One subject, two books…

I left my Kindle at the office this weekend, and I just finished a couple of work-related books (one tedious, one great), and so I’m looking for reading material this evening. I have two new books on the same subject, and I’m trying to decide which to crack first:

Both are accounts by former Christian preachers and apologists of how and why they rejected Christianity in favour of atheism. Both include lengthy justifications, including many of the familiar arguments against Christian faith. I’m more interested in the personal narratives than in the anti-apologetics, however.
One of my favourite accounts of the loss of faith is Anthony Kenny’s A Path from Rome, in which he describes his life from childhood, through becoming a Catholic priest, to the seeking and granting of laicization. This took place during the 1950s and early 1960s, at a time when few Catholic priests left the church, and I suspect that he wrote the book in part as an “existence proof” of the possibility of doing so. Of course, religion was far less potent a social or political force there and then, in England, than it is here and now, in the United States.
I hope that Barker and Loftus present their arguments as aids to the uncertain, to those who are inclined to reject religion but need ammunition to deal with family and friends who might seek to dissuade them. Arguments against religion per se are, in my view, a waste of time: apologetics are all post hoc constructions designed to reinforce a purely emotional commitment to faith, and the hard-choice fideist is unlikely to hear any counter-arguments. People have to find their own way out of the mist; it’s only as they begin to do so that they will be receptive to an account of what the mist is.
Anyway, let me flip a coin. Heads… I’ll start with Godless.