The best religion and science books

6 authors have picked their favorite books about religion and science and why they recommend each book.

Soon, you will be able to filter by genre, age group, and more. Sign up here to follow our story as we build a better way to explore books.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission (learn more).

Death by Black Hole

By Neil Degrasse Tyson,

Book cover of Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries

Tyson has done a wonderful job taking over as the layman’s communicator about science after his mentor, Carl Sagan, returned to the stars. This book in particular explains a plethora of scientific questions while showcasing Tyson’s humor and overall science acumen. I enjoy anything he writes and always find his books informative and witty.


Who am I?

I volunteered at my local library in small-town North Carolina from a very young age. One day I picked up Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, cementing my love of science. Sagan’s explanation that we’re all just a speck on the pale blue dot called Earth spoke to me and made me curious to know more. I begged my parents to let me go to Space Camp in Alabama and I went to North Carolina Governor’s School for Physics. I didn’t pursue a scientific career but I always retained my love of science. When I finally became an author in my 40s, I knew I would someday write a sci-fi time travel romance—eventually, A Paradox of Fates was born.


I wrote...

A Paradox of Fates

By Rebecca Hefner,

Book cover of A Paradox of Fates

What is my book about?

Dr. Elaine “Lainey” Randolph was born with one sole purpose: to prevent the past. With her brilliant mind and unwavering spirit, she works tirelessly to solve the equations that will finally unlock the mystery of time travel. Then, she will leave the post-apocalyptic future her grandfather created and travel back in time to prevent his calamitous actions. When handsome military captain Hunter Rhodes appears at Lainey’s remote scientific hub, he offers her protection. But there are strings attached to the mysterious soldier’s proffer, and Lainey finds herself wary of the man who stokes unwelcome longing and desire in her unemotional heart. As Lainey’s band of ragtag scientists and loyal soldiers endeavor to escape the dystopian future, the evil New Establishment threatens to destroy them all.

Spook

By Mary Roach,

Book cover of Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife

Ghosts are at the nexus of any Halloween celebration. The first Samhain tribal gatherings likely involved the spirits of the dead; old Irish literature chronicles the opening of the otherworld at this time of year; and even in the 21st century we tour graveyards, dress as ghosts, and conjure up the dead every year at Halloween. Mary Roach’s hilarious, entertaining examination of the world of spirits tackles the question no has been able to answer: what happens after we die?


Who am I?

I have loved Halloween since I ran through the suburban streets of southern Connecticut with ears and a tail. For more than thirty years I’ve been researching and writing about the holiday, and each year I find something new. Most of all, I’m a Halloween advocate: At Halloween we can wrap our arms around the reality of the other 364 days and satirize, exorcize, and celebrate it. The joy of Halloween is not that it’s dark and we revel in that; it’s that Halloween can bring a bit of light and laughter into the darkness. And, of course, it’s big, creative, candy-fueled fun.


I wrote...

Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night

By Lesley Pratt Bannatyne,

Book cover of Halloween Nation: Behind the Scenes of America's Fright Night

What is my book about?

On a mission to define 21st century Halloween, I talked with fanatics and fang makers, professional haunters, registered mediums, psychologists, and Halloween enthusiasts ranging from NPR's Garrison Keillor to The Simpsons' "Treehouse of Horror" writer Mike Reiss to find out what goes on behind the scenes at prop shops and national Halloween conventions, at quiet commemorations of Samhain, giant pumpkin festivals, zombie crawls, parades, haunts, ghost stake-outs, and so much more. How is it that this boisterous celebration unites us in a community based on fantasy and fear, and what draws us together on this one night when we open our doors to strangers? If you love Halloween, really love Halloween, this book is for you. Chances are pretty good it's probably about you, too.

The Physics of God

By Joseph Selbie,

Book cover of The Physics of God: How the Deepest Theories of Science Explain Religion and How the Deepest Truths of Religion Explain Science

As a trained physicist, I think this book contains what may be the best explanation of physics in terms non-scientists can understand, as well as how that discipline can be useful in understanding what it really is to be a human being. In particular, I found this book to be quite helpful in grasping how 20th-century physics helps illuminate extra-ordinary experiences. I had one of these experiences, which occurred outside the bounds of our common understanding of the world and of ourselves. He also helps readers understand the gradual demise of scientific materialism, the belief that all things can or will be explained by science, including consciousness. I found this book an enjoyable read and it kept my interest throughout.


