Good books to read?
I read Crisis on the Conscience and I am about to start, "Who wrote the bible?"
Does anyone have a list or great books to read for anyone searching for the real truth? I've only ever seen the world through a JW lens and I am excited to see what other view points are out there!
Try Karen Armstrong's "A History of God."
Sam Harris' "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion" is great too.
There's a really good Philosophy textbook called 20 Questions. It's available on Amazon, or you could check with any University bookstore or message board and get a cheap used one.
It's a really good start, and as a text, gives questions for pondering after each section (yes, there are 20 questions/sections).
EDIT 'cause this disappeared.
You may also want to check out Dr. James Penton's books. He was a born-in, strong JW family. First book is while he was a JW, other writings are after he left. He writes about JW history.
While still a member, he wrote Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada: Champions of Freedom of Speech and Worship (1976), a history of the religion's struggle for religious freedom under Canadian law, in which he claimed that much of the political and theological attacks on the Watch Tower Society had been grossly unfair. He subsequently appeared on a national current affairs television program in Canada defending the religion's doctrines and denying its leaders were guilty of false prophecy. The book gained brief mentions in the society's magazine The Watchtower (quoting a Toronto Star review) and three years later in a Yearbook article about the Witnesses' history in Canada, although Penton later wrote that he found it curious that the society refused to quote directly from it or otherwise mention it in publications or conventions. "As a result," he wrote, "some Witnesses manifested direct hostility towards it. On occasions I was openly criticized by particularly narrow Witnesses with 'trying to make money on the brothers' or 'trying to make a big fellow out of myself'."
He began work on Apocalypse Delayed: The Story of Jehovah's Witnesses soon afterwards, but halted his research and writing in 1979 after developing concerns over what he viewed as a growing punitive response of the religion's leadership to doctrinal dissent from within its ranks. He resumed work on the book after his expulsion and it was published in 1985. In 2004 he published Jehovah's Witnesses and the Third Reich: Sectarian Politics under Persecution, which highlights what he claims are discrepancies between the religion's official history of its opposition to Nazism during World War II and documented facts. Historian Detlef Garbe, director at the Neuengamme (Hamburg) Memorial, criticized Penton's "new theory" that in the 1930s the Watch Tower Society had "adapted" to National Socialism's anti-semitic aggression. Garbe suggested Penton's interpretation reflected a "deep-seated aversion" against his former religion and that "from a historiographic viewpoint Penton's writings perhaps show a lack of scientific objectivity".
Penton has also edited two journals, written five articles about Jehovah's Witnesses and also wrote the Canadian Encyclopedia's entry about the religion.
Look for Bart Ehrman's books-misquoting Jesus, how Jesus became God and did Jesus exist. I'd also recommend Jerry coyne's books- why evolution is true and faith versus fact
Bart Ehrman's The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings is an excellent read,
Two works by Mark S. Smith (both outstandingly well researched, with a gold mine of footnotes and references):
1. The Origins of Biblical Monotheism: Israel's Polytheistic Background and the Ugaritic Texts
2. The Early History of God: Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel
Daniel Dennett: Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon
Christopher Hitchens: God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
A few ideas that will grow your mind...
Bart Ehrman - "God's Problem", "Whose Word Is It?" and "How Jesus Became God"
"God is not Great" by Christopher Hitchens is a must read.
Sam Harris "The End of Faith" and "The Moral Landscape"
Steven Pinker "The Better Angels of Our Nature"
"Why Evolution is True" by Jerry Coyne
"Life Ascending" by Nick Lane
I enjoyed reading, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, Robert Louis Wilken, (2003 Yale University)
The Bible unearthed, and the book of the dead. You'll see a lot of similarities between old Egyptian beliefs and Christian ones..
All books suggested above are great. There are a lot of books about the old testament out there from real scholars. Start with those that are named "Introduction to ...". Some authors John J. Collins, Christine Hayes, Michael D. Coogan, Frank Moore Cross. It's a world out there. You are going to need few decades to get very deep into the subject of religion, especially the monotheistic religions of the West
Listen to the free lectures of Christine Hayes from Yale. She is very professional and engaging. You will have a better understanding of the Bible without feeling that faith is being attacked.
On Biblical subjects a great book that puts a different perspective on the Bible account of the exodus is Out of the Desert? by William Stiebing. It reveals that the contradictions in the Bible as well as archaeological evidence show that there was an exodus but it was one involving no more than a few thousand people.
Slightly off topic but if you're still into apocalyptic subjects try out George Stewart's Earth Abides. It's not blood and guts doomsday like Mad Max or what have you but it's a quiet civilized story about a group of survivors getting together and coping after the end of the world.