Saturday, September 26, 2015

Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to AtheistLosing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist by Dan Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In his first book, Dan Barker details how he lost faith in faith.

First, he describes his transition from fundamentalist Christian preacher to atheist and co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Dan's account of this transformation will seem very strange to those who have always been atheists, but it will seem very familiar to those who underwent similar transformations from believer to non-believer. I count myself among that second group.

Secondly, Dan makes the case for atheism. There is nothing philosophically new here, but it is put in modern context and will be useful to those who want a more contemporary description of arguments against faith and for evidence based reason.

Thirdly, Dan critiques the Bible as a source of factual knowledge and moral inspiration. He examines its consistency and veracity with interesting tidbits on the history of its development. Again, the only thing new here is Dan's take on the subject matter, which some readers will find relevant.

Fourthly, Dan critiques Christianity as a religion. Now, here is where Dan begins to push the envelope. While almost all of what he says makes good argument against Christianity, he does get a bit heavy-handed and tends to beat the dead horse. I suspect that he was "exorcising some of his demons." I can tell you from experience that ridding yourself of indoctrination takes some serious dead-horse beating, but I tend to keep that to myself. Dan just let it fly in this book.

Fifthly, Dan puts together some Freethought Today articles of interest.

Sixthly, Dan makes a great case for why government and religion should never be entangled. This is my favorite part of the book, because it is the problem in our society that I worry most about. My only gripe with Dan is that he did not point out just how dangerous it really is.

Seventhly, Dan critiques the morality of Christianity. To be fair to the huge number of very moral Christians that I know, he goes after the kind of beliefs that are mostly held by fundamentalists, but doesn't state often enough that this is the case.

Eighthly, Dan makes his case that Jesus (as described in the New Testament) is a myth. The case is well made, but it is certainly possible that there was some good guy upon whom a legend was built, and Dan says as much.

Finally, Dan reproduces the wedding vows between him and Annie Laurie Gaylor. I thought it was touching. I'm a marshmallow.

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