Saturday, March 7, 2009

Book Review: Godless

On 2/24/09, I made mention of the book Why I became an Atheist by John Loftus. I pointed out that the book was an okay read, but not particularly outstanding. I did, however, greatly appreciate Loftus' Chapter 4, which I explored at some length in the posting. I do believe that the the book is worth reading, if for no other reason than to read that particular chapter. This isn't to detract from the rest of the text. I found it informative, but not exceptional. It is, however, a good beginning point in examining the issues.

While pursuing the latest in the atheist genre (Is there such a thing? There seems to be a genre developing at any rate!) I came across my FAVORITE atheist presentation to date. I think it is because it resonates so much with me. Anyone reading my book would likely see that we cover much of the same ground and approach it in many similar ways (read 3 chapters from my book at The Recovering Fundamentalist). At any rate, I HIGHLY recommend Dan Barker's book, Godless (2008, Ulysses Press).

Dan was an evangelical preacher with impeccable evangelical credentials. He is now co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, one of the leading atheist, freethought organizations in the US. The book chronicles his days as an evangelist and how, first by small questions, then by large, he felt compelled to abandon Christianity and all religion. The sections of the book where he raises questions and asks religion to respond (well, in an way, you might say) are worthwhile reading. It resonated with me, because it asked questions that I have asked of religion and myself over and over again. My answers are different (I am a believer; Dan is not), but the questions are the same.

It is said "the unexamined life is not worth living." The same may be said of faith. While I disagree that reason and reason alone can arrive at (all?) truth and that myth has nothing to speak in that arena, the questions raised by Barker must be faced head on. Either one must hide his/her head in the sand, play Scarlet talking with Rhett and just wish all of the questions away, find a way to answer them without skirting the issue or calling on pseudo-science, or, follow Dan on a path away from all views of God (AND READ THE BOOK! THE QUESTIONS ARE PRETTY ENGAGING!).

However, my favorite part of the book of the the first section, "Rejecting God." This tells Dan's story and gives the book true legitimacy. This guy is speaking as someone who knows what he is talking about. Many a confused evangelical might just see themselves in Dan's story.

In short, this book is quite well written, non-aggressive, and honest. It is a captivating book-- even if you (like I) disagree with "the conclusion." I highly recommend Godless to add to your reading list.

No comments:

Post a Comment