Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. The Universe Is a Green Dragon. Bear & Company, 1984. Mathematical cosmologist Swimme and “geologian” Berry say that humans are between big mythic stories. Religious stories no longer are big enough to give humans the whole picture. This book is their joint attempt to help readers realize that all we know and are learning about the cosmos and its inhabitants is that new story.
Richard Dawkins. The God Delusion. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006. Though strident, Dawkins is justifiably angry at religion and all the damage it has done to the world’s most vulnerable.
Alain de Botton. Religion for Athiests. New York: Random House, 2012. The compassionate foil to Dawkin’s The God Delusion, this book reminds readers that though we shouldn’t leave all the great cultural contributions that wisdom traditions have to offer only to those that still take their dogma and precepts literally.
Peter Gomes. The Scandalous Gospel of Jesus: What’s So Good About the Good News? San Francisco: HarperOne, 2008. Professor of Christian morals at Harvard and a gay man himself, Gomes reminds readers of what a radical Jesus really was and how far the traditional church has strayed from his teachings.
Anne Lamott. Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith. New York: Anchor, 2000. This is a hilarious refreshing conversion story for “the rest of us.”
Sara Miles. Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion. Ballantine, 2007. A self-proclaimed atheist and lesbian, Miles records her astonishing conversion in response to the life-changing love she witnesses, in, of all places, church.
Robert N. Minor. When Religion Is an Addiction. HumanityWorks!, 2007. This sane, valuable little book can free those trapped in a religion that no longer works for them and can provide help for those of us badgered by the addicted.
John Shelby Spong. Sins of Scripture: Exposing the Bible’s Texts of Hate to Reveal the God of Love. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2005. The title pretty much says it all. Spong’s thinking freed me from supernatural religion.
John Shelby Spong. Jesus for the Non-Religious. San Francisco, HarperOne, 2007.
Mel White. Stranger at the Gates: To Be Gay and Christian in America. New York: Plume, 1995. A former ghost writer for the likes of Billy Graham, Oliver North, and Jerry Falwell, Mel White struggled for years with his sexuality, subjecting himself to electric shock and reparative therapy. This is the account of this struggle and his final reconciliation with his life as a gay man.
Mel White. Religion Gone Bad: Hidden Dangers of the Religious Right. Penguin, 2006. In this book, White exposes the vicious, bigoted thinking (and thinkers) that kept him in the closet so long.
Terry Tempest Williams. Leap. New York: Vintage, 2001. Essayist, naturalist, and activist Terry Tempest Williams recounts her painful yet necessary departure from her Mormon heritage. It’s a moving, fascinating exploration of the unnatural bifurcations religion can cause.
Two Spirits This is an account of the hate killing of Navajo teen Fred Martinez. This film also explores the traditional Navajo understanding of homosexuality as a blessing.
The Congregation This documentary recounts the defrocking of Methodist minister Beth Stroud for taking a stand as a practicing lesbian.