How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

Book - 2008
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Barker describes the intellectual and psychological path he followed in moving from fundamentalism to freethought. Godless includes sections on biblical morality, the historicity of Jesus, biblical contradictions, the unbelievable resurrection, and much more.
Publisher: Berkeley, Calif. : Ulysses Press, c2008
ISBN: 9781569756775
Branch Call Number: 211.8092 BARKER
Characteristics: xv, 376 p. ; 22 cm
Additional Contributors: Dawkins, Richard 1941-


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Dec 16, 2018

Quite a lot of content in this book, from Barker's deconversion story to some of the ways he debates christian apologists. Really glad I read it.

Jan 18, 2016

If you question Religion in general...this is the book to read

Jun 12, 2014

It's hard to imagine a more fervent believer than Dan Barker, a born-again Evangelical preacher and missionary from the age of 17. You might expect he'd be the least likely to lose his faith, but lose it he did -- from coming out as an atheist on Oprah in 1984 to becoming co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The initial autobiographical portion of the book eventually gives way to both philosophical arguments (e.g., how a being cannot be simultaneously both infinitely merciful and infinitely just), appeals to logic and detailed descriptions of biblical inaccuracies and contradictions that refute the idea that it is the word of an omniscient, divine being.

I listen occasionally to the FFRF's weekly podcasts, but I'm not a particular fan of Barker as a host. I find his smug personality and flat humor rather off-putting and, while he's admittedly a gifted musician, I find most of his compositions almost unbearably corny. If it weren't for the show's fascinating guest interviews I wouldn't be listening at all. That said, Barker is much more likable and convincing on paper, and I wholeheartedly recommend this book. I enjoyed the philosophical reasoning, and I was also particularly fond of the chapter titled 'Dear Theologian,' a monologue of existential questioning directed from God to his human creation.

Mar 26, 2014

Also look for
"Why I Became an Atheist: a former preacher rejects Christianity"
John W. Loftus
Prometheus 2008 pbk, ISBN: 1591025923, ISBN: 978-1591025924

Mar 16, 2012

Godless by Dan Barker is an update of his lesser-known 1992 book, Losing Faith in Faith. According to Barker himself, the original was published in-house by his own organization because no other publisher wanted it. Losing Faith was a bestseller year after year, but only within the small groups of secularists and freethinkers who touted it. In the years since, interest in non-religious viewpoints has grown exponentially thereby prompting another publisher to ask for an update and release it again.

At a young age Dan Barker committed himself wholeheartedly to being a Christian. His specific beliefs were evangelical, fundamentalist and Pentecostal, but from his own viewpoint he was simply a humble follower of Jesus, living according to the gospel. This is perhaps the most important part of Barker's case against belief and religion. Very few form their spiritual beliefs from a position of reason and logic, and therefore criticisms of one's religion often comes across as heartless and missing the point. As the argument goes, belief in God is a deep spiritual and emotional connection which non-believers don't experience and therefore cannot possibly understand. Dan Barker does understand because he lived the life. And if you read his story you'll see that he lived according to the Bible more closely than probably any person you know. His journey from Christian to atheist happened over many years as, one by one, each of his deeply-held beliefs shifted from literal truth to metaphor, and eventually to not worth his time. Barker is also a skilled debater and much of this book focuses on arguments against faith from the hundreds of debates he's participated in.

I read the original book several times when I discovered it over 10 years ago so I was curious how much this new release resembled its predecessor. His personal story is expanded to include more detail which I appreciated, and a few of the chapters containing arguments are refined, no doubt from his debate experience. Much of the material though is essentially the same, which makes sense because most of the arguments haven't changed in decades.

Jul 30, 2011

An amazingly well-researched book! Shows the various theories of the Jesus myth and the so-called "Divine inspiration" that clearly was an invention of man. One great one is Luke says the ascention happened right after the resurrection, while Acts has him hanging around for forty days first! Barker slices and dices this nonsense with a huge, polished knife! Super read!

Apr 07, 2011

An interesting book. One man's journy to discover himself. Whether one is a theist or an atheist there is a lot to learn from this book.


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