Who am I?

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to understand how the universe works. I studied physics with a firm belief in scientific materialism, the belief that all things can or will be explained by science, including consciousness. However, after earning an advanced degree I found myself no closer to a satisfying answer to my inquiry into the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Then, a personal experience of unembodied consciousness convinced me that my answers would have to come from a reexamination of all that I had believed, an internal journey over decades that has borne fruit in unexpected and magical ways.


I wrote...

Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

By Larry Gottlieb,

Book cover of Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

What is my book about?

One day in 1974, I had an experience that forever changed the way I look at life. And now that I have gone through that door, I find I can never go back.

Join me on my search for a deeper understanding of what it is to be a human being, the truth about our belief systems, the stories we’ve been hoodwinked into believing, and how, by uncovering our fundamental superstitions we can all, ultimately, open that door too.

Where the Conflict Really Lies

By Alvin Plantinga,

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

Professor Plantinga, retired from the University of Notre Dame, is one of the greatest American philosophers of this generation. In this book, he nicely summarizes a career’s-worth of study and insight into the supposed “warfare between science and religion,” showing that there is no such warfare, not really, between science and Christianity—but there might be some real problems between, say, science and the breezy scientism of the New Atheists…


Who am I?

Ever since my ninth grade English teacher provoked me with religious questions I not only couldn’t answer, but had never even considered, I’ve been interrogating my Christian faith. Now, several decades later, with a PhD from the University of Chicago and a handful of books published by the Oxford University Press, I’m in a better position to answer those questions, and to recognize the good answers of others. I don’t think we ever get perfect answers to the Big Questions, but we can get answers adequate for trusting God, and that’s enough.


I wrote...

Can I Believe? Christianity for the Hesitant

By John G. Stackhouse Jr.,

Book cover of Can I Believe? Christianity for the Hesitant

What is my book about?

Maybe Christianity is true. But how could one possibly decide that among the world’s religious options? This book outlines a process for thinking about religion reasonably and responsibly. It then tells the story of the Christian religion in a way that will startle most readers while clearing away misunderstandings that have repelled so many.

The book goes on to look at why two billion people find this religion to be persuasive. But it also acknowledges that many find it implausible because Christians insist that theirs is the only way to God and because the problem of evil seems to undercut everything Christianity asserts. Can I Believe? refuses to dodge hard questions as it welcomes the intelligent inquirer to give Christianity at least one good look.

Oracles of Science

By Karl Giberson, Mariano Artigas,

Book cover of Oracles of Science: Celebrity Scientists Versus God and Religion

There are a group of leading thinkers in science and religion who simultaneously provoke fertile thought in their readers and irritate them at the same time! This group includes biologists Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, and Edward O. Wilson, and physicists Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, and Steven Weinberg, who have become public intellectuals, articulating a much larger vision for science and what role it should play in the modern worldview. The scientific prestige and literary eloquence of each of these thinkers combines to transform them into what can only be called oracles of science. Curiously, these thinkers create a very misleading and culturally damaging impression that science as a whole is incompatible with religion. Giberson and Artigas offer an informed analysis of their views, carefully distinguishing science from philosophy and religion in the writings of the oracles. Overall, the book is a great introduction to many of the fascinating questions…


Who am I?

I'm a teacher, philosopher, writer, Professor of Philosophy, and holder of the Sullivan Chair in Philosophy at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. I'm the author/editor of sixteen books on such topics as religion and science, religion and politics, contemporary European philosophy, and political philosophy. I'm particularly interested in how religion and science, especially evolution, can be shown to be compatible with each other, as well as in developing an argument that there is no chance operating in nature (including in biology). My book and the books below explore these fascinating topics from almost every possible angle, and should whet readers’ appetites for further thinking about these intriguing matters!


I wrote...

Evolution, Chance, and God: Understanding the Relationship Between Evolution and Religion

By Brendan Sweetman,

Book cover of Evolution, Chance, and God: Understanding the Relationship Between Evolution and Religion

What is my book about?

