It has been some time since I recommended books to my readers. Since many will begin Christmas shopping soon (or have already) I thought I would respond today with some recommendations. Here are four books I did not enjoy and four that I think offer good rebuttals:
1. God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens.
I read this book after I found out it was required reading next semester in our Sociology of Religion course at UNC-Wilmington. I wanted to see whether it was sociological or even scientific. It is neither. This anti-religious screed is a highly prejudicial selection of bad things done in the name of religion, which seeks nothing more than to get the reader to adopt atheism. A better sub-title would have been “How Bad People Sometimes Poison Religion.”
Nonetheless, I recommend the book because it reminds me of what a miserable person I used to be as an atheist. I also believe that Hitchens’ attack on Mother Teresa irreparably harms his credibility.
2. Come Be My Light, by Mother Teresa.
I read this book right after reading Hitchens’ book. It is an inspirational account of a wonderful life and a strong rebuttal to those who would see religion as a crutch. Christianity is a tough religion. No wonder so many, like Christopher Hitchens, are unwilling even to concede that Christ was a real historical figure. After reading this book, consider what the world would be like if we all chose atheism. Would you rather live among six billion Christopher Hitchens or among six billion Mother Teresas?
3. The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.
The final sentence of Chapter One of this book reads: “I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else.”
The next sentence of the book reads: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character of all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”