Top Books/Videos for SHANANNAREEFERS

(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 - - -

021. Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism,
by Susan Jacoby
"... From Publishers Weekly : Is America really one
nation under God? ... it is America's secularist 'free-
thinkers' who formed the bedrock upon which our
nation was built. ... it's one of 'the great unresolved
paradoxes' that religion occupies such an important
place in a nation founded on separation of church
and state.

She traces the role of 'freethinkers,' a term first coined
in the 17th century, in the formation of America from
the writing of the Constitution to some of our greatest
social revolutions, including abolition, feminism, labor,
civil rights and the dawning of Darwin's theory of evo-
lution. ... the values of America's freethinkers belong
'at the center, not in the margins' of American life.  ..."

020. Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide
for Parenting Beyond Belief, by Dale McGowan
"... Praised by Newsweek as -a compelling read-
and Library Journal as -accessible and down-to-
earth,- ... offered freethinking parents everywhere
a compassionate introduction to raising caring,
ethical children without religious guidance.

Now, for the more than 40 million people in the
United States who identify themselves as nonreli-
gious, Raising Freethinkers offers solutions to the
unique challenges secular parents face and pro-
vides specific answers to common questions, as
well as over 100 activities for both parents and
their children.

This book covers every important topic nonreli-
gious parents need to know to help their chil-
dren with their own moral and intellectual devel-
opment, including advice on religious-extended-
family issues, death and life, secular celebrations,
wondering and questioning, and more  ..."

019. Humanism: An Introduction, by Jim Herrick
"... In this succinct, informative, and enlightening
introduction to humanism -- a philosophy that
emphasizes the value of human life in all its cre-
ative potential within a secular context -- Jim
Herrick, a leading humanist advocate in Great
Britain, provides ... the guiding principles, his-
tory, and practice of humanism in today's world.

Herrick surveys the tradition of humanism as it
developed over many centuries, its skepticism
toward belief in God and an afterlife, humanist
values and arguments for morality outside of
a religious framework, its attitude of tolerance
toward different lifestyles and belief systems,
its endorsement of democratic political prin-
ciples, its strong ties to science, its evaluation
of the arts as an exploration of human potential,
and its concern for environmental preservation
and the long-term sustainability of the earth. ..."

018. What Is Secular Humanism?, by Paul Kurtz
"... philosopher Paul Kurtz describes the many ways
in which secular humanism's scientific, philosophical,
and ethical outlook has exerted a profound influence
on civilization from the ancient world to the present.

... secular humanism is especially suitable for the
needs of our increasingly secular world because it
rejects supernatural accounts of reality and seeks
to optimize the fullness of human life in a naturalistic
universe. In tune with the most progressive trends
of the contemporary world, secular humanism finds
meaning in life here and now and expresses confi-
dence in the power of human beings to solve their
problems and conquer uncharted frontiers. ..."

017. Meditations for the Humanist : Ethics
for a Secular Age, by A.C. Grayling
"... a compact, readable, and very interesting intro-
duction to non-religious ethical thought. The author
considers religion to be one of the greatest evils
humankind has inflicted on itself, and so he has
written brief (two to several pages each) essays
on how we might begin to think about poverty,
racism, sex, kindness, etc, without tripping over

Many will not agree with his assertions about reli-
gion, but we live now in a world where it is not
only possible but desirable (for many) to live their
lives without religion. ..."

016. Forced Into Faith: How Religion
Abuses Children's Rights, by lnnaiah Narisetti
"... In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly
adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
proclaiming elementary rights for children world-
wide. Among other provisions, the convention
safeguards children's religious freedom and their
freedom of thought. ...

In this controversial critique of the UN convention,
humanist lnnaiah Narisetti forcefully argues that
children's rights should include complete freedom
from religious belief. Narisetti proposes that the
choice of religious belief or nonbelief should be
deferred till adulthood. ...

