100 books like Without God, Without Creed

By James C. Turner,

Here are 100 books that Without God, Without Creed fans have personally recommended if you like Without God, Without Creed. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature

Elaine Pagels Author Of Why Religion? A Personal Story

From my list on why religion and spirituality are still around.

Why am I passionate about this?

“And what do you do?” someone asked at a crowded reception at the NY Academy of Science. “Write—comparative religion.” Startled, he backed away, asking suspiciously, “Why religion? Are you religious?” Yes, incorrigibly—although I grew up among people who regarded religion as obsolete as an outgrown bicycle stashed in a back closet. While many of us leave institutions behind, identifying as “spiritual, not religious,” I’ve done both—had faith, lost it; then began exploring recent discoveries from Israel and Egypt—Dead Sea Scrolls, Christian “secret gospels,” Buddhist practices, asking, Why is religion still around in the twenty-first centuryWhat I love is how such stories, art, music, and rituals engage our imagination and illuminate our experience.

Elaine's book list on why religion and spirituality are still around

Elaine Pagels Why did Elaine love this book?

This book is full of stories, using case studies that include the lives of Walt Whitman, Saint Augustine, and Russian writer Leo Tolstoy—that I found fascinating. Here psychologist William James challenges what he—and I—were both taught: namely, that religions are primarily childish fantasies (the view of Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis, in The Future of an Illusion). But after James, as a young man, experienced a terrifying depression, he describes his surprise at what felt to him like a spiritual breakthrough that enabled him to recover. James skips questions about dogma and belief, instead identifies a range of different “varieties of religious experience” that, far more than “belief,” can give rise to spiritual insight. 

By William James,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Varieties of Religious Experience as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Standing at the crossroads of psychology and religion, this catalyzing work applied the scientific method to a field abounding in abstract theory. William James believed that individual religious experiences, rather than the precepts of organized religions, were the backbone of the world's religious life. His discussions of conversion, repentance, mysticism and saintliness, and his observations on actual, personal religious experiences - all support this thesis. In his introduction, Martin E. Marty discusses how James's pluralistic view of religion led to his remarkable tolerance of extreme forms of religious behaviour, his challenging, highly original theories, and his welcome lack of pretension…


Book cover of The Case for God

John Loughery Author Of Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century

From my list on religion in an age of doubt.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many Americans, I consider myself uncertain about religion, though that may be less true now that I have come to know the life of Dorothy Day, the radical Catholic activist. She has that effect. Along with the writers below, Dorothy Day has brought me back to thinking of faith in terms that I could find meaningful, to a sense of religion that is about something other than a set of rules and doctrines based on narrow readings of the Bible and the rigidity of men (yes, always men) in positions of power. I grew up a deeply religious child, became a confirmed atheist for decades, but now, in part because of this book, find myself in a different if still uncertain place.

John's book list on religion in an age of doubt

John Loughery Why did John love this book?

Armstrong has written brilliant histories of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Chinese spirituality, biographies of Buddha and Mohammed, and a memoir of her own spiritual struggles as a nun who left the Catholic Church. Her reputation as the foremost scholar in our time of the history of religions is well-earned. The Case for God is an erudite account of a human need that has existed through all of recorded history and the thwarting of that need, especially in our own polarized time, by fundamentalism, arrogant misreadings of spiritual texts, and notions of God at odds with the selflessness, creativity, and compassion faith is meant to inspire.

By Karen Armstrong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There is widespread confusion about the nature of religious truth. For the first time in history, a significantly large number of people want nothing to do with God. Militant atheists preach a gospel of godlessness with the zeal of missionaries and find an eager audience.

Tracing the history of faith from the Palaeolithic Age to the present, Karen Armstrong shows that meaning of words such as 'belief', 'faith', and 'mystery' has been entirely altered, so that atheists and theists alike now think and speak about God - and, indeed, reason itself - in a way that our ancestors would have…


Book cover of Why I Am a Catholic

John Loughery Author Of Dorothy Day: Dissenting Voice of the American Century

From my list on religion in an age of doubt.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many Americans, I consider myself uncertain about religion, though that may be less true now that I have come to know the life of Dorothy Day, the radical Catholic activist. She has that effect. Along with the writers below, Dorothy Day has brought me back to thinking of faith in terms that I could find meaningful, to a sense of religion that is about something other than a set of rules and doctrines based on narrow readings of the Bible and the rigidity of men (yes, always men) in positions of power. I grew up a deeply religious child, became a confirmed atheist for decades, but now, in part because of this book, find myself in a different if still uncertain place.

