Read Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist by Dan Barker Online


Tells Dan Barker's dramatic story of conversion from fundamentalist minister to atheist, after 19 years of preaching the Gospel. Presents arguments for atheism and godless morality....

Title : Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781877733130
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 392 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist Reviews

  • Frrobins
    2019-03-28 21:59

    I was really interested in reading this book and a bit disappointed when I did. I was expecting an autobiography, and I did get that for the first quarter of the book. Most of it is a series of essays that have been republished that explain his thoughts on rejecting Christianity. And they're categorized by subject.I thought it would have been more interesting to see a detailed progression of how one "loses faith in faith" but did not come away with that.I also wish he would have focused more on what he likes about living life as an atheist. So many theists assume that our lives are empty and meaningless, and I don't think we help things by focusing on what is wrong and bad with their religion. How is life better/different now that he's an atheist? He doesn't even mention being able to sleep in on Sundays;-)

  • Jill
    2019-04-10 19:52

    Simply put, Dan Barker shows what a scam religion is. He methodically points out discrepancies, untruths, and how a person can lead a much more fulfilling life when free of religion.

  • Jim
    2019-04-09 02:04

    I realize this book is about 20 years old, but I'm getting tired of all these "books" that everyone seems to be printing that are merely collections of reprints of previously published essays or articles or blog posts. Especially when you think you're going to get something a bit more cohesive - something fresh and new. Especially when they are a collection of poorly written articles and essays. Maybe "poorly written" is too strong. But it's very pedantic, and at the same time comes across as not extremely intelligent. These don't really sound like his arguments - more like he's parroting someone else. But it sounds like he's making them his arguments - like he came up with them. You know when you read something, and you can tell the author thinks that he is awfully clever, but he's really not? That's what this whole book feels like. Or like when a child writes a story. It's cute, but if she wrote it as an adult, it would be really missing something. He presents a lot of straw men in the form of actual arguments from believers - I call them straw men because many thinking Christians reject them. Many of his arguments seem to be a response to fundamentalists who want to argue him into believing in God. Which I would tend to disagree with, too. What Parker is really arguing against is a fundamentalist faith. He spent five years coming out of that and ended up an atheist. I've spent the last 20 years coming out of that, have the same issues that Parker does, but I have reached different conclusions. When he talks about what Christianity is, it really seems like he's talking about the fundamental Christianity he grew up on. And that's what he's taken to task. I guess I just don't see that the arguments that he is making necessitate a complete rejection of God. I guess, while I agree with many of his arguments, I do not concur on the conclusion he reaches based on those arguments. I guess in many ways, I have lost faith in faith, too. This has led me to a more deistic approach to theology. I see the evidence around me, and assume there must be a God. So all of his discussion about what made him an atheist has changed me too. But it's just made me an un-fundamentalist Christian.He states, "Christianity is responsible for fostering patriarchy and slavery…" True, unfortunately. But its because people don't listen to the words of Jesus. But I completely disagree with the next sentence of the book in which he states, "A true Christian cannot be a feminist." This is simply false. I believe a Christian will naturally be a feminist by listening to the words of Jesus. Why more Christians aren't, I can't explain. And that's a problem, I agree. But I know too many Christian feminists to support that statement. Maybe Barker has never met one. The thing that's really annoying about this book, though, and what caused me to rate it so low, is he's so patronizing. I was less put off by P. Z. Myers. But Barker seems to be saying to Christians, "I used to be stupid like you, but now I'm a freethinker." I guess he's lost his gift of evangelizing. I kept hearing, "you're so dumb, and I'm so smart" through the whole book. His whole approach - his whole attitude - is very offputting. He's basically traded one set of fundamentalist beliefs for another. He was a hardcore Bible banger, now he's hardcore anti-Bible. With the exact same smug, I-have-it-all-figured-out attitude. It'd be offputting whether he was talking about Jesus, or about there being no Jesus. And his songs?!? Good grief. Maybe he should have kept the evangelizing part of his old life and left the songwriting part. It's just hard to wrap my brain around atheist hymns.

