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Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists [Kindle Edition]

Dan Barker , Richard Dawkins
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

ADVANCE PRAISE FOR GODLESS

“Valuable in the human story are the reflections of intelligent and ethical people who listen to the voice of reason and who allow it to vanquish bigotry and superstition. This book is a classic example.”
—CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS author of God is Not Great

“The most eloquent witness of internal delusion that I know—a triumphantly smiling refugee from the zany, surreal world of American fundamentalist Protestantism—is Dan Barker.”
—RICHARD DAWKINS author of The God Delusion

Godless was a revelation to me. I don’t think anyone can match the (devastating!) clarity, intensity, and honesty which Dan Barker brings to the journey—faith to reason, childhood to growing up, fantasy to reality, intoxication to sobriety.”
—OLIVER SACKS authors of Musicophilia

In Godless, Barker recounts his journey from evangelical preacher to atheist activist, and along the way explains precisely why it is not only okay to be an atheist, it is something in which to be proud.”
—MICHAEL SHERMER publisher of Skeptic Magazine

Godless is a fascinating memoir and a handbook for debunking theism. But most of all, it is a moving testimonial to one man’s emotional and intellectual rigor in acclaiming critical thinking.”
—ROBERT SAPOLSKY author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers


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Review

Conversions on the road to Damascus are for those who hear voices and fall prey to delusions and who would be better off seeking professional help. Much more valuable in the human story are the reflections of intelligent and ethical people who listen to the voice of reason and who allow it to vanquish bigotry and superstition. This book is a classic example of the latter. --Christopher Hitchens, author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything" I think Godless is fabulous. It came on Friday, and I spent much of the weekend reading it. It was a revelation to me. Others have made the journey ('faith to reason, ' childhood to growing up, fantasy to reality, intoxication to sobriety -- however one likes to put it), but I don't think anyone can match the (devastating!) clarity, intensity, and honesty which Dan Barker brings to the telling. And the tone is right all the way through -- not belligerent or confrontational (as is the case with so much, too much, of the literature on this subject--on both sides). I think Godless may well become a classic in its genre. --Oliver Sacks, "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain" Atheists are the last of the minorities in America to come out of the closet, and like other civil rights movements this one began with leaders like Dan Barker and his Freedom from Religion Foundation defending the civil liberties of godless Americans, who deserve equal protection under the Constitution. In his new book, Godless, Barker recounts his journey from evangelical preacher to atheist activist, and along the way explains precisely why it is not only okay to be an atheist, it is something in which to be proud. --Michael Shermer, Publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, monthly columnist for "Scientific American," author of "How We Believe, Why Darwin Matters, " and "The Mind of the Market" My kids are in the process of learning about literature, and a rule of thumb they've picked up concerns how to r

Review

Conversions on the road to Damascus are for those who hear voices and fall prey to delusions and who would be better off seeking professional help. Much more valuable in the human story are the reflections of intelligent and ethical people who listen to the voice of reason and who allow it to vanquish bigotry and superstition. This book is a classic example of the latter.
--Christopher Hitchens, author of "God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything"
I think Godless is fabulous. It came on Friday, and I spent much of the weekend reading it. It was a revelation to me. Others have made the journey ('faith to reason, ' childhood to growing up, fantasy to reality, intoxication to sobriety -- however one likes to put it), but I don't think anyone can match the (devastating!) clarity, intensity, and honesty which Dan Barker brings to the telling. And the tone is right all the way through -- not belligerent or confrontational (as is the case with so much, too much, of the literature on this subject--on both sides). I think Godless may well become a classic in its genre.
--Oliver Sacks, "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain"
Atheists are the last of the minorities in America to come out of the closet, and like other civil rights movements this one began with leaders like Dan Barker and his Freedom from Religion Foundation defending the civil liberties of godless Americans, who deserve equal protection under the Constitution. In his new book, Godless, Barker recounts his journey from evangelical preacher to atheist activist, and along the way explains precisely why it is not only okay to be an atheist, it is something in which to be proud.
--Michael Shermer, Publisher of "Skeptic" magazine, monthly columnist for "Scientific American," author of "How We Believe, Why Darwin Matters, " and "The Mind of the Market"
My kids are in the process of learning about literature, and a rule of thumb they've picked up concerns how to r

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Using reason, we can rise above religion 16 Nov. 2009
By Sphex
Format:Paperback
It's hard to think of a book that "has caused more confusion than the bible" and harder still after reading Dan Barker's remarkable account of his leaving evangelical Christianity for the freedom of unbelief. That he chose the word "confusion" rather than, say, "evil" is important: even the newest of atheists - the stable boys and girls of the Four Horsemen - must concede that not all Christians are evil, but the claim that all religious people are confused - insofar as they rely on faith - is more defensible.

Barker did not lose his faith - he gave it up on purpose once he rejected "the very concept of faith as a valid tool of knowledge." He "made made the leap, not to atheism, but to the commitment to follow reason and evidence wherever they might lead" and he realized that faith - "intellectual bankruptcy... the evidence of non-evidence... a free lunch, a perpetual motion machine" - was only ever going to be an obstacle to his search for truth.

