Recommended Reading, Videos

These books, articles, and videos are hand-picked by Journey Free staff as resources to guide you in your process of recovery:

Books

Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible & Why We Don’t Know About Them, by Bart Ehrman.  This is a brilliant and readable presentation of everything that is wrong with the New Testament – a great introduction to demystifying the Bible and one of many good Ehrman books.

Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, by Valerie Tarico.  Dr. Tarico looks at the Bible’s historical inaccuracies, scientific impossibilities, and moral contradictions, explaining how basic values of love and truth have been subverted.  Highly recommended.

Heretic Holidays:  Tips from Two Religious Renegades, by Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico.  An e-book collection of writings about how to enjoy Christmas holidays separate from Christianity.

Hell: An Illustrated History of the Netherworld, by Richard Craze.  This book traces the ideas of Hell of different cultures throughout history.  It will help you put the Christian hell into perspective.

Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality, by Darrell Ray

Waking up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, by Sam Harris

The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies: How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths, by Michael Shermer.  Explains how the brain is basically a belief engine, taking sensory input, finding patterns, forming beliefs, and then explaining and confirming those beliefs.

Good Without God: What A Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe, by Greg Epstein.  Epstein highlights humanity’s potential for goodness and the way Humanists live lives of purpose and compassion, with a sense of community and morality without the supernatural.

The Guru Papers: Masks of Authoritarian Power, by Joel Kramer and Diane Alstad

Leaving The Fold: Testimonies Of Former Fundamentalists, Edited by Edward T. Babinski.  (This is the other book by this title.)  A collection of stories.

Why I Rejected Christianity: A Former Apologist Explains, by John W. Loftus

The God Virus:  How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture, by Darrell Ray

Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris

The Psychology of Adaptation to Absurdity:  Tactics of Make-Believe, by Seymour Fisher & Rhoda L. Fisher.

Christianity is Not Great: How Faith Fails, Edited by John Loftus

The Real AntiChrist: How America Sold Its Soul, by Michael S. Piazza

Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians, by Jason Long

My Fundamentalist Education: A Memoir of a Divine Girlhood, by Christine Rosen

Fleeing Fundamentalism: A Minister’s Wife Examines Faith, by Carlene Cross

The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901, by William Alexander Linn

The History of Human Marriage, by Edward Westermarck

A Better Life: 100 Atheists Speak Out On Joy and Meaning in a World Without God, by Chris Johnson.  This is a large book of spectacular photography featuring portraits and inspiring stories from 100 subjects.

Combating Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults, by Steven Hassan

Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves, by Steven Hassan

Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became one of America’s Leading Atheists, by Dan Barker

Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, by Janet Heimlich.  An investigative journalist who has explored religious child maltreatment describes abuse and neglect in the service of reli­gious belief.

The Mind of the Bible Believer, by Edmund Cohen.  Fascinating in-depth examination of the psychological manipulations in Christianity.  Tough reading, but worth it.

The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, by Eric Hoffer.  Classic work examining characteristics of fanatics of all kinds.  He explains powerful motivations for abandoning oneself to a cause.

The Human Faces of God, by Thom Stark

Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, by Elaine Pagels.  Traces the history of attitudes toward women’s sexuality.  One of many excellent books by Pagels.

Myth and Religion, by Alan Watts

Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels, by Hella Winston

A History of the End of the World, by Jonathan Kirsch

The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins.

Deadly Doctrine: Health, Illness, and Christian God-Talk, by Wendell Watters.  A psychiatrist argues that Christian teachings aggravate and create psychological problems, causing ill health, antisocial behavior, depression, and more.

Books for Parents

Growing Up Again: Parenting Ourselves, Parenting Our Children, by Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson.  Great parenting book, both for inner children and actual children.  Stresses dual sets of skills, for nurturance and for structure.  Exercises and specific strategies for different ages and stages.

Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion, edited by Dale McGowan

Spare the Child: The Religious Roots of Punishment and the Psychological Impact of Physical Abuse, by Philip Greven.

Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong: A Guide for Young Thinkers, by Dan Barker. A book for children on morality without religion.

Teaching Your Children Values, by Linda and Richard Eyer. Excellent for parents to proactively teach values to children of various ages, with specific exercises for addressing topics such as honesty, courage, self-reliance, love, kindness, justice, and others.

What Do You Really Want for Your Children? by Wayne W. Dyer. A parenting book that addresses helping children become the people we’d like them to be, instead of simply controlling behavior.

When Children Ask About God: A Guide for Parents Who Don’t Always Have All the Answers, by Harold S. Kushner.

Articles

Religious Trauma Syndrome:  How Some Organized Religion Leads to Mental Health Problems, by Valerie Tarico.  This is Dr. Tarico’s in-depth interview of Marlene Winell for Alternet.  She also shares some of her own experience with religious trauma.

The Hidden Trauma of Life After Fundamentalism, by Kristen Hovet.

Spirituality Without Faith. This article is a thorough exploration of the subject from the perspective of naturalism.  Very thought-provoking.

Psychological Aspects of Involvement with Restrictive Religious Groups, by Jim Moyers.  Guidance for helping professionals.

It’s Only Natural with John Shook. A blog about secular humanism at the Center for Inquiry.

Where Can Naturalism and Religion Agree? by John Shook.  A surprisingly good article.

Humanism and Its Aspirations: The Humanist Manifesto III.  For anyone wanting to understand humanism.

The War Prayer and other writings on religion, by Mark Twain.  A thought-provoking story.

Managing Emotional Flashbacks in the Treatment of Complex PTSD.  This article by Pete Walker is a good explanation of “emotional flashbacks” and complex PTSD, which result from childhood neglect and emotional abuse (common to RTS). In essence, current stress can trigger old pain; recognizing the signs and learning to manage the emotional reactions is important for healthy functioning.

Evolutionary Psychology: A Primer, by Leda Cosmides & John Tooby.  This article for a college course is an excellent description of evolutionary psychology, which helps tremendously when trying to understand religion.

Videos

Trusting Doubt: YouTube Channel by Dr. Valerie Tarico.  Impressive videos analyzing psychology of Christianity.

Psychology of Religion, by Dr. Andy Thomson.  A psychiatrist examines why humans are hard-wired to believe.

De-conversion Series: 6 videos by Purple Fox. A young man tells his personal and moving story of deconversion.

Sex and God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality, by Darrell Ray.  Dr. Ray explains the problems with sexuality in religion.

Religious Trauma Syndrome, by Tony Beck.  As part of introducing Marlene Winell, Tony tells his own story of RTS.

How Can I Be Happy?  by Stephen Fry on Humanism.  Stephen Fry explains a humanistic approach to meaning in life.

Music and Life, by Alan Watts.  Alan Watts comments on society’s pressures and compares life to music.

Symphony of Science: We are all Connected.  Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan and others comment on the beauty of science.  This is one of a great series.

Mr. Deity series, by Brian Dalton.  Humorous vignettes that make a point.