“Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry Coyne
This book did not take away my faith, that was already gone, but it did convince me about evolution and it educated me more than any science lesson at school ever managed. I strongly recommend this to any one that denies evolution in favour of a religious explanation for the variety in life.
“God Is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens
Actually Hitchens was such a superb writer on so many different topics that many fans, and friends, were religious and so I would argue that this is an incredibly readable for everyone’s tastes. It is heavy though, you will be confronted by his views and his thorough research. The man lived with criticism, and he dealt it out just as frequently, but this book is indispensable. If you need to enjoy reading it even more, listen to him on YouTube, that baritone voice was a gift, sorely lost in cancer, but once you hear it, everything he wrotes sounds like him in your head.
“Did Jesus Exist?” by Bart Ehrman
Ehrman was a conservative Christian who attended various religious schools and practised his belief as Pastor. He was then and is still a scholar of the Bible, and one of the best. His argument that the man likely existed but that the myth likely did not, is essential to forming your own opinion outside of the normal questions of the existence of a god.
“Misquoting Jesus” by Bart Ehrman
Another best-seller and hugely absorbing in its explanation of how the New Testament was put together, it will change your ideas but likely not your beliefs. I find Ehrman’s writing style a little troublesome sometimes, but I think this comes after years at university reading complex things out of habit and then coming to this where it feels like he sometimes simplifies and re-explains things a little too much. But don’t let that stop you, it’s a hugely interesting book.
“The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins
I add this to the list out of recognition that it was the first atheist book I bought. I have long appreciated its worth and its impact on me, but it never made me an atheist. It gave me severe doubt and changed my status as a firm believer to a very liberal one, agnostic to the ideas of polytheism, etc. but it is here because I believe it’s important to read, especially as he dedicates some pages to a visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell
I read this years later than everyone else and was so in love with it that I based an eleven thousand word academic paper on it. For those stuck inside the mentality that the Watchtower creates, perhaps this will mean nothing. But to those doubting, in any way at all, the message of this should ring true. It’s a phenomenal work, cold and steely, but it is the idea of control that makes me place it in this list. As a faithful Witness, you are shouting at the screen I AM NOT BEING CONTROLLED. I know, I used to say it to. I’d argue that if I was then why? What possible gain do they have in doing so? Read this book, and then read about North Korea, perhaps the book called “The Aquariums of Pyongyang.” Control is the reward, it’s power. Why do the rich always want more money? They already have everything.
A note on websites about the Witnesses: they look notoriously tacky, in my experience, but that doesn’t mean that what they say and explain isn’t true. I’m adding the Watchtower’s site out of fairness – I assume they’ll be adding a link to this page onto their website very soon also…
The Watchtower Library Online.
This is a limited archive of Watchtower publications and articles but is a useful tool for a view of the modern organisation.
JWFacts – Facts about the Jehovah’s Witnesses
I really like this website and use it frequently. It does not always discuss matters the way I want to, but it definitely an extremely useful place for someone to go and learn.
The TalkOrigins Archive
Don’t be fooled by the limited design of the site, this is easily one of my favourites as it just has so much to offer. Any queries about mythology, creation and evolution (plus a lot more), this is where you should go.
His blog has proven to be indispensable to me on countless times.
Research on the Watchtower
I am completely jealous of this blog.