My Reading List

I've been asked to recommend books on science, religion, and the intersection of the two a few dozen times this week. I thought it would be easier to make a post aggregating this list for anyone who is interested. This was a hard list for me to build–there are very few books I agree with completely, but almost every book I read teaches me something I enjoy. The books listed here either had a lot to teach me, or taught me one or two really powerful ideas.

God & Science

How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist - Andrew Newberg M.D. Few books have influenced me as dramatically as this one. I'd been searching for a researched based insight into how humans experience God for months, and was building my own model bit by bit. Little did I know, Andrew Newberg had a book that would revolutionize my understanding of how humans experience God.

When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship with God - Tanya Luhrmann. This is another foundational book for me–a deep, anthropological examination of faith in America.

A History of God - Karen Armstrong. A solid overview of how human societies grew to understand God overtime. I found the section on Sufism particularly interesting.

The "GOD" Part of the Brain - Matthew Alper. Among other things, this is an excellent overview of why humans are so oriented toward belief in God and the supernatural.

The Psychology of Religion - Ralph Hood, Jr. More of a reference than a read in my case, this book is an expansive look into, well, the psychology of religion.

The Righteous Mind - Jonathan Haidt. A fantastic examination of why religion and politics are so polarizing, even among people who are kind and reasonable.


What We Talk About When We Talk About God - Rob Bell. Is God an antiquated notion, rooted in ancient mythology? Rob argues that God is not only timely, but ahead of humanity, pulling us forward.

Love Wins - Rob Bell. Does God send people to Hell? In one of the most controversial religious books of our time, Rob makes a case for a different view of the afterlife.

Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff - Christopher Moore. Fictional and fantastic account of the life of Christ as told by his childhood friend. Be warned: This book will deeply offend you if you are a traditional Christian, unless you have a dark sense of humor.

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith - Ann Spangler. We often read scripture through modern, Western eyes. This book is an introduction to considering the Bible and the Gospels in the context they were written.

Why Christianity Must Change or Die - John Shelby Spong. An introduction to Christian non-theism. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in the teachings of Christ, but turned off by supernatural faith claims.

Religion for Atheists - Alain De Botton. An interesting look at how to approach religious for nonreligious persons.

Surprised by Hope - NT Wright. A Theologian challenges the traditional views of heaven, the afterlife, and the call of the Gospel. It'll be a stretch for secularists, but may be interesting to people believe in God as a being, and accept that Jesus is God's son.

Sin Boldly - Cathleen Falsani. An experiential look at the way the story of grace presented by the gospel subverts the human tendency toward vindictive justice.

A Year of Biblical Womanhood - Rachel Held Evans. What happens when a progressive, modern woman tries to live her life in accordance with Biblical principals and edicts? A funny, touching story.

Blue Like Jazz - Donald Miller. A series of essays whereby Donald Miller comes to terms with an ancient faith in a modern world. One of my all time favorite books.

Inspiration and Incarnation - Peter Enns. The Old Testament is difficult for many Christians as it raises a number of thorny ethical problems. Enns works to reconcile this by describing the Bible as fully divine and fully human, like Christ. A great read for any believer, while very uninteresting to secularists.

Letters from a Skeptic - Gregory and Edward Boyd. A series of letters between an agnostic father and a newly Christian son.

What is the Bible? - Rob Bell. A blog series describing the usefulness and power of scripture in the modern world. A great read for anyone who's ever said, "Why does the Bible matter anymore?"


Pale Blue Dot - Carl Sagan. One of the most beautiful science books ever written. In it, Carl Sagan explains the vastness of the Cosmos and it's implications on man's self centeredness.

A Brief History of Time - Stephen Hawking. This book literally made me dizzy the first time I read it. You will know more about the nature of reality on grand scales if you read this.

The Selfish Gene - Richard Dawkins. An incredible look into the mechanics of Natural Selection, The Selfish Gene redefined biology. It's a big deal.

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier - Neil deGrasse Tyson. If the question is, "Why explore space," the answer lies in this book.

A Universe From Nothing - Lawrence Krauss. A guided, head-spinning tour of the most recent insights quantum physics and cosmology and how they relate to our origins. Krauss is a prominent critic of religion, but his physics is truly world-class.

Free Will - Sam Harris. Do humans have Free Will? Neuroscientist and spiritual atheist Sam Harris makes an excellent case that we do not.

The Rocks Don't Lie - David Montgomery. A geologist looks into the flood account in Genesis.

Trends in Faith

Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics - Ross Douthat. Douthat explains his premise that the splintering of religious dogma and subsequent conflict are weakening the American experiment. Even if you disagree with the premise, this book offers a fascinated glimpse at how we arrived at our current faith landscape.

The Great Evangelical Recession - John S. Dickerson. A pastor/journalist crunches survey and trend data and comes up with a troubling forecast: the longtime decline among mainline Protestant Christianity is spreading to Evangelicalism.

God is Alive and Well - Frank Newport. A data based case that religion is beneficial, and that faith in God has never been stronger. The sections on the benefits of faith are powerful, thought many of the conclusions seem like an overreach.

Why I am no longer a Christian - YouTube. This series of YouTube videos is the personal account of a man leaving faith. His journey is very close to my own, and his recommended reading is great.