Dan Barker Talks About Leaving the Priesthood and Becoming an Atheist

If you’ve never heard the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s Dan Barker tell the story of how he went from preacher to atheist — also detailed in his book Godless — you’ll want to check out this video of a talk he gave at the 2010 Global Atheist Convention in Melbourne, Australia:

(via The Clergy Project)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Librepensadora

    Dan Barker was not a priest. He was a Protestant Evangelical minister and preacher for 19 years. He was also married and had four children during those years.

    • Librepensadora

      Sorry, obviously it was his wife who had four children.

    • http://garicgymro.wordpress.com garic gymro

      Splitting hairs a little bit. The term “priest” isn’t restricted to Catholicism. In fact it’s in standard use as a general term for “A person whose office is to perform public religious functions” (as the OED puts it). Usage varies within particular religions, but there are Protestant churches whose ministers are standardly called priests, and it certainly doesn’t imply that they can’t get married or have children. Admittedly Dan’s congregation probably called him a pastor or minister, but that doesn’t make it incorrect to refer to him as a priest.

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_Pink_Unicorn Anna

      That was my first thought when I saw the title of this post! I can’t imagine anyone referring to a Protestant evangelical minister as a priest or saying that he had left the priesthood. Wouldn’t ministry be a more accurate term?

  • Rain

    Good speaker. I didn’t want to fast forward. I’m mister short attentions span who even fast forwards Hitchens and Harris.

    • Rain

      I’m the guy who fast forwards boring irrelevant movie scenes like for example fight scenes. Yeah, I’m that guy. Around here, Rocky is approximately a 10 minute movie. I would never fast forward Kirk vs. Gorn though.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SK0cUNMnMM

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I prefer to download things and play them at double speed. It got to the point that when I heard my online prof speak and normal speed, i t s o u n d e d l i k e h i s m o u t h w a s f r o z e n.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Looking forward to hearing Dan’s talk live this weened in Sacramento!

  • JKPS

    He’s a great speaker! It’s easy to see why he was such a popular pastor. He also reminds me of one of my favorite college professors.

  • Sonya

    I am a Christian but I enjoyed this video. The thing I see about this speaker is he doubted his foundation was secure. I too have had doubts and fears, but I love the man Jesus Christ. I love his nature, their is noone like Him anywhere. I wish more Christians were as transparent as this speaker. I just believe He really was God wrapped in flesh. I grew tired of doubting Him. Anyways, God bless you who take the time to learn what lengths Jesus went through to prove His Father knows you by name.

  • cevin

    Atheists? Not particularly social!!! Very arrogant Persons! Why is Atheism not a strong movement? Because Atheists are not unique!!! This is a big TRUTH !

  • cevin

    Atheists want say to you something, without the need to socialize!!!

  • cevin

    I “talking to You Mr. Mehta, and to Mr. Barker! And to Mr. Dawkins! Without human companionship, atheism can not go on! That you did not know? I hear that the American Atheists complain of discrimination, why? Because they are not unique!

  • cevin

    Atheism has no future without a common struggle against the Christian madness and delusion!

  • cevin

    Where water Christianity, we see by the war in Iraq, where they were spending a pile of money! it’s Christianity! And what gives us Atheism? The arrogance of the first class!

    • phantomreader42

      Did you just what?
      Is what you yes?
      Did you whatever?
      Whatever you I guess.
      The stalking horse.
      Was hides the guy.
      In which the pony was a phony was a lie.
      You say
      Stuff is way.
      Way to go.
      Go away.

  • cevin

    Let’s be open and honest: No arrogant human Group, Atheist, so no wonder that Atheists are welcome guests in society, any society! And if atheism is humane, that the antiwar movement, which is based on human logic, not on biblical delusions, atheism is losing popularity, due to the very arrogant behavior of atheists!

    • phantomreader42

      Yeah, because claiming to be the special friend of The All-Powerful All-Knowing Creator Of The Entire Fucking Universe, appointed by the Most High to rule over others with an iron fist is perfectly humble, but disagreeing with the idiots who think they own the world because the voices in their head tell them so is intolerably arrogant!
      What color is the sky on your planet?

  • cevin

    I appreciate the Mr. Dana Barker, a lovely personality, but his atheism do not see a new movement of human solidarity. I do not see in his speeches will for unification Atheist! Nor with Dawkins! Dawkins is occupied only with profit!

  • cevin

    Christian America is George W. Bush introduced the world’s nuclear wars, and killed the two million Iraqis and stealing Iraqi Earth! You are American Atheists
    given a chance to introduce another world, anti-war America, who he despises the whole World, because 40 years fought wars around the world and destroying our state!

    • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

      Whatever translator you’re using is poor quality. It is impossible to understand what you mean in English. You dislike atheists. Fine. Beyond that what you say here in English is gibberish.

      • phantomreader42

        I don’t think it actually means anything in any language. It reads like random nonsense.


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