Spiritual Summer Reading

The Detroit Free Press’ David Crumm put out his list of the top 10 spiritual books to read over the summer. Guess which book is on there…?!

Since the list is in “no particular order,” and I’m in the middle, I’ll just assume they meant to say I was number 1 but they randomized the list to be polite to the others :)

In all seriousness, Crumm writes a very concise, kind description of the book:

Atheist books are everywhere this year, but Mehta’s is unique. He’s a young atheist whose clear-eyed critique of America’s religious culture is written with remarkable compassion.

By the way, I’m almost done with Christopher Hitchens’ book God is Not Great. Anyone have any suggestions for what I should read between now and when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out?


[tags]atheist, atheism, Detroit Free Press, David Crumm, I Sold My Soul on eBay, Hemant Mehta, Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows[/tags]

  • Mriana

    By the way, I’m almost done with Christopher Hitchens’ book God is Not Great.

    I’ve been wanting to buy that book and read it. How is that book? Is it a good read? Is it worth buying?

    Have you read any of Acharya S.’s books? I don’t know if you enjoy mytholoogy or not, but you may enjoy her books.

  • John

    Here are some books that I highly, highly recommend:

    Life of Pi by Yann Martel
    What is the What by Dave Eggers
    The Kiterunner by Khaled Hosseini

  • http://synapostasy.blogspot.com Aaron

    Have you read the “His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman? It’s a fantastic fantasy story, and it’s rife with humanism themes for good measure.

  • http://www.blacksunjournal.com BlackSun

    How about Gore’s The Assault on Reason?

  • BGyss

    The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon is pretty good, even though I really didn’t like The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay.

  • http://bjornisageek.blogspot.com Bjorn Watland

    If you want to read some comedy, read The Secret.

  • http://michaelkrahn.wordpress.com Michael Krahn

    Highlight reads from the last couple of years for me:

    Marshall McLuhan : Understanding Media

    Douglas Coupland : All Families Are Psychotic – or- Girlfriend in a Coma -or- ok, just read all of his novels…

    CS Lewis : Mere Christianity

    Donald Miller : Blue Like Jazz

  • Mriana

    I took issues with Mere Christianity, which you can read here:

    http://mrianasoriginalfiction.houseofbetazed.com/WhatIsMereChristianity.html

    If it were not for the fact that I had to write it for my C. S. Lewis class, I would have been a little more vocal about my objections.

  • Karen

    I loved Ian McEwan’s “Saturday,” a short novel that’s compelling and has an underlying reason v. mysticism theme. I also second the recommendation on “Life of Pi.”

  • Miko

    If you want to read some comedy, read The Secret.

    But borrow a copy from the library if you do—wouldn’t want to help its commercial success.

    And: Carl Sagan, The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. Because any time an author puts on a new book a decade after his/her death, you know it’s gotta be good.

  • William Birch

    Hemant,

    I just finished your book, “I Sold My Soul on eBay.” There was so much that I agreed with you concerning problems with Christianity. I am a Christian and at times it was painful to read some of your critiques; I was embarrassed that an outsider had to witness irresponsible and harmful attitudes and words. I am, however, very grateful that you took on the task and am glad to know that you have a better or more accurate assessment of Christians; hopefully Christians will have a more accurate view of Atheists! I am going to recommend your book to my pastor when I see him in a couple of days. Christians have a long way to go to reflect what Jesus originally began. People are supposed to see God through His children; at least that is what 1John 4.12 is implying.

    I am not certain whether you have had some of your questions answered, but I hope that you have. Your response toward the end of the book mentioned that it would take a “miracle” for you to believe in God. That is interesting indeed. On pages 90-91, you mentioned “doubting” Thomas. You wrote that “Thomas saw his evidence standing right in front of him,” and that “if Jesus did that to me now, I’m sure I’d change my mind, too!” Yet, Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Those who believe without seeing are blessed” (John 20.29). The author of the book confessed he had recorded such things “so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life [eternal] in His name” (John 20.31).

    Christians who have told you that you must “want” to believe; that you must “open your heart to God;” or that you are “thinking too rationally,” are speaking out of line with Scriptural Christianity. Faith is not illogical. One does not have to turn off his or her mind to believe in God. I am not even sure how exactly one could even do that. But your statement of needing a miracle to happen before you will believe in God (pp. 172-173) is, I believe, never going to happen. Miracles and faith are diametrically opposed to one another. The Bible states that it is only those who have faith in Christ who are considered God’s children (Romans 4). Why does one need “saving?” Why are unbelievers considered “lost?” Because we are sinners. I would like to explain that further, but I do not want to get on your nerves. If you are truly interested in any further dialogue, my email is remonstrants@hotmail.com and my blog is classicalarminianism.blogspot.com.

    Thank you for all that you endured and experienced. I am confident that it will help Christians and non-Christians mentally and spiritually. And thank you for being so cordial; something I wish Dawkins would learn. And hopefully Christians will lose their combative nature as well . . . God knows it gets on my nerves as much as yours!

