Dan Barker visits CFI Indiana, November 15, 2015
I recently had a chat with Dan Barker prior to his presentation at CFI Indiana. He was pushing his new book The Purpose Driven Life, (oops), The Life Driven purpose.
We chatted for a few minutes before his two-hour presentation to a capacity crowd at CFI’ s headquarters on the canal in Indianapolis, Indiana. I asked him questions about science and archaeology. He seemed as literate on those topics as he is concerning bible text.
If you have not meet Dan, you are missing a real treat. He is a neat guy: very likable, soft spoken and smart. I’ve read his first two books and have tuned in on YouTube to enjoy his numerous debates with religious opponents. (He always wins the
Debates.) You will enjoy Dan’s informed defense of atheism and freethinking.
What follows are his opinions on several fascinating topics
During the question period after his talk Dan was asked about the human need for a belief in God. He replied by questioning the very premise of the question noting that several ancient societies do not have a god belief. The very concept of a magical father and a heaven was beyond their conception. They asked: Where was heaven? How can people be alive after dying? How does praying help when hunting and growing food? Good questions not yet answered to their satisfaction, and of course, ours.
Dan explained that many, what we call primitive societies, do have beliefs in deities, but seldom is there one deity. Usually, multiple deities made more sense to them. Often, ancestor worship replaced a belief in single or multiple Gods. The point Dan made was, there is not a natural instinct or need to have a belief in a supernatural being. Religion is man-made designed to address the needs of a society. Bad weather is an indication of sin against God and good weather is a reward for obeying God. The logic with this belief is being obedient to your religious leaders interpretation of God is rewarded and being non obedient of that interpretation is is punishment.
I wondered if Dan had the time or inclination to keep up with science as applied to religion. It was obvious from his debates that he knew more about the scriptures than his opponents, but was he adept at defending atheism and attacking religion with physical science arguments such as archaeology and biology? During my brief conversation with Dan, I asked if he knew about the recent archaeological finds at Megiddo, also known as Armageddon, which seem to debunk the major tenants of the Old Testament stories. Stories dear to the Jews, Muslims and Christians. In case you are not familiar with the finds, I’ll explain. Several Jewish archaeologists, looking for corroborating evidence supporting the Old Testament stories have actually found evidence indicating that the Exodus story is a fabricated legend. Yes, Dan knew all about it. I was impressed. His presentation to us was informative and entertaining because he started and ended with several songs while he played on a keyboard. He is a talented jazz pianist. If you ever get the chance to attend one of his lectures, by all means do it, and of course read his books.
I finished his book. It belongs in every secular humanist’s bookcase. His previous books are Godless and Losing Faith in Faith.