Steve Van Slyke's Reviews > Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists

Godless by Dan Barker
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's review
Oct 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: skepticism, kindle
Recommended to Steve by: Amazon
Recommended for: Deconversion fans and Bible debaters
Read from October 20 to 27, 2011

This could have easily been divided (and expanded) into two books, and that would have been an improvement for me. One “book”, or theme, was of the author's amazing journey from fundamentalist, evangelistic, Christian preacher, to evangelistic atheist. The other theme/book was about the Bible, it's discrepancies, errors and contradictions, and the historical status of Jesus. Of course the two are related and intertwined, and both themes would be touched on in either book. However, I felt that at times he dove so deeply into the minutiae of textural discrepancies, questions of authorship of books, etc. that it detracted from the compelling story of his personal metamorphosis, and I occasionally found myself skimming those sections. And conversely, the mixture of personal anecdotes interspersed with biblical analysis detracted a bit from the focus of those arguments. I would have preferred to have read or have available, a separate book by him on the subject of historical criticism of the Bible.

Nevertheless, both topics were valuable, interesting and well written. Given that he is an accomplished musician, songwriter, composer, and has also managed to totally immerse himself in Christianity and the Bible for half his life and then turn 180 degrees and learn physics, evolution, geology, genetics and philosophy in the second half probably qualifies him to be labeled some kind of genius, or at least he is incredibly well read.

It's a worthwhile book on both levels, for those interested in deconversion stories as well as those interested in debating the inerrancy of the Bible and the historical justification for the life of the man known as Jesus of Nazareth.

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