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The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God

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  • Posted March 26, 2011

    Educating and thoughtful reading

    Many religious people in today's society accuse atheists of being immoral, sad, cold, living empty and meaningless lives. Reading Dan Barker's THE GOOD ATHEIST, I found numerous examples that show the truth to be otherwise.
    As with his previous books, "Losing Faith in Faith" and "godless," Barker's writing is engrossing, easy to understand, and gives some new insight into religious and non-religious minds. The two-part book opens with an enthusiastic forward by actress/comedienne Julia Sweeney, followed by a short preface by Mr. Barker as he introduces himself and tells about losing his religious faith after 19 years of preaching Christianity.
    In Part One, "Life-Driven Purpose," he explains his purpose in writing this book: after reading Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For?" Part One is not long, but it doesn't need to be as Barker makes his arguments and points against Warren's book very plain. He includes some unique examples to illustrate what is wring with Warren's "Purpose OF Life" as opposed to a "Purpose IN Life," as Barker prefers. One section titled "If It's Friday, This Must Be Servitude," makes use of Daniel Defoe's classic novel, Robinson Crusoe, in showing how the master/slave relationship between Crusoe and Friday is comparable to Warren's "Purpose OF Life," which is the belief that man was created to serve God.
    Part Two, titled "Profiles in Non-belief," is a refreshing look at the variety of freethinking personalities, past and present. It gives short historical notes and comments of religious and non-religious views from over 250 actors, composers, artists, philosophers, political leaders, scientists and various others who have contibuted so much to this world we live in. This second part is an ingenious idea, very well researched, and very welcomed. It should enlighten any open-minded reader. From profound words of many minds, such as molecular biologist James D. Watson: "The biggest advantage to believing in God is you don't have to understand anything, no physics, no biology. I wanted to understand," to humorous comments from the likes of Mark Twain, Woody Allen, George Carlin, and Brad Pitt - it encourages us to take control of our own mind.
    There is a strong need for books like this. Former U.S. president George Bush, Sr., is reported to have answered a question concerning atheists with: "I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." Education and understanding will help change mistaken beliefs such as this. Dan Barker's THE GOOD ATHEIST has both. I am so convinced this book will help curb the prejudice towards atheists that I purchased a second copy and left it at a local coffee house where customers donate and exchange books. I consider it money well spent.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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