Top Books/Videos for SHANANNAREEFERS
(Christian Criticism) 

(updated October 1, 2009)


Seekers Humanists Atheists Naturalists
Agnostics Nonreligionists Nontheists Antireligionists
Realists Educationalists Experimentalists Freethinkers
Enlightened Rationalists Secularists

- - - Books Added on October 1, 2009 - - -

026. Jesus is Dead, by Robert M. Price
"... This book argues that (1) not only is there no
good reason to think that Jesus ever rose from the
dead, (2) there is no good reason to suppose that
he ever lived or died at all.

... This book does a fine job of demolishing the
arguments of Christian apologists. Price shows
how apologists operate by getting you to buy into
some very shakey assumptions - that the gospel
narratives, minus the supernatural - are basically
historically reliable. Then they use events and
characters in the story to argue that Jesus really
did rise from the dead.

However, upon closer inspection the gospel nar-
ratives are not even remotely historical accounts,
and provide numerous internal clues to this effect.
The apologist tactic is tantamount to proving the
existence of Batman by quoting the words of
Robin, the Boy Wonder.

Price takes on quite a few specific big name apol-
ogists such as N.T. Wright, William Lane Craig,
Glenn Miller, and Gary Habermas. He provides
slam-dunk refutations for specific arguments, with
observations on the general principle behind apol-
ogetic flim-flam tactics.

025. Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of the Christ,
by D.M. Murdock
"... since the vast majority of the world actually be-
lieves these sacred allegories to be authentic records
of actual events, it is therefore necessary to expose
the folly of such gullibility in logical and easily under-
standable terms, which is what D.M. Murdock has
quite clearly done (in this case, focusing specifically
on the four Gospels of the New Testament) ...

Not only has she revealed the obvious erroneousness
and fictional nature of the Gospels, but she has 'dis-
mantled' and carefully laid out all the essential ele-
ments and clues on the table, so to speak, focusing
on each individual component, and plainly demon-
strating, in a very rational and objective manner, the
indisputable facts, as well as highlighting the evident
flaws. ..."

024. The Christian Myth : Origins, Logic, and Legacy,
by Burton L. Mack
"... traces Burton Mack's intellectual evolution, from
a creative analyst of ancient texts, to a scholar search-
ing for the motives and interests of Jesus's followers
who composed those texts, and for the social logic
of 'the Christian myths' they created.

Mack rejects depictions of Jesus that have emerged
from the quest for the 'historical Jesus' -- peasant
teacher, revolutionary leader, mystical visionary or
miracle-working prophet -- on the grounds that they
are based on a priori assumptions about Jesus, and
are therefore contradictory.

In addition, he argues, these portrayals are untrue to
the many images of Jesus produced by the early Chris-
tians. Using systematic analysis, Mack seeks to des-
cribe and understand the cultural and anthropological
influences on the conception and adoption of Christian
myths and rituals. ..."

023. Jesus Christ : A Pagan Myth,
by Laurence E. Dalton, Shirley Strutton Dalton
"... detailed comparison of the religious and ethical
beliefs held by the Greco-Roman world and the
views held by Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles,
and the Gospel of Mark, the earliest written gos-
pel in the New Testament.

Why do Mark and the gospels that followed him,
as well as Paul's letters, reflect not Jewish ethics
but rather the Stoic ethics of the Greco-Roman
pagan world?

Why the striking similarity between the religion of
Paul and the mystery religions of the pagan world
which surrounded him?

Why are Mark and Paul so anti-Jewish?

Why are Jesus' last words "Why have you (God)
abandoned me?" Why does Jesus feel he is dying
on the cross, a failure, that he is deserted by God?

Jesus Christ: A Pagan Myth presents evidence that
Jesus is a literary fiction, one derived from a Greco-
Roman pagan environment. This evidence is taken
from the New Testament, particularly from Mark
and the letters of Paul, and from modern Christian
scholars. ..."

022. Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)
Criticism of Christianity, by User Contributions

"... Throughout the history of Christianity, many people
have offered criticisms of Christianity, the Church, and
Christians themselves.

Some criticism specifically addresses Christian beliefs,
teachings and interpretation of scripture. The formal
response of Christians to such criticisms is described
as Christian apologetics.

