When I moved into my dorm room to start my senior year of college last August, I went on a shopping spree of atheist books with which to fill my new bookshelf. At that point, I had eight atheist books and seven Christian books, and I had seven more atheist books coming in the mail from Thriftbooks (which I highly recommend: I bought seven books for $26!). Since then, my bookshelf has been slowly expanding through gifts from my fiance and romantic trips to used bookstores together on rainy Sunday afternoons, as well as random orders from Thriftbooks. I’ve only made it through four and a half books so far, but of course I accumulate more much faster than I read.
Last August, I purchased the following books:
Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
Why I Am Not a Christian by Bertrand Russell
The Portable Atheist by Christopher Hitchens and various authors
Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne
Mortality by Christopher Hitchens
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett
Atheism: A Reader by S.T. Joshi and various authors
Three of them—Why I Am Not a Christian, The Portable Atheist, and Atheism: A Reader–are collections of essays, although I must say that Hitchens’ The Portable Atheist is the biggest book on my whole shelf, and the least portable. While I’ve read a handful of essays from these works, the only book I finished from this list so far is Hitchens’ Mortality. I wanted to save this posthumous publication for after I’d read at least one other Hitchens book so I could better familiarize myself with him before reading his last words, but Mortality, with its brevity and popularity, called to me one day when I was having a bit of an existential crisis. I never wrote a review of it, but I thought that it was worth mentioning that I read it.
Throughout the year, as well as for Apologetics 101, I added a few pro-theism books as well. I collected the following:
Classical Apologetics by R.C. Sproul
My apologetics teacher made us buy this book for class. We never read it. At all. But I kept it as a reference in case I am ever in an apologetic emergency.
The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel
After learning nothing in Apologetics 101, I went and bought my own books in the hopes of learning the arguments for the existence of God. I recently read this book, and it was . . . terrible. Just completely awful, all the way through. I won’t bore you with the details now, but if you do want the details, take a look at this review post I did a few weeks ago.
The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel
After reading the other Strobel book, I dread reading this one. But it is extremely popular, and it has apparently convinced a lot of people of Jesus’ existence—not to mention that it became a huge motion picture, which I’d like to see, but not until I read the book. I suppose that’s my motivation!
The Proof of God by Larry Witham
This is one of the books that I picked up from a used bookstore. It’s a tiny book about the ontological argument and the life of William Ockham (of Ockham’s Razor), so I suppose that it will be an interesting read.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
I’ve had this book for many years; I actually stole it from one of my older sisters’ bookshelves, because you know they have multiple copies. In my experience it is one of the most beloved books in all of Christian literature, behind the bible. Somehow, I’ve read the first half of it twice and the second half not at all. It’s well written, but not convincing and considerably over-dramatic.
Now onto the good stuff: all of the new atheist books that I’ve been hoarding . . . I mean collecting.
Atheism: A Very Short Introduction by Julian Baggini
Science and Creationism by Ashley Montagu
The Young Atheist’s Survival Guide by Hemant Mehta
The End of Faith by Sam Harris
Why There is No God by Armin Navabi
God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All of Fiction by Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins
I haven’t read any of these yet; most of them are fairly new. They’re a combination of Valentine’s Day gifts, bookstore finds, and Thriftbooks binges. Usually when I go to bookstores, I find books I’m interested in, and then I add them to my Thriftbooks wishlist (warning: it’s very long), because they generally have lower prices even than used bookstores. They also have free shipping!
Which of these books have you read or which do you have? Do you have any recommendations for me to add to my Wish List? Right now I’m reading God is Not Great, but what do you think I should pull from my shelf next?