Feb 19 2012

Books on atheism and Islam

I just received a request for a list of books on atheism and also atheism and Islam. Can anyone help with putting together a list, which I can send on? Thanks for any help on this. Here’s the email:


I am interested in getting a thorough education about atheistic and agnostic thought. My interest is an academic one, as I am studying religion at the post-secondary level, and would like to widen my horizons as much as possible.

As I have no real place to begin, I would be thankful if you could send me a thorough list of primary and standard books, which shed light on the short history of atheistic thought, atheistic arguments in support of and other reasons for disbelief, arguments against different faiths, and anything else you deem would be useful in my inquiry.

My background is in Islamic theology, so if you have anything specifically relating to atheism and Islam, I would be thankful if you included that as well. I am also open to arguments against other faith-based ideologies as well.

I hope we can remain in touch. Thank you for your time.


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  1. 1
    Pedram F Dahl

    Dear Maryam,

    I got directed to this page in response to your tweet.
    Here is a quick suggestion of a few “standard” works on atheism (though I am not familiar with books covering atheism AND islam)

    - Atheism, Morality, and Meaning, by Michael Martin
    - Romantic Atheism: Poetry and Freethought, 1780-1830 Martin Priestman
    - In Defence of Atheism: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism and Islam by Michel Onfray
    Dialogues between faith and reason : the death and return of God in modern German thought by John H Smith (interesting study on the interaction between faith and reason).

    Good luck putting together the list.


    Pedram F Dahl

  2. 2
    Kylie Sturgess

    The Young Atheist’s Handbook – Alom Shaha.

  3. 3

    Books by Taner Edis, Turkish-born American physicist, might be of help here. From what I gather he is more nuanced about Islam and Arabic culture than other atheist writers while still remaining a staunch atheistic naturalist.


  4. 4
    phil zombi

    The Portable Atheist – It has a pretty good range of unbelievers.

    Doubt – Jennifer Hecht – Not specifically about atheism but a history of doubt from the greeks through modern times. (I am in the middle of it right now)

  5. 5

    Why I’m Not A Christian, Age of Reason, Rights of Man by Bertrand Russel.

  6. 6
    Upright Ape

    Fot specifically on atheism and Islam I would recommend anything by Ibn Warraq. They are all very good. Also I would suggest works of Ayan Hirsi Ali even though I don’t agree with her on everything.

  7. 7
    Maryam Namazie

    Thanks for all your suggestions!

  8. 8

    I just realized I mis-attributed two books. Age of Reason and Rights of Man are Thomas Paine, not Bertrand Russell. Silly of me, really.

  9. 9

    Why I am not a Muslim by Ibn Warraq (and, really, everything by Ibn Warraq. The essay Islam, the Middle East, and Fascism should be required reading for any literate person)
    The Caged Virgin, Infidel, and Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
    Islam and the Psychology of the Musulman by Andre Servier (out of print, but available on the web

    For a short, sharp, sweet essay that makes me smile, Studying Islam made me an Atheist by Douglas Murray.

    As regards atheism in general, good place to start is the Hitch’s Portable Atheist, as well as God is not great. Dawkins’s The God Delusion and Harris’s The End of Faith are further good ones.

    Keep up the good work!

  10. 9.1

    victorian england 1891 oscar wilde lord arthur saville’s crime for the letter from “The Deanery,Chichester,27th May-”My Dearest Aunt,…..but everybody is so Radical and irreligious nowadays,that it is difficult to make them see they should not try and dress like the upper classes. I am sure I don’t what we are coming to. As papa has often said in his sermons,we live in an age of unbelief.”penguin 94

  1. 10
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