Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists - Dan Barker, Richard Dawkins I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book.

First of all, what is a leading atheist? I never knew we had a vote. Since I'm more of an agnostic dabbling in the philosophical side of Buddhism, I may not have been eligible to vote. Being a leading freethinker makes sense since it implies an interest in freedom of speech and fighting for the choice to think for oneself, which Barker does admirably. But a leading atheist? That sounds a little forced to me, not to mention egotistical.

Second, Dan Barker's journey from minister to atheist is only one third of this book and it is the most interesting part. His journey parallels many people's journey including my own. He does an excellent job explaining the struggles in leaving a fundamentalist world for one that fits the reality of existence.

Yet I have one problem with the author. He is a true believer. In essence, he went from being a fundamentalist evangelical preacher to being a atheist evangelical preacher. The tone of the rest of the book becomes...well...preachy. While other "leading" atheists like Harris and Dawkins are pointing out the errors and traps of religion, they are also fine with people making their own choices. Barker still seems most interested in conversions, a key fixture in being a true believer. This becomes transparent in the rest of the book where he explains his reason for being an atheist and examines the arguments against theism, specially Christianity. Most of what he say makes sense but when he rips apart more universal and common sense teachings like the Golden Rule or parts of the Sermon on the Mound, there seems to be a bit of bitterness, maybe even competitiveness in his style.

So I recommend the first third of this book but recommend you go to other books if you are interested in why atheists say what they say or for the general arguments for and against the existence of God. But overall it is an enjoyable read.