Hello everyone! I'm very new to a lot of things in the atheist world and came across this website via twitter and slowly been doing research and thought putting out a forum for you guys may help me more so here's my situation:
I never grew up in a church family so christianity was never forced upon me, although most of my family believe in an all-knowing god. I never really put much thought into religion and there being a god. A couple years ago (i'm 20 years old now) I went to this 'come as you are' church service for a few weeks and didn't really like it because I didn't care about all that. Furthermore, these past several months I have been wondering more into it and asking questions and talking to some of the smartest people I personally know. As of right now, I more-so consider myself agnostic, maybe borderline atheist only because I'm still new to atheism. Being in the situation I am in, what would be some good suggestions to further my education on atheism? I definitely know thats the direction I'm going into. I was maybe thinking of reading Hitchens 'God is not Great' but I would also like reasons of doubt for christianity so I can get a full grasp of both and really "know my enemy".
Some feedback would be very helpful and greatly appreciated!
As well as the excellent texts mentioned in the previous post, also get a copy of "Demon-Haunted World" by Carl Sagan, "The God Delusion" by you_know_who, "God Is Not Great" by Chris Hutchins and a fascinating archeological look at the Old Testament read "The Bible Unearthed" by Israel Finkelstein & Neil Asher Silberman.
Welcome to the wonderful world of an enquiring mind. We have a great community here.
Welcome Cody you appear to be on the right track keep looking things up on the internet and finding good sites to visit and learn from. I have read Hitchens, Dawkins, and Sam Harris but long after becoming an Atheist so they did not so much convince me as reaffirm my already held belief but as a new comer they might be more enlightening. As far as my personal doubt I found the God I was taught to believe in could not exist in this world at least not as he had been described to me. I was also a student of mythology and came to the realization that what ancient cultures believed about there gods was no more than a way to explain the parts of the natural world that they did not understand. When you look at modern religion in the same light you see the same pattern God is responsible for every thing we cant account for scientifically and when science dose explain a phenomenon previously attributed to god the various churches scream bloody murder, just look at the fight over evolution. So that's how I got here keep an open mind and ask questions also don't ever worry about not knowing something no one has all the answers and the sigh of an open mind is one that can admit "I don't Know".
For books, I think Atheism A Very Short Introduction (Baggini) and Atheism The Case Against God (Smith) are good starters.
Also, check out
Secular Web http://www.infidels.org/
The Rejection of Pascal's Wager http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/central.html
and Why Won't God Heal Amputees http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/all-videos.htm
Personally, I think you will be intellectually far more satisfied on a journey of freethought than one of religious bondage.
There is another good anthology entitled "Atheism: A Reader" edited by S T Joshi. It collects speeches, essays, and book excerpts from several sources like Thomas Huxley, Carl Sagan, Bertrand Russell, H L Mencken, Robert Green Ingersoll, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Stewart Mill, Thomas Paine, and Gore Vidal. I found it very insightful in as much as it presented so many different viewpoints of skepticism.
The Skeptics Annotated Bible might be a useful website to you. It has the bible broken up by category and topic.
I am also 20 and grew up in a Catholic house, although after going to a Catholic high school and grade school religion was never forced upon me. I was Catholic until I started asking questions and wasn't able to get any more of an answer then "it's the mysteries of god!". Professor Richard Dawkins book titled The God Delusion was my first book which I am reading again. I will also be checking out these books others have recommended but I can say Professor Dawkins book was a solid read and armed me with a lot of knowledge. I've also watched several videos on youtube in which Richard Dawkins has been in (debates are interesting to me).
Learn about the overwhelming, ironclad evidence for common descent, while seeing some of the arguments of evangelicals exposed as lies or ignorance.
Are you in school? Take some science classes, particularly anything that will give you a grounding in scientific methodology. The practice in logic, reason, and avoiding unconscious bias will be useful. Also, anything on comparative religion will help as well. It will quickly become evident that most miraculous claims in the bible are suspiciously similar to previous claims in older mythologies. You might even begin to suspect that it's a shoddy example of plagiarism...which it is.
Krishna - India 1000 years before Jesus - Carpenter, Born of a Virgin, Baptized in a river.
Mithra - Persian 600 years before Jesus - Born Dec. 25, performed miracles, resurrected on the 3rd day, know as the lamb, the way, the truth, the light, messiah, and the savior.
Horus - Egypt 1280BC - born to a virgin mother, baptized in a river by Anup the Baptizer, Anup was later beheaded (sounds familiar...), Horus was tempted while alone in the desert, healed the sick and the blind, casted out demons, walked on water, he raised his buddy Asar from the dead (Asar translates into Lazarus), he also had 12 disciples, he was crucified, and after 3 days 2 women announced "Horus the savoir has been resurrected".
There's a nice sample.