I wrote this book in order to explore the challenging but fascinating topic of the relationship between religion and the scientific theory of evolution, which special attention to whether the process of evolution includes a significant (or indeed any) element of chance in its operation. Written in an accessible style for the non-specialist, the book probes the implications of evolution for religious belief and along the way discusses such topics as the meaning of chance and randomness in biology and science more generally, the difference between predictability and probability, and the absence of chance in nature. The book goes on to explore related topics of design, suffering, and morality, as well as considering some of the ways that God might act in and through creation. 

You Are the Universe

By Deepak Chopra, Menas C. Kafatos,

Book cover of You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why It Matters

Deepak Chopra has been exploring the relationship between spirituality and science for many decades, and Menas Kafatos’s peer-reviewed research on cosmology and astrophysics, among other topics, is well documented. Their work in this book makes it clear that instead of living in a material, unknowing and uncaring universe, we instead live in what they call a human universe, one that is living, conscious, and evolving. This book makes the case convincingly that we create our own reality in a conscious universe that responds to the beliefs and thoughts that reside in our minds. I have watched Mr. Chopra speak numerous times, and I appreciate his loving and gentle delivery. This book gave me a condensed and satisfying explanation of his worldview.


Who am I?

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to understand how the universe works. I studied physics with a firm belief in scientific materialism, the belief that all things can or will be explained by science, including consciousness. However, after earning an advanced degree I found myself no closer to a satisfying answer to my inquiry into the relationship between consciousness and the physical world. Then, a personal experience of unembodied consciousness convinced me that my answers would have to come from a reexamination of all that I had believed, an internal journey over decades that has borne fruit in unexpected and magical ways.


I wrote...

Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

By Larry Gottlieb,

Book cover of Hoodwinked: Uncovering Our Fundamental Superstitions

What is my book about?

One day in 1974, I had an experience that forever changed the way I look at life. And now that I have gone through that door, I find I can never go back.

Join me on my search for a deeper understanding of what it is to be a human being, the truth about our belief systems, the stories we’ve been hoodwinked into believing, and how, by uncovering our fundamental superstitions we can all, ultimately, open that door too.

Divine Action and Modern Science

By Nicholas Saunders,

Book cover of Divine Action and Modern Science

This book considers the relationship between the natural sciences and the concept of God acting in the world. Nicholas Saunders examines the Biblical motivations for asserting a continuing notion of divine action and identifies several different theological approaches to the problem. He considers their theoretical relationships with the laws of nature, indeterminism, and probabilistic causation. His radical critiques of current attempts to reconcile special divine action with quantum theory, chaos theory, and quantum chaos are especially interesting, though he will not convince everyone! Saunders provocatively suggests that we are still far from a satisfactory account of how God might act in a manner that is consonant with modern science despite the copious recent scholarship in this area.


Who am I?

I'm a teacher, philosopher, writer, Professor of Philosophy, and holder of the Sullivan Chair in Philosophy at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri, USA. I'm the author/editor of sixteen books on such topics as religion and science, religion and politics, contemporary European philosophy, and political philosophy. I'm particularly interested in how religion and science, especially evolution, can be shown to be compatible with each other, as well as in developing an argument that there is no chance operating in nature (including in biology). My book and the books below explore these fascinating topics from almost every possible angle, and should whet readers’ appetites for further thinking about these intriguing matters!


I wrote...

Evolution, Chance, and God: Understanding the Relationship Between Evolution and Religion

By Brendan Sweetman,

Book cover of Evolution, Chance, and God: Understanding the Relationship Between Evolution and Religion

What is my book about?

I wrote this book in order to explore the challenging but fascinating topic of the relationship between religion and the scientific theory of evolution, which special attention to whether the process of evolution includes a significant (or indeed any) element of chance in its operation. Written in an accessible style for the non-specialist, the book probes the implications of evolution for religious belief and along the way discusses such topics as the meaning of chance and randomness in biology and science more generally, the difference between predictability and probability, and the absence of chance in nature. The book goes on to explore related topics of design, suffering, and morality, as well as considering some of the ways that God might act in and through creation. 