  • Aj Sterkel
    2019-03-25 20:57

    I think this is a case of “It’s not you, it’s me.”Losing Faith in Faith is a collection of various atheist-themed essays and articles written by Dan Barker, a former fundamentalist Christian preacher. They range from personal essays, to letters, to Bible analysis, to examinations of governments, to secular wedding vows. There is a lot of stuff going on here.I came across this book on a used book website, and it immediately caught my attention because I’ve been skeptical of religion for my entire life. I have no issues with people who practice religion (as long as they’re reasonable about it), but I’ve never found a religion that makes sense to me. That’s why the title of this book intrigued me. I wanted to know how Dan Barker changed his beliefs so radically.Unfortunately, the book isn’t what I expected. The title and synopsis made me think it was a memoir. Only a few of the chapters are about the author’s life. The rest of it is a very repetitive critique of Christianity. The author makes the same points over and over in multiple essays. (Probably because the essays were published separately before they were collected for this book.) I agree with most of the author’s arguments, but I didn’t learn much from him. The condescending tone of the essays is a huge turn-off. If you’ve been a religious skeptic for as long as I have, then you probably already know almost everything the author talks about. And, you’ve probably heard these same critiques of Christianity phrased in ways that are much less insulting to Christians.I do think this book would be helpful for “baby” atheists. When I was a kid/teenager, almost all of my friends were Christian, and I had to defend my lack of beliefs fairly often. One girl even told me that if I didn’t start going to church, I’d grow up to be a serial killer. (Spoiler alert: I haven’t killed anyone yet.) Back then, I would have appreciated the chapters that explain the difference between religion and morality. You can be a moral person without practicing a religion. Religion doesn’t make people moral. “I have something to say to the religionist who feels atheists never say anything positive: You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil—you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself.” – Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to AtheistI did learn a few things from this book. I like the examination of countries that don’t have a separation of church and state. The author explains how the lack of separation impacts (or doesn’t impact) the lives of people. I also learned the true meaning of “Xmas.” When I was a kid, someone told me that Pagans and atheists invented the word “Xmas” so they could celebrate Christmas without “Christ.” I accepted that explanation without questioning it. But, it’s wrong. The “X” in “Xmas” comes from a Greek symbol, which means “Christ.” Basically, “Xmas” means the exact same thing as “Christmas.”Interesting, right?So, I did learn some stuff from Losing Faith, but I wish the book had focused more on the author’s life. He’s a Native American, and his grandmother was their tribe’s historian. I would have been interested to hear how his family went from polytheistic, to fundamentalist Christian, to atheist. I think I would have learned more from that than from what’s actually in the book.

  • Charlie George
    2019-04-04 22:04

    Very solid, accessible, engaging, personable book. It is rare to find all these qualities in a treatise on atheism, so I recommend it with high marks. Mr. Barker is to me a luminary of rationalism, and therefore a valiant champion of a brighter future in which we, as a species, take responsibility for our own actions, misdeeds, and limitless potential.

  • Chase Parsley
    2019-03-27 22:43

    4.5/5 stars. The book’s cover is an eyesore and some sections are a bit dull, but beyond that this book is a masterpiece. Author Dan Barker relates an incredible personal account in which he goes from preacher to atheist after 19 years. Next, this book lays waste to the religion of Christianity and makes the case that being a freethinking (i.e. non-religious) person is a better choice in life. Barker is not as eloquent as a Dawkins or Hitchens, but he makes fantastic, straight-forward points and his command of the Bible is superb.Some of the noteworthy ideas found in this book:- Barker shows how contradictory the Bible is. For example, there are different sets of 10 Commandments in different parts of the Bible! (Does everyone else other than me know this already?) Also there are lots of horrific Bible verses shown which might not be as surprising.- Barker wrote a piece about the how it is inappropriate for hotel rooms to have Bibles. At first I laughed, but he has a point – what if a Koran or Hustler magazine was placed in every room?- His stuff about the separation between Church and state is solid and explores the Scandinavian countries’ “official” Lutheran status which is interesting.- Barker skillfully argues against the “good” teachings of Christianity. Love thy Neighbor, the Beatitudes, The Golden Rule, the Commandments, etc. are all strongly debated.- Barker makes an excellent case about Jesus Christ never even existing. I have seen/read stuff about this before but this is the most compelling case I have come across.- He makes good points about how atheists are often discriminated against and shunned.I was not a big fan of the secular songs throughout the book (the idea is for these to replace the Church songs), and some of the sections were better than others. Overall though it is a refreshing read and I would love to hear what other people would think of this book.

