The 2011 Debunking Christianity Challenge

Three years ago I challenged Christians to take the Debunking Christianity Challenge. Luke over at Common Sense Atheism developed a very nice Ultimate Truth Seeker Challenge. Luke equally selects the best Christian books for skeptics to read, which is something I don't do because it's for Christians to pick them rather than me. After all, Catholics and Protestants will choose different books as will Protestants and Evangelicals, or Calvinists and Arminians, so I'm not in the habit of giving preference to one professing Christian sect over the others especially since professing Christians themselves can't agree. Anyway, this year I'm proposing twelve college level books, one for each month. Make it your New Year's resolution to read the other side.

My challenge is for Christians to read our books and test your faith to see if it can withstand our arguments. Hey Christian, what do you have to lose? If the books cause you to become stronger in your faith that's good, right? But if your faith cannot survive our assault then we've done you a favor. No more soundbites. No more reading one blog post at a time. Sit down for yourselves and read through whole books written by the skeptics. So here are the twelve books for this year's DC challenge (if you first read of this challenge during the middle or toward the end of the year just start with first book and read one per month through to the last book on the list):

January: First read my book, Why I Became An Atheist! This book has caused a few educated Christians to walk away from their faith.

February: For a devastating critique of the Christian faith read the first anthology I edited called The Christian Delusion.

March: For another general critique of Christianity read Michael Martin’s book, The Case Against Christianity.

April: On arguments against the existence of God, read Nicolas Everitt’s book, The Non-existence of God.

May: A new book this year if you've never read one on evolution is Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution Is True. You must read what science shows us which has convinced nearly all but the religious conservatives.

June: Turning to Biblical studies in general read Hector Avalos’ The End of Biblical Studies. This is a book I highly recommend, especially if you think liberalism is the answer.

July: Another new book this year is by Thom Stark called The Human Faces of God. While it appears as if he's arguing just against the Christian doctrine of inerrancy (and does a superb job of it), he's doing far more than that. He argues there are not only "scientific and historical problems" in the Bible, but also that there are "moral, ethical, theological, and ideological problems" with it (p. 208).

August: And do not miss Paul Tobin's magnum opus, The Rejection of Pascal's Wager: A Skeptic's Guide to the Bible and the Historical Jesus.This is a massive book deserving of your attention.

September: My new anthology, The End of Christianity, will be available by this month. Of course, I think it's a tour de force.

October: Then see how much of the New Testament cannot be trusted to be reliable by reading Bart D. Ehrman's book Jesus Interrupted. This is probably my favorite Ehrman book where he argues that the New Testament is a human, not divine book.

November: On the resurrection of Jesus, read Robert M. Price and Jeffery Jay Lowder’s book, The Empty Tomb.

December: Finally read John R. Shook's recently published book The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers (and Everyone in Between). This book more than adequately will sum up and further argue for what you've already read, but will guide your thinking about these topics into the future.

Each of these twelve books cites additional works for you to consult to study out in greater and greater detail. There are many books I would've liked to list, but I just limited it to twelve.

If you have already read one or more of these books then simply replace them with your choice of the following ones:

Honorable mention goes to Sam Harris's controversial bestseller The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values

You can then move on to the list Andrew Atkinson provides, as time permits.

I also created a list over at of forty books (but have not updated it recently).

Again, what do you have to lose?

[First posted 11/26/10]