Books

Sam Harris and his readers have compiled a nice list of recommended reading on his site. There is lots of great stuff here:

Sam’s Recommendations

Reader Recommendations

This is a place where, for those of you that still read those words things that are printed on paper and bound together in a particular order… you can find out which ones we recommend. We’ll even try to give you a brief description and reviews from us and other critics.

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution

The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (affiliate link)

By Richard Dawkins (470 pp.)

CRITIC’S REVIEW: (SEE FULL REVIEW HERE)

To biologists and others, it is a source of amazement and embarrassment that many Americans repudiate Darwin’s theory and that some even espouse counter theories like creationism or intelligent design. How can such willful ignorance thrive in today’s seas of knowledge? In the hope of diminishing such obscurantism, the prolific English biology writer Richard Dawkins has devoted his latest book to demonstrating the explanatory power of evolutionary ideas while hammering the creationists at every turn.

ATHEISM RESOURCE REVIEW: We found this book to be an important work that helps people question their methods of critical thinking. Dawkins newest book is definitely one of his best for it’s exploration into previously discussed topics that were brushed over. This is a must read for any “searching atheist” or fans of Dawkins… which probably already own a copy.

Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality

For more than three thousand years, religions of all kinds have injected themselves into our sex lives. Yet, no one has ever systematically examined why religion is so interested in what we do in the bedroom. Why are all the major religions so interested in sex? What benefit to religions gain by creating arbitrary rules about sex and sexuality? Why is religious sexuality so opposed to our biological nature?

Religion distorts sexuality. The majority of religious people live one life for the public and another in private. It can be as simple as living as a “happily married Christian couple” when you are both miserable with your sex life. As a good Christian, Muslim, Buddhist or Mormon, you must deny and pretend that you don’t masturbate, all the while “abusing yourself” regularly. You must condemn pornography even as you use it. You must preach against lustful thoughts even if you can’t avoid them. You must condemn your spouse or others for certain sexual ideas, thoughts or preferences even when you have them as well. You must tell your children how bad premarital sex is even when you had several sexual partners before you were married. You must show forgiveness for the sexual indiscretions of your religious leaders even as they condemn you for doing the same. In sum, most religious people live a double life.

This book shows how religion uses our sexual nature against us to control us and perpetuate religion. It outlines the psychological strategies religions use to bind us to a specific religion using techniques like guilt, shame, fear of death and promise of an afterlife. Religion would have you believe sexual restriction is for your good and happiness, but the evidence shows it is largely for the benefit of the religion, without regard to human happiness. How did human culture exist for thousands of years before Yahweh, Jesus and Allah came along? If religion is so important to sexual control, how do so-called “primitive” cultures exist happily for thousands of years without Christianity, Islam or Hinduism to guide them?
Sex and God shows how sexual restrictions are used by all the major religions and why it works so well, especially in subjugating women and children. It also shows what you can do about the sexual programming you received from your religion or the religious culture you live in. It explores how to identify and avoid religious psychological traps that inhibit or condemn you for being a normal human being. Living as an ethical and considerate sexual person is critical in today’s world. This book will show you how to live ethically without the distortions of religious sexuality.