This article considers several areas of criticism includ-
ing some claims of scripture itself, ethics of biblical
interpretations that have been used historically to jus-
tify attitudes and behaviors that are seen by critics
as clearly wrong, the question of compatibility with
science, and certain Christian doctrines that some
find unsettling or unreasonable. ..."

- - - Videos Added on October 1, 2009 - - -

021. DVD : The God Who Wasn't There : A Film
Beyond Belief,  featuring Richard Carrier, Richard
Dawkins, Alan Dundes, Sam Harris,  Robert M. Price,
directed by Brian Fleming

020. DVD : Religulous,  starring Bill Maher,
directed by Larry Charles

019. Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Posts which
include videos pertaining to Christian Criticism
(as of October 1, 2009)

092508 Fear Witches? Apparently,
VP candidate Palin does Video

041409 Brainwashing Children Into

- - - Books from the 1999 & 2000 Versions of this post - - -

018. The Jesus Puzzle. Did Christianity Begin with
a Mythical Christ? : Challenging the Existence
of an Historical Jesus, by Earl J. Doherty
"... From the Back Cover: " Why are the events of
the Gospel story, and its central character Jesus of Nazareth, not found in the New Testament epistles?
Why does Paul's divine Christ seem to have no con-
nection to the Gospel Jesus, but closely resembles
the many pagan savior gods of the time who lived
only in myth?

Why, given the spread of Christianity across the
Roman Empire in the first century, did only one
Christian community compose a story of Jesus'
life and death-the Gospel of Mark-while every
other Gospel simply copied and reworked the
first one? Why is every detail in the Gospel story
of Jesus' trial and crucifixion drawn from passages
in the Old Testament?

The answer to these and other questions surround-
ing the New Testament will come as a shock to
those who imagine that the origins of Christianity
and the figure of Jesus are securely represented
by Christian tradition and the Gospels. With the
arrival of the third millennium, the time has come
to face the stunning realization that for the last
1900 years, Christianity has revered a founder
and icon of the faith who probably never existed.

017. The Jesus Mysteries : Was the 'Original Jesus'
a Pagan God? by Timothy Freke, Peter Gandy
"... This astonishing book completely undermines
the traditional history of Christianity that has been
perpetuated for centuries by the Church. Drawing
on the cutting edge of modern scholarship, authors
Tim Freke and Peter Gandy present overwhelming
evidence that the Jesus of the New Testament is
a mythical figure.

Far from being eyewitness accounts, as is traditionally
held, the Gospels are actually Jewish adaptations of
ancient Pagan myths of the dying and resurrecting
godman Osiris-Dionysus. The supernatural story of
Jesus is not the history of a miraculous Messiah, but
a carefully crafted spiritual allegory designed to guide
initiates on a journey of mystical discovery.

A little more than a century ago most people believed
that the strange story of Adam and Eve was history;
today it is understood to be a myth. Within a few
decades, Freke and Gandy argue, we will likewise
be amazed that the fabulous story of God incarnate
-- who was born of a virgin, who turned water into
wine, and who rose from the dead -- could have
been interpreted as anything but a profound parable.

016. The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story
Ever Sold, by Acharya S
"... Controversial and explosive, The Christ Conspir-
acy marshals an enormous amount of startling evi-
dence that the religion of Christianity and Jesus
Christ were created by members of various secret
societies, mystery schools and religions in order to
unify the Roman Empire under one state religion!

This powerful book maintains that these groups
drew upon a multitude of myths and rituals that
already existed long before the Christian era and
reworked them into the story the Christian religion
presents today-known to most Westerners as the

Author Acharya makes the case that there was no
actual person named Jesus, but that several charac-
ters were rolled into one mythic being inspired by
the deities Mithras, Heracles/Hercules, Dionysus
and many others of the Roman Empire.

She demonstrates that the story of Jesus, as por-
trayed in the Gospels, is nearly identical in detail to
those of the earlier savior-gods Krishna and Horus,
and concludes that Jesus was certainly neither orig-
inal nor unique, nor was he the divine revelation.
Rather, he represents the very ancient body of
knowledge derived from celestial observation and
natural forces.

015. The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You
to Read, by Tim C. Leedom (Editor)
"... Consider this book as a kind of consumer
protection guide to religion, a big step forward
toward religious literacy. Readers will explore
myths, origins, fundamentalism, television
ministries, the identical stories of Stellar/Pagan/
Christian beliefs, unfounded doctrines, child
abuse, the Year 2000, and women's rights.

