The two best reads for atheists

Considering myself an atheist for at least 3 decades, I have read many a book and seen hundreds of interviews on the topic. I never needed anyone to convince me; I rather think, that following the global political and social developments in regard to world religions is a necessity. The so called 4 horsemen (Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennet and Harris) have definitely achieved a lot in sparking intelligent debates based on philosophy and history alike.

Assuming that one is already of the atheist persuasion I have found that two books I have read – more often than any others – supply me with arguments, knowledge or the necessary snippet to add to a discussion.

These being:

“The Heathens Guide to world Religions” and “The Portable Atheist:Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever”

 

The Portable Atheist

The Portable Atheist:Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever is a compendium arranged by the late Christopher Hitchens

Hitchens has assembled an incredible collection of original texts of importance to atheism. From scientists to politicians to philosophers. Einstein, Darwin, Twain, Elliot and Marx just to name a few. Talking with theists it is always handy to have read this book as especially Einstein is someone who people love taking out of context almost as often as the founding fathers. An enjoyable read especially since the many small essays also make it an easy read to spread out over some time.

The Heathens Guide to world Religions: A secular History of the “one true faiths”

Written by William Hopper this book offers a light way to read into the heavy topic of world religions as they all take themselves extremely seriously. This book in itself has become one of my favourite gifts to give and even religiously oriented friends have enjoyed the read quite a lot.

With a sometimes Monty-Pythonesque humour Hopper approaches and dissects Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism as well as dabbling into some of the lesser known or lesser important religions such as Zoroastrianism. The book is an informative blast. It gives you historical, political and social backgrounds before explaining the rise and establishment of the religions. All that without ever getting boring. Before reading it I looked for religious criticism of the book to see how far to trust the content. To my surprise even religious pages could only see one or two perceived flaws in the book lauding thorough research.

 

 

Having read these two books (aside from many other favourites) has been a bigger help in debates and discussions than any other so far.

Should you have read them or end up reading them after this article: all feedback is welcome

RZ

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