John's book list on religion in an age of doubt

John Loughery Why did John love this book?

Garry Wills, a scholar of Jefferson, Lincoln, modern politics, and religious history, is a major thorn in the side of the Catholic Church. He’s critical of that institution’s checkered past, the questionable primacy of the pope, and the social and political narrowness of its bishops. Yet he is a devout Catholic, a confirmed believer. He sees no contradiction in that. This is a blunt, persuasive book about reconciling an urge to faith in a higher, transcendent power with a sharply critical perspective on an institution that, in Wills’ view, is often less about the teachings of Jesus than a corporate structure pretending to more spiritual authority and infallibility than it has any right to assert.

By Garry Wills,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why I Am a Catholic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An “intellectually satisfying, and spiritually moving,” argument for a questioning, conscience-driven faith, by a New York Times bestselling author (Booklist).
 
Pulitzer Prize winner Garry Wills has been asked more than once why he remains in the Church, especially in the wake of his bestselling book Papal Sins, which examined the darker side of the religion’s history. In Why I Am a Catholic, he offers some persuasive and heartfelt answers.
 
Beginning with a reflection on his early experiences as a child, and later as a Jesuit seminarian, Wills reveals the importance of Catholicism in his own life. He discusses G.K. Chesterton,…


Book cover of Augustine of Hippo: A Biography

Sara Lipton Author Of Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Jewish Iconography

From my list on medieval religious history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised in a Jewish but completely secular family, with no religious traditions or affiliations. Perhaps because religion was so exotic, I have always found it fascinating. In college, I gravitated toward topics in medieval religion, which crystallized the strangeness of an era both earthy and intensely devout. I wanted to understand why an Anglo-Saxon monk sitting in a cold monastery in northern England cared so much about biblical history. Or how Saint Bernard could so relentlessly hound a fellow monk over a scholarly treatise, yet also work energetically to protect Jews from violence. I can't say I'll ever fully comprehend the force of religion, but I love trying.

Sara's book list on medieval religious history

Sara Lipton Why did Sara love this book?

Augustine's Confessions is an extraordinary book, but it is not always an easy one! Readers looking for help in understanding its brilliant author can do no better than to turn to Peter Brown's biography, first published in 1967. It is a beautifully written, lucid, and illuminating study of Augustine's life and thought, the best possible guide to both the man and his world. In an Epilogue added for the forty-fifth-anniversary edition, Brown discusses what he and other scholars have learned in the decades since he first wrote the book, and how his ideas about Augustine have changed, demonstrating the curiosity and openness that are the hallmarks of a great scholar.

By Peter Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Augustine of Hippo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic biography was first published forty-five years ago and has since established itself as the standard account of Saint Augustine's life and teaching.


Book cover of The Atheist Who Didn't Exist Or: the Dreadful Consequences of Bad Arguments

Roxane Lapa Author Of Answering The Atheist: Good Questions Deserve Straight Answers

From my list on Christian apologetics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a Christian for 30+ years, and have had many questions about the Bible and theology. In order to answer my own questions, I’ve consumed scores of apologetics books, articles, videos, and podcasts, as well as studied the Bible itself, with lexicons and commentaries.

Roxane's book list on Christian apologetics

Roxane Lapa Why did Roxane love this book?

Andy Bannister has written this book in response to popular one-liners by new atheists, particularly Dawkins. Tired retorts comparing God to Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are hilariously dealt with by the author's dry British humour. I had a good couple of chuckles in this book. I particularly loved his imaginary friend who claimed he stole the Venus di Milo's arm, and also how he sarcastically puts trademark symbols on the words 'Science' and 'Reason'. Still, I think he does a good job of preventing his teasing from becoming a poo-flinging contest. Such a talented writer - loved this book!