014. Deconstructing Jesus, by Robert M. Price
"... Robert M. Price argues that liberal Protestant
scholars who produce reconstructions of the 'his-
torical Jesus' are, as Albert Schweitzer pointed
out long ago, creating their own Jesus icons to
authorize a liberal religious agenda.

Christian faith, whether fundamentalist or theolog-
ically liberal, invariably tends to produce a Jesus
capable of playing the role of a religious figurehead.
In this way, 'Jesus Christ' functions as a symbolic
cloak for several hidden agendas.

... the Jesus Christ of the gospels is very likely a
fictional amalgam of several first-century prophets
and messiahs, as well as of purely mythic Mystery
Cult redeemers and Gnostic Aions.

To show this, Price follows the noted scholar
Burton Mack's outline of a range of 'Jesus move-
ments' and 'Christ cults,' showing the origins of
each one's Jesus figures and how they may have
finally merged into the patchwork savior of Chris-
tian dogma.

... there is good reason to believe that Jesus never
existed as a historical figure, and that responsible
historians must remain agnostic about a 'historical
Jesus' and what he stood for. ..."

013. The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark,
by Dennis R. MacDonald
"... MacDonald argues that the author of Mark
consciously emulated Homeric epic. He begins
by describing the common Greco-Roman custom
of teaching prose composition through mimesis
(Greek) or imitatio (Latin) and by pointing out
several examples of their practice in pagan, Jewish
and later Christian texts.

He then proceeds to make the controversial case
that large portions of Mark draw either directly
on the texts or indirectly on the topic of Homer.
The argument is compelling and meticulously

012. Jesus : One Hundred Years Before Christ,
by Alvar Ellegard
"... It is commonly believed that the story of Jesus
as told in the Gospels contains some elements of
fiction as well as of myth. But it is Professor Elle-
gard's view that the basic facts about the life of
Jesus are fictional: Jesus was not born in the time
of Augustus Caesar (27 B.C.-A.D. 14). He was
not baptized by John.

He was not sentenced to death by Pilate. And he
never roamed Palestine as a wandering preacher
and miracle worker. In fact, none of Jesus' sup-
posed contemporaries ever saw him in the flesh
but only through visions, as the Christ raised by
God to heaven.

After leading readers through the earliest Christian
writings, including Paul's Letters and a dozen other
biblical and non-biblical texts, Professor Ellegard
declares that none of these writers had seen Jesus
in the flesh, nor did they refer to anybody who had.
To them, Jesus was someone who had lived and
died much earlier.

011. Why Christianity Must Change or Die :
A Bishop Speaks to Believers in Exile,
by John Shelby Spong, Richard Dominick
"... Spong refers to himself as a believer in exile. He
believes the world into which Christianity was born
was limited and provincial, particularly when viewed
from the perspective of the progress in knowledge
and technology made over the past two millennia.

This makes any ideas or beliefs formulated in 1st-
century Judea totally inadequate to our progressive
minds and lives today. So Spong is in exile until
Christianity is re-formed to discard all of the out-
dated and, according to Spong, false tenets of
Christianity. ..."

010. One Jesus, Many Christs : How Jesus
Inspired Not One True Christianity, but
Many : The Truth About Christian Origins,
by Gregory J. Riley
"... Riley argues that Jesus had a lot in common
with familiar figures like Hercules and Achilles.
The classical heroes claimed a mix of divine-
human parentage, usually with a virgin human
mother and a god for a father; they possessed
some remarkable or even miraculous skill; they
had divine enemies and were hated by powerful
humans; they died, often young and violently, as
martyrs for a principle; and their deaths power-
fully transformed other people's lives through

Jesus fits the bill perfectly, Riley argues, because
the Gospel writers had obtained a classical edu-
cation, which meant that they were thoroughly
steeped in heroic lore. Early converts readily
embraced Christianity's message, despite tre-
mendous penalty from a hostile Roman govern-
ment, because it captured the heroic formula that
peasants had heard recited and then memorized.

