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

Dan Barker
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Oct 2008
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.

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Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists + Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism + The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
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Product details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Ulysses Press (2 Oct 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569756775
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569756775
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 17 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 194,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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

About the Author

Don Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church. He has appeared on numerous talk shows including Oprah Winfrey, Hannity & Colmes, and Good Morning America. He lives in Madison, WI.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 64 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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87 of 94 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Deconversion! 22 Jun 2012
By Onora
Format:Paperback
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 evangelistic preacher to atheism. His deconversion to atheism was no easy pathway and certainly not one of choice. The book is divided into four sections: 'Rejecting God', 'Why I am an Atheist', 'What's Wrong With Christianity?' and 'Life is Good'. Barker displays no malice towards Christianity, however, by reasoning and rationalisation he realised there is no historical basis for the biblical god. He illustrates how morality was present within humanity long before Christianity was heard of. The reader is given the full explanation of the number of contradictions are contained within 'god's inspired word' ,there are thousands. Barker writes about the number of explanations he receives from Christians attempting to explain these contradictions, he says they are lengthy and lacking in logic. Barker illustrates how difficult it is to break away from what one has been led to believe by tradition. He also tells of how he was treated when he left the faith/cult! However, most importantly, he shows how it is possible to live a fulfilling life without being bereft of morality. As Richard Dawkins says 'You can look at a beautiful garden without believing there are fairies at the bottom of it!! (Dawkins, The God Delusion)
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts from a reluctant Atheist 2 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have a lot of respect for Dan Barker. He was the real deal. He lived a genuine life of faith until his restlessly insatiable mind got the better of him. He scratched beneath the surface, began to engage with the numerous problems with Christianity, and emerged from a long and painful journey convinced that God was a myth. This is the kind of book that theists should read, yet one that I fear that few will. My message to them is simply this; challenge your own assumptions. Spare this book a few hours of your life. It might just change it.
I describe myself as a reluctant atheist because I would love to be able to believe in Christianity as I once did. The Christians I know are a fine bunch, loving and generous and outward looking. Alas I fear that the central tenets of their belief are not historically grounded, whilst problems such as the doctrine of hell, the problem of suffering, and the absolute certainty of the truth of evolution further add to the likelyhood that the existence of God is but a man made myth.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 2 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 3 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 3 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 8 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 9 months ago by James Sutton
5.0 out of 5 stars for me.. the final nail in gods coffin
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.. Read more
Published 13 months ago by C. J. Boorman
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. Must read.
A powerful and moving account of the transition from fundamentalist Christian to 'evangelical' Atheist. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly interesting
I loved this book although did struggle with the ancient history, the laws of thermodynamics and some of the court cases at the end, all very well written just quite intellectually... Read more
Published on 30 May 2011 by Spillit
5.0 out of 5 stars Ditch the Bible, the way forward is reason based on science
Dan Barker has a totally coherent view in which all the information coming at us from science, history, literature & common sense is in harmony. Read more
Published on 7 Nov 2010 by A.
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