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Atheists / Humanists: Who are your favorite writers?

Discussion in 'Same Faith Debates' started by Mr Spinkles, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. Mr Spinkles

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    Atheists / humanists: who are some of your favorite writers who have influenced your thinking? Who do you recommend as necessary reading?

    I have non-fiction writers in mind who touch upon topics that have to do with atheism or humanism, but feel free to share any writer you would like to share.
     
  2. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    I'm a big fan of Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain.

    I'm also an avid reader of authors and teachers Brad Warner and Alan Watts.

    The runner up for me would be Carl Sagan through this book demon haunted world.

    I actually meant Carl Sagon as a kid once during a class in the early 70s. I don't remember much what he said but his charisma and personality carried on with me to this day.
     
  3. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut.
     
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  4. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Douglas Adams, he is one of my favorite philosophers of the late 20th century.
     
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  5. Augustus

    Augustus the Unreasonable

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    John Gray (the British philosopher, not the American 'Men are from Mars...' chap) for being one of the rare atheists who writes on such issues with erudition and critical insight rather than mindless repetition of Secular Humanist platitudes and historically illiterate anti-theistic tropes.
     
  6. Nimos

    Nimos Well-Known Member

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    Without a doubt.

    Thomas Paine - The Age of Reason

     
  7. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    Another vote for John Gray, even though I seem to disagree with much of what he says. Early on I quite liked Bertrand Russell and Tolstoy (non-fiction stuff), and these days I tend to read so much that I rarely have any favourites. Steven Pinker, I've read some of his works and quite like his style and what he proposes. And I'm more likely to find works by psychologists grabbing my interest than many others so will look out for these.
     
  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    The most influential writers for me as an agnostic (maybe atheist? unsure.) is Steve Hassan and George Orwell.

    Steve Hassan's "Combatting Cult Mind Control" and Orwell's "1984" both deal with indoctrination. Hassan's book helped me to identify when someone is trying to indoctrinate me and how to combat it. "1984" further explored the consequences of indoctrination and how it can destroy a persons life.

    So my agnostic atheism results from how I interpret the evidence backing up claims rather than anything emotional. So I am not religious because religions make certain claims that I cannot prove or disprove so therefore I have no way of judging the truth of them, therefore I have no reason to believe them.
     
  9. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Well-Known Member

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    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gave me a completely new perspective on life. I take life much less seriously now.
     
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  10. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    Richard Ford.
    I realised he must be my favourite writer when I made this list of his books - I’ve read them all.

    The Sportswriter, The Ultimate Good Luck, A Piece of My Heart, Canada, The Lay of the Land, Independence Day, Let Me Be Frank With You.

    He writes naturalistic novels which examine people’s’ motivations, idiosyncrasies and fates.
    His writing is superb.
     
  11. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Laurence J. Peter
    Micheal Shermer
    Piers Anthony
     
  12. Howard Is

    Howard Is Lucky Mud

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    DBC Pierre

    He is a must-read author.
    He won the Man Booker Prize in 2007 for ‘Vernon God Little’. Highly recommended, as are ‘Ludmila’s Broken English’ and what is probably his magnum opus, ‘Lights Out in Wonderland’
     
  13. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Strange question.

    I've read a lot of books over the years, but never gave much thought to the philosophical/theological leanings of their authors. I guess I was busy assimilating the content relative to my own philosophical/theological conceptualizations. I have read and appreciate some of the authors mentioned. I just didn't think about them in these terms.
     
  14. Mr Spinkles

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    I find it strange that you find it strange! :) I was just curious. What is strange about the question if I may ask?
     
  15. icehorse

    icehorse Well-Known Member
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    Great list so far! I'd add (even though they might not have directly intended to argue for humanism):

    Ram Dass
    Joseph Campbell
    Christopher Hitchens
    Dan Simmons
    David Brin
    Asimov, Clarke..
    Ken Kesey
    Richard Bach
    ..
     
  16. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    It's just not something I'd ever considered: the philosophy of an author who's book I'm reading. Even when an author is proposing a specific philosophical point of view, I still wouldn't have considered them to be a member of some philosophical/theological "camp" or "tribe".

    I guess I come at it from an artist's point of view, where any author (artist) represents only him/herself, in that moment of creativity. It wouldn't occur to me to consider the theology of Roger Brown when looking at one of his paintings. And even when his paintings were specifically about his theology, I'd still only consider it within the context it was being presented. I would not presume to let it bleed into my viewing of any other painting of his. Or into anyone else's paintings in the gallery, or into my own paintings (if I were a painter).

    For example; I am somewhat familiar with Ram Dass, and yet it has never occurred to me to consider if he is a "humanist" or not. I see him more as an artist who's medium is philosophy.
     
  17. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest High Intellajence Kwoshunt.
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    Joseph Heller, if only for Catch-22.
     
  18. Mr Spinkles

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    Thanks. I may not have been clear. I was curious which authors have influenced the thinking of atheists and humanists on this forum. But those authors don’t have to have a particular philosophy, just people who influenced your thinking. A Christian or Jew or any non-atheist, non-humanist could also certainly be cited.
     
  19. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    That would be a very long list. But the authors I appreciated most over the years were the ones that did NOT present me with any big answers, but instead presented me with the inextricable. With views of reality that could not be "worked out", or resolved.

    There is a South African writer named J. M. Coatzee who wrote a lot of novels about complicity. He was a white boy grown up under apartheid, and experienced first hand the systemic subjugation and abuse of one race by another, ... from the position of the abusers. And he was never able to reconcile his having been forced by his own white skin color (and his own fear and confusion) into being a benefiting member of a cultural system that was so clearly evil. The first book of his I read was called, "Waiting For The Barbarions" and it was so good that I read a half dozen more of his novels, all dealing in one way or another with the main character not knowing how to deal with being born into an abusive system, as a member of the abusers. Being guilty by an association that one did not ask for, and yet benefits from, regardless.

    Those novels had an impact on me because they showed me how culturalized evil becomes a kind force of it's own, and creates it's own momentum that eventually sucks in and destroys everyone, even those who think they are the big "winners". It's a lesson I wish we in the United States right now could somehow come to understand, before we all get sucked into the abyss of a culturalized evil of our own making. He was awarded a Nobel Prize in 2003.
     
    #19 PureX, Jan 25, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  20. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Another author that had a great effect on me in this same way is Isaac Bashevis Singer. His collections of short stories are magnificent. Some of them are incredible little vignettes that illuminate amazingly deep truths about the human condition as it relates to our sense of morality. While other collections of his short stories are written as if they were stories told to him by other people, of the most inexplicable and unexplainable events that they have experienced in their lives. All fantastic stories that really make you ponder "reality" as you so arrogantly imagine yourself to understand it. He also wrote many novels, and was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1978.
     
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