... Narisetti cites numerous examples of the ways
in which early religious indoctrination leads to later
negative attitudes such as intolerance, suspicion,
and outright hostility directed toward those who
believe differently. He also notes that religion pro-
vides a cloak for such obvious evils as sexual abuse,
genital mutilation, and corporal punishment of chil-

While most societies are quick to condemn such
abuses, Narisetti suggests that they should be
willing to take the next logical step and look to
the role of religion in such problems. Including
the complete text of the 'Convention on the Rights
of the Child', this candid, unflinching critique of
childhood religious education will provoke much
thoughtful discussion. ..."

015. Society without God: What the Least Religious
Nations Can Tell Us About Contentment,
by Phil Zuckerman
"... Sociologist Zuckerman spent a year in Scan-
dinavia seeking to understand how Denmark and
Sweden became probably the least religious coun-
tries in the world, and possibly in the history of the

While many people, especially Christian conserv-
atives, argue that godless societies devolve into
lawlessness and immorality, Denmark and Sweden
enjoy strong economies, low crime rates, high stan-
dards of living and social equality. ... What emerges
is a portrait of a people unconcerned  and even
incurious about questions of  faith, God and life's
meaning. ...

... a magical land where life expectancy is high
and infant mortality low, where wealth is spread
and genders live in equity, where happy, fish-fed
citizens score high in every quality-of-life index:
economic competitiveness, healthcare, environ-
mental protection, lack of corruption, educational
investment, technological literacy ... well, you get
the idea.

Zuckerman ... has managed to show what nonbelief
looks like when it's normal, regular, mainstream,
common. ... Religious faith -- while admittedly wide-
spread -- is not natural or innate to the human con-
dition. Nor is religion a necessary ingredient for a
healthy, peaceful, prosperous, and ... deeply good

015. Wikipedia (The Free Encyclopedia)
Freethought and Secular Humanism, by User Contributions

"... Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that
holds that opinions should be formed on the basis
of science, logic, and reason, and should not be
influenced by authority, tradition, or any other
dogma. The cognitive application of freethought
is known as freethinking, and practitioners of
freethought are known as freethinkers. ...

Secular humanism is a humanist philosophy that
espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specific-
ally rejects the supernatural and religious dogma
as the basis of morality and decision-making. Like
other types of humanism, secular humanism is a
life stance that focuses on the way human beings
can lead good, happy and functional lives.

The term 'secular humanism' was coined in the
20th century, and was adopted by non-religious
humanists in order to make a clear distinction
from 'religious humanism'. Secular humanism is
also called 'scientific humanism'. Biologist E. O.
Wilson claimed it to be 'the only worldview com-
patible with science's growing knowledge of the
real world and the laws of nature' ..."

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

014. DVD : Monty Python's The Meaning of Life

013. Pro-Humanist FREELOVER Posts which
include videos pertaining to Freethought/Humanism
(as of October 1, 2009)

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

012. Thomas Jefferson's Freethought Legacy : A
Saying Per Day by the Sage of Monticello,
by Thomas Jefferson, Roger E. Greeley

"... A delightful collection of quotes from Jefferson
which establishes beyond dispute his enormous con-
tributions to rationalism, freethought and science.

Jefferson was unwavering in his dedication to the
separation of church and state. ... In these turbulent
days when our society is pushed and pulled by the
excesses of the Religious Right, allow Jefferson's
sober thoughts to restore your confidence in free-
thought, rationalism, humanism, and the importance
of reason, science, and education ..."

011. Who's Who in Hell: A Handbook and
International Directory for Humanists,
Freethinkers, Naturalists, Rationalists, and
Non-Theists, by Warren Allen Smith
"... This book should be in every reference library,
private and public, as it is a useful compendium
of free thinkers past and present and organizations
that support them. Information on groups includes
addresses and phone numbers.

It also makes fascinating browsing. Celebrities and
politicians past and present are here. George Wash-
ington and Abe Lincoln qualify. Do you?

The compiler of Who's Who in Hell may be rushing
things a bit as many of the listed individuals are still
very much alive but I am sure the title is tongue in
cheek. ..."

010. Forbidden Fruit : The Ethics of Humanism,
by Paul W. Kurtz
"... An excellent book showing an alternative to the
mind-rape known as religion. ... Kurtz provides an
excellent defense of Humanistic principles and shows
that life can indeed have a positive affirmative outlook.

