Founder of Largest Atheist Group in US Shares Conservative Evangelical Background

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Dan Barker, co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which with 20,000 members claims to be the largest atheist organization in the United States, was once a self-described conservative evangelist who shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ before a five-year journey led him to become an atheist.

Barker, who no longer works to save souls but instead wages legal battles against perceived conflicts between the church and state, such as the national motto "In God We Trust" on U.S. currency and efforts to ban city councils from holding a prayer before meetings, recently spoke with The Christian Post about his evangelical past.

In his book, Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists, Barker describes his journey in detail, but told CP that most of his "movement from firm born-again Bible believing evangelical conservative Christian to atheist happened within Christianity."

Barker adamantly told CP that he "didn't just jump from 'oh, I have a doubt, now I'm an atheist,'" because he believes no Christian does that. But rather, he sees believers as shuffling "back-and-forth, one way or another, across a huge vast spectrum of Christian theology."

"My migration, which took four or five years, started out as extreme far right side and then gradually moved across, where in the beginning, I didn't think, 'oh, these doubts are going to lead to atheism.' I thought they were strengthening my faith; and becoming less of a binary brain, absolutistic fundamentalist and more of a moderate, more subtle," Barker explained.

Written By: Melissa Barnhart
continue to source article at christianpost.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. Why put his effort into such trivialities as removing “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency and blocking prayer before meetings?

    It he just cutting his teeth on something he hopes will be easy? Does he hope these will have high symbolic value in getting other changes?

  2. I’m surprised that the CP would post an article that provides such a strong “loss of faith” testimonial. What is funny, though, is that Dan Barker’s conversion seems to have come solely from the literary/philosophical fallacies of the bible and not in any part from contradictions with science. I don’t see how (for him) discovering that the bible is bogus would completely rule out the possibility of a god. I’m not familiar with him, so perhaps turning to science for answers was part of his process. In any case, advocating on behalf of scientific reason would have been a good added measure in his interview.

    • In reply to #2 by Billions and Billions:

      I’m surprised that the CP would post an article that provides such a strong “loss of faith” testimonial. What is funny, though, is that Dan Barker’s conversion seems to have come solely from the literary/philosophical fallacies of the bible and not in any part from contradictions with science. I d…

      different people are convinced by different arguments – science for some, biblical inconsistencies for others, etc, etc,

  3. Hi Roedy,

    “Trivial” is a value judgement. Given that the vast majority of faith-heads cherish the institutionalization of any woo – because it validates their woo, it doesn’t seem trivial to me.

    Peace.

  4. I think Dan and his wife, Annie Laurie, are real heros who stand up for everyone’s freedom of Religion and Freedom From Religion. “In God We Trust” is a motto that hints at a far greater rot at the core of the apple and FFRF is attacking both the symbol and the dangerous theocratic thinking at the core with their countless advocacies of those who live in places where religious oppression is on the rise and not just a philosophical debate.

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