The best books on why a scientifically-minded person can and should believe in God

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a theoretical physicist and a practicing Christian. I was raised in a very loving but nonreligious household, and I didn’t seriously consider the possibility of God’s existence until I was a college student, when my twin brother came to faith and started to talk with me about it. In my subsequent journey to faith and the years thereafter, I read a number of books that changed my perspective on religion and convinced me that I could believe in God without compromising on my scientific view of the world. Chasing Proof, Finding Faith is the story of the journey I took, and the strange new world of faith I found on the other side.

I wrote...

Chasing Proof, Finding Faith: A Young Scientist’s Search for Truth in a World of Uncertainty

By Tom Rudelius,

Book cover of Chasing Proof, Finding Faith: A Young Scientist’s Search for Truth in a World of Uncertainty

What is my book about?

Growing up in a nonreligious family, Tom Rudelius never thought much about God until he was in college. Immersed in his physics studies at Cornell, he never would have given faith a second thought if his twin brother, a new convert to Christianity, hadn’t challenged him to explore the subject. Tom reluctantly began exploring the Bible and the life of Jesus. Seeking proof of God’s existence, he soon found himself in a world of uncertainty, faced with plenty of reasons for faith and doubt. Once he started exploring, however, there was no going back.

In Chasing Proof, Finding Faith, Tom, now a rising young theoretical physicist, traces his journey to unexpected faith, through subsequent doubt and anxiety, and ultimately to a firmer, more life-transforming allegiance to Jesus.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Letters from A Skeptic: A Son Wrestles with His Father's Questions About Christianity

Tom Rudelius Why did I love this book?

Letters from a Skeptic was the first book about religion that I read in my journey to faith.

The book consists of an actual correspondence between Edward, a skeptic, and Gregory, his son, a pastor. Reading this book as a skeptic myself, I resonated deeply with the objections raised by Edward. But time and time again, I was surprised at the thoughtfulness of Gregory’s responses. I wasn’t completely convinced at first reading, but I was intrigued enough to read further.

By Gregory A. Boyd, Edward Boyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Letters from A Skeptic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Greg Boyd and his father, Ed, were on opposite sides of a great divide. Greg was a newfound Christian, while his father was a longtime agnostic. So Greg offered his father an invitation: Ed could write with any questions on Christianity, and his son would offer a response.

Letters from a Skeptic contains this special correspondence. The letters tackle some of today's toughest challenges facing Christianity, including

Do all non-Christians go to hell?
How can we believe a man rose from the dead?
Why is the world so full of suffering?
How do we know the Bible was divinely inspired?…

Book cover of Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism

Tom Rudelius Why did I love this book?

I read this book when I was a grad student in physics at Harvard and a recent convert to Christianity.

The book was instrumental in shaping the way that I thought about the relationship between science and faith. In it, Plantinga lays out a compelling argument that despite their superficial concord, atheism, and science are actually in conflict with one another, and despite their superficial conflict, theism and science actually share a deep harmony with one another.

By Alvin Plantinga,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Where the Conflict Really Lies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book is a long-awaited major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, on one of our biggest debates - the compatibility of science and religion. The last twenty years has seen a cottage industry of books on this divide, but with little consensus emerging. Plantinga, as a top philosopher but also a proponent of the rationality of religious belief, has a unique contribution to make. His theme in this short book is that the conflict
between science and theistic religion is actually superficial, and that at a deeper level they are in concord.

Plantinga examines where this conflict…

Book cover of The Language Of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence For Belief

Tom Rudelius Why did I love this book?

Another book that shaped my understanding of science and faith as a young grad student is The Language of God.

It is both a story of a top scientist’s journey to faith as well as an argument for the compatibility of evolution and the Christian faith. In it, Francis Collins makes a passionate yet humble plea for the scientifically minded to reconsider faith, and for the religious-minded to reconsider science.

By Francis S. Collins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Language Of God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Does science necessarily undermine faith in God? Or could it actually support faith? Beyond the flashpoint debates over the teaching of evolution, or stem-cell research, most of us struggle with contradictions concerning life's ultimate question. We know that accidents happen, but we believe we are on earth for a reason. Until now, most scientists have argued that science and faith occupy distinct arenas. Francis Collins, a former atheist as a science student who converted to faith as he became a doctor, is about to change that. Collins's faith in God has been confirmed and enhanced by the revolutionary discoveries in…

Book cover of A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos

Tom Rudelius Why did I love this book?

