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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Barker, Dan
"If the Prodigal Son's a parable, and if Adam and Eve are metaphors, then maybe God is just figure of speech."

Dan Barker


Dan became 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.

Dan 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.

For 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).

One 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.

Following 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, 1984.

Dan 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.

Quotations

"You keep accusing me of blasphemy all of the time, but I cannot be convicted of a victimless crime."

"Atheists are suffering from bad PR. What if Sesame Street had an atheist character?"

"It turns out that the word atheism means much less than I had thought. It is merely the lack of theism."

"Basic 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."

"It 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."

"Look 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 bow again."

"If the answers to prayer are merely what God wills all along, then why pray?"

"Not 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."

"Prayer never changes the laws of nature."

"The trouble is that neutrality is confused with hostility. We're not disrupting churches, or interrupting people's prayers. We're not fighting religion."

"Truth 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."

"Faith 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."

"It's 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."

"I 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 over."

"Some 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."

"I 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 born."

"Theists 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?"

"The 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."

"You believe 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?"

 
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The Talk Of Lawrence