Losing Faith in Faith
by Dan Barker
For anyone who makes the difficult transition from believer to nonbeliever, from christian to atheist, there are many questions. There are many trials, many self-doubts. Sometimes there is pain, and separation from those they love.
Others have made this same journey, and perhaps none express it so eloquently as Dan Barker when he writes the essays that comprise Losing Faith in Faith. Once, Mr. Barker was a fundamentalist minister of the first order. He was asked to speak by groups across the country, and respected for his abilities to convert and to strengthen faith. He wrote music and children's plays extolling the virtues of the fundamentalist christian view and lifestyle.
Over time, however, he found himself wondering, doubting, and re-thinking. Over time, with many difficulties, which atheists will find extremely familiar and poignant to read, Mr. Barker declared himself to be an unbeliever. Eventually, through his works for atheists and his involvement, he was married to Annie Gaylord, who is actively involved in her mother's organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation. Mr. Barker now works with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and debates fundamentalists and creationists across the country.
Once having established his own personal journey, the rest of the book details many arguments used by christian apologists and the rebuttals against them. Mr. Barker reveals his own views of these arguments, and makes arguments of his own against the rationality and possibility of the existence of a god, specifically one as viewed by the christian religion.
Mr. Barker examines many different aspects of his life in sections titled "Finding Freethought," "Re-examining the 'Good Book,'" "Critiquing Christianity," "Spreading the Best News," "Separating Church and State," "Exposing Christian Morality," and "History or Myth?".
These essays cover practically every issue encountered by most atheists, both during their transition from belief and afterwards. Even those atheists who were never believers could benefit greatly from Mr. Barker's examination of and thoughts about Christianity and its teachings. For anyone who wishes to defend their atheism in a general way, this book gives a great beginning.
The last sections of the book are highly entertaining and instructive. In "A Match Not Made in Heaven" we read the wedding ceremony of Dan Barker and Annie Gaylord. This section reveals their dedication to both the idea of freethought and the principals of individual freedom.
In the section titled "Songs" we find that music which has been penned since Mr. Barker's transition to freethought. Among these are "Blood Brothers," "I Don't Need Jesus," "The Stay-Away Pope Polka," "Friendly Neighborhood Atheist," and the "Solstice Tribute."
Losing Faith in Faith has been described as the atheist's bible. Although I hesitate to describe it in that fashion, it is clear that this book is both touching and compelling. For atheists and believers alike, this book can open eyes and touch hearts.
November 12, 2000