Book Review
Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker. Ulysses Press, Berkeley, CA, 2008; 376 pages, ISBN 1569756775, paperback, $14.95.

What is the psychological approach of evangelicals and fundamentalists?  What attracts and keeps them in revival-style worship and Bible literalism?  Why would someone abandon this lifestyle and mindset, and what are some of the arguments against religious fundamentalism and Biblical inerrancy?  Can a person live a fulfilling, upright life free of religious belief and worship? 

These questions are addressed in this story of the author's transformation from a successful, gung-ho evangelical Christian preacher to a prominent and equally gung-ho atheist controversialist.  Having been an effective missionary and preacher, Mr. Barker knows, and is able to counter, many of the arguments made for the benefits, truth, and necessity of religion in human life.  He sets out to show that no religion of any kind is necessary to live a happy and moral life, and that religion should not be imposed on anyone.  He lays out many of the contradictory passages and discrepancies in the Bible, particularly the New Testament books; shows that there is no evidence outside the Gospels for the historicity of Jesus; and attacks the morality displayed in the Bible, which is held up by Christians as the ultimate, indispensable, and unique source of ethics and virtue.

This clearly written book is not profound, but is a very interesting story of one person's spiritual journey which also summarizes many arguments against both the existence of God and the truth of Christianity. – Sally Dougherty (February 2009)