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Anthony Gottlieb's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Anthony Gottlieb recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Anthony Gottlieb's favorite book recommendations of all time.


God Is Back

How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World

Recommended by Anthony Gottlieb, and 1 others.

Anthony GottliebWell, there are many distinctive and interesting things going on in America, many things that make it religious. It’s certainly not just the relatively low life expectancy and so on. It’s other things too. And these other things are discussed quite a lot in the last book on my list—a book by two British journalists, John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, called “God is Back: How the Global... (Source)

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Sacred and Secular

Religion and Politics Worldwide

August Comte, Herbert Spencer, Emile Durkheim, Max Weber, Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud predicted that religion would gradually fade in importance and cease to be significant with the emergence of industrial society. Their belief that religion was dying became conventional wisdom in the social sciences during most of the twentieth century. However, this analysis reveals that the traditional secularization thesis needs updating now. Religion has not disappeared and is unlikely to do so, even though secularization has had a surprisingly powerful negative impact on human fertility rates. less
Recommended by Anthony Gottlieb, and 1 others.

Anthony GottliebYes, both of the next books on my list have something particular to say about America. My fourth book is by two social scientists called Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart. It’s called Sacred and Secular: Religion and Politics Worldwide. It was published in 2004 and is meticulous and powerful in its interpretation of an enormous range of data. What they’re looking at are the data on religious... (Source)

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"Silver" Winner of the 2008 Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award, Religion Category
Before he began his recent travels, it seemed to Phil Zuckerman as if humans all over the globe were "getting religion"--praising deities, performing holy rites, and soberly defending the world from sin. But most residents of Denmark and Sweden, he found, don't worship any god at all, don't pray, and don't give much credence to religious dogma of any kind. Instead of being bastions of sin and corruption, however, as the Christian Right has suggested a godless society would be, these countries...
Recommended by Anthony Gottlieb, and 1 others.

Anthony GottliebYes, the next three books I’ve chosen to talk about are all contemporary: one published just a few weeks ago, one last year, and one a few years before that. None of them are by philosophers. The first one, called Society Without God,  is by a sociologist called Phil Zuckerman and is a study of a very particular phenomenon: religion in Scandinavia today. Now you might think, why bracket a... (Source)

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David Hume is the greatest and also one of the most provocative philosophers to have written in the English language. No philosopher is more important for his careful, critical, and deeply perceptive examination of the grounds for belief in divine powers and for his sceptical accounts of the causes and consequences of religious belief, expressed most powerfully in the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion and The Natural History of Religion. The Dialogues ask if belief in God can be inferred from the nature of the universe or whether it is even consistent with what we know about the universe.... more

Anthony GottliebHis friends urged him not only to give up the idea of having it published in his lifetime, but even of having it published after his death, because they thought that it would condemn all this other works to the dustbin of history. (Source)

Julian BagginiHume is the main man. (Source)

Mary WarnockHume thought it didn’t actually make much difference whether you believed that God did design the universe or whether you didn’t, because if you could say nothing about this God then it wasn’t a very interesting belief to hold. (Source)

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Theological-Political Treatise

Rational examination of the Old Testament to show that freedom of thought and speech is consistent with the religious life. True religion consists in practice of simple piety, independent of philosophical speculation. less
Recommended by Anthony Gottlieb, A C Grayling, and 2 others.

Anthony GottliebThe first real biblical criticism, and still the best critique of traditional theism (i.e., the view that God is like a person). (Source)

A C GraylingThis is a work which is perhaps of all Spinoza’s works the most accessible, he is a tremendously significant figure for our modern age. (Source)

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