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Godless  By  cover art

Godless

By: Dan Barker,Richard Dawkins - foreword
Narrated by: Richard Dawkins,Dan Barker
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Publisher's Summary

From the introduction by Dan Barker: Millions of good people live moral, happy, loving, meaningful lives without believing in a god.

Oprah said it was 17 years, but it was actually 19 years between my first sermon at the age of 15 and my last sermon at the age of 34. Part 1 of Godless, "Rejecting God", tells the story of how I moved from devout preacher to atheist and beyond. Part 2, "Why I Am an Atheist", presents my philosophical reasons for unbelief. Part 3, "What's Wrong with Christianity", critiques the bible (its reliability as well as its morality) and the historical evidence for Jesus. Part 4, "Life Is Good!", comes back to my personal story, taking a case to the United States Supreme Court, dealing with personal trauma, and experiencing the excitement of Adventures in Atheism.

©2008 Dan Barker and Richard Dawkins (P)2015 Pitchstone Publishing

Critic Reviews

"Valuable in the human story are the reflections of intelligent and ethical people who listen to the voice of reason and who allow it to vanquish bigotry and superstition. This book is a classic example." (Christopher Hitchens, author of God is Not Great)
"The most eloquent witness of internal delusion that I know - a triumphantly smiling refugee from the zany, surreal world of American fundamentalist Protestantism - is Dan Barker." (Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion)
" Godless was a revelation to me. I don't think anyone can match the (devastating!) clarity, intensity, and honesty which Dan Barker brings to the journey - faith to reason, childhood to growing up, fantasy to reality, intoxication to sobriety." (Oliver Sacks, author of Musicophilia)

What listeners say about Godless

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good writing, irritating narration

I enjoyed the book's content but it sounded like the author was sucking in a lozenge...the mouth noises were nearly intolerable.

13 people found this helpful

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In-depth yet personal

This book was very thoughtful and inspires reason as a daily lifestyle. The surprising aspect was that it managed to utilize a method of storytelling and personal history that made the entire book feel like an inspirational biography so indicative of the successful christian narratives infecting the checkout aisles of bookstores today.
I will admit that for about two chapters I was deeply annoyed with the author's voice. It was soothing, deep and should have been very easy to listen to, but something about it almost had me giving up on the book. Then I realized that I was annoyed because it reminded me of the calming and methodical voices used by preachers in the church I went to as a kid. As soon as I recognized that Dan Barker had that quality, I was able to relax and drop how annoyed I was.

11 people found this helpful

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It's Never Too Late To Embrace Reason

Dan's fascinating story of de-conversion also provides some basic philosophy and biblical examination. Great Read.

8 people found this helpful

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must read/listen!

Loved it! rings true through out the book. Will make sure to recommend to friend's.

7 people found this helpful

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Brilliant

Just an amazing, entertaining, and very well informed book. I found it amazing hat Dan read the whole book himself it really makes it hit home a lot more. When I saw that Richard Dawkins did the foreword it was the last deciding factor in my decision to choose Godless, and it really did not disappoint.

6 people found this helpful

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Great Book

Timely and logical helping me move past my fears of letting go of the myths.

6 people found this helpful

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Secular Humanism's Petulant Adolescence in America

This book was a mixed bag. At times Barker shows his obvious articulate intellect and his arguments are penetrating, challenging, well-researched and well-delivered. At other times his tone is gratingly immature, kitsch, overly-confrontational and adolescent in it's attempt to shock the religious establishment in his home country. It is an obvious sign of immaturity in a cultural movement when it feels the need to say shocking, controversial things all the time with one eye on the establishment to see how they are reacting. Much like a three year old or a teenager being deliberately controversial just to get a rise out their parents.

Another sign that the cultural movement of secular humanism is growing up out of its adolescence in America will be when prominent figures in the movement, like Barker, cease calling themselves "Atheists", a one-dimensional and purely reactionary label, and start calling themselves something that better encompasses the nuanced movement of secular humanism. One can't help but expect that proudly calling defining oneself as an "Atheist" is an adolescent transitional phase aimed mainly to shock and be jarring against the perceived "parental" religious establishment.

