In need of an believer to atheist "conversion kit"'

I was a Christian for 37 years and am now an atheist for the past 4-5 months.  My wife is an open minded Christian.  I believe she is only holding on because of the way family will react. 

She has agreed to consider my point of view via the following:

1 - she will read 1 short book

2 - she will watch one video

She has also agreed to read a paper written by myself covering why I no longer believe.

I am mulling my options.  I was thinking of having her read "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris and having her watch a lecture given by Bart Ehrman on the Bible's errancy.

So give 'em to me!  What are your suggestions as to what to have her consider.

 

 

 

Tags: Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, Hitchens, advise, books, conversion, suggestions, thoughts, videos, More…wife

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Ehrman is a great choice.  Especially since he is not a Mythologist...with all due respect, they are an encroachment of one field onto another.  If you try to take a Christian from the point they accept atheism clear to the conclusion that Jesus did not exist at all then you will fail.  You might want to consider Johnathan Kirsch's Gods Against the Gods:  The History of the War Between Monotheism Against Polytheism 

http://www.amazon.com/God-Against-Gods-Monotheism-Polytheism/dp/014...

And, even though it is not a short book by any definition, I would suggest Alan Segal's:  Life After Death:  The history of the Afterlife in Western Religion.

http://www.amazon.com/Life-After-Death-Afterlife-Religion-ebook/dp/...

Most Christians are simply not aware that modern theology has already disproven and repudiated their immature assumptions.  The gap is not so much as Christianity V Darwin as it is between what is known by the top scholars in the field as opposed to what is actually taught from the pulpits of the churches.  You have to get them past the current opinions based largely on the fundamentalism created in the early 20th Century and what is really known to be true by the top theologians and historians.

There's an old saying...at least old to me...that a Christian who goes through seminary comes out an agnostic.

I emphatically second the recommendation of Ehrman.  He doesn't claim that Jesus never existed (I think that's too much to expect a curious Xian to swallow) but rather that he can show the bible cannot be taken absolutely literally and should be thought of as showing the evolution of a legend built around a (more than likely) actual, but entirely ordinary, human being.

As for the bit about seminary that you quoted--it depends greatly on the seminary in question!  Some are very fundamentalist and don't look at the Bible using the critical methods Ehrman now champions.  Based on my recollection, Ehrman himself tells of going to a fundamentalist one before moving on to his graduate level study at a more "liberal" school.  He didn't run into the agnostic-making stuff until then.

I should have said theologians from real seminaries.  There's a big difference between education and indoctrination. 

Ask her to read letters to Eugenia by D'Holdbach or Superstition in the ages by Jean Messlier

She could look at this video from this former YouTuber. I thought she was very intelligent and she's been through a lot

As far a short books go, Letter to a Christian Nation and Atheist Universe are great and quick reads.

The first five books of the bible...read as though one has never ever heard of god.There is so much horrid disturbing bizarity in them it's nauzeating. Much better than any book on atheism and it shouldn't take too long. Make sure it's a very modern translation. No 'thou' or 'forsake' or 'firmament'. 

Oh yeah, who was it, Winston Churchill or his son?  Who was challenged to read the Bible during WW I by Christians who thought he'd be an easy convert.  He laughed and said "this God fella is a hoot!"

FYI, you might try the New Jerusalem Bible...it's been out for a while now.  It's the only translation I've read that distinguishes between the word translated God (Elohim) in the first chapter of Genesis from the YHWH (singular) of the rest of the Christian scriptures...yes, Virginia, the Christian Old Testament is not the same book as the Hebrew Scriptures...and, even they don't have the balls to translate the word correctly.  Elohim is a plural word, YHWH...the base word...never written or spoken aloud by those of the Jewish persuasion...we get the English word Jehovah.

The accurate translation of the first chapter of the Bible would say:

"In the beginning The Gods created the heavens and earth."

Which fits in nicely with the historical reality of the change from Polytheism to Monotheism...that is to say, tribal religion and religion as a function of the State.  For more on that see

God Against The Gods: The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism by Jonathan Kirsch

http://www.amazon.com/God-Against-Gods-Monotheism-Polytheism/dp/014...

god delusion, end of faith, god is not great

video/movie - The god who wasn't there, religulous (actually these movies just show how foolish they are but it's good)

bonus. go watch mr deity videos.

video/movie - The god who wasn't there, religulous (actually these movies just show how foolish they are but it's good)

The hazard here being that she will either think "that doesn't apply to MY church" or (much worse) that Gary is calling HER foolish by implication.

Those are good suggestions for sometime well after accepting, and internalizing, that there is no god.  Then she might be willing to make the connection between what she used to believe and what is depicted there.  But I just don't see them as helping her get there in the first place.

I think "The God who wasn't there" would serve as an eye opener. A subtle approach won't work on someone that is already in too deep. I believe you  need something strong.  But I can see your point. These days (not just religious people ) get too offended way too easily.

Just spotted this response.  Actually "The God Who Wasn't There" was the one thing in your list I personally haven't seen--but if it's that much like religulous I would tread cautiously.  Religulous I have seen.  Though I enjoyed it I can't consider it serious work, and if I can't, a theist probably would just be annoyed by it.  They'd certainly accuse Maher of cherrypicking. They might in a moment of candor say if that's what they were like, they'd be asshats too, but they aren't like that.

I have read the three books you mentioned, and my first comment does apply.

The broader point I am trying to make here, is that videos and books that highlight the stupid extremes religion can be taken to won't work on a believer.  Even if Xianity were true (which they think is the case), in a religion of 2 billion people you'd still have some nutters and Maher, et. al., found them. 99% of Xians despise Westboro Baptist Church; that doesn't for a minute make them question Xianity though.  They just think WBC is doing it wrong.  And pointing to how bad Islam is or can be won't make any impression on an Xian either; in fact they will probably agree with you.

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