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Sep. 17th, 2011

Hi :) I don't really know if semi-religious questions are welcome here, but I'm looking for books that are aimed towards "ex-Christians" who are questioning the path they've chosen.

I've been struggling with the question of faith recently, and I'd like some material to help me along the way, maybe books that pose me questions to help me with my questioning. I know my best bet would probably be to read the Bible itself, but I'd like more. 

Anything at all you think would help! I tried googling but apparently I'm not that skilled at it, none of my results were helpful. And I do prefer reading stuff that people have already read before and can offer their opinion on. Thanks! :) 


( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:43 pm (UTC)
Bertrand Russel's Why I Am Not a Chrstian. For the other direction, you migjt want to look at stuff by CS Lewis or Deepak Choprah.
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
I'm actually considering The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis :) I'll look at the rest too, thanks!
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
Are you questioning Christianity, or you're questioning whether you made the right choice to leave Christianity?
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
The latter. But come to think of it, it's interlinked. Questioning Christianity, and the conclusion I come to, will affect whether I re-embrace the religion, or not.
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:53 pm (UTC)
Mere Christianity or The Problem of Pain by CS Lewis. He struggled with his faith a good bit after his wife got sick and (I believe) passed away.
Sep. 17th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
I'll check those out. Thanks :)
Sep. 17th, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)

As a Universalist raised Christian, I second everything by CS Lewis but also recommend The Shack by William P. Young. It takes a short bit to get into, but it packs quite a punch by the end.

Sep. 18th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
Thanks for the recc but I don't think I'll be reading that. Checked it out on GoodReads and it somehow didn't appeal. Sorry :(
Sep. 18th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
Hi to a fellow UU! :) Thanks for commenting. :)
Sep. 17th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
If you want to be persuaded to return to Christianity, Lewis may sway you. If you want reasons not to, Russel is good.

Bertrand Russel is quite sharp and to the point. C.S. Lewis wrote Christian apologetics, and never really came close to atheism himself, though he wrestled with the Problem of Evil and similar dilemmas. (No more successfully than any other theologian.)

Since you probably don't want hard-core atheist advocacy, but a gentler introduction into why It's Okay to stop believing, you might consider looking at Unitarian Universalism (or some of their books, anyway). They are pretty welcoming of everyone from those who believe in the Christian God to straight-up atheists. You could start with A Chosen Faith.
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Sep. 18th, 2011 02:02 am (UTC)
"Whatever you believe, make sure you own it for yourself, and know why you believe it."

Yeah, this is mostly the reason I'm questioning so much, because I don't want to return to church on the urging of my friends, most of whom are church-going Christians. I want to go back because I know that it is time for me to return. It can go both ways now, either I'll start going to church again, or I won't, at least not at this point in time. I hope I'm strong enough to not be swayed either way by peer pressure.
Sep. 17th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC)
I have no suggestions, but your icon is so cute. Ahhhh.
Sep. 18th, 2011 02:04 am (UTC)
Thanks! :) My dog looks a little different now though, she's just turned 11 months. I'd post a picture in the comments if I knew how to, haha.
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Sep. 18th, 2011 02:16 am (UTC)
I've looked at all the books you recommended, and I might be picking up the Jamieson one, it seems pretty pertinent to my problem. I saw that you added me on LJ, but I blog elsewhere, and I've actually written about religion before, a few months back. (http://nabbity.blogspot.com/2011/07/i-am-open-to-debate.html)

At that point in time I took a more "I'm not a believer" stance and thinking back, it's mainly because I haven't communed with God for so long and also, I don't feel right calling myself a Christian when I don't go to church. When people ask about my religion, I always tell them that I honestly don't know. I think it started out with my having an issue with church, but as I stopped going to church, I slowly stopped communicating with God too, and having drifted further and further away, my belief is now pretty shaky.
Sep. 17th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
I would agree with everyone who recommended Mere Christianity. You mentioned that you were thinking about The Screwtape Letters, which is also a great book, but I think Mere Christianity is more pertinent to your situation.

Another book that I personally loved is Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton. His writing style is somewhat unique and may not be to your taste, but I really like it. The book is basically Chesterton's personal musings on why he returned to Christianity.

Sorry, I don't really have any recommendations on the atheism side of things. Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion) and Christopher Hitchins (God Is Not Great) are both well-known atheist writers, but I've never read either of them.
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Sep. 18th, 2011 04:50 am (UTC)
I started reading the Old Testament and gave up in despair. It's far more hateful and violent than anything else I've ever read. :P
Sep. 18th, 2011 04:49 am (UTC)
I loved the Christopher Hitchins book.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 18th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'll check it out :)
Sep. 17th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
For something a little different from what the others are suggesting, I seriously recommend St. Augustine's Confessions.

I'm Christian, and was raised as such, but my own beliefs are shaped less by the teachings of one particular denomination, and more by stuff that I have read and learned elsewhere, and the Confessions was a big part of that for me.
Sep. 18th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
Thanks for the recc, I'll be sure to check it out :)
Sep. 18th, 2011 03:02 am (UTC)
For a Unitarian Universalist perspective, I highly suggest Forrest Church's "The Cathedral of the World." It's about looking at faith from a lot of different views. How one person's Christianity might look to others. It's very poetic and uses a lot of imagery.

I was raised in a mixed-faith background -- but mostly Baptist. I left the church at 17 and fought for years with that decision. Unitarian Universalism brought me peace & joy & a church *community* again - which was something I didn't know I needed until I found it again.

Good luck on your journey. Feel free to find me (I've been through this - a lot - if you just need someone to bounce ideas off of, I'm happy to listen.
Sep. 23rd, 2011 05:25 pm (UTC)
Seconding the suggestion for Universalist Unitarian churches. ::love::
Sep. 18th, 2011 04:06 am (UTC)
Faith by Sharon Salzberg talks about, among other things, how it can be ok to have doubts and how that is part of faith.

When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron doesn't address religion specifically, but might be helpful.

Both of those books have a Buddhist perspective, which can be compatible with both Christianity and atheism.

Another author to look into might be Carl Sagan, for how people can experience awe and a sense of wonder at the universe without religion.

Reading The Religious Case Against Belief by James P. Carse has brought some clarity to my ideas about what a belief is, and what the limits of belief are.

Also, and I didn't learn this from a book, watching how other people talk to me about the issues and coming to understand just what techniques they are using to attempt to get me to go along with them, and learning how to choose not to go along with it if I don't think it is right, has been helpful to me in figuring out what to believe and what I want to participate in. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well.
Sep. 18th, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
I'm so with you. I found this very helpful website: Ex-Christian.net.

Also Godless by Dan Barker was very helpful for me.
Sep. 23rd, 2011 05:24 pm (UTC)
I got a lot of good out of "Dance of a Dissident Daughter" by Sue Monk Kidd.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )

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