I received an email today about my book from Andrew Atkinson who is a well read person, and you know I cannot resist:
I was raised in a Christian Fundamentalist home my whole life. From one through 12th grade I was home schooled, and was taught everything through the Christian fundamentalist lense. After High school I attended a hyper fundamentalist place called Honor Academy. At Honor Academy I gained interest in philosophy and Christian apologetics and decided to dedicate my life to Christian apologetics. I am 23 now and since then I have read hundreds of Christian Apologetics books. I have read all of Lewis, all of Schaeffer, all of Peter Kreeft, all of Dr. Geisler's books, including his encyclopedia A-Z twice, and his Systematic Theology twice, I have read Plantinga, McDowell, Craig, Ravi, Moreland, Holding, Swinburne, N.T Wright, Paul Copan Etc. I was until recently enrolled at Dr. Geisler's school to study apologetics and philosophy.Thank you very much. It helps me to know I've helped others. To answer your question, the Prometheus Books edition is a massive revision of this one you now recommend.
This year I decided in order to be fair and honest to read all the top skeptical books on religion. So I did some research and made a list of over 100 books. I am now at book 76 and consider myself a confident Atheist. Your book was one of the first I read. I was drawn to it since you were an apologist. Your book was the first skeptical book I read that made me seriously realize that I could be dead wrong! I strongly encourage you to keep on writing, the market is very strongly in need of literature like yours.
I think your book is the best overall refutation of Christianity written, especially at the popular level. I think your book is superior for multiple reasons.
1. Its scope and coverage is more exhaustive on issues crucial to Christianity then other books.
2. You anticipate objections from Christian philosophers and theologians that most skeptics do not, due to their lack of familiarity with the other side.
3. The book packs so much in such a little space, it has amazing brevity and at the same time brilliantly dismantles many core Christian beliefs and deals with many central issues that are left out of other works
4.Your familiarity with Christian Theology and philosophy makes you much better at drawing fine and important distinctions that other skeptics miss, due to their lack of expertise in the other side.
5. The personal Deconversion narrative woven through out the book gives it an informal and personal touch that makes it more fascinating to read than other skeptical books. Plus you are the only skeptical author that I know of that was a highly competent Christian Apologist and Philosopher, this of course is another unique feature.
6. Your non-abrasive style sets your book apart from many other skeptic books. You wrote the book in such a way as not to polarize the believer. The average believer would be much more likely to read this book than other similar books due to your respectful manner. This I congratulate you on.
There are many other noble things about your book. But basically what I am saying is that I think you have written by far the best overall refutation of Christianity in print, and that is something to be very proud of. This is the best book to give to a believer. Your book has changed my life, and for that I cannot thank you enough. Now I am going to spend my life helping to educate the public about the truth of religion, and do whatever is in my power to build bridges that would make society more conducive towards secular enlightenment.
Here is a list of books that changed me to a confident Atheist, I have not read all of them yet but will have by the end of the year. This is the list I give to many of my friends.
1. Why I Rejected Christianity; A Former Apologist Explains, by John W. Loftus (Loftus was a professor of apologetics and philosophy, he has three master degrees from conservative schools and he studied under William Lane Craig! And to top it off even Geisler recommends his book! My number one recommendation, absolute must read!) [Update: see below for the extensively revised edition of this book]
2. Losing Faith in Faith by Dan Barker
3. Atheism: The case Against God by Smith( This is the best selling Atheist book of All time!)
4. The Case Against Christianity by Martin( This I consider A must read, it has many interesting points.)
5. The Empty Tomb,( This book is a DEVASTATING critique of The resurrection, it Critiques all the Top Christian Apologetic Arguments in Detail concerning the Resurrection and other Historical issues, a must read.)
6. Jesus is Dead, by Robert Price( This guy has A PHD in New Testament studies, and a PHD in Systematic Theology, he used to be a conservative Pastor and Apologist and now He argues Against All the Top Apologist about historical matters. He has debated William lane Craig , and most other top defenders, here he confronts and attempts to refute all the top defenses of the historical issues. So he takes on Mcdowell, N.T Wright, FF Bruce, Montgomery, Craig, Habermas, J P Holding and other top defenders. An absolute must read. )
7. The incredible Shrinking Son of Man by Robert price ( a very good critique of The Gospels)
8. The Born Again Skeptics Guide to The Bible( This one is very fun to read. The writing style is witty and she makes very many good points.
9. Sense And Goodness Without God by Richard Carrier( this is the best overall defense of naturalism that I have ever read at the popular or intermediate level atleast. This book shocked me with how many good points and answers he had to Scientific Apologetics and many other issues Concerning Christian Theism. This is an absolute must read. Very important book, very brilliant.)