009. Embracing the Power of Humanism,
by Paul Kurtz
"... An outstanding book that advocates living a
meaningful life ... WITHOUT religion. Professor
Kurtz defends both individual autonomy and
creative fulfillment (libertarian values) *and*
altruism and empathy. Both the best available
book on normative humanist ethics and a
powerful defense of naturalistic ethics. ..."

008. Humanist Manifesto 2000 : A Call for New
Planetary Humanism, by Paul Kurtz
"... Designed to address the problems of the twenty-
first century and the millennium beyond. Providing
a strong defense of scientific naturalism and tech-
nology, it is offered as a contribution to the dialogue
among the different cultural, political, and economic
viewpoints in the world. ..."

007. Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature
in Nineteenth-Century England, by Joss Marsh

"... Blasphemy was a crime in England during the
19th century. In this fascinating study, Marsh ...
explores the blasphemy trials that served to
change ideas about free speech. The key trial
came in 1883 when G.W. Foote, editor of the
penny newspaper 'Freethinker,' was prosecuted
three times.

Foote, and others detailed in the book, refused
to be silenced and eventually secured the right to
write and speak freely. The court ruled that blas-
phemy was not a criminal offense ... 22 photos. ..."

006. Humanism: Finding Meaning in the Word,
by Nicolas Walter
"... What is a humanist? After an introduction to
the earliest ideas of, and terms for, humanism in
the ancient world, noted humanist Nicolas Walter
explores the history of humanism and its evolving
definitions from the time of the original appearance
and first meanings of 'humanist' in the Italian Renais-
sance, concluding with a manifesto of modern
humanism. ..."

005. The Philosophy of Humanism, by Corliss Lamont
"... In a work that has a standard text and reference
in the ongoing national debate that swirls around
secular humanism, Lamont offers a vigorous argu-
ment for a philosophy that advocates happiness in
this life rather than hope for a heaven in an afterlife.

004. A Celebration of Humanism and Freethought,
by David Allen Williams
"... priceless treasury of poetry and prose draped in
art and rare steel engravings from more than a century
ago. Amid its beauty, readers will find a unified call
to reason, tolerance, and freedom of expression in
opposition to the forces of ignorance, supernaturalism,
superstition, and dogmatism.

The words of over eighty of the world's most often
read and frequently quoted authors are included:
among them Aristotle, Matthew Arnold, Marcus
Aurelius, Francis Bacon, Cicero, Joseph Conrad,
Charles Darwin, Diogenes, John Donne, Will
Durant, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Epicurus, Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe, Edith Hamilton, Eric Hoffer,
Homer, Robert G. Ingersoll, Thomas Jefferson,
Lucretius, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Jacques Rous-
seau, George Santayana, William Shakespeare,
Mark Twin, Voltaire, H. G. Wells, and many
others. ... a remarkable collection of compelling
ideas and impressive art  ..."

003. Living in the Light : Freeing Your Child from the
Dark Ages, by Anne R. Stone

"... By classifying the personality types of children,
Anne Stone pinpoints the places where children are
vulnerable to the wiles of cults and other harmful
forms of religion. Living in the Light is a parent's
handbook for rearing children free of superstition
and supernaturalism, to the end that they may grow
up to be self-actualizing, happy adults. ..."

002. Best of Robert Ingersoll : Selections from His
Writings and Speeches, by Robert Green Ingersoll,
Roger E. Greeley (Editor)

"... Greeley has skillfully captured both Ingersoll's
blazing integrity and his wonderful insights. There
are memorable quotes on nearly every page (On
Immortality: 'It is better to ignorantly hope than
to dishonestly affirm.'). An excellent reminder
that we are all better served by having an open,
honest, civil debate about life's most ultimate
questions. ..."

Robert G. Ingersoll

001. Humanist Anthology: From Confucius to
Attenborough, by Margaret Knight (Editor),
Edward Blishen (Editor), Jim Herrick (Editor)
"...  This book, by bringing together the best thinkers,
skeptics, and critics of religion, shows how rich is
the tradition from which modern humanism derives.
Its aim is to remove some misconceptions -- particu-
larly the illusion that love and human brotherhood are
purely Christian concepts that were unknown to the
ancient world. ..."