A Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists: Musings on why God is good and faith isn't evil
by David G. Myers
David Myers may be the most successful textbook author in psychology today. Many students' first exposure to psychology comes through one of his introduction to psychology texts, and for years my students have benefited from the clear writing in his social psychology text. In his Friendly Letter to Skeptics and Atheists, Myers now addresses the question of religious belief, and what the benefits and costs of belief are. Myers writes this book as a sort of open response to the several books published recently decrying religious belief by authors such as Dawkins and Harris. As they point out, religious belief is associated with many ills that plague the world. Their books are worth adding to your library, but until Myers' book, there has been little from people of faith to counter the skeptics' arguments. In his Friendly Letter, Myers acknowledges the harm that can accompany religious belief, but also notes that religious belief can bring benefits to people and society. He thoroughly grounds his book in psychological research, and frames his argument in terms that skeptics appreciate. This is because, as Michael Shermer notes, Myers "is both a skeptic and a theist, a world-class debunker of all things nonsense, and yet a man of faith." Myers' Friendly Letter is a thoughtful addition to the ongoing science-religion dialogue and, regardless of your position on the issues, it is well-worth your time to read this book. Whether you find yourself siding more with the skeptics or with the "faith-heads" (Myers' term), you will come away with a greater appreciation for the evidence on both sides.