By Andy Bannister,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Atheist Who Didn't Exist Or as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the last decade, atheism has leapt from obscurity to the front pages: producing best-selling books, making movies, and plastering adverts on the side of buses. There's an energy and a confidence to contemporary atheism: many people now assume that a godless scepticism is the default position, indeed the only position for anybody wishing to appear educated, contemporary, and urbane. Atheism is hip, religion is boring. Yet when one pokes at popular atheism, many of the arguments used to prop it up quickly unravel. The Atheist Who Didn't Exist is designed to expose some of the loose threads on the…


Book cover of Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics, & Skeptics

Roxane Lapa Author Of Answering The Atheist: Good Questions Deserve Straight Answers

From my list on Christian apologetics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a Christian for 30+ years, and have had many questions about the Bible and theology. In order to answer my own questions, I’ve consumed scores of apologetics books, articles, videos, and podcasts, as well as studied the Bible itself, with lexicons and commentaries.

Roxane's book list on Christian apologetics

Roxane Lapa Why did Roxane love this book?

This is a book aimed at Christians and regards arguments that sceptics tend to raise.  This was a great book. It wasn’t an easy read, or particularly well ordered, but it had a lot of meat and a few amazing nuggets.

By Ron Rhodes,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics, & Skeptics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many arguments from atheists, agnostics, and skeptics are difficult, or at least intimidating, for most Christians to answer. With clear reasoning and understandable language Ron Rhodes provides readers with the explanations and scriptural background they need to respond to common arguments against faith including:

There is no such thing as absolute truth. Genesis is a myth, not a scientific account. A loving God cannot exist--there is too much evil and suffering. If God created all things, how did He create Himself? Sin is an outdated concept.

With this resource, Christians will be able to confidently respond to logical arguments against…


Book cover of The God Delusion

Bruce M. Hood Author Of SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable

From my list on magical thinking and superstition.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a child, I was fascinated by the supernatural and wanted to believe in the paranormal. On reaching university, I discovered there was no reliable evidence for such phenomena but rather there was a much more satisfying explanation based on the weaknesses and wishes of human psychology. Development is critical to human psychology and as I specialized in children’s thinking, I found more reasons to understand the natural origins of the peculiarities of our reasoning. SuperSense was my first popular science book to expound my ideas, but all of my subsequent books apply similar novel ways of explaining human behaviour from surprising perspectives. 

Bruce's book list on magical thinking and superstition

Bruce M. Hood Why did Bruce love this book?

This was the book that impelled me to write my own account of superstition. I could have also recommended his masterpiece, The Selfish Gene, which I read as a teenager and got me into science in the first place but this unforgiving attack on religion spurred me to write a more balanced view that considered religion as a naturally emerging consequence of cognitive development. In fairness, The God Delusion does briefly mention evidence in support of a natural inclination, but this is outweighed by an agenda (that I do not share) to eradicate religion as pernicious indoctrination. Whatever your opinion of Dawkins, he is undeniably one of the most gifted science writers with a clarity of argument combined with a poetic beauty of prose.

By Richard Dawkins,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The God Delusion caused a sensation when it was published in 2006. Within weeks it became the most hotly debated topic, with Dawkins himself branded as either saint or sinner for presenting his hard-hitting, impassioned rebuttal of religion of all types.

His argument could hardly be more topical. While Europe is becoming increasingly secularized, the rise of religious fundamentalism, whether in the Middle East or Middle America, is dramatically and dangerously dividing opinion around the world. In America, and elsewhere, a vigorous dispute between 'intelligent design' and Darwinism is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science. In many countries…


Book cover of Seven Types of Atheism

Alec Ryrie Author Of Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt

From my list on atheism and religion.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a recovering atheist: a Christian convert who has more sympathy with some of my former atheist brethren than with a lot of my fellow believers. And I’m a historian by trade, which means I believe in the importance of trying to get inside the heads of people living in very different times – but who were still people. I’ve chosen polemical books by atheists and by believers, but in my own writing I try to get sympathetically inside the heads of both. I find that I get on better if I listen to the other side rather than banging the drum for my own – whichever ‘my own side’ is.

