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For the curious, there is now a book list: Books I’ve Read, Reviewed & Recommend on topics including from Secular Parenting, Philosophy / Religion, and Christian Science.
It is a selection of books I’ve reviewed and it is by no means an extensive list of all the books I’ve read/reviewed, only the ones I recommend to friends, fellow former-CS, and ones that are allowed to take up prime bookshelf space.
Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion by Dale McGowan
Parenting Beyond Belief is divided into nine chapters, each contains several essays on various topics, with notable contributors including Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins. There is also a forward, preface, glossary, a list of general additional resources, and biographies of the contributors. There are also more topical resource lists at the end of every chapter. These are incredibly helpful if you’re trying to find books on a more specific topic — holidays, death, science, etc. I would buy it again, and highly recommend it to friends seeking non-religious alternatives.
Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide for Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan and others
Raising Freethinkers is the follow up book to Parenting Beyond Belief, it is the “practical guide” and a gimmicky green faux-sticker boasts that it includes “more than 100 activities” (aka ways to encourage thought). It also includes pages of resources at the end of each chapter, with extensive lists and summaries of books, movies, websites, blogs, and organizations offering insight, advice, guidance, facts, and support. These alone make it worth the shelf-space.
ATHEISM / Philosophy / Religion
Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by of Daniel C. Dennett
Dennet poses thought provoking questions to the reader and provides brief summaries of what is to come in upcoming chapters. As far as I can tell, Dennett is not arguing that religion is good or bad, he is arguing that region should be studied, questioned and examined. Religions make extraordinary claims, that should be looked at critically, tested, and studied. I happen to agree!
3 thoughts on “Books I’ve read, reviewed & recommend”
The attitude of Daniel Dennett was a theme of one talk at a religion & science conference I attended about 2004 in Chicago. As I recall, Dennett’s position was along the lines of that we human beings are all manipulated into believing the things that we believe. Specifically, our religious beliefs in a certain sense are not our own. We have some kind of parasite in the brain that makes us believe the crazy things we believe.
If I have that memory relatively correct, it’s worth exploring. In my case, I have always wondered why I was interested in playing the drums versus playing the violin. What is driving me to do that? Also, why do I have such an interest in finding compatible avenues for religion & science to travel? Is it my own thinking at all?
I haven’t read Dennett’s books, but it seems that would be a decent idea. What really drives our interests is fascinating. We should know more about why we believe the things we believe.
I personally project that Mary Baker Eddy would be disappointed that more of her followers today haven’t explored their beliefs about God. She often writes that understanding is better than belief, so get understanding It seems though that most followers are believers and sometimes blindly following.
The last article that Mrs. Eddy published called “Principle and Practice” could be argued to be on this point of the dangers ahead for Christian Science if it stayed in the belief realm.
We have some kind of parasite in the brain that makes us believe the crazy things we believe.
If that is one of Dennett’s ideas it was not discussed in Breaking the Spell, and yes, I highly recommend reading it.
The parasite concept is what I recall from the talk about Dennett.
You take Jim Jones for example. I mention him because he is in the news now for some reason. What had to go into the brains of those religious followers to get them to walk right up to the punch line and drink? Brain washing is a problem with religion. Brain control is part of the reason that being scientific would or should potentially be a check on stupid actions that we all know about specifically.
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