10. Atheism a concise introduction ( Considered by many to be the best intro to Atheism.)
11. The Jesus Puzzle
12. "Challenging the Verdict: A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ" by Earl Doherty
13. Natural Atheism by David Eller
14. The Blind Watchmaker by Dawkins.
15. The Secret Origins of the Bible( Must Read)
16. C.S Lewis and The search for Rational Religion
17. The God Delusion by Dawkins
18. God is not Great by Hitchens
19. Bible Prophecy Failure or fulfillment?
20. What is Atheism?
21. God the failed Hypothesis by Stenger
22. Deconstructing Jesus by Robert Price
23. Breaking the Spell Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Danial C Dennet
24. In Gods We Trust by Atran
25. Religion Explained by Pascal Boyer
26. Has science found God? The latest results in the search for the purpose in the Universe by Stenger
27. Value and Purpose in a Godless Universe by Erik J. Wielenberg
28.How We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God (second edition) by Michael Shermer
29. Gospel Fictions by Randel Helms
30.The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts by Neil Asher Silberman
31.Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris
32. The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy by C. Dennis McKinsey
33.Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians by Jason Long
34.Atheism & Philosophy by Kai Nielsen
35.Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam by Michel Onfray
36.An Intelligent Person's Guide to Atheism by Daniel Harbour
37.Like Rolling Uphill: Realizing The Honesty Of Atheism by Dianna Narciso
38.God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong by S. T. Joshi
39.The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris
40. The Age of Reason Thomas Pain (MUST READ)
41.Treatise on the Gods (Maryland Paperback Bookshelf) by H. L. Mencken
42.Holy Horrors: An Illustrated History of Religious Murder and Madness by James A. Haught
43. Kens Guide to the Bible(This one is funny)
44. The reason driven life by Robert Price
45.Russell On Religion (Brilliant)
46.Dialogs on Natural religion by hume ( absolute must read)
47. God and the Reach of Reason: C.S. Lewis, David Hume, and Bertrand Russell
48. Why I am not a Muslim
49. The Jesus Mysteries Was the Original Jesus a Pagan God?
50. Critique of Religion and Philosophy by Waulter Kaufmann
51. Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation
52. looking for a Miracle Joe nickell
53. Doubt: A History
54. The Quotable Atheist: Ammunition for Non-Believers, Political Junkies, Gadflies, and Those Generally Hell-Bound
55. Why Atheism? by George H. Smith
56. The Necessity of Atheism by David Marshall Brooks
57. Atheism: A Beginner's Handbook: All you wanted to know about atheism and why
58. The Faith Healers
59. The Bible Against Itself: Why the Bible Seems to Contradict Itself
60. The faith of a Heretic
61.The Atheist Debaters Handbook
63.God The Devil And Darwin by Niall Shanks
64.Critiques of God; making the case against God
65. The Dark side; How evangelical teachings corrupt love and truth
66. Walking away from faith; unraveling the mystery of belief and unbelief
67. Dictionary of Atheism
68. Philosophers without Gods
69.The essence of Christianity Ludwig Feuerbach
70. Believing in Magic; The psychology of superstition
71. The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God
72. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
73. The Science of Good and Evil: Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule
74.Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
75. Putting away Childish things
76. Transcendental temptation by Paul Kurtz(Good overall defense of skepticism towards religion and the paranormal)
Here is a list of the best advanced skeptic books.
1. The Wisdom to Doubt; A justification of Religious Skepticism. (This book is very profound. It lays the foundations for complete religious skepticism better then I thought possible. An absolute must read. A unique book. By The way this one is not that hard to read.)
2. Arguing About The Gods (Considered by Many to be the best and most sophisticated discussion on arguments for and against God so far!)
3.Atheism: A Philosophical Justification By Martin (Was The most Comprehensive Atheist book before Oppys came out.)
4.The Impossibility of God by Martin (Important Top Notch collection of Articles discussing the apparent logical Incoherence of the Concept of God)
5. The Improbability of God by Martin by Martin(Another important collection of articles on God)
6. The Miracle Of Theism by Mackie (was considered the top defense of Atheism ever, until oppys book, but this book is shorter and easier to read.)
7. Nonbelief and Evil (Argues powerfully against the Existence of God as Traditionally conceived.
8. Logic and Theism by Sobel (Hear Is what A professor from Calvin College said about this book)
"A time-line of the currently relevant skeptical books on the philosophy of religion that, at the time of their publication, became the skeptical book most fruitful to study would begin in 1975 with William Rowe's THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT, if the time-line included both specialized books and comprehensive books. In the interests of brevity and relevance to Sobel's book, a time-line only of the comprehensive books can be described. In 1982, John Mackie's book, THE MIRACLE OF THEISM, became the comprehensive, skeptical book most fruitful to study. In 1990 Michael Martin's comprehensive book, ATHEISM, took prime of place, followed almost immediately in 1991 by Richard Gale's ON THE EXISTENCE AND NATURE OF GOD. In 2004 a new, comprehensive book became the most important of the current skeptical treatises, Howard Sobel's LOGIC AND THEISM. A reader of this book may justifiably finish it with the belief there is a high probability Sobel's book will retain this position for many years to come."
9. The Non-existence of God by Nicholas Everitt ( Very Good book, a must read)
10. The Nature and Existence of God by Richard M Gale
11. God and The Burden Of Proof by Keith Parsons
12. The Cambridge Companion To Atheism
13. Atheism, Meaning and Morality by Martin
14. Suffering Belief: Evil and the Anglo-American Defense of Theism
15.Can God be Free? By William Rowe
16. Arguing for Atheism by Robin Le Poidevin (Intermediate)
17. The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief edited by Tom Flynn ( What Geislers Encyclopedia is too Apologists this is to skeptics. This is an absolute Must have.)
18. The Evidential Argument from Evil (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) by Daniel Howard-Snyder
Please do not stop writing, the world needs to hear your thoughts. Thank you for all the effort you have made on behalf of the truth.
I received an email today about my book from Andrew Atkinson who is a well read person, and you know I cannot resist: