Captives of a Concept helps us to understand the illusionary concept that holds millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses captive by controlling how they think and act without them realizing it.
The Orwellian world of Jehovah’s Witnesses compares the Watchtower Society to the nefarious world of George Orwell’s book ‘1984’ in which is described a future theocracy that demanded unity at all costs, and in which all independent thought would be eradicated. According to the authors of this book, such a theocracy now exists. Convinced that the world is due to end, Jehovah’s Witnesses have given up their independence to the central theocracy.
In his book, Cowboys, Armageddon, And The Truth – How a Gay Child was Saved from Religion, Terry has produced a gritty and poignant autobiography of an innocent boy escaping an abusive and fanatical childhood. Scott Terry was raised as a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and spent his childhood praying for Armageddon to come and asking God to heal him of his homosexual thoughts. By adulthood, he had escaped the Witness religion and no longer believed in an upcoming apocalypse. Indeed, as a gay man and a real cowboy, he was riding bulls in the rodeo, abandoning all faith in religion.
Out of the Cocoon: A Young Woman’s Courageous Flight from the Grip of a Religious Cult is a heart-wrenching yet inspirational tale about a pre-teen’s battle to free herself from dysfunction. Take the journey with her as she survives stifling oppression, physical and emotional abuse and the ultimate—shunning by her family. See how, like a butterfly, she changes the world within her as her external world becomes increasingly unyielding.
Why Would Anyone Believe in God? Justin Barrett’s simple answer to the question is because of the design of our minds. With rich evidence from cognitive science but without technical language, psychologist Barrett shows that belief in God is an almost inevitable consequence of the kind of minds we have. Most of what we believe comes from mental tools working below our conscious awareness.
Books about High Control Groups
Combatting Cult Mind Control is a non-fiction work by Steven Hassan described as a “Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults.” The author discusses theories of mind control and cults based on the research of Margaret Singer and Robert Lifton as well as the cognitive dissonance theory of Leon Festinger.
Books about Critical Thinking and the Scientific Method
The Demon-haunted World: Science As a Candle in the Dark. Carl Sagan demonstrates how scientific thinking is necessary to safeguard our democratic institutions and our technical civilization. The book debunks the ideas of alien abduction, mediums and faith healers,and refutes the arguement that science destroys spirituality.
Critical Thinking: A Beginner’s Guide teaches you how to analyse people’s arguments and explains the main “fallacies” that are used to deceive and confuse. We are bombarded daily with vast amounts of information, much of it using faulty logic. From adverts to blogs, television to newspapers, knowing what to believe is a daunting task. With a wealth of real life examples, a glossary, and plenty of diagrams, this is an invaluable tool for both students wanting to improve their grades and general readers in search of clarity.
Books about Biblical History
Introduction to the Bible examines the small library of 24 books common to all Jewish and Christian Bibles—books that preserve the efforts of diverse writers over a span of many centuries to make sense of their personal experiences and those of their people, the ancient Israelites. Professor Christine Hayes guides her readers through the complexities of this polyphonous literature that has served as a foundational pillar of Western civilization.
New Testament and Literature is the perfect accompaniment to the above work. In this engaging introduction to the New Testament, Professor Dale B. Martin presents a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements. Focusing mainly on the New Testament, he also considers non-canonical Christian writings of the era.
Who Wrote the Bible? delves deeply into the history of the Bible in a scholarly work that is as exciting and surprising as a good detective novel. Who Wrote the Bible? is enlightening, riveting, an important contribution to religious literature. It is a fascinating, intellectual, yet highly readable analysis and investigation into the authorship of the Old Testament.
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, a book published in 2001, discusses the archaeology of Israel and its relationship to the origins and content of the Hebrew Bible.
David and Solomon – The exciting field of biblical archaeology has revolutionized our understanding of the Bible — and no one has done more to popularise this vast store of knowledge than Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman, who revealed what we now know about when and why the Bible was first written in The Bible Unearthed. Now, with David and Solomon, they do nothing less than help us to understand the sacred kings and founding fathers of western civilization.
Books about Religion by Christians
A History of God is a book by Karen Armstrong which details the history of the three major monotheistic traditions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, along with Buddhism and Hinduism.
The Case for God is a 2009 book by Karen Armstrong. It is an answer to the recent claims that God does not exist from Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Daniel Dennett and focuses on the three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam from the paleolithic age to the present day. Also included are Buddhism and Hinduism.
The Great Transformation discusses the centuries between 800 and 300 BC which saw an explosion of new religious concepts. But why did Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jeremiah, Lao Tzu and all others emerge in this 500 year span? Armstrong examines this period and the connections between this disparate group of philosophers, mystics, and theologians.
A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years is a 2009 book by the British ecclesiastical historian Diarmaid MacCulloch. It is a survey of Christianity from its earliest lineages. It includes the ancient world of Greece, Rome, and Judaism (c. 1000 BC – AD 100) that so influenced Christianity.
Because of the design of our minds. That is Justin Barrett’s simple answer to the question of his title. With rich evidence from cognitive science but without technical language, psychologist Barrett shows that belief in God is an almost inevitable consequence of the kind of minds we have. Most of what we believe comes from mental tools working below our conscious awareness. And what we believe consciously is in large part driven by these unconscious beliefs. Barrett demonstrates that beliefs in gods match up well with these automatic assumptions; beliefs in an all-knowing, all-powerful God match up even better. Barrett goes on to explain why beliefs like religious beliefs are so widespread and why it is very difficult for our minds to think without them. Anyone who wants a concise, clear, and scientific explanation of why anyone would believe in God should pick up Barrett’s book.
Books about Religion by Atheists
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon is a 2006 book in which the American philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett argues that religion is in need of scientific analysis so that its nature and future may be better understood. The “spell” that requires “breaking” is not religious belief itself but the belief that it is off-limits to or beyond scientific inquiry. It is considered one of the least stringent and most philosophical of the four books in this category.
The God Delusion is a 2006 best-selling book by English biologist Richard Dawkins, a professorial fellow at New College, Oxford and former holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. Dawkins contends that a supernatural creator almost certainly does not exist and that belief in a personal god qualifies as a delusion, which he defines as a persistent false belief held in the face of strong contradictory evidence.
The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason is a 2004 book by Sam Harris, concerning organized religion, the clash between religious faith and rational thought, and the problems of tolerance towards religious fundamentalism. Harris began writing the book in what he described as a period of “collective grief and stupefaction” following the September 11, 2001 attacks. The book comprises a wide-ranging criticism of all styles of religious belief.
God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything is a 2007 book by Anglo-American author and journalist Christopher Hitchens, in which he makes a case against organized religion. It was published by Atlantic Books in the United Kingdom as God Is Not Great: The Case Against Religion. Hitchens posited that organised religion is “violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism, tribalism, and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children” and sectarian, and that accordingly it “ought to have a great deal on its conscience.”
Books about Biology and Evolution
The Blind Watchmaker: is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins, in which the author presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
Climbing Mount Improbable is a sequel of sorts to The Blind Watchmaker and it is about probability and how it applies to the theory of evolution. Dawkins gives ideas about a seemingly-complex mechanism coming about from many gradual steps that were previously unseen. The main metaphorical treatment is of a geographical landscape upon which evolution can ascend only gradually and cannot climb cliffs (that is known as an adaptive landscape).
Unweaving the Rainbow is a 1998 book by Richard Dawkins, discussing the relationship between science and beauty from the perspective of a scientist. His starting point is John Keats’ well-known, light-hearted accusation that Isaac Newton destroyed the poetry of the rainbow by ‘reducing it to the prismatic colours.’
The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life is a 2004 popular science book by Richard Dawkins, with contributions from Dawkins’ research assistant Yan Wong. It follows the path of humans backwards through evolutionary history, meeting humanity’s cousins as they converge on common ancestors. It uses the metaphor of Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to recount the journey of life.
Your Inner Fish discusses a major new discovery by scientists that sheds light on why we look the way we do. For decades, we have wondered why human foetuses have gill-like structures, and why certain nerves and tubes in the human body take tortuous routes. Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you’ve never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us how our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and why major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria.
Life Ascending is an homage to life itself. Comparing gene sequences, examining the atomic structure of proteins and looking into the geochemistry of rocks have all helped to explain creation and evolution in more detail than ever before. Nick Lane uses the full extent of this new knowledge to describe the ten greatest inventions of life, based on their historical impact, role in living organisms today and relevance to current controversies. DNA, sex, sight and consciousnesses are just four examples.Lane also explains how these findings have come about, and the extent to which they can be relied upon. The result is a gripping and lucid account of the ingenuity of nature, and a book which is essential reading for anyone who has ever questioned the science behind the glories of everyday life
Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life is a 1995 book by Daniel Dennett, in which Dennett looks at some of the repercussions of Darwinian theory. The crux of the argument is that, whether or not Darwin’s theories are overturned, there is no going back from the dangerous idea that design (purpose or what something is for) might not need a designer.