I’ve come across a lot of misinformation about cosmological fine-tuning, and it’s time to set the record straight.

Written by a pair of astrophysicists, A Fortunate Universe explains the scientific evidence for the fine-tuning of the laws of nature: If the physical laws were slightly different, the universe as we know it–and life itself–would not exist. Luke is a theist, Geraint is not, but the two agree on all of the relevant science.

In the last chapter, they debate the best explanation for fine-tuning, and Luke lays out a compelling case for theism amidst a number of objections from Geraint. As a cosmologist myself, I resonate deeply with the way that Luke thinks about the relationship between science and faith, and I expect that any scientifically minded person will find this book both enlightening and challenging.

By Geraint F. Lewis, Luke A. Barnes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Fortunate Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the last forty years, scientists have uncovered evidence that if the Universe had been forged with even slightly different properties, life as we know it - and life as we can imagine it - would be impossible. Join us on a journey through how we understand the Universe, from its most basic particles and forces, to planets, stars and galaxies, and back through cosmic history to the birth of the cosmos. Conflicting notions about our place in the Universe are defined, defended and critiqued from scientific, philosophical and religious viewpoints. The authors' engaging and witty style addresses what fine-tuning…

Book cover of The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith

Tom Rudelius Why did I love this book?

Growing up as an outsider to religion, most of what I knew of Christianity came from other outsiders.

When I started investigating the faith, guided by my twin brother, I came to realize that Christians had a very different conception of their faith than I did. In The Prodigal God, Pastor Tim Keller masterfully explains the heart of the Christian faith through the lens of one of Jesus’ most famous parables.

There is a reason why the social outcasts and “sinners” came flocking to Jesus whereas the religious leaders plotted to kill him, and when we understand that, we begin to understand that Jesus’s table has room for even the most ardent skeptic.

By Timothy Keller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Prodigal God as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling author of The Prodigal Prophet uncovers the essential message of Jesus, locked inside his most familiar parable.

Newsweek called renowned minister Timothy Keller "a C.S. Lewis for the twenty-first century" in a feature on his first book, The Reason for God. In that book, he offered a rational explanation of why we should believe in God. Now, in The Prodigal God, Keller takes his trademark intellectual approach to understanding Christianity and uses the parable of the prodigal son to reveal an unexpected message of hope and salvation. 

Within that parable Jesus reveals God's prodigal grace…

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By Lisa McCourt,

Book cover of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

Lisa McCourt Author Of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

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Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t always a joyful person. But today I’m freaking sunshine, and full-out committed to being an effective member of the team that’s elevating the level of love and joy in the world! My positions on that team have included writing dozens of mega-selling books (my own, and as a ghostwriter), founding my online Joy School at, hosting my Do Joy! podcast, and collaborating on projects with many other popular teachers of consciousness and joyful living. My books have sold over 9 million copies, earned 7 publishing industry awards, and garnered over 9,000 glowing Amazon reviews. Joy is my jam. I know a joyful book when I read one! 

Lisa's book list on igniting joy despite all the crap in your life

What is my book about?

We all want peace. We all want a life of joy and meaning. We want to feel blissfully comfortable in our own skin, moving through the world with grace and ease. But how many of us are actively taking the steps to create such a life? 

In Free Your Joy, millions-selling author and podcaster Lisa McCourt takes readers through the life-altering principles of vibration elevation that she has taught for 20 years through her online Joy School, sharing her unique formula for raising your “joy setpoint” to cultivate authentic, lasting peace and fulfillment in your daily life. Joy is…

Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

By Lisa McCourt,

What is this book about?

Bestselling author and creator of Joy School Lisa McCourt outlines her unique formula for sustainable happiness, offering a year's worth of activities, prompts, and techniques that raise your "joy setpoint" so you can cultivate authentic, lasting peace and fulfillment in your daily life.

Unprecedented global events have left many of us feeling depleted, depressed, isolated, and disconnected from many of the things that made us happy. Lisa McCourt, host of the Do Joy! podcast and founder of Joy School, helps people raise their joy setpoints regardless of what is happening around them.

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