The Holiday Season is here and Christmas is right around the corner. This is the season of gift giving and religious believers often love to give atheists the gift of some apologist’s book that would totally convince us that God is real and Jesus was his only begotten son… if we would just read it and forget everything we know about reality.
A number of years ago, I was working for a manufacturing company. After many years, I came out to co-workers as an open atheist (mainly because I wrote a Letter-To-The-Editor in our local paper defending atheists). While I was surprised that many of my co-workers were also atheists, some were Christian fundamentalists. A few of the fundamentalists would try to convert me and we would often have long conversations about religion.
These religious conversations often extended to many of our venders and one year for Christmas a vender I was friendly with gave me a copy of Lee Strobel’s book, “The Case For Christ.” I actually read the book and discussed it with him. The following year, I gave him a holiday gift. I bought him a copy of Sam Harris’s “Letter To A Christian Nation,” which as far as he told me and I am aware, he did not bother to read. But who knows, maybe he did read it at some point or just flipped through parts of it. Or maybe it is sitting on his bookshelf as a constant reminder that atheists exist.
Obviously, it usually not appropriate to give religious or atheistic books to co-workers for the holidays, but sometimes if you have a friendship with someone and they start the heavy-handed gift giving, it might be okay.
With family and friends it is different. Maybe you have the type of relationship in which you can discuss religious differences with each other or you just want them to have a better idea about where you stand on various issues. Well, here are some books that you might want to consider as gifts:
For starters, “Zero Shades of Grey: A Christian Guide to Acceptable Sex” by Ned Carter makes for an excellent gag-gift. It’s a nice light-hearted way of pocking fun in a friendly way.
The before mentioned “A Letter To A Christian Nation” is a good gift for religious friends too. It is short and hits at a lot of great points. Some Christians might actually read it.
“Why There Is No God: Simple Responses to 20 Common Arguments for the Existence of God” by Armin Navabi, serves a similar function as Harris’s Letter. It is short, to the point, and addresses 20 arguments religious people use. The table of contents is also a selling point for this gift. Christian family and friends can easily find the responses to the arguments they usually make.
One book that might get a mixed response from a religious friend or relative with children is “The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children” by Katherine Stewart. Even fundamentalist religious parents might have a hard time defending this program and it might cause them to think twice about their own fundamentalism.
There are two science books I would like to recommend. Bill Nye’s, “Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation” as a gift to all the Creationists out there and Lawrence Krauss’s book, “A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing.” It’s a great history of how we know what we know about cosmology.
For the kids, there are two books that would make for great gifts. These work mainly for atheist parents, but “I Wonder” by Annika Harris could certainly be slipped into the hands of kids of religious parents without too much difficulty. Helen Bennett’s children’s book, “Humanism, What’s That?: A Book for Curious Kids” should only be given out to atheist parents though.
If you need a gift for fellow atheists, almost any of the books in the Dangerous Talk Bookstore would make for an awesome present. Or just use the Dangerous Talk Amazon Affiliate link and get your friends and relatives whatever you like including gift cards and show your support for Dangerous Talk at the same time: http://www.amazon.com/?tag=dangtalk-20
- Review: ‘Deconverted’ by Seth Andrews (examiner.com)
- Interview: Katherine Stewart author of ‘The Good News Club’ (examiner.com)
- Human Light: A new godless tradition (examiner.com)
- Put the Chris in Christmas (examiner.com)
- Tree of Knowledge: A new atheist tradition (examiner.com)