His Christian friends at first thought he might be having some sort of spiritual crisis, but he was not seeking "inner confirmation" - he wanted the "objective, external evidence" that he'd always assumed was there. While at college and studying the bible he'd thought that the "Christian evidences" could be left to the experts, who "had already figured it all out and who could provide the historical, documentary and archeological evidences if anyone ever asked. (No one ever did.)" That parenthesis is telling, since so much of the success of religion relies upon obedience to authority, on people not asking questions. (Children, and most adults, who do ask questions are easily palmed off with half-truths and lies or ignored or intimidated.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. Must read. 4 Sept. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A powerful and moving account of the transition from fundamentalist Christian to 'evangelical' Atheist. Showing what can be achieved by the simple decision to follow the evidence, where ever it may lead. Includes a wealth of unanswerable arguments against biblical inerrancy and simple refutations of arguments for gods. For example, the oft-repeated claim that so-called prophesies in the Bible prove it is divinely inspired is actually an argument against the biblical god. A god which is able to make accurate prophesy would exist in an unchanging and unchangeable universe in which the future is known and fixed. Such a god in such a universe would be incapable of changing anything, even it's own mind, and would thus be entirely impotent and indistinguishable from a non-existent one. Nor could freewill exist in such a predestined universe, and with no freewill, the concept of original sin, the need for 'salvation' and the entire rationale for Christianity disappears.

With similarly simple, unarguable logic, he also destroys the idea than a god can be both infinitely merciful and infinitely just.

Guaranteed to cause a nasty case of cognitive dissonance to any Christian, and especially any fundamentalist Christian, who has the courage and integrity to read it.
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88 of 96 people found the following review helpful
By a human
Format:Paperback
I have read dozens of books exposing the problems with christianity in search of a book that I could recommend to my family, all of whom are staunch christians. Many of the books out there are written by people that do not have a strong personal experience of christianity themselves and though they may be brilliant books, the christians I know could dismiss them all because the writers haven't "received the calling of the holy spirit". The few books that I have read on the subject that have been written by ex-christians may have excellent content but contain angry undertones which I know would turn the christian reader off.

Enter Dan Barker, a man who was a true believer who has escaped from the prison of christian thinking into the real world with an appreciation for the importance of genuine humanistic morality and the credibility and beauty of observable reality. He has a deep and thorough knowledge of the bible and has truly beheld the christian "experience" first hand. He cannot be accused of taking scripture out of context. He also knows much about the background of the various translations, including the original Hebrew and Greek.

I bought his previous book, "Losing Faith in Faith" hoping that it would be the book that I could pass to my family but though it had great content, I wished that it had been written as a single piece of work rather than a collection of essays and short articles.

In this new book, "Godless", he retells the best parts of "Losing Faith in Faith" as well as newer content and contains a greater emphasis on what I think is important for christians to understand about christianity. His writing was always very good, but 20+ years after his first book, it is even better and this time it is structured as a single, flowing work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars for me.. the final nail in gods coffin 27 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't know if this is everyones perception.. but for me this was groundbreaking. I have read the God Delusion.. the works of Bart Ehrman.. Nieztsche and Michael Shermer (the believing brain) ..but this book transformed my life. Autobiographical in scope this book is a journey from deeply held evangelical 'spiritual' faith to atheism. It was the the affirmation of the thought processes.. inspired by other authors.. and the last nail in the coffin of my faith (in the idea of god or a spiritual realm). Having heard the voice of god and spoken in tongues.. these 'feelings' and 'spiritual gifts' were the last remnants of an intellectually dead faith. This book led me from doubt about reconciliation (or being weird and alone) to the realisation that my delusion was shared by many. To hear his decription of the realisation that his conversations with god were all in his mind and that the spiritual remnants remained even in the absence of belief.. enable me to admit to myself that I was already an atheist and to ignore the remnant echoes of a delusional relationship with my own mind (labelled god in my imaginary world view). It is a shared personal experience for me (though I wasn't an evangelical preacher as this guy was). I highly recommend it to those of an evangelical or charismatic christian background.. especially those who just can't accept the so called proofs, reasons and evidences anymore. Other readers will probably not relate to the theology or the emotions or the depth of commitment. ..but for me it will be as precious as 'finding Darwins God' was. His reasoning is clear and well presented even if you can't agree with his stand. I for one will look upon him as my non-spiritual mentor that led me to peace of mind.. took me where the God delusion never could.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An interesting read and very well written highly recommended
Published 4 months ago by TRACY L GREGORY
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Been wavering between belief and non-belief, Dan Barker's book, convinced me and brought me off the fence.
Published 5 months ago by George Fordham
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad. Enjoyed it. Wanted to skip parts though. :-/
I enjoyed reading Dan Barkers book, but on the whole, I must admit. I got this book to read his personal account of how he came to loose his faith and his journey.... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Blake
5.0 out of 5 stars The road back from Damascus
Dan Barker has written an account of his de-conversation from fundamentalist Christianity to atheism. Read more
Published 15 months ago by john
4.0 out of 5 stars a bit more compassion needed.
It is good to read the story of somebody who went from a believer to a disbeliever. I could relate to some of his history. Read more
Published 15 months ago by M
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent & interesting
This book is a good read and it is interesting to see the mental workings behind a preacher who tried to convert people to christianity, his process of disillusion, and his... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Dr. C. D. Connaughton
5.0 out of 5 stars A thoroughly enjoyable read
As someone who has finally seen the light and become an atheist
I was interested in reading a book describing the experience of a former preacher who became one of Americas... Read more
Published 21 months ago by Mr. S. Holmes
4.0 out of 5 stars A Valuable Insight
I liked this book because Dan expresses his views in a very accessible way. Being a former believer turned atheist myself, I wanted to read the thoughts of someone who had been on... Read more
Published 22 months ago by James Sutton
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deconversion!
This was purchased by a friend from Amazon for me as a gift. Barker tells his life story from a young child brought up in a Christian household, through his years as an... Read more
Published on 22 Jun. 2012 by Onora
1.0 out of 5 stars You can take Dan Barker out of fundamentalism, but...
I bought this volume because it seemed to be much in favour with atheists on the forums, and I wanted to understand why it seemed to be referred to so much as a justification for... Read more
Published on 15 Aug. 2011 by K. Moss
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