    Sincerely,

    William

  • Pathfinder

    I would reccomend “Godel, Escher, Bach; an Eternal Golden Braid” by Douglas Hofstadter. It’s a very deep look at patterns, number theory, recursion, music, and how all of these relate to consciousness. It comes with my highest reccomendation.

  • Jonas

    I just finished “Parenting Beyond Belief” and “I Sold my Soul on eBay.”

    Currently waiting for my copy of “God is not Great.” Thinking rereading “Unweaving the Rainbow.”

  • Brian Macker

    “The Excluded Americans: Homelessness and Housing Policies” William Tucker
    This is a real eye opener.

    “The Evolution of Cooperation” Robert Axelrod

    “Atheism the Case Against God” Smith,

    “Freedom Evolves” Daniel C. Dennett

  • William Birch

    Oh yeah . . . forgot: “The Reenchantment of Nature” by Alister McGrath. It’s a cracking read.

  • http://www.drzach.net Zachary Moore

    Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism by Richard Carrier

  • Logos

    An Unseemly Men by Larry Flynt

  • Logos

    If it were not for the fact that I had to write it for my C. S. Lewis class, I would have been a little more vocal about my objections.

    A whole class on C.S.Lewis. How neat, did they talk about his spanking fetish?

  • Mriana

    Logos said,

    May 27, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    A whole class on C.S.Lewis. How neat, did they talk about his spanking fetish?

    No, but that might have made the class more interesting.

  • Logos

    good one! LOL

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    I just bought your book as well as Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason yesterday. There is my late spring reading list!

  • http://www.matsonwaggs.wordpress.com Kelly

    I just bought your book as well as Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason yesterday. There is my late spring reading list!

  • Miko

    Anyone read Monkey Girl by Humes on the Dover trial? It sounds interesting, but I haven’t heard too much about it or gotten around to reading it yet.

  • http://off-the-map.org/atheist/ Siamang

    I read Monkey Girl.

    It’s good, but if you followed the Dover trial at all, you probably know it all, already.

    It’s a good account, but … how do i say this right.. as a popular science book, it doesn’t transcend the event… you know what I mean? It’s not a good BOOK as a book.

    It’s the best single account of the trial out there. Don’t get me wrong.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    If you’ve read Hitchens book, I’d suggest looking up his articles and statements in support of the invasion of Iraq, cluster bombs, impeachment, etc. Hitchens isn’t great, he’s a swine.

    I’d suggest reading up on Cavarka, to see that nothing is new. This extract is pretty skimpy but it will give you an idea.
    http://www.humanistictexts.org/carvaka.htm
    It’s a lot better than the pop-atheism around today.

    Then there is The Woman’s Bible, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton et al. You can find that online too.

    But best of all, Mindfulness in Plain English, also available on line.

    http://www.budsas.org/ebud/mfneng/mind0.htm

    If you’re like me and have bad allergy problems, it might be better to try mindfulness of walking so you don’t have to think about your sinuses.

    Or you could just read Katherine Anne Porter’s Ship of Fools, the greatest novel written by an American to date. Get in on the ground floor of that literary heresy I’m trying to start.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    A whole class on C.S.Lewis. How neat, did they talk about his spanking fetish?

    Show me an English Public School boy without a spanking fetish. How else would you explain Maggie Thatcher? Actually, no. I’d rather not think about that.

    You know, this really is the best atheist blog I’ve yet seen.

  • Logos

    If you’ve read Hitchens book, I’d suggest looking up his articles and statements in support of the invasion of Iraq, cluster bombs, impeachment, etc. Hitchens isn’t great, he’s a swine.

    Just because you disagree with some one does not make them a swine , isn’t that one thing Hemant has taught us?

  • Miko

    Just because you disagree with some one does not make them a swine , isn’t that one thing Hemant has taught us?

    Doesn’t necessarily make him not a swine either. At some point, we need to start wondering whether Hitchens is just trying to be controversial and intentionally divisive.

  • http://olvlzl.blogspot.com/ olvlzl, no ism, no ist

    Miko, I’d suggest, given his career as a backstabber of those for whom Hitchens has no further use that his resurgent career in anti-religion is most probably evidence of him realizing that the Iraq invasion which he favored cannot be seen as anything but one of the stupidest and most criminal acts in the post-war era. He’s a rat leaving a sinking ship. Look at what he said about The Nation, which built a good part of his career, as he saw more lucrative opportunities supporting the Bush junta.

    I’ve got to stop coming here after Atheist Ethicist. My sentences are twice as long a half hour after that.

  • Spin Sycle

    Personally, I’m into Gora right now….so I’d suggest anything by him.

  • Patti Miller

    Listen to Snakes and Arrows by Rush…

    it’s Dawkin’s The God Delusion set to music….

  • Kim G

    Sorry this is late, but I recommend the Pulitzer Prize winning “On Human Nature” by Edward O. Wilson. It’s next on my list.

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