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on 2 November 2014
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....

The first part of the book often touching on his life as a believer, which intrigued me, and also relatable as a once believer. However, it seemed alittle rushed over, of why he lost his faith, and quickly went onto arguments against the reasons of faith.

I did not want to hear arguments against the religious faiths, there are other books for that. I wanted more about the man Dan Barker and his personal journey.
At least more about Dan Barkers journey, not arguments that he finds compelling for the disbelief in a god. I already know, and agree with them all as an atheist. Perhaps this book is best suited to a religious believer, and not a preach to the choir type as I thought it might be. To give more insights into why he lost his faith, in more detail. As would be fitting for atheist readers.
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on 4 September 2012
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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on 27 June 2013
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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on 21 November 2008
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.

I have bought copies for my family and hope they will read this book with an open mind, if not to liberate themselves from christianity, then at least to understand that there are valid reasons for rejecting it and that life, truth and morality can be appreciated and enjoyed without religion.
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on 29 April 2017
I am enjoying it but some of his anecdotes go on rather too long and it gets a bit samey. Having a break from but will get back to it.
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on 16 July 2010
If you've read Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris (and Stenger is in a similar vein, and also Dennett, but he's a bit of a harder read) then this book is something different. It's about the new atheism but,unlike Dawkins, Barker is someone who has experienced the hard core of evangelical Christianity. His evangelical activities are well described in the first part of the book. So it is something of a shock to see in the second part of this book an exceptionally intellectual critique of many aspects of the Christian religion. In some respects Barker has made a similar journey to that of Ehrman but with a less academic background.
If, like me, this is a journey that you are making then this is absolutely essential reading. It is well written and by someone who is obviously exceptionally intelligent. Unlike Dawkins he really does know his bible (Dawkins does make himself something of a target for Macgrath is this and other respects) and sometimes goes to extremes in theological argumentation. Because of all this, Barker is in some ways more convincing to a reader with some background in the Christian religion - but all the authors mentioned here are worth a read for the different perspectives they bring to this subject.
Having highly recommended this book, I should perhaps mention a couple of minor points that occurred to me on reading it. The first is that I would have liked a much more detailed and properly in-depth account of how Barker's viewpoint came to change. This would have been very difficult subject for him to cover, especially as memory and understanding of such a change must be very difficult - and would have doubled the length of the book! The second point that struck me was the apparently (worryingly) rapid change from evangelical Christian to evangelical Atheist, although the apparent rate of transformation may be due to the fact that the change itself is less well documented. However this is perhaps ungrateful to mention as Atheism does need its evangelists to make choices clear to the rest of us. He is obviously a very brave man to operate in the environment that he does.
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on 26 April 2010
Not the elegant prose of Dawkins or a Hitchens, but still a heartwarming story of a man seeing the light. The middle section where he does a philosophical number on Christianity is forgettable, but his discussion of the inconsistancies of the Bible is valuable and entertaining. It goes without saying that he knows his stuff, since peddling this nonsense was his business until he started thinking about it. And his attitude to the still-deluded is rather sweet - still wants to be friends, and doesn't really blame them for not catching up. On the whole - a good read.
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on 9 May 2014
Dan Barker has written an account of his de-conversation from fundamentalist Christianity to atheism. His account presents quite a different read from the usual atheist literature, the reason being that he was once a committed believer and preached the bibles word for 19 years. He really gives you a feeling for what it's like to believe, to feel so certain of something that you can't understand how anyone could doubt its truth. His story is a wonderful one the triumph of reason and human curiosity over dogma and faith. It all begins with small doubts, and once you have begun to read more in areas of science then there is no going back. Excellently written this is a moving and amusing account of a preacher who gave up his faith and is now one of americas leading atheist, working with the Freedom from Religion Foundation he has taken the good word of atheism across the world. My favorite chapter was 'Atheist Adventures' telling of his many adventures since becoming an atheist activist, the many court cases the FFRF took against corruption in religious organisations, the many conferences and conventions held by atheist groups across the world and his mention of numerous clergymen who have lost their faith and come out. It is a powerfully written book and one that really makes me proud to call myself an atheist.
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on 2 January 2009
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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on 30 March 2016
He does labour many points, and he does seem to be lacking in some detailed research and knowledge in a number of areas. For the doubting 'backslidden' fundamentalist christian however, it released me from guilt with the knowledge that I am not alone in rejecting the idea of the biblical god as a concept that does not make any rational or moral sense to me anymore. Someone came back to life hours after being dead without CPR or resuscitation? Being a nurse, I really would love to see that. For so many reasons of which Dan Brown has touched on but a few, the idea of the christian god makes no sense. I understand the desire and need to believe as much as any faithful believer, but I am glad that this book has allowed me to feel free and happy in my absence of belief at last. For someone who has been brain-washed with fundamentalism from childhood, it is a step towards something more rational and less filled with fear.
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