The best science vs. religion books

Why am I passionate about this?

My core curiosity has been trying to understand the way the world is. Like all defenseless children, early on I trusted parents and elder others for that – for nearly half a century before I had the courage to question their comprehensive dogmas. I’ve been fortunate to have a wonderful education and to have traveled most of the globe, both of which assailed my assumptions. After a mid-life crisis/near-death experience, I decided to start over in understanding the world we live in. Before I died, I wanted to leave a science-based alternative to the world’s scriptures that open-minded parents could read to their children. My motto now is “In Truth We Trust.”  


I wrote...

A Song of Humanity: A Science-Based Alternative to the World's Scriptures

By James G.S. Clawson,

Book cover of A Song of Humanity: A Science-Based Alternative to the World's Scriptures

What is my book about?

A Song of Humanity (ASOH) is one man’s (my) summary of the history of the universe, of our solar system, of the Earth and of Humankind. Unlike the world’s scriptures which have strong regional flavors, ASOH offers a global perspective with science and stories from all over the world. Written in chapter and verse as a conversation between a parent and a child, ASOH is great bedtime reading and an easy introduction to what we have learned about the universe and ourselves in the last 200 years. Check out the Table of Contents.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of A Short History of Nearly Everything

James G.S. Clawson Why did I love this book?

This is a very good attempt to help inform people of where we came from and how we got here. I love the broad perspective and easy flow of the story. Bryson attacks the big questions and stimulates our thinking. This is a great starting point for exploring the issues in the tensions between science and religion. 

By Bill Bryson,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked A Short History of Nearly Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century and has sold over 2 million copies.

'Possibly the best scientific primer ever published.' Economist
'Truly impressive...It's hard to imagine a better rough guide to science.' Guardian
'A travelogue of science, with a witty, engaging, and well-informed guide' The Times

Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to…


Book cover of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

James G.S. Clawson Why did I love this book?

Harari weaves an engaging and intriguing story about where we came from. Unlike Bryson’s Western Hemisphere view, he provides a Middle Eastern perspective to these deep issues. Like Bryson, the arc of his volume addresses some of the biggest questions troubling humankind. So, two views of similar issues that we can compare and contrast—which stimulates our own thinking about those issues and how our own regionality might affect our thinking.

By Yuval Noah Harari,

Why should I read it?

21 authors picked Sapiens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the…


Book cover of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory

James G.S. Clawson Why did I love this book?

After Bryson and Harari, Greene gives us a wonderful, focused, science-oriented summary of cosmology and particle physics written for the layperson. While relatively easy to understand, he deals with the huge issues of where our universe came from and what it’s made of. I love the way these three authors strive from different vantage points to educate us and introduce us to the most fundamental questions of human life.

By Brian Greene,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Elegant Universe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Brian Greene, one of the world's leading string theorists, peels away layers of mystery to reveal a universe that consists of eleven dimensions, where the fabric of space tears and repairs itself, and all matter-from the smallest quarks to the most gargantuan supernovas-is generated by the vibrations of microscopically tiny loops of energy. The Elegant Universe makes some of the most sophisticated concepts ever contemplated accessible and thoroughly entertaining, bringing us closer than ever to understanding how the universe works.


Book cover of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

James G.S. Clawson Why did I love this book?

Following your reading of Bryson, Harari, and Greene, Hitchens approaches the science/religion dilemma from an examination of the impact of religion in general on the human race. His examination is scathing and scintillating and highly provocative. Do we trust our beliefs or evidence? Are we even willing to look at the evidence? This leads us to Kahneman. 

By Christopher Hitchens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked God Is Not Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether you're a lifelong believer, a devout atheist, or someone who remains uncertain about the role of religion in our lives, this insightful manifesto will engage you with its provocative ideas.

With a close and studied reading of the major religious texts, Christopher Hitchens documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe,…


Book cover of Thinking, Fast and Slow

James G.S. Clawson Why did I love this book?

Kahneman won a Nobel Prize for the concepts in this book, the core of which is that humans tend to trust their beliefs over evidence and reliable data. Which helps explain why the mountains of religious mythological misinformation persists in the world today. Are you willing to examine your core beliefs in the light of reliable information? Most people aren’t. (See for example, Csikszentmihalyi’s The Evolving Self.)

By Daniel Kahneman,

Why should I read it?

42 authors picked Thinking, Fast and Slow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The phenomenal international bestseller - 2 million copies sold - that will change the way you make decisions

'A lifetime's worth of wisdom' Steven D. Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics
'There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Thinking, Fast and Slow' Financial Times

Why is there more chance we'll believe something if it's in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast,…


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Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

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

New book alert!

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 LisaMcCourt.com, 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.

Learning about joy is one thing, but it's…


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