  • Jeremy
    2019-03-21 01:57

    Barker adds an interesting perspective (that of a former Evangelical minister) to the mix, but not a whole lot else. Most of the logical and empirical arguments have been presented more forcefully and clearly by Russel, Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, although Barker does present some interesting internal biblical contradictions to share with your believer friends. My major problem, though, was the lazy editing: the book in mainly a collection of Barker's essays from Freethought Today over a number of years, with little done to make them appear as a coherent whole, and so the book bounces about chronologically and frequently repeats the same points nearly verbatim from previous sections. As a result, it's probably 50 pages too long. It's not bad, but it could have been significantly better.

  • Paul
    2019-04-05 21:03

    LOL. Get real. This book gets no stars.I debated Barker on the Infidel Guy radio show in the summer of '06. I went through this book with a fine-toothed comb. I can't even get started on a review. You can purchase that debate here for 98 cents. (That site isn't my own, and I make no money from it. That's just the only place where I know that the link is available.)

  • John Gordon
    2019-04-08 21:45

    This book is a bit disjointed being a series of articles for Freethought Today along with some added chapters although it contains some really good material. Some themes are lightly covered but nevertheless there is plenty of material here for those who are involved in debating this subject. The recollected conversations, poems and songs are most entertaining. Dan has managed to present his life journey, thoughts and ideas in a fun, thought provoking and easily readable way. Recommended

  • Christina Knowles
    2019-04-16 22:48

    This book would have been good if it was a coherently organized testimony of one religious man's gradual deconversion, but it is a repetitive collage of previously published nontracts and articles with a little bit of original material mixed in. The book should have been half as long. I did like, however, the perspective of someone who had previously been a Christian and then gradually had a realization that it was all myth, fantasy, and the emotion a psychological phenomenon.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-26 21:57

    I borrowed this from the library but I think I am going to invest in a copy of my own as this is eminently highlightable.While there were some things even as a hardcore atheist I found myself disagreeing with for the most part I found excellent information that further solidified my atheism. It was also nice to read about someone who lost their faith and the crisis of conscience they went through, the backlash from christian friends. I related to alot of the things he said.

  • Salomon Joensen
    2019-03-27 18:06

    An interesting and thought-provoking story about how a preacher loses his faith in God, turned atheist. Contains the typical atheist arguments and also atheistic songs, albeit I found the story about going from preacher to atheist the best part of the book.

  • Scott
    2019-03-27 20:55

    Despite the somewhat cheesy title and cover, I found this to be a very moving and thoughtful book. One of my favorite chapters is available online: Dear Theologian -- a letter from God inquiring as to his own nature.

  • Mark Plante
    2019-04-08 01:01

    You want to know me? Read Dan Barker

  • Dave
    2019-03-22 17:51

    insanely interesting story about a man who was born into Christianity, became a Preacher, and then slowly lost his faith. Now debates believers as an atheist. mind-blowing.

