Atheistically Speaking Book Club discussion

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Book Club > Which books should we read?

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message 1: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 61 comments I've created a poll for the first set of books suggested by Thomas. Go Vote!

Which books should we read next?


message 2: by Jared (new)

Jared Mackinnon | 12 comments I voted for 'Pale Blue Dot' for the selfish reason that it was the one I could get from my local library, but they all seem interesting enough. In the future I would like to engage with books written by more theistic authors, as a way of being challenged and having more to talk about, especially with a group of atheist minded folk. I'm at a loss as to what those books would be. One book on my 'to read' list is True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer


message 3: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 61 comments Jared wrote: "In the future I would like to engage with books written by more theistic authors, as a way of being challenged and having more to talk about, especially with a group of atheist minded folk. I'm at a loss as to what those books would be. One book on my 'to read' list is True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer"

That book looks really interesting. I'd like to read it too. What's with the reviews on it? They're mostly in Arabic.

I would also be interested in reading books by theistic authors, but I'm afraid they would make me want to throw the book across the room in frustration. I usually read on my phone, so I don't think that would end well. But you're right, I think that could be really great with this group.


message 4: by Ben (new)

Ben Kamal | 8 comments Pretty much all of the theistic books I've read have been novels. I'd be tempted to nudge the group in the direction of a certain Fydor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky but I suspect that might meet with some resistance.


message 5: by Danielle (new)

Danielle | 61 comments Ben wrote: "Pretty much all of the theistic books I've read have been novels. I'd be tempted to nudge the group in the direction of a certain Fydor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky but I suspect that might meet with s..."

I started reading The Brothers Karamazov a few years back. An acquaintance of mine was raving about how good it is, and it looks really interesting: "The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia"

One of the brothers is an atheist, and I was really interested to hear arguments from that time period. However, partway through it's revealed that the atheist character completely believes in god, he just hates god. That's apparently what an atheist is. I got frustrated with it at that point and couldn't keep reading it. I would love to finish it someday though.


message 6: by Ben (new)

Ben Kamal | 8 comments I've read it. I found it pretty turgid, mainly because Aloshya is so hatefully dull and most of the story is around him. However I would perhaps like to try again at some point with a different translation.

The theistic strain in Dostoyevsky's work posits that God is necessary for morality and that atheism is a part and parcel with nihilism. However the arguments that some characters make retain their validity despite the flaws of those characters. This has lead some people (I'm thinking of the translators Pevear and Volohonksy) to say that we really can't be sure what Dostoyevsky's true opinions were.

However in all of his books theism seems to win out but it is up to the reader to discern what the consequences of that are.

I do get your frustration at TBK. I'd try "Crime and Punishment" or "Demons" instead.


message 7: by Danielle (last edited May 10, 2015 07:39PM) (new)

Danielle | 61 comments I added a poll for our next book, which we'll start mid-June. It's set to run about two weeks, so go vote. Here are the books:

Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett Freedom Evolves by Daniel C. Dennett
The Greatest Show on Earth The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins
The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar
The True Believer Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
The Emperor of All Maladies A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Better Angels of Our Nature Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker

The poll has some of the books from our group bookshelf along with the second place book from our first poll. I'll keep books in future polls if they get more than a few votes, but feel free to re-nominate books here if you want another chance. There are a lot of good books to choose from, and hopefully we can get to them all eventually. Otherwise, I'll keep adding books nominated here or in our bookshelf, roughly in the order they're nominated.


message 8: by Jon (new)

Jon | 14 comments I would like to read some Christian apologetics, maybe Reasonable Faith (3rd edition): Christian Truth and Apologetics or God?: A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist. I hesitate to suggest Alvin Platinga as his books might be too scholarly but they would certainly be fascinating. Does anyone know of any Islamic apologetics? I know very little about Islam so anything on that subject would be nice. Another book that I have been wanting to read is The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond The Grave. Changing subjects I have always wanted to read a book by Mary Roach. Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife or Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void are examples but all of her books look like fun.


message 9: by Jascollins (new)

Jascollins | 8 comments It seems there's a whole faction here that wants to read apologetics. I'd like to speak up on the opposite side.

I'm not opposed to the occasional Christian work, but I think a steady diet of that would get REALLY old for me.


message 10: by Jared (new)

Jared Mackinnon | 12 comments I'm not to keen on apologetics, but I'm sure there has to be a decent book out there that has a real argument for theism that could give us some good fodder for discussion. Wishful thinking.


message 11: by Shannon (new)

Shannon (votesaxon) | 7 comments Oooh I'd like to read some decent apologetics. Good idea!


message 12: by Jay (new)

Jay | 8 comments I would like to include books that are pro theism and/or critical of atheism. We should be willing to seek out opinions we may not agree with so we can understand them and not be guilty of overwhelming confirmation bias, a trait we see all too often amongst theists.


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