Alec's book list on atheism and religion

Alec Ryrie Why did Alec love this book?

Sit up straight, button your coat, and get ready for a blast of cold air. John Gray doesn’t take prisoners, but except for the moment when his sniper’s rifle is pointing right at you, it’s a wonderful performance to watch. The book isn’t an attack on religion, something that he thinks so obviously ridiculous it’s hardly worth discussing (he goes through the motions, briefly). It’s an attack on his fellow atheists, most of whom he accuses – convincingly, mercilessly – of practising religion by other means. Personally, I find the realities that are left once he has shredded the soggy and wishful thinking that characterises most modern humanism a little bit too stark. But I hugely appreciate the brutal clarity of his vision.

By John Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Seven Types of Atheism as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER

WINNER OF THE CATHOLIC HERALD BOOK AWARD FOR RELIGION AND THEOLOGY

A NEW STATESMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR 2019

'Wonderful ... one of the few books that I started to reread a couple of minutes after I'd finished it.' - Melvyn Bragg

A meditation on the importance of atheism in the modern world - and its inadequacies and contradictions - by one of Britain's leading philosophers

'When you explore older atheisms, you will find some of your firmest convictions - secular or religious - are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for…


Book cover of Wise Blood

Jon Bassoff Author Of Beneath Cruel Waters

From my list on that are relentlessly twisted.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I completed one of my early novels, a really demented one called Factory Town, a fellow author emailed me with great concern for my mental health. He was convinced I was heading down a dark cave that I couldn’t be rescued from. But it wasn’t true. Writing and reading these dark novels doesn’t make me depressed. It makes me feel creatively revitalized. Dark literature reminds us that being alive is painful—but it’s also wonderful. I hope to never spend any real time with people as terrifying as the ones I’ve found on these pages. But I’m incredibly thankful they were a part of my imagined world for a time. 

Jon's book list on that are relentlessly twisted

Jon Bassoff Why did Jon love this book?

William Faulkner might have been the father of Southern Gothic, but Flannery O’Connor was the master. This is one of those books that makes you thankful for genius. Because everything about this book is genius. The story is about a young man named Hazel Motes who struggles to avoid his relentless fate. O’Connor’s writing is filled with religious extremism, grotesqueness, and mental illness—all the things that make America great. If I could have written a single book—this would be it.  

By Flannery O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Wise Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor's first novel, is the story of Hazel Motes who, released from the armed services, returns to the evangelical Deep South. There he begins a private battle against the religiosity of the community and in particular against Asa Hawkes, the 'blind' preacher, and his degenerate fifteen-year-old daughter. In desperation Hazel founds his own religion, 'The Church without Christ', and this extraordinary narrative moves towards its savage and macabre resolution.

'A literary talent that has about it the uniqueness of greatness.' Sunday Telegraph

'No other major American writer of our century has constructed a fictional world so energetically…


Book cover of The Bible Handbook

Jass Richards Author Of The Blasphemy Tour

From my list on that dare to make fun of religion and/or gods.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was raised to be a Roman Catholic. I was not raised to think very deeply, but I did anyway. Eventually.  When I was around fifteen, I started asking questions that irritated my parents. They referred me to our priest. Who basically patted me on the head and showed me the door. When the Pope said 'no contraception,' the shit really hit the fan. I haven't looked back. And I'm quite vocal about it because, damn it, religious beliefs and religions do damage, not the least of which involves hurting and killing people. (As for being funny, that's just icing on the cake.)

Jass' book list on that dare to make fun of religion and/or gods

Jass Richards Why did Jass love this book?

Published by the American Atheist Press, this isn't really a funny book, but since contradictions and absurdities figure prominently throughout the book, I'm listing it here. Next time anyone starts to defend their faith, give them a copy of this book. I'm sure some of what's in my own book was inspired by this book.

By W. P. Ball, G. W. Foote,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No bible-thumping missionary will ever be safe on your doorstep again! This book includes devastating evidence needed to prove the "Holy Bible" is actually wholly babble.


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