Saturday, November 13, 2010
Meeting Dