Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Dan Barker's Journey From Evangelicalism To Atheism

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Many readers are asking for a list of how senators voted to restore Obamacare. Here is a link to the news story: "25 Senators Vote To Give Reid Cloture, Allowing Simple Majority To Restore Obamacare Funding."

Dan Barker is the co-founder of America's largest atheist organization.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has 20,000 active members and claims to be the largest such organization in America.

The organization is very well funded and very active.

They continually work to strip every vestige of God and religion---particularly Christianity, from the public square of America, all under the guise of "separation of church and state."

Nearly every lawsuit filed challenging an individual's right to religious expression is filed by this organization.

It wasn't always like that for Dan Barker.

Barker was once a Bible believing, conservative, evangelical evangelist, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ from church to church.

In fact he wrote a Christian musical "Mary Had A Little Lamb" to assist churches in sharing the story of the birth of Jesus.

He still receives royalty checks from the sales of the musical.

But things have changed for Rev. Barker.

He says "it wasn't overnight"---it was a process.

Now he no longer works to lead people to Jesus Christ, but instead wages legal battles against perceived conflicts between church and state.

Much can be taken from Barker's "process."

Barker has described his journey from faith to atheism in his book, "Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One Of America's Leading Atheists."

He told Christian Post this week that his "movement from from born-again Bible believing evangelical conservative Christian to atheist, happened within Christianity."

He said, "I didn't just jump from 'Oh, I have a doubt, now I'm an atheist'...my migration took four to five years."

His "migration" is very revealing.

"First," he says he, "began to question the Bible---the historicity of Adam and Eve."

He says a turning point for him personally was a conversation he had with a pastor. Barker was a guest speaker, so the pastor shared confidentially that there were people in his congregation that did not believe Adam and Eve were literal historical people. The pastor didn't want to make waves, so he avoided the issue.

Barker says, "This was were it donned on me that there were other Christians with other points of view."

He was conflicted, because he had believed the Bible to be the infallible, inspired Word of God. However, he decided to accept the fact that people see things differently and have different points of view on the Bible. He concluded that it is more important to just find common ground of agreement and "what really matters is how we live our Christian life."

He said he didn't want to "come across like a know-it-all, or black or white absolutist."

Tolerance and relativism.

Many truths. Who am I to question someone else's truth?

He says the teaching of being hot or cold--- spit out of the Lord's mouth if we are lukewarm, as taught in Revelation, was also a problem for him, "When in fact most Christians live their lives in the gray areas."

But "most Christians" is not the model by which we define Christianity. Christianity is defined by Jesus Christ. We've got to keep our eyes on Him, not "most Christians," or anyone else.

Barker says he evaluated the stories of the Bible. "We all know," he says, "that the teaching of the prodigal son is a parable. Jesus taught in parables or made up stories, not actual stories.

Consequently, he concluded that Adam and Eve were also parables.

At first he says he thought he was "maturing" in his Christian faith. As a result, he saw his sermons begin to change. The emphasis was no longer about heaven, hell, sin redemption, righteous and eternal life; but was about how to have a happy life.

"Finally," Barker says, "I got to the end of that four or five year process" and was convinced that the prodigal son, Adam and Eve and the other accounts and characters were all a metaphor.

He says that once some Christian ministers get to that point, they continue to preach from their pulpits, proclaiming a liberal message, "But I realized ...the whole thing was a story...with no basis in evidence or argument or even coherent definition."

"God Himself," he concludes, "is a literary character who was invented by the Israelites, then later by the Christians to tell an important moral story about human nature."

Finally, in the mid 1980's he says he concluded, "I guess I don't believe in that being anymore."

I wonder why, if one is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that God does not exist, does one work so very, very hard to invalidate someone who doesn't exist?

Dan Barker and his wife Laurie Gaylor, co-founders of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, hosted the organization's 36th annual national convention last week in Madison Wisconsin.

They awarded Dan Savage, founder of "It Gets Better," a homosexual outreach to kids, their 'Emperor Has No Clothes Award" for his outspoken criticism of religion.

This is the story of one man's "migration" into deception.

Much can be taken from his story, in fact his explanation raises more questions than it provides answers.

One thing is clear. Deception is incremental.

The conversation Eve had with the serpent was an "evolving" discussion, with her conclusion, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate the fruit" (Gen. 3:13).

Paul expressed concern for New Testament Christians writing, "But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ" (II Corinthians 11:3).

In the same letter, Paul wrote, " Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light..." (v. 14).

Relativism is Satan's "angel of light" act for this generation. "Tolerance" is its vehicle.

We live in a sea of deception today.

I Timothy 4:1 is pretty direct. "The Spirit clearly says that in latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron."

I'm talking a little more about this on the radio today, live at 9 AM PDT and rebroadcast at 7:30 PM PDT. Here's how you may listen from anywhere in the world.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful. Be Blessed.