a teenage evangelist at age 15. At 16 he was choir librarian for
faith-healer Kathryn Kuhlman's Los Angeles appearances. He received
a degree in Religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained
to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in
1975. He served as associate pastor at a Friend's (Quaker) Church,
an Assembly of God, and an independent Charismatic church. Dan was
a Protestant missionary in Mexico for a total of two years.
maintained a touring musical ministry for 17 years, including
eight years of full-time, cross-country evangelism. An accomplished
pianist, record producer, arranger and songwriter, he worked with
Christian music companies such as Manna Music and Word Music.
For many years, Dan wrote and produced the annual "Mini Musicale"
for Gospel Light Publications' Vacation Bible School curriculum.
more than two decades, Dan was accompanist, arranger, and record
producer for Manuel Bonilla, the leading Christian singer in the
Spanish-speaking world. He accompanied on the piano such Christian
personalities as Pat Boone, Jimmy Roberts (of the Lawrence Welk
Show), and gospel songwriter Audrey Meier, and was a regular guest
on Southern California's "Praise The Lord" TV show (Spanish).
of Dan's Christian songs, "There Is One," was performed
by Rev. Robert Schuller's television choir on the "Hour of
Power" broadcast. To this day, he receives royalties from
his popular children's Christian musicals, "Mary Had a Little
Lamb" (1977), and "His Fleece Was White As Snow"
(1978), both published by Manna Music and performed in many countries.
five years of reading, Dan gradually outgrew his religious beliefs.
"If I had limited myself to Christian authors, I'd still
be a Christian today," Dan says. "I just lost faith
in faith." He announced his atheism publicly in January,
was PR Director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation from 1987
to 2004. He was elected co-president of the Foundation with Annie
Laurie Gaylor in 2004. He is a contributing editor of Freethought
Today and is involved with the Foundation's state/church lawsuits.
keep accusing me of blasphemy all of the time, but I cannot be
convicted of a victimless crime."
are suffering from bad PR. What if Sesame Street had an atheist
turns out that the word atheism means much less than I had thought.
It is merely the lack of theism."
atheism is not a belief. It is the lack of belief. There is a
difference between believing there is no god and not believing
there is a god -- both are atheistic, though popular usage has
ignored the latter."
is wrong for a secular government to promote prayer. We think
the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional. What if the president
declared a National Day of Cursing God because He failed us on
September 11? Americans would say, "You've overstepped your
authority." That's how we feel when he promotes prayer."
at the posture of prayer. It is the posture of slavery, of bowing
before your master. We are a proudly rebellious country. We kicked
out the master. Now here comes the government telling us to humbly
the answers to prayer are merely what God wills all along, then
thinking critically, I assumed that the successful prayers were
proof that God answers prayer while the failures were proof that
there was something wrong with me."
never changes the laws of nature."
trouble is that neutrality is confused with hostility. We're not
disrupting churches, or interrupting people's prayers. We're not
does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday,
singing, "Yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will
be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must
come down, down, down. Amen!" If they did, we would think
they were pretty insecure about it."
is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you
can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that
it can't be taken on its own merits."
not easy to change world views. Faith has its own momentum and
belief is comfortable. To restructure reality is traumatic and
scary. That is why many intelligent people continue to believe:
unbelief is an unknown."
took about a year to fully adjust. Like there's a death at the
family or a divorce, you don't just snap your fingers and it's
theists, observing that all "effects" need a cause,
assert that God is a cause but not an effect. But no one has ever
observed an uncaused cause and simply inventing one merely assumes
what the argument wishes to prove."
have an Easter challenge for Christians. My challenge is simply
this: tell me what happened on Easter. I am not asking for proof.
My straightforward request is merely that Christians tell me exactly
what happened on the day that their most important doctrine was
claim that there is a god; atheists do not. Religionists often
challenge atheists to prove that there is no god; but this misses
the point. Atheists claim god is unproved, not disproved. In any
argument, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.
If a person claims to have invented an antigravity device, it
is not incumbent on others to prove that no such thing exists.
The believer must make a case. Everyone else is justified in refusing
to believe until evidence is produced and substantiated. Some
atheists feel the argument is pointless until the term "god"
is made understandable. Words like "spirit" and "supernatural"
have no referent in reality, and ideas like "all-knowing"
and "omnipotent" are self-contradictory. Why discuss
a meaningless concept?"
next time believers tell you that "separation of church and
state" does not appear in our founding document, tell them
to stop using the word "trinity." The word "trinity"
appears nowhere in the bible. Neither does Rapture, or Second
Coming, or Original Sin. If they are still unfazed (or unphrased)
by this, then add Omniscience, Omnipresence, Supernatural, Transcendence,
Afterlife, Deity, Divinity, Theology, Monotheism, Missionary,
Immaculate Conception, Christmas, Christianity, Evangelical, Fundamentalist,
Methodist, Catholic, Pope, Cardinal, Catechism, Purgatory, Penance,
Transubstantiation, Excommunication, Dogma, Chastity, Unpardonable
Sin, Infallibility, Inerrancy, Incarnation, Epiphany, Sermon,
Eucharist, the Lord's Prayer, Good Friday, Doubting Thomas, Advent,
Sunday School, Dead Sea, Golden Rule, Moral, Morality, Ethics,
Patriotism, Education, Atheism, Apostasy, Conservative (Liberal
is in), Capital Punishment, Monogamy, Abortion, Pornography, Homosexual,
Lesbian, Fairness, Logic, Republic, Democracy, Capitalism, Funeral,
Decalogue, or Bible."
in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons,
sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people
walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive
stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?"