Summer for the Gods

By Edward J. Larson,

Book cover of Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion

Nearly a century ago, in the small town of Dayton, Tenn., one of the most heated trials in U.S. history occurred. Few Americans could ignore the small, crowded, overheated courtroom where an illustrious criminal lawyer squared off against a renowned politician over the teaching of the theory of human evolution. The case, which pitted religion (William Jennings Bryan) against science (Clarence J. Darrow), highlighted the rift between urban and rural values, and demonstrated the rising authority of modern educators and experts. Perhaps most exciting, this book chronicles the untamed expansion of American popular culture during the 1920s. 


Who am I?

Claudia Keenan is a historian of education whose interest in American culture was awakened during her doctoral studies, when she researched the lives of mid-twentieth-century educators. Growing up in Mount Vernon, N.Y., she developed a strong affinity with place and time among the beautiful old homes and avenues lined with elms, set against a backdrop of racial strife and ethnic politics. She continues to reconstruct and interpret American lives on her blog, and has recently finished a book about Henry Collins Brown, founder of the Museum of the City of New York. Claudia received a BA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from New York University.


I wrote...

Waking Dreamers, Unexpected American Lives: 1880-1980

By Claudia Keenan,

Book cover of Waking Dreamers, Unexpected American Lives: 1880-1980

What is my book about?

Opportunists, millionaires, student radicals, artists; industrialists, posers, bohemians, suffragists— Waking Dreamers is a set of short stories, largely about obscure nineteenth-century Americans, whom Claudia Keenan discovered in the course of 20 years of historical research. Messianic, tragic, brave, clever; they seemed to merit attention, so she sifted through thousands of clues, details, and images in digitized magazines and newspapers, digging up their pasts. Her interest in reconstructing lives, and interpreting cultural and social context, grew out of her doctoral studies in the history of American education.

Ranging from the modern dancer Violet Romer to the brilliant progressive educator Willard W. Beatty; from the freethinker and vegetarian J. Howard Moore to the forlorn First Lady Jane Pierce, Waking Dreamers pulls back the curtain on Americans who suffered and triumphed through the Gilded Age and into the twentieth century.

Why There Almost Certainly Is a God

By Keith Ward,

Book cover of Why There Almost Certainly Is a God: Doubting Dawkins

Keith Ward is a major philosopher and theologian. In this book, he presents a devastating critique of the simplistic arguments of Richard Dawkins. With touches of humour he deftly demolishes Dawkins’ materialistic atheism, showing how the priority of the divine mind as necessary being provides the ultimate explanation for anything to exist. Science provides explanations in terms of cause and effect, but does not explain why there is a universe in the first place or why the laws of nature are as they are. Contrary to Dawkins, belief in a divine mind does not close down scientific endeavour but inspires it. If the speculative multiverse idea were to explain the special nature of this universe, this would itself still need explanation, and would in any case be compatible with theism.


Who am I?

I believe that the most important questions one can possibly ask are, ‘Is there a God?’ and ‘Is Jesus God in human flesh?’ Since becoming a Christian at University in Cambridge the answers I have found to these questions have been the bedrock of my life. They have been confirmed by experience and I have wanted to share them. My academic work has been devoted to them. I am an astrophysicist as well as a priest and find, contrary to popular conceptions, that these vocations fit wonderfully neatly together. I am persuaded that there is a wealth of evidence for the truth of Christian beliefs, including from science itself.


I wrote...

Ramified Natural Theology in Science and Religion: Moving Forward from Natural Theology

By Rodney Holder,

Book cover of Ramified Natural Theology in Science and Religion: Moving Forward from Natural Theology

What is my book about?

Natural theology is about arguments for the existence of God. Certain features of the universe are much more likely to be present if there is a God than if not, and that fact enhances the probability that God exists. Ramified natural theology uses a similar form of argumentation for the specific claims of Christianity, e.g. that Jesus rose from the dead and is God in human flesh. The historical evidence for the life, death and resurrection is extremely powerful and we are much more likely to have it if Jesus is God incarnate than if not, and that enhances the probability that Jesus is indeed God incarnate. With reasonable assumptions, putting the two together makes it overwhelmingly likely that God became flesh in Jesus.

New book lists related to religion and science

All book lists related to religion and science

Bookshelves related to religion and science