at how man has been predisposed, neurologically, to superstition throughout the ages. He suggests that the human desire to attach deep meaning to a belief in a particular deity is becoming more and more dangerous in the modern world. Fundamentalism is on the increase and is inherently more dangerous than in earlier times. Harris hopes for a more secular world and encourages us to work actively to keep organised religion out of our institutions.
For Small Creatures Such as We
The title of the book is taken from a quote by Sasha Sagan's famous father, Carl Sagan (Contact). Coming from the secular background of her parents Carl and Ann Druyen, Sasha writes in a compassionate, yet direct style similar to that of her father. In fact, this book would not be jarring to someone who is religious. She focuses on the power of ritual, even for her secular family and puts a unique slant on many common religious rituals, to maintain a sense of community and cultural identity.
Flights of Fancy
Ever wanted to know more about one of the most amazing adaptations resulting from the evolutionary process? The ability to fly, both as a means of survival and as a result of human imagination surely is one of the most incredible adaptations to have come about. This fascinating book by Richard Dawkins examines the ability of "defying gravity by design and evolution."
The God Delusion
Richard Dawkins, the scientist and philosopher, pulls no punches as he takes on god and religion in The God Delusion. Unlike many other authors who are more tolerant of individuals’ personal choices Dawkins provides no place to hide for the religious.
God is not Great
A great review of the major religious texts to highlight their obvious flaws and inconsistencies. Hitches promotes a preferred secular option and his desire of a world based on science and not medieval beliefs.
When I was growing up and began asking questions about my faith, this is the book that would have made a world of difference. It answers all the questions I had about the bible and the historical Jesus. How did we end up where we are today? Well, Ehrman comes pretty close to explaining it all!
An Officer and a Spy
What a great historical novel about the Dreyfus affair! So why is this book in a list of books for atheists you may ask? The answer is simple. In this true story, Georges Picquart, the main character is an atheist. If ever you are asked whether atheists can act with good moral judgement, here is a man who puts his life through absolute turmoil in order to do the right thing!
Outgrowing God: A Beginner's Guide
Outgrowing God is a masterful piece of writing. This is the book I wish I could have read 10 years before I finally became an atheist. It elegantly answers many of the questions I had asked myself (and many I’d never even considered) in the most insightful and well-constructed way. I have no doubt it would have accelerated my own deconversion process.
Pale Blue Dot
Carl Sagan beautifully crafted masterpiece Pale Blue Dot, describes the future of our species and our fragile planet. He examines mankind’s role in their destruction and stewardship and considers our options for a future in space.
Skeptic: Viewing the World with a Rational Eye
Completing our top 10 books for skeptics list is a compilation of essays by Michael Shermer (written for his column in Scientific American) in which he debunks pseudoscience in all its forms. This book is great for anyone who loves science and in particular for us skeptics!
Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
Mary Roach takes a fresh look at the topic of the afterlife. She looks at a number of experiments and contemporary research taking place to understand whether there is proof of any existence after this one!
In this brilliant book, Bill Nye introduces the concepts associated with evolution and the scientific view of creation. He tackles some of the religious proponents of young earth creationism (YEC) with well constructed arguments, and hard evidence.
Why I Became an Atheist
John W. Loftus, once an evangelical Christian and preacher, candidly talks about his journey from Christianity to Atheism in this insightful book. Addressing all the challenges and questions along his journey, he paints a compelling picture for others to follow.
Why There Is No God
Whilst there is nothing earth-shattering in the content "Why There Is No God" does a good job of covering the key counter-arguments to the usual challenges that most atheists will have encountered before. Each counter is laid out in a a structured approach. They cover topics range from "the burden of proof" and "scripture as proof" to "morality" and "the complexity of life".
Why We Believe In God(s)
Each chapter succeeds in providing compelling explanations for our need to believe in something greater than ourselves and the answer is clear. We have evolved and developed to believe in god(s) which explains why, in so many societies, religions have developed independently of each other.