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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

A preacher turned atheist, you have to ask yourself why.

Godless, the title, seems a bit harsh for a former evangelical, bible-believing preacher. And although at first, I found the beginning, a protracted version of why I was a fundie and a preacher, too much of a corrupted thing, I later reevaluated my original review as a ...
Godless, the title, seems a bit harsh for a former evangelical, bible-believing preacher. And although at first, I found the beginning, a protracted version of why I was a fundie and a preacher, too much of a corrupted thing, I later reevaluated my original review as a necessary description of his roots and his evolving thought. I have given the book a much better review because of his past and the details he shares about it. His continuing pursuit of truth, mostly by critically questioning the "source" of the inerrant, omniscient, atrificer of our universe, has led to a compelling and purposeful work of thoughtful, rational ideas. He is often asked why he cites only the "bad" parts of the bible and retorts, "Why do you continue to overlook them?" Another memorable quote had to do with interpreting scripture. "If you would interpret this from my point of view, then you would have my point of view."

His debating tactics are also described as well as his legal work with the Freedom From Religion Foundation-a non-profit organization resolved to keeping our laws and liberties free from religious interference.

If you are interested in a read that is highly critical of scripture along with the fear and submission by which it is propagated, this is a book you shouldn't overlook. I consider this a must read for the curious, the rational and the American interested more in preserving civil liberties than removing them.

posted by Dwolfcoach on May 9, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

A Philosopher Reviews "Godless"

Frankly, I haven't finished reading the book. I tend to flit from book to book, making Barnes and Noble rich in the process!
I was attracted to "Godless" because the author is very active in promoting atheism. Thus, I recognized his name, knowing about his orga...
Frankly, I haven't finished reading the book. I tend to flit from book to book, making Barnes and Noble rich in the process!
I was attracted to "Godless" because the author is very active in promoting atheism. Thus, I recognized his name, knowing about his organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation. He is an authority, in my opinion, simply because he was an evangelical preacher at one time and renounced his former stance. Thus, he is in a position to know the weaknesses of the religion he had once promoted.
My motivation in buying the book was to free myself of the restrictions of my own religion. I had gotten myself involved with Orthodox Judaism in the 1980's. I am still practicing some of its ritual observances out of fear of incurring Divine punishment, but partly because I consider some of the observances a form of meditation and centering, and consequently, beneficial to my welfare.

posted by skeptic-philosopher on February 17, 2009

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  • Posted May 9, 2009

    A preacher turned atheist, you have to ask yourself why.

    Godless, the title, seems a bit harsh for a former evangelical, bible-believing preacher. And although at first, I found the beginning, a protracted version of why I was a fundie and a preacher, too much of a corrupted thing, I later reevaluated my original review as a necessary description of his roots and his evolving thought. I have given the book a much better review because of his past and the details he shares about it. His continuing pursuit of truth, mostly by critically questioning the "source" of the inerrant, omniscient, atrificer of our universe, has led to a compelling and purposeful work of thoughtful, rational ideas. He is often asked why he cites only the "bad" parts of the bible and retorts, "Why do you continue to overlook them?" Another memorable quote had to do with interpreting scripture. "If you would interpret this from my point of view, then you would have my point of view."

    His debating tactics are also described as well as his legal work with the Freedom From Religion Foundation-a non-profit organization resolved to keeping our laws and liberties free from religious interference.

    If you are interested in a read that is highly critical of scripture along with the fear and submission by which it is propagated, this is a book you shouldn't overlook. I consider this a must read for the curious, the rational and the American interested more in preserving civil liberties than removing them.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book! tells the truth about sham religion!

    A very enjoyable read! Exposes the lies about religion, Marx is right, religion is the opiate of the people!

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Freethinking Preacher

    Seeing the folly in believing childhood myths, Dan Barker left the comfortable life he had as a preacher to embark on a quest for truth. An excellent read for freethinkers and non-freethinkers alike. If a dyed in the wool preacher man can find the truth, anyone can.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 15, 2010

    A truly great introduction to Atheism!