Barker's book shows the movement of secular humanism in America to still be stuck in its reactionary, "shock-jock" adolescence. Perhaps that fact reveals the greater problem that in the 21st century, American culture is still stuck in a childish neoteny of religious belief. Secular humanism in America will have shown itself to have grown up once it drops the desire to stick with one dimensional, reactionary labels such as "Atheist" and also moves on from the childish, kitsch and mocking tone of the ex-religious apostate into a calmer, more mature and self-assured secular humanist.

6 people found this helpful

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Amazing testimony.

Mr. Barker touches on many aspects of his journey from faith to reason. His description of his transition is something very relatable to any one who was raised religious and later became an unbeliever.

I also recommend this book for believers who aren't easily offended and enjoy good discussion. I challenge you to listen to Mr. Barker's chapter on bible contradictions. It will blow your mind. I think a large percentage of believers don't actually know the bible as well as they think.

Approach this book with an open mind while Dan describes the possibility of Jesus the myth and Jesus the legend (2 different ideas).

You can't read this book and walk away with nothing, believers and non believers alike.

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Good information; poor delivery

I managed to get through the entire selection but found the sound of the lozenge clicking against the narrator’s teeth to be extremely distracting; almost intolerable.

Otherwise, it’s a must read for those who have transitioned from fundamentalist, dogmatic Christianity to something else entirely.

3 people found this helpful

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All the wrong places

Unfortunately, this poor fellow ran into all false teachings that are based on making money, controlling lives, and finding the next spiritual or emotional high. He gives glory to himself in all the things he did "for God". He confuses bakers and bread. Wouldn't a baker have a baker for a son and not a loaf of bread?? There is market Christianity, hyped Christianity, legalistic Christianity, materialistic Christianity, self-worshipping Christianity, and domineering Christianity. Those are all examples of FALSE Christianity. True believers in TRUE Christianity grow; love one another as Jesus loved us; speak the truth in Love; delight in what is right; are not self glorifying. The list goes on.

3 people found this helpful

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  • E. Ez
  • 07-18-17

Practical book. I enjoyed reading it.

The narration of the book was smooth. I think the book is special because it was written by a courageous author. Many in his former situation would quietly carry on, pretending that all was fine.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rui Feliciano
  • 06-19-19

An eye-opening story of self-discovery

Dan Barker's story is an inspiration to anyone seeking to free themselves from the shackles of religious oppression. How someone who was so deep down the rabbit hole, and freely and intellectually came to find atheism as the most reasonable and peaceful way to live is incredible.
I was especially inspired by his mom's statement when she rejected superstition: "I don't have to hate anymore."
This is the definition of how I see it, as a free thinker: you can have imaginary friends if you so desire, but if they tell you to hate others, they're probably not really your friends anyway.

2 people found this helpful

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  • BlindAlley
  • 04-11-20

A dull and boring read, with little of interest

This publication could stand editing down to at least half its current size. It would lose nothing of significance in the process. The author takes an age to make obvious points as though revealing priceless c kernels of wisdom. If you have any hope of learning the process by which a born-again Christian can transition to being an atheist, then this is not the place to look for edifying detail. An excruciatingly lengthy accounts of the patiently obvious. Save your money and buy something else!

1 person found this helpful

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  • A. Listener
  • 03-16-19

As a lifelong atheist..

As someone who is a lifelong atheist, 'godless' provides a valuable insight into what goes on in the mind of a evangelical preacher, on his journey out of religion and towards reason.

PS: some of Dan's narration can be a little 'wet' at times, there's some slightly irritating crackling noises that the mic picks up. I think it's always better when a biography is read by the narrator, when possible. So I could overlook the slightly annoying noises. Most people will not care too much about it, but those who're easily irritated by certain sounds might find it hard to listen to.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-22-22

a Must read for Christians

This is a compelling read which combines Dan's autobiography, an account of some of the impressive work of the Freedom from Religion Foundation and his powerful chapter and verse analysis of the shortcomings of Christianity. Included are accounts of former pastors and priests who have rejected faith and become agnostics or atheists. It is well written and easy to follow. He reads it himself clearly. Richard Dawkins' introduction is an added bonus. It is impressive as a text which every Christian should read, if they dare!

