I have composed a list of books that I highly suggest reading. These books not only provided solace, but they opened my eyes and helped me along in my journey out of toxic religion. I have provided links to Amazon, in which I do receive a small commission that helps keep this blog going. If you don’t want to purchase, that is okay! Don’t forget your beautiful public library!

1.  Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self, and Society by Jay Bakker.

Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Fae Bakker) is another brother from another sister. This book examines Christianity and the incorrect dogma of homophobia. It provides an intelligent perspective of scripture involving homosexuality. Everyone should read this regardless if you are on the spectrum or not. We all know and love people in the LGBTQ community.

 

2.  Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell.

This was the very first book I ever read that made me feel like I was not alone. The themes presented in this book were thoughts, questions, and critiques I had most of my life regarding fundamental Christianity. So much so that I was a little angry I didn’t write it first! I highly recommend this book if you are searching for more love, unity, and authentic community in your church, religion, or individual spirituality.

 

3.  The Rapture Exposed: The Message of Hope in the Book of Revelation by Barbara Rossing.

Hands down, this book changed my life. I can think of no other doctrine that does the most damage to society other than the left behind rapture doctrine. It teaches masses of people that the world is going to be destroyed, so why try? Nothing could be further from the truth. We have every reason to hope for, expect, and work toward a better future world, where the lion lays down with the lamb. 

 

4. Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion by Marlene Winell, Ph. D.

This book discusses Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS). Modern therapists are lost as to how to help their clients recover from religious trauma syndrome. It is a growing field, yet just not very well known. This book provided so much help to me at a time when I needed it most. I often re-read it as recovery from religion is never-ending. This book is intelligent, pragmatic, and incredibly applicable as it was written by a former fundamentalist.

 

5. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover.

This book details a triumphant journey of a young woman escaping a fanatical doomsday Mormon cult. Many of her experiences mirrored my own in losing my religion. I found it incredibly helpful, inspiring, and comforting. You will not be able to put this book down.

 

6. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why by Bart Erhman.

Written by an ex-evangelical New Testament scholar, this book is informative, well-argued, and historically sound. It helped me have confidence in reading scripture from a lens of love for humanity versus literalism and biblical idolatry.

From Amazon: “For almost 1,500 years, the New Testament manuscripts were copied by hand––and mistakes and intentional changes abound in the competing manuscript versions. Religious and biblical scholar Bart Ehrman makes the provocative case that many of our widely held beliefs concerning the divinity of Jesus, the Trinity, and the divine origins of the Bible itself are the results of both intentional and accidental alterations by scribes.”

 

7. Love Wins by Rob Bell.

Every once and a while a book falls into your lap and absolutely changes your life. That book for me is Love Wins. Usually, anything banned by the church/empire is worth reading, especially if it’s asking questions. Rob Bell shows bravery in dissecting the doctrine of hell; its history, its evolution, and its motives. He asks the questions we’ve all asked and went and found answers. If you are interested in following the teachings of Christ because of your heart rather than your fear of hell dogma, this book will be a godsend, as it was for me.

 

8.  Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists by Dan Barker.

I am not in complete agreement with Dan Barker, however, I found his journey and arguments to be very helpful. He details the ex-evangelical journey and I found a kinship in his words. He also breaks down atheism and his logical arguments are hard to dismiss. I still believe something else is going on, spiritually, however, this book has opened my mind in having enriching friendships with atheists and helped me to understand their thought processes. Reading about atheism from an ex-evangelical was very interesting and provided confirmation to beliefs that have been deconstructed by my own experience.

 

9. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.

This is my all-time favorite book. It is full of applicable insights about our human existence and our relation to each other and the world. It helps to see the interconnectedness of everything and absolutely will blow your mind.

 

10. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

One of my passions post-evangelicalism/fundamentalism is inspiring artists. Art is one of the main reasons that I made it out of the cult-like world of toxic Christianity. I believe our existence as co-creators of this world is so important and art is one avenue that is given to us to create a better world. First, however, we must move beyond fear. This book has helped me tremendously in finding my voice, courage to create, and passion to continue.

 

 

Books on tape (OMG I’m getting old), or books on the phone with audible are my new jam. Clean the house and learn? Yes, please! You can get 2 free books with your 30-day free trial. Cancel anytime, but remember to cancel if you don’t want it beyond the 30 days. I always forget!

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