book list

These are books about faith and belief that I read during the year I was leaving conservative Christianity. I have little write-ups for most of them, but just put a list here ’cause it was starting to look a mess. Feel free to let me know if anyone would like a brief review or recommendation about any of these.

The Bible – a Biography, by Karen Armstrong
Through the Narrow Door, by Karen Armstrong
Guide to the Bible, by Isaac Asimov
real live preacher, by Gordon Atkinson:
The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus Borg
Leaving Fundamentalism: Personal Stories, by E. Dann editor
What Did the Biblical Writers Know and when Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel, by William Dever
Misquoting Jesus, by Bart Ehrman
The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, by Bart Ehrman
God’s Problem, by Bart Ehrman
Lost Christianities, by Bart Ehrman
Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris
Reason for God, by Tim Keller
The Blue Parakeet, by Scot McKnight
The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, by Bruce Metzger
The New Testament Documents. Are They Reliable?, by F.F. Bruce
Faith & Doubt, by John Ortberg
Fundamentalism and the Word of God, by J.I. Packer
The Origin of Satan, by Elaine Pagels
The God Who is There, by Francis Schaeffer
Crazy for God, by Frank Schaeffer
Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism, by John Shelby Spong
Resurrection: Myth or Reality, by John Shelby Spong
Why People Believe Weird Things, by Michael Shermer
How We Believe, by Michael Shermer
Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel
Leaving the Fold, by Marlene Winell
When Faith Meets Reason: Religion Scholars Reflect on Their Spiritual Journeys, Charles W Hedrick editor

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. The Jesting Fool  |  April 3, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    I have read a few of these. I think in particular of Metzger’s work on textual criticism, because it was my study of this subject in college that became a major prompter of my apostasy.

    My education focused on theology and biblical languages, so a lot of the books that forced me to think differently about my faith were theological in nature. For me, James Barr’s “Beyond Fundamentalism” helped give structure to the doubts I was already beginning to have when I read it. I would recommend it to anyone whose religious investigations are grounded in the study of theology.

  • 2. temaskian  |  April 6, 2009 at 11:36 pm

    I, too, enjoy books by Bart Ehrman and Isaac Asimov very much.

  • 3. freestyleroadtrip  |  May 13, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Recently read “Crazy For God” by Francis Schaeffer. Awesome book. He understands exactly what I understand about growing up in fundamentalist Christianity. Have written several posts on it. One of my favorites.

    I Lee Strobel’s stuff is mostly junk though. He starts from the position he wants to defend and then retroactively goes after proof. It’s not objective. I’m sure it’s useful for some, and it was for me about 8 or so years ago. Junk now though.

  • 4. atimetorend  |  May 13, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Crazy for God has been maybe my favorite read this year, he writes very well. I can imagine it would hit close to home for someone growing up conservative Christian, I can appreciate that part but it’s not my experience. What is especially amazing is that not only did he grow up that way, but he grew up surrounded by the very people who were making conservative evangelicalism what it was. Fascinating, the tension he portrays in his father between the hard line doctrines and his zeal for life.

    Strobel is a great author to read if you want to be convinced that conservative Christian apologetics are not worth the time of day. The problem with Strobel is that he is disingenuous. It really seems that he is lying about what his books are. Why say they are “hard nosed investigation,” just to trick people?

  • 5. Kevin  |  February 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I also enjoyed Isaac Asimov a lot, although I think this particular work is probably a bit out of date.

    Two books (not on your list) that made a recent impact on me was John Loftus’ Why I became an atheist and Richard Carrier’s Sense and Goodness Without God.

  • 6. DoOrDoNot  |  August 4, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Wow, you read alot in a year. What books influenced you the most? I’m trying to decide what to read next. There’s just not enough time to read it all.

  • 7. atimetorend  |  August 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Hi, thanks for stopping by. I read rather obsessively that year, I was rather obsessive, thus the volume. Tough question to answer, I’ll have to put down a few:

    Why People Believe Weird Things, by Michael Shermer — provided support for the use of rational thought to figure things out.

    God’s Word in Human Words, Kenton Sparks — similar too Peter Enns’ “Inspiration and Incarnation”, the book provided a sound basis rejecting literalism and a fundamentalist “inerrency” of bible. I have yet to finish this book, it is a lot like Enns’ I&I book, but *much* more in depth (and longer). I think it goes a step further in a liberal direction than I&I.

    Fundamentalism and the Word of God, by J.I. Packer — hardened my resolve to separate myself from this type of doctrine! I would not really recommend reading it though. Some quotes here, my blog is a conceited affront to grace.

    real live preacher, by Gordon Atkinson — taught me that a person can be a Christian without the evangelical trappings and forced beliefs. It gave me an appreciation for this variety of Christianity. Most of the essays are available online.

  • 8. Yewtree  |  September 21, 2010 at 2:10 am

    I’ve only read the Karen Armstrong on that list – but I am coming at it from a different direction. I completely rejected the Bible aged 15 due to having stopped being a fundamentalist, and have only started to appreciate it from a more balanced perspective over the last few years.

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