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

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

4.2 71
by Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins (Foreword by)
 

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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

Overview

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

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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 recognize the protagonist of a Story: it’s the character who undergoes the greatest transformation. This makes sense, because one of the hardest things we confront is the need to change. By this criterion, in the enormous story of what we all do with our lives, Dan Barker is one of the most interesting and brave protagonists I know. Godless is a fascinating memoir, a tour of one distressing extreme of religiosity, 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: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases and Coping

Dan Barker's esteemed reputation is richly deserved. I recommend getting three copies. You will need one as a source of evidence to which you will frequently refer. There will be miles and miles of underlining as you mark the pages of special interest to you. You will need your second to lend to others. You will be enthusiastic about this book, and you will want to share its wisdom with family and friends. Others will likewise want to share it, and the book will never be returned to you. Finally, you will want a third copy to be in pristine condition on your bookshelf, since Dan Barker has created a volume which will only grow in its historical significance.

—David Mills, author of Atheist Universe

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569756775
Publisher:
Ulysses Press
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
423,699
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Related Subjects

Meet 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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Godless 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
Dwolfcoach More than 1 year ago
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.
Shabba More than 1 year ago
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.
MasonC More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally! A Christian who admits his failing belief in religion and God and gives a comprehensive and convincing answers to why.
Bakunin More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable read! Exposes the lies about religion, Marx is right, religion is the opiate of the people!
RobbieBobby44 More than 1 year ago
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? 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
dustbusterAZ More than 1 year ago
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.
Mason_humanist More than 1 year ago
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.
ASTJ More than 1 year ago
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.
Sara Dingel More than 1 year ago
Its so hard for people to overcome the fear of hell to really investigate the subject honestly. I enjoyed his story
Comma More than 1 year ago
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.
JessLucy More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
PeoplesCar More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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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drchris More than 1 year ago
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.
jallan More than 1 year ago
Ever notice that Atheists never stick to the scientific facts regarding God and religion? I get their claim—faith is not science based on the scientific method used today to describe the natural world. No dispute there. But since the Atheist claims to be rational, truthful, and scientific because of the evidence, I wonder why Barker (and others) spend so much time with intangible arguments and mere opinions? Just show me the facts. Of course, if they had any facts, they would be writing much shorter works. Barker casually mentions he is a “determinist,” a person who believes “free will” is an illusion. Then why spend so much time in his book telling me how he agonized over his decision to leave his Christian faith? I get the appeal of determinism; if a person is physiological structured by physical and chemical actions and reactions to be an alcoholic, a drug abuser, a pedophile, an adulterer, a murderer (add more as desired), then that person cannot be judged for his or her actions; after all, that person cannot help but follow his or her nature. By the way, what is Atheism? “Well, it is a belief or philosophy that claims…” No. Let me be more precise: how massive is your Atheism? What is its volume? How dense is it? How long, wide, and tall is it? What color is it? Of what is it composed? Ask that of anything “real” as the Atheist defines “real” and science can provide an answer (rocks, plants, animals, and some man-made fabrications), but science cannot provide a tangible answer to what is Atheism? We should expect more, but all we get is some nonsense about how the brain (through chemical and physical reactions) creates an illusionary mind that then creates the abstract concept of Atheism. Of course, we’re now twice removed from the scientifically real—and yet here we are talking about Atheism, which by the Atheist’s vaunted science, does not exist. Barker discusses ethical/moral relativism—the idea (Oops! Unreal) that ethical decisions are situational; then he proceeds to “show” how the Bible contradicts itself by quoting different passages without honestly considering the situation and the intent behind the passages. Barker is either ignorant (more so than he should be as a former believer) or intellectually dishonest. Hmm, I’m thinking dishonest. Barker rails against God the Tyrant because God expects his followers to submit to Him. Barker, the enlightened humanist, does this as if he never submits to anything in his life, and then proceeds to encourage his readers to submit to his ideology (why else write the book?). So here’s aquestion for you “freethinking” supporters of Barker: How are you a freethinker if you’re submitting your will to his? Barker claims he is not disappointed in God, and yet his pages clearly indicate that he is: I didn’t make money with my career in Christianity because I always believed Jesus was coming soon (a paraphrase). So it’s God’s fault that he (Barker) didn’t have the intelligence and wisdom to provide for his own family? Barker was a dupe in his religious practices, and he is dupe in his Atheistic practices: he has convinced himself that he’s on the right path. Any critical reader of his book will realize almost immediately that he is a fraud.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Atheism has no hierarchy, no clergy and no chosen people..." writes Dan Barker. "We are all part of the same species, using our individual talents to make the world a better place." Barker's research tracks the biblical/religious sources of violence - against women, children, races, and 'levels' of human society. A wonderful book for those seeking universal love and respect. Eleanor Cowan, author of 'A History of a Pedophile's Wife'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God is not real. It is like believing in santa or the tooth fairy
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