A book that should be compulsory for everyone to read:
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
Let’s get one very important thing out of the way right at the outset. I am an atheist. So that goes some way towards explaining my choice in this category I guess. But my reason for the selection is not to try and “convert” others to atheism, it is to give people a balanced view of the options available to them in terms of religious beliefs. After all, learning about religions is compulsory in schools in this country, but what about the lack of a religion?
Too often, atheism is portrayed as an excuse for hedonism and as a lack of morals, which could not be further from the truth. In fact, people confusing religious faith and morals is one of the things in the world that most annoys me. Books like those by Dawkins present the case for atheism, but based on the premise that most atheists are decent, upstanding, intelligent people whose views on religion and moral issues are equally valid as those who follow a particular faith. While some of his arguments against the established organised religions go a little far for my liking, most of what he writes makes excellent sense to me.
Overall, if we want to promote a genuine religious debate, and have genuine religious freedom and tolerance, the case for compulsory teaching of atheist principles is as valid as that for teaching about any religion, and Dawkins is one of the primary writers exploring this area in a modern, readable, non-academic style.