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  • Lee
  • 02-24-22

Put your worries down

Being a non-believer, I worried when I read that this author is a former minister; Well, as is so often the case, I regret wasting my time worrying...will I ever learn?

This book is fantastic!

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  • Kyle Lisgo
  • 08-06-19

Interesting and well delivered.

It's a fascinating tale of a died in the wool biblical preacher who starts to look at his own reasons for belief and eventually concludes that his reasoning was flawed. He delivers a humble story of self discovery and tells it well, followed by a lengthy dissection of his conclusions. If more people thought like Dan Barker the world would be a much better place.

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  • MR
  • 10-21-18

bad saliva noises

narration good but terrible annoying mouth clacking noises like saliva. if you can put up with it

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  • Je suis Charlie
  • 04-11-18

Too much feminism.

Because any amount of feminism is too much feminism. There are points when I feel like the author has merely exchanged one puritanical faith for another.

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  • Chris Casey
  • 12-29-17

A Story here - but not what you think

What did you like best about Godless? What did you like least?

Dan's fulsome account of his early experience which enables one to understand why he thinks they way he does.

Would you recommend Godless to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, but not as a work of apologetics for atheism, more as a study in how fundamentalist thinking throws up poor rationality - whether it be arguing for faith or for atheism.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Richard Dawkins and Dan Barker ?

I just don't have time - there is so much more out there that merits my time and is more helpful by way of good and virtuous reasoning - ad hominem argumentation and a tone that sound like there's a 'smart-Alec' at the other end of the microphone just do nothing to advance knowledge (especially when it becomes apparent that it is not a 'smart-Alec' at the end of the microphone).

Do you think Godless needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No! It ended up in a cul-de-sac - you can only go round in circles for so long before you become sick.

Any additional comments?

I wonder if Dan chose to engage with more serious thinkers if he would find it so easy to construct his army of straw men?

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  • AHP
  • 08-25-21

Mind-opening!

it was really long, but the mind-opening gems in this life narrative resonated with my own awakening from religious dogma. Dan Barker just says it much more eloquently.

I felt the text was reasoned without being judgemental or condescending.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel Lish
  • 03-08-17

Great read for all Religeous peoples.

This book explains why I'm an athiest and even though Richard Dawkins wants you to read this to talk to Christians... I think it would be the best book for Christians to read to talk to Athiests.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Angel Eduardo Moreno Medina
  • 07-22-22

Flat!

Pretty flat reader, no add much of energy. Losses me for a while, but the fact is a very interesting topic I paddled through.

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  • Alexander Paz
  • 12-29-20

Insightful and beautiful

A must read for any truth seeker, and especially helpful for those who have previously experienced the mystical and magical side to faith and are seeking a compassionate and well rounded way forward from it.

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  • Nick Clutterbuck
  • 05-23-20

Fantastic!!

As a ex christian.. occasionally falling into belief systems.. I learnt alot and can relate to Dans experience.. the first 8 chapters were great and the rest was about science and debunking why we have a " God shaped hole" in us.. an epic book! 5 stars!

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  • Mark
  • 01-18-20

A book of 2 halfs

The biographical first-half was interesting, but the second-half promotion of atheism was a little dull.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-10-17

Long and slow

The content is sound, technically well researched. Just found it very long-winded with unnecessary padding and repetition. The narrator spoke slowly and deliberately, tending to be boring.

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  • Steven Frew
  • 10-07-17

wow!!!

what an amazing book. if you believe in a god, you definitely need to read this book. very well researched and delivered.

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  • nathaniel
  • 11-29-16

recomended if you want an anti-christian argument

speech is slow at times
compelling story
great ammunition for anyone coming across christian arguments and apologists.