In Losing Faith in Faith, Dan Barker recounts his conversion from Christianity to atheism. This book comes highly recommended from a number of atheistic sources, yet I found it to be almost entirely worthless.
The book is broken up into broad sections that deal with certain topics of importance to Christianity. Each chapter has a short collection of articles written by Barker, most of which were originally published in “Freethought Today.”
Barker’s work comes off as a random collection of mini-tirades. Rational argumentation is on short supply, and the work is peppered with arguments from outrage. Due to the fact that the articles are just thrown into the book, many “arguments” and assertions are repeated again and again, ad nauseum.
Due to the fact that all of the articles are very short, Barker never develops thorough arguments. For example, Barker claims multiple times throughout the book that his only reason for rejecting the existence of God is that there is no evidence for His existence. Yet, Barker’s chapter dealing with the evidences for God is only 10 pages long. Barker pretends to deal with the Cosmological argument in less than half a page! Anyone who feels such issues deserve such a miniscule space is severely mistaken, and if Barker expects to challenge my beliefs, these issues will have to be dealt with more adequately.
A good example of Barker’s philosophical ineptness is the fact that he repeatedly makes the “who made God” objection to the Cosmological Argument. There is simply no excuse for such a prestigious atheist to be so far behind on the philosophical eight ball, as this objection has been dealt with for years and years. His other objections to Christianity are of a similar lack of sophistication.
One chapter involves Biblical contradictions, but this chapter is quite amateurish. Nowhere does Barker even come close to examining the social and literary context in order to truly show that there is a problem- he merely lists some passages and throws his hands up in the air. In fact, he doesn’t even make much of an attempt to explain exactly why a contradiction or two should be so devastating to the Christian faith. I, for one, accept Biblical innerancy, but my Christian faith isn’t going to come crashing down if there are in fact some contradictions.
And the tirade continues. Barker has a chapter on abortion that seems out of place, but in any case its conclusion is absolutely ridiculous. He claims that the true reason Christians are anti-abortion is because men “can’t tolerate” a woman who takes control. I never asked Barker for a psychoanalysis, and his article is demonstrative of Barker’s modus operandi- dismiss religious claims as ignorant delusion and accept atheistic assertions as objective (and undeniable) truth.
Barker’s dealing with Biblical commandments is just as shallow. Biblical passages are merely cited with a follow-up of some snide comment (of the nature- “who could possibly believe this junk?”) Once again, there is absolutely no effort put forth to determine the social or political context. This chapter seems to merely serve as a means of delivering “shock value” or pumping up atheistic sympathizers.
In conclusion, I cannot see this work being useful for anything. There is almost nothing of substance. Look into it if you wish, but there is certainly much better atheistic reading material out there.