Why Christians Should Stop Telling Atheists to Read Books When You Yourself Have Not Yet Read Them


Subtitle: Yes, This Includes the Bible.

There are two major reasons for not doing this. The first is that you have no idea what you’re telling them to read. Many christians do this to atheist family members. Often they have heard that the book is highly recommended or got high reviews, and sometimes it merely has a famous name on the cover. But if you don’t know what you’re sending or recommending, don’t do it. Make sure that the book is actually worth recommending before you recommend it.

The second reason is that it shows a blatant disrespect for the person’s beliefs. You cannot convert someone by simply convincing them to read a book. What if the book that you recommend doesn’t address their reasons for being an atheist? We are not all atheists for the same reason and not every christian author addresses all the possible reasons. In fact, I don’t think any do. If you want to recommend that we read something that will convince us that your god is real, first find out why we are atheists and what it would take to convince us otherwise, then find a book that addresses what we have told you. That tells us that you actually care what our beliefs are and are genuinely concerned. 

I think a lot of this problem stems from our societal belief that we can cure anything by reading a book. Want to become rich? Read this book. Want to get rid of your cancer? Read this book. Anxious? Depressed? Over weight? There’s a book for that. Books don’t solve everything. They can be useful guidelines, but they are still just books. We need to realize that if we want to help someone we must do more than simply recommend a book. This goes for atheists too. Reading A Manual For Creating Atheists will not turn you into a christian-converting expert. And recommending Richard Dawkins and Richard Carrier books will not convince christians to become atheists. 

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