    With elegant prose and a clever wit, not to mention such grand honesty, Dan Barker recalls his transition from a devout Christian, to a freethinking atheist. Overall, I would have to say this is a great introduction to atheism, though I would recommend it to even matured atheists as well, as he reveals how belief in God is not only very deep within a persons soul (metaphorically speaking of course, we don't have them!) Part I was a wonderful tale from fundamentalism to free thought. Dan Barker reveals the psychology of what it truly feels like to be a true believer- not to mention the struggles of losing faith, and it's social consequences. His story was truly moving. Part II is where I have mixed reviews. I loved the chapters: Omni-Aqueous, Dear Theologian and Why I Am an Atheist. I enjoyed Cosmological Kalamity, as his criticisms of Craig's argument are solid, though I wished he addressed the cosmological and scientific fallacies behind Criag's argument- as does Victor Stenger. Nonetheless, it was a good read. The chapter Refuting God was a nice one, although the responses were rather simple and did not go into as much detail as I would have liked. Part III was splendid, as it really puts the problems with Christianity in plain view and shows how devastatingly (not to mention fatally) Christianity lacks good justification. Part IV, Undoubtedly, was his best section. Here he not only addresses the emotional aspects of non-belief, but does so in a way that grants a nonbeliever a justified sense of meaning and morality without the additional theological assumptions. Barker does not turn his guns viciously against believers, he does not attack people of faith. He simply disagrees and offers the reader another perspective without being aggressive about it. Barker is truly an good example of an intellectually and morally-fulfilled atheist, and his book is one I would highly recommend!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2009

    If you are considering aetheism

    Finally! A Christian who admits his failing belief in religion and God and gives a comprehensive and convincing answers to why.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Although I broke free from Christianity 15 years ago, I've only

    Although I broke free from Christianity 15 years ago, I've only read about a half-dozen books by Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens et al. This one is among the very best. Along with John W. Loftus, Barker is someone who was "in the know" for a very long time and has every reason to delineate at length why (and how) a person can make the change from faith to reason. Put plainly, it is internal change that provides the biggest impact: that's the sign of a relentlessly inquisitive, curious, analytical mind - one that knows better than to accept the contents of an ancient text as eternal and absolute "truth" or "wisdom." Kudos to Dan Barker for this and for his role in the Freedom From Religion Foundation! Okay, as to the specifics of this book: I'm only 2/3 finished, but after relating his deconversion (which is always of interest to me) his point-by-point refutation of countless Biblical passages is highly impressive. Barker painstakingly notices the myriad contradictions and nonsensical statements Bible, e.g. divine exhortations to violence on an individual as well as a mass scale (coupled with one of the Commandments - thou shalt not kill!). He addresses the contention that the savage, barbaric laws (and punishments) of the Old Testament have been negated by the New Testament, scrutinizing Jesus' words, many of which were pure and utter poppycock - IF he actually said them. It is truly baffling that someone whose philosophical, "this is how you should live" statements could be all over the freakin map and yet, 2000 years later, so many people all over the globe would still buy into all that - but hey, endless interpretation is what religion is all about, right? 

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2012

    Packed full of info!

    I enjoyed this book partly because I am a former "born again" but also because there is quite a bit of good reference material for continued "bible study". Definitely a must read. The first chapter can get a bit long for those that are not "Christians" and may not relate to his personal experiences as a preacher. After reading some of Dawkins books I thought there wasnt really much else to say about the subject. This book opened up other ways of thinking.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 5, 2010

    A Humanist Review of Mr. Barker's book.

    Dan Barker's book, Godless, is one of the greatest books I have ever read. I had a very difficult time putting it down. His book is a great example of how one can drop the religion and live a moral, rational and fulfilling life. It is a good book for nontheists as a philosophical/ethical guide to living free from belief and as a better means of understanding just how great a secular life can be.
    I applaud Dan's courage, optimism, outstanding morals and great wisdom. His insights are as thought-provoking as they are rational.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Beginning and end good - middle no so much

    Dan Barker's story of going from street preacher and writer of kiddie-Christian musicals is excellent (first 100 pages). The middle of the book - with lots of refutation of fundamentalist and apologist argument - is long and dry. The end, where he talks of atheist activism, is reasonably good.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2012

    As a non-religious senior citizen (but not anti-religion) I foun

    As a non-religious senior citizen (but not anti-religion) I found that this read to be exactly what I was looking for. The writing got too philosophical at times, but most of the time I learned at great deal regarding biblical contradictions, Humanism and Christianity. If you were trying to defend Evangelical beliefs, you would not want to get into a public debate with this author; a very learned guy. I was very impressed.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Great read

    Its so hard for people to overcome the fear of hell to really investigate the subject honestly. I enjoyed his story

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Lots of Explanation

    Barker writes about his own experience, process of becoming an atheist and a little about religion, science and indoctrination in general. He does a good job of getting a variety of information into this book. However, at times it seems like he elaborates more than necessary or gives examples that weren't needed. I assume that's because Barker expected that believers and non-believers would pick up this book and he needed to provide information for all.

