Monday, December 21, 2009

Advocatus Atheist to the Rescue: Secular Humanism Reading List


I have a dear friend who is stuck in the quagmire of unreason and blinkered thinking we call America's Bible Belt, and due to forces outside of her control, has been forced to become one of the numerous closet skeptics afraid to voice her doubt for fear of negative peer pressure, of being ostracized by family and friends, and receiving undue scorn should she speak her peace of mind. Forced into silence by "Christian love." Ironic, don't you think?

Regrettably, she would have to endure all sorts of ill will in her overly zealous community at the hands of insular minded and intolerant religious partisans if she should confess her "honest to God" thoughts and opinions or mention, in any way, her atheism. She still sings in the church choir, because she loves music and singing, but if she mentioned her real thoughts and feelings she's be kicked out and bullied. It's not fair -- but that's the power of group-think -- where everyone sees things in black and white and has no tolerance for anyone who thinks differently.
As such, she has asked me to offer those in want of a new perspective a list of humanist and secular morality that might seek to enlighten her where the Bible and her faith has failed.

Who would I, an advocate of reason, be to deny such a request? It would be irresponsible of me to ignore somebody's pleas of desperation and longing to seek deeper truths and insights?

So if you're looking for another viable perspective on ethics, morality, and the meaning of life, then I find that this list of reading is essential.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Living the Wisdom of the Tao: The Complete Tao Te Ching and Affirmations by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer (Paperback - Mar 1, 2008)
Great Traditions in Ethics by Theodore C. Denise (Author), et al.

A Secular Age by Charles Taylor

Writings on an Ethical Life by Peter Singer

The Most Good You Can Do by Peter Singer

*Humanism (on Wikipedia)
Secularism draws its intellectual roots from Greek and Roman philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epicurus, medieval Muslim polymaths such as Ibn Rushd, Enlightenment thinkers like Denis Diderot, Voltaire, John Locke, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and Thomas Paine, and modern freethinkers, agnostics and atheists such as Bertrand Russell and Robert Ingersoll.

Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist