Here is some recommended reading on freethought. The authors listed here do not agree on everything. They include deists, agnostics, and strong atheists, and some also disagree over the historicity of Jesus. This is to be expected from freethinkers, because they think for themselves. The books listed here will be ones I’ve read or am interested in reading, and I will tell you which is which. If you have any recommendations of your own, leave a comment below.
Hoary Tomes of Freethought
These are old enough to have been made available for free through Project Gutenberg, which archives public domain books. I begin by listing books I have read and can personally recommend. If you’re pressed for time, then I would recommend beginning with some lectures by Ingersoll. If you do have the time, then you might want to read them all. I have listed them in the order they were written.
- Superstition in All Ages (1732) posthumously by Jean Meslier (1664-1729), or Good Sense Without God (1772) by Paul Henri Thiry (Baron d’ Holbach) (1723-1789). This is the same book. I read the first translation listed here.
- Reason, the Only Oracle of Man (1785) by Ethan Allen (1738-1789)
- The Age of Reason (1794-1796) by Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
- An Apology for Atheism (1846) by Charles Southwell (1814-1860)
- The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviors (1875) by Kersey Graves (1813-1883)
- The Evolution of Theology (1886) by Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
- Lectures, Volume 1 by Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)
- Lectures, Latest by Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)
- Theism or Atheism: The Great Alternative (1921) by Chapman Cohen (1868-1954)
- A Grammar of Freethought (1921) by Chapman Cohen
- Free Thought and Official Propaganda (1922) by Bertrand Russell
- The Necessity of Atheism (1933) by David Marshall Brooks (1902–1994)
Project Gutenberg has even more free books on freethought that I haven’t read. These include multiple works by Baron d’ Holbach and Robert Ingersoll. Here is a selection of titles that look interesting.
- Christianity Unveiled (1819) by Paul Henri Thiry (Baron d’ Holbach) or Nicolas-Antoine Boulanger
- Superstition Unveiled (1854) by Charles Southwell
- The Bible Of Bibles (1879) by Kersey and Lydia Graves
- Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions (1882) by T. W. Doane (1852-1885)
- My Path to Atheism (1885) by Annie Besant (1847-1933)
- The Woman’s Bible (1895) by Elizabeth Cady Stanton & c.
- Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning (1920) by Edward Carpenter (1844-1929)
- An Atheist Manifesto (1954) by Joseph Lewis (1889-1968)
Recent Freethought Books
These have been written recently enough that their copyrights have not expired. I have read most of them. I have also included a few I haven’t finished reading, because I am confident that they are worth reading. I have put an asterisk, *, after the titles I have not yet finished.
- The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal (1991) by Paul Kurtz
- The Case Against Christianity (1991) by Michael Martin
- Atheism: A Philosophical Justification (1992) by Michael Martin
- The Dark Side of Christian History (1995) by Helen Ellerbe
- DARWIN’S DANGEROUS IDEA: EVOLUTION AND THE MEANINGS OF LIFE (1996) by Daniel Dennett (review)
- The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason (2004) by Sam Harris
- Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon* (2006) by Daniel Dennett
- Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (2007) by D. M. Murdock (Acharya S)
- The God Delusion (2008) by Richard Dawkins
- Man Made God: A Collection of Essays (2010) by Barbara G. Walker
- The Religion Virus: Why we believe in God (2010) by Craig James
- Religion Refuted: Debunking the case for God (2014) by Daniel Chaney
- The Cure for Fundamentalism: Why the Bible Cannot be the “Word of God”* (2014) by Steve McRoberts
- The Bible is Mythology (2015) by Travis Haan
- Ten Reasons To Lose Faith: And Why You Are Better Off Without It (2016) by Rosa Rubicondior
- Portrait of an Infidel: The Acerbic Account of How a Passionate Christian Became an Ardent Atheist (2016) by Michael Vito Tosto
- The Absurdity of God: And Other Atheistic Writings (2016) by Michael Vito Tosto