What is the most important non-religious book ever written?
Depends on what society you ask.
>Journey to the West
While spiritual, not entirely 'religious'.
Basis of western entertainment
Not a book, but still extremely important
>Art of War
Need no explanation
Sure there are many more, but these could be considered the staple of the non-religious human canon.
Possibly the Iliad - it was studied and emulated by the Greeks, Romans, and even the Byzantines.
Also, how about the I-Ching, which is quite possibly the basis for various strands of eastern philosophy.
Postmodernism in the 1500s
The first novel I know of with self-referential jokes, metafiction, and fan fiction built into the plot.
Euclid's Elements was the standard geometry textbook until very recently and I hold that its abandonment is a cause (not a symptom, a cause) of the decline in educational standards.
An inquiry into the wealth of nations by that irish guy.
>The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin
The book changed the way we think about the world. It demonstrated that the diversity of the natural world could be explained without recourse to supernatural agency and proposed instead that it had been shaped by chance collisions and incremental changes through billions of years. It also showed us that the Earth is not preprogrammed to progress. Species that outgrow themselves risk extinction, not because they are being punished for their hubris but because they are making themselves unfit, destroying the means of their own survival.
>The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
Freud was right to feel that he had written something momentous (he even imagined a plaque to commemorate where the “secret of dreams” had been discovered).
Freud shows the central place of sexuality and violence in our mental lives. His "dream book" showed so carefully how exactly these currents are forged and encrypted, how they undergo distortion and censorship and how they are formed and shaped by language.
You have read it, right? Gods in a work does not automatically mean said work is a religious work, it simply has religious over-tones as did every day life in ancient Greece.
The Iliad was a written book and had been since Homer. There is debate over whether Homer was an inheritor of an oral tradtion; an illiterate poet dictating to an author, or an author who penned the thing whole cloth.
There are better entry level books nowdays and considering the language and progression of the book, there are better methods. Though I agree proof learning should be thought since primary.
1. Elements (Euclid)
2. Principia Mathematica (Newton)
3. The Analytic Theory of Heat (Fourier)
Blood Meridian but that has so many biblical overtones it's debatable.
Heart of Darkness