The Best Atheist Books of 2013

For the past several years, we’ve seen a large number of atheism-related books hit the market. Unlike the books written by the New Atheists, however, the recent releases aren’t just about why you should stop believing in God. They cover different aspects of faith, cater to a variety of audiences, and (most shocking to me) were put out by several different publishers.

Below are my picks for the best atheism-related books of the year. They’re the ones I’ll be referencing for years to come and the ones I would highly recommend to anyone who wants to explore faith with a critical eye.

#9) Beyond Belief: The Secret Lives of Women in Extreme Religions edited by Cami Ostman and Susan Tive (Seal Press, 2013):

We already know religious extremism is bad, but it poses a host of unique obstacles for women. The message is clear: If you’re female, God has a special, shitty role for you. In this powerful book, Ostman and Tive share the gut-wrenching stories of women who belonged to those harmful faiths and managed to break free.

#8) 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian by Guy P. Harrison (Prometheus Books, 2013):

This book is a great ice-breaker for anyone who wants to start a debate with a religious person; it’s also an excellent study guide for Christian apologists who want to tackle atheists’ responses to some popular theological questions.

#7) The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion Book One: The Mormons by David Fitzgerald (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013):

Fitzgerald manages to tell the Mormon story thoroughly, accurately, and critically. If you want a serious, easy-to-read primer on how the faith began, what Mormons believe, and the awful way some believers have interpreted those beliefs, this is your book. It’s also wonderful to have near you when you hear that unexpected knock on your door from a couple nice-looking gentlemen…

#6) A Manual for Creating Atheists by Peter Boghossian (Pitchstone Publishing, 2013):

This is the most academic book on the list — it was written by a philosophy professor, after all — but unlike other books in that genre, this one is all about making theological arguments accessible to the masses. This book will equip you to flip the faith of anyone who wants to debate you on religion.

#5) The Ebony Exodus Project: Why Some Black Women Are Walking out on Religion — and Others Should Too by Candace R. M. Gorham (Pitchstone Publishing, 2013):

We know the church plays a powerful role in the African-American community, but Gorham raises an important question: Why do black women pledge allegiance to a church that has been so damaging to them? By speaking with black women who have broken free from the church structure, Gorham shows us there’s a way out, but it’ll require a lot of brave people willing to break with tradition and lead the charge.

#4) Drunk with Blood: God’s Killings in the Bible by Steve Wells (SAB Books, 2013):

God is a homicidal maniac and Wells has quantified His bloodlust. By documenting every instance of God-induced death in the Bible and giving us the death total (and educated estimates when exact numbers aren’t available), Wells shows us the dark side of the Good Book.

#3) Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor’s Journey from Belief to Atheism by Jerry DeWitt with Ethan Brown (Da Capo Press, 2013):

This is an honest, heart-breaking look at a man who gave his life to God only to realize he had put his faith in a myth. But it’s also a story of redemption. If DeWitt can find hope after faith, there’s hope for other pastors, too.

#2) Atheism for Dummies by Dale McGowan (For Dummies, 2013):

Don’t let the title fool you; this book is for people who know nothing about atheism as well as for those of us who live and breathe it every day. Far from promoting non-belief, this is a fantastic guide for anyone who simply wants to learn more about atheism, in both historical and modern context.

#1) The Skeptics Annotated Bible by Steve Wells (SAB Books, 2013):

It’s Steve Wells’ second book on the list and an easy selection for my #1 book of the year. After being a go-to reference for atheists for years, Wells finally got around to publishing a print version of his popular website — and what a beautiful final product it turned out to be: Leather-bound, easy-to-read and cite, and with plenty of space to add your own marginal notes. If you have to go to church, this is the Bible you want to bring with you!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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