  • Malola
    2019-03-29 23:49


  • Sheryl Tribble
    2019-04-16 18:01

    Baker's position seems to be that the Bible is so a-historical, so out of line with reality, that he can hardly believe he ever believed in it. Where there certainly is a point where believing that what the Bible says is true requires faith, Barker doesn't get within eight miles of it. He argues that Jesus never existed, and that crucifixion didn't exist at the time Jesus was supposedly around, either, which latter puts him way outside of generally accepted history, whether secular, Jewish, or Christian. Aside from a few mentions I'm guessing he culled from other atheist texts, his archaeological knowledge apparently stops at about 1925, because he still buys into a lot of stuff from the 1800s where archaeology has since revealed support for the Bible. So unless you limit yourself to skeptical atheist literature on Biblical history, a lot of this book will have you rolling your eyes.I do give him points for originality, though. I read a ton of atheist literature back in the day, and before reading Barker I'd never heard his argument that it's "suspicious" that Matthew deleted the name Ephratah when paraphrasing Micah 5:2, although I think spread since. Barker believes that Matthew dropped the Ephratah part of the name because according to his reading of 1 Chronicles 4:4, Ephratah was a person, and therefore the Micah reference is to "Bethlehem, son of Ephratah." Matthew, in other words, is trying to hide the fact that his reference was actually talking about a person, not a place.To buy Barker's argument the reader has to ignore the fact that the town has been referred to as Bethlehem Ephratah as far back as Genesis 35:19, as well as numerous other times, while 1 Chronicles 4:4 is the only possible reference to any "Bethlehem, son of Ephratah." More importantly, Barker is ignoring the context -- since this is the only reference to "the father of Bethlehem," many commentators believe that "father" is symbolic sense, and the city of Bethlehem is the one being referred to. But even if this Bethlehem was a person, it's unlikely he'd ever be referred to "Bethlehem, son of Ephratah," as Barker mis-understands this passage. The Chronicles verse is, "These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem." Hur is the son of Ephratah, and the father of Bethlehem. Therefore, if Bethlehem is a person, then Ephratah is his grandmother.So according to Barker, even though every other mention of Bethlehem in the Bible refers to the city, and it's frankly unlikely that the Bethlehem in I Chronicles 4:4 is even a person, it's still "suspicious" that Matthew dropped this supposed person's grandmother's name when paraphrasing Micah. If that line of logic works for you, so will this book.Since the internet came along, Barker's suggestion seems to have morphed right past the idea that there was a "clan of Ephratah," into the idea that Ephratah was a famous Biblical warrior, which, yeah, pretty obscure for a famous guy. The idea that there was a "hidden" ancient Jewish clan that was named after a woman, and a woman whose only appearance in the Bible is genealogical lists that name her as Caleb's second wife, whose firstborn was Hur, cracks me up. Sadly, when Barker is not hilariously off base, he is woefully ignorant or outdated. His understanding of Christian theology is shallow where is it not inaccurate or outright imaginary. The most telling argument he has against the Christian church is not his atheist arguments, but rather the fact that he was apparently a successful Christian pastor for nearly twenty years!

  • John Strubhart
    2019-04-08 17:50

    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.

  • Todd
    2019-04-12 17:51

    Thought I'd read a book from the other side. It was interesting, I always like to try to understand people who think differently from me. Many of his arguments seem emotional and from someone who didn't pay attention in Sunday School. I understand he has improved his skills since writing the book, but this is basically the work of a bitter man.

  • John
    2019-04-09 01:04

    Dan Barker is co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and former evangelical preacher. Like John Loftus, his arguements gain a bit of power as they come from the 'inside-out.' Barker introduces himself on the FFRF podcastr as "your friendly neighborhood atheist" and he is a calm voice for the side of rationalism.

  • Alwyn
    2019-04-10 20:03

    It's only an partly an autobiography for a few chapters. I think Dan would have done a better job if it were entirely so.The rest is made up of tracts and re-hashed articles.Well useful ammo for the atheists at the very least.

  • Steven
    2019-04-20 02:01

    Barker speaks to my struggle with faith in this book, especially lying in the tent, looking up and realizing he is alone. That took my breath away. The second half is a retread of his articles which I had already read.

  • Cathy
    2019-03-28 22:56

    Have been reading lots of stories of former Christians. I like this one the best so far. I am on a very similar path as him.

  • Carrie
    2019-04-08 18:53

    Very insightful! I have been atheist for quite a few years now, and reading that made me open my eyes even more...

  • Mscharlee
    2019-04-20 01:06

    Read chapters from this book online and really liked it. Great story of a guy who went from staunch believer, to total non-believer. Good read. I'm hoping to own it one day.

  • Da
    2019-04-03 21:55

    Por-el-amor-de-Dios... es un milagro que lo haya terminado... jajajajaja

  • David Melbie
    2019-03-26 22:47

    The first one that went into my "Atheist Tool Belt." I refer to it often! One of my first perks of membership in Freedom From Religion Foundation

  • Akuila
    2019-03-29 22:02

    yet to discover...

  • Charlotte
    2019-04-12 19:38

    Parallels Godless in many respects but includes some extra essays and tidbits. Good reading.

  • Kyle Deming
    2019-04-07 01:57