    I picked up this book mostly interested in reading about Barker's transition. That was in the book, so I did get what I wanted out of it. I wouldn't say that Barker is a poor writer, but I've heard him speak before at a promotional for this book and I think he's a better speaker.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    It depends who reads it.

    Well I thought the book was a tad bit... extreme. Far from being the cry of an ex Fundamentalist denouncing fundamentalist Christianity, he begins to write about all religions and says that they are all bad. Not only that but the way he presents atheism makes it seem like it is a religion (such as that atheists could be more moral people because such and such and such). For the theistic reader it is just annoying, for the tolerant atheist it may also be that way (as my best friend also disliked it and he is atheist, and we agree that it is not kind). But for anti theists this book is good for debunking some theist arguments.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Should be a best seller

    This book contains essential information regarding faith by someone who can be called a real authority. A very personal story of a fundamental christian preacher who discovers the truth and finds his place in the real world. Fascinating biblical facts are disclosed in his research. I found this book hard to put down and plan to read it again.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    A Philosopher Reviews "Godless"

    Frankly, I haven't finished reading the book. I tend to flit from book to book, making Barnes and Noble rich in the process!<BR/> I was attracted to "Godless" because the author is very active in promoting atheism. Thus, I recognized his name, knowing about his organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation. He is an authority, in my opinion, simply because he was an evangelical preacher at one time and renounced his former stance. Thus, he is in a position to know the weaknesses of the religion he had once promoted.<BR/> My motivation in buying the book was to free myself of the restrictions of my own religion. I had gotten myself involved with Orthodox Judaism in the 1980's. I am still practicing some of its ritual observances out of fear of incurring Divine punishment, but partly because I consider some of the observances a form of meditation and centering, and consequently, beneficial to my welfare.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Don't waste your money on that book. My heart goes to Mr. Barke

    Don't waste your money on that book. My heart goes to Mr. Barker as he is clueless about God's awesomeness and His great love for us. Jesus went much suffering for us so that we can have eternal life. Mr. Barker is missing this great opportunity to be with Jesus for eternity.

    1 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 11, 2013

    I have to confess that I was very pleasantly surprised by this b

    I have to confess that I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. The author spent the first couple chapters describing his personal conversion from believer to non and I as I read, I was getting the distinct feeling that he was going to be very soft or possibly even wishy-washy in his arguments for atheism. And then, BAM! he came out swinging hard! His research is impeccable and his detailed arguments are clean, concise and (I would imagine) very, very effective. I was highly impressed by this book and would (and do) recommend it to everyone. If you are interested in this important subject, I would also highly recommend anything by Richard Dawkins (esp The God Delusion) and anything by Victor J Stenger.

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  • Posted February 10, 2013

    Worthwhile reading

    A fascinating story for anyone who seriously questions religion.

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  • Posted August 29, 2012

    Very well thought out and logically written

    This was a fantastic, in-depth philosophical treatise on the implausability of god, the supernatural, or any other religious dogma you can think of (as written how only a former preacher could). I will admit that I skipped a large portion of chapters 13 & 14 (sections on biblical contradictions and the minutiae of the Greek translation of the word for "to hear"), as they really offered nothing of interest philosophically. The section on contradictions felt like it was better suited to arm Atheists in debates, and chapter 14 felt like it was drifting off into epistemology and semantics. Besides those two areas, the rest of the book is a must read for both believers and non-believers alike.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2012

    Wonderful man

    Oh to have such strength of mind and character! To be honest with oneself and discard long held beliefs you know just dont make sense is so difficult, especially when a lifetime of emotional investment has been made. What an inspiration to those who want to be free of dogma. Much love to all x

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