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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Godless by Dan Barker.
Richard Dawkins Goodreads Author Foreword. This book is a classic example. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Godless , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. May 11, A. I'm closing in on having read all the major atheist books in existence, I think.
Out of all of them, this is the only one so far offering an inside look at the evolutionary process of a fundamentalist evangelical Christian into a hardened atheist who eats children and celebrates Halloween twice a year. Deconversion stories all seem to share a common narrative arch——the most important aspect of which is a period of glaring ignorance and indoctrination followed by an awakening of the mind to other I'm closing in on having read all the major atheist books in existence, I think.
Deconversion stories all seem to share a common narrative arch——the most important aspect of which is a period of glaring ignorance and indoctrination followed by an awakening of the mind to other viewpoints and shortcomings of the believer's sacred text.
Dan Barker narrates this very well. You know the story is honest because it lacks a climax, a rooftop shootout, a falling bridge, a last stand. The process of losing faith in faith is known to be a long one, or a journey of a thousand small steps. Barker's took him from fundamentalism to liberalism to atheism; from preacher to apostate. Full disclosure: I skipped or skimmed some of the middle part of the book. I'm sorry, but there's just no way I can sit through the Kalaam Cosmological Argument again.
Five hundred times is enough, and it's as flaccid and stupid as it was the first time I heard it. I also skipped the rants against biblical genocide. I've read the Old Testament. I know what's there. Perhaps the strongest part of the book were the lists of biblical contradictions. The attempts to put together a coherent resurrection account was particularly concise and effective.
Barker did a fine job demonstrating the evidence or rather lack of it for a historical Jesus, and painted a nice picture of the primary sources available from the time period. He wisely employed a number of apt metaphors to give a modern reader an understanding of the situation. Bart Ehrman outclasses him in his books, sure, but he's a professional historian.
Barker's joining a pickup game well in progress, but he holds his own. Ideally a number of sections could have been shortened. I don't bitch about overall length much when it comes to books. That's all relative anyway to what is needed.
But pages was a bit steep. He could have not listed every preacher he ever knew who was a closet atheist, or spend so many pages detailing his foundation's social efforts. I can't complain too much because I skimmed a lot of it, however for a book to get the holy grail of five stars, it needs to be aware of a reader——especially a religious one——who picked this up for a purpose other than finding out the modern history of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. All told, four stars. The deconversion story is a different species of the same genus, yet the overall effect is different than reading, say, Christopher Hitchens, who was born with a bottle of whisky in one hand and the other hoisting a finger at religion.
View 2 comments. I found this book fascinating for the simple reason that the author's experience mimicked so much my own. I may not have been an evangelical preacher, as the author was, but I was about as devout a Mormon as one could be when, in the '80s and I in my 30s and a mother of six , I came to the painful realization that I did not really believe it all and left my church.
It was, without equal, the most painful episode of my life; and in time, I believe, the most liberating for myself and my family. A I found this book fascinating for the simple reason that the author's experience mimicked so much my own. And this is also, without equal, the most personal book review I've posted. View all 6 comments. Dec 26, Marvin rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. First of all, what is a leading atheist?
I never knew we had a vote. Since I'm more of an agnostic dabbling in the philosophical side of Buddhism, I may not have been eligible to vote. Being a leading freethinker makes sense since it implies an interest in freedom of speech and fighting for the choice to think for oneself, which Barker does admirably.
But a leading atheist? That sounds a little forced to me, not to mention egotistical. Second, Dan B I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. Second, Dan Barker's journey from minister to atheist is only one third of this book and it is the most interesting part. His journey parallels many people's journey including my own. He does an excellent job explaining the struggles in leaving a fundamentalist world for one that fits the reality of existence.
Yet I have one problem with the author. He is a true believer. In essence, he went from being a fundamentalist evangelical preacher to being a atheist evangelical preacher. The tone of the rest of the book becomes While other "leading" atheists like Harris and Dawkins are pointing out the errors and traps of religion, they are also fine with people making their own choices. Barker still seems most interested in conversions, a key fixture in being a true believer. This becomes transparent in the rest of the book where he explains his reason for being an atheist and examines the arguments against theism, specially Christianity.
Most of what he say makes sense but when he rips apart more universal and common sense teachings like the Golden Rule or parts of the Sermon on the Mound, there seems to be a bit of bitterness, maybe even competitiveness in his style. So I recommend the first third of this book but recommend you go to other books if you are interested in why atheists say what they say or for the general arguments for and against the existence of God. But overall it is an enjoyable read. View all 9 comments. Dec 13, Curtis rated it really liked it.
A lot of the book is the pretty typical "arguments for the nonexistance of God" stuff, but I thought the biographical section to be the most interesting. Barker does a great job of describing exactly what was going on in his head when he began to question his Christianity.
Oct 05, Jarkko Laine rated it liked it Shelves: religion. Now, here's a book that's very hard to rate objectively. I liked a lot of it, mostly the parts where Barker told about his own life: the struggles with Christianity, becoming atheist, and then living as an atheist.
When he criticizes Christianity, things get a bit more complicated. I agree with a lot, maybe even most of his arguments, but it's all about a fundamentalist approach to Bible and other Christian doctrines.
In fact a lot of his reasoning is exactly the same as what has been said by "li Now, here's a book that's very hard to rate objectively. In fact a lot of his reasoning is exactly the same as what has been said by "liberal" Christian scholars such as Marcus Borg whom I'm a big fan of or John Dominic Crossan or John Shelby Spong among others.
And they don't consider themselves atheist.
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Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
Daniel Edwin Barker born June 25, is an American atheist activist and musician who served as an evangelical Christian preacher and composer for 19 years but left Christianity in Barker has been an invited speaker at Rock Beyond Belief. Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in In he announced to his friends, family, and co-ministers that he became an atheist,  and appeared on AM Chicago hosted by Oprah Winfrey later that year on a show about "kicking the religion habit". Barker and Gaylor met when both were guests on the show. They began dating six months later and married in They have a daughter, Sabrina Delata.