... Riley demonstrates that it certainly wasn't doc-
trine that attracted the masses, since the earliest
apostles couldn't agree on the most basic tenets
of the faith. Dozens of sects arose in different
cities, all claiming to be the religion of the risen
Christ (though whether he had risen in spirit or
body was itself a subject of heated debate). What
they could agree on was that Jesus was a hero
and that they, as martyrs for the faith, could be-
come heroes themselves.

Such faithfulness constituted the religion of Christ
into the fourth century, which witnessed the con-
version of Constantine and the great creedal
controversies. ..."

009. The Case Against Christianity,
by Michael Martin
"... Logical examination of Christianity by a profes-
sional philosopher - This book is logically thorough
and destroys Christianity on all important evidential
and rational grounds, although I doubt that any
whose faith has been sufficient thus far will be led
to deconvert. It will however expose them to the
fact that they have no rational grounds for their
belief. ..."

008. The Christ Myth, by Arthur Drews
"... Drews argues that no basis exists for seeking
a historical figure behind the Christ myth. Indeed,
if anyone may be called the 'great personality' of
Christianity, that person is Paul, who gave it the
strength to conquer rival religions. ... Drews shows
that Christianity is a syncretism of various pagan
and Jewish beliefs, and that a strong pre-Christian
cult of Jesus as son of God and messiah existed. ..."

007. Forgery in Christianity : A Documented
Record of the Foundations of the Christian
Religion, by Joseph Wheless
"... Wheless describes what he calls the 'Christian
forgery mill'. That mill produced dozens of gospels,
apocalypses, epistles, and various other writings
falsely attributed to disciples of Jesus and others
among his contemporaries.

There was even a forged document attributed to
Pilate in which he confesses before Tiberius that
Jesus was Lord and saviour. He sets this forgery
mill into its historical context as being an extension
of the Jewish apocalyptic literature tradition.

He strengthens his argument by utilizing the
commentaries of various orthodox sources and
does so with great skill, showing that the force
of biblical criticism leaves the rational critic with
little option but to regard the New Testament
(gospels and epistles) as a mass of forgery. ..."

006. Is It God's Word : An Exposition of the
Fables & Mythology of the Bible & the Fallacies
of Theology, by Joseph Wheless
"... This book combines wit, erudition, humour,
and devastating textual comparison to catch the
bible writers out in their contradictions and self
serving invented laws and prophecies. If I had
read this book 20 year ago I could have saved
myself 18 years in the cult of evangelical chris-
tianity. ..."

005. The Myth of the Resurrection and Other
Essays, by Joseph McCabe
"... One of the most important rationalists of his
era takes readers through the ancient world to
show how Christianity appropriated the cere-
monies and myths of paganism to elaborate the
Resurrection story. McCabe cogently demon-
strates that the Jesus of the gospels is not his-
torical but a curious amalgam constructed after
his death, and the gospels themselves are unre-
liable as biographies. ..."

004. The Forgery of the Old Testament and Other
Essays, by Joseph McCabe
"... In these three classic essays--'The Forgery of
the Old Testament,' 'The Myth of Immortality,'
and 'Lies of Religious Literature'--ex-priest Joseph
McCabe exposes the inconsistencies that lie behind
the texts of Christianity. With forcefulness, clarity,
and often biting humor, McCabe attacks two mil-
lennia of Christian tradition using the weapons of
science and reason. ..."

003. Jesus Christ, Sun of God : Ancient Cosmology
and Early Christian Symbolism, by David Fideler
"... Good first book on the Pagan-Christian con-
nection by an interested a-religionist. A solid
general introduction to the pagan sources of
Christian ideas, followed by a detailed analysis
of ancient Pagan-Christian numerology. ..."

002. Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making
of Christian Myth, by Burton L. Mack
"... Mack's book does an excellent job of debunk-
ing and explaining the Christian myth and deserves
widespread reading. If superstition and myth can be
recognized and understood as such, society will be
strengthened and enriched. It is like the Emperor's
New Clothes - someone has pointed at the Emperor
and written an accessible and enlightening book on
the subject. ..."

001. The Jesus Legend, by G.A. Wells
"... In this forcefully argued book, Wells presents
evidence for the thesis that the New Testament
writings form a part of a developing legendary
tradition concerning the earthly life of Jesus. Wells
engages incisively the works of the most ardent
critics of the mythicist view of Jesus. ... his critical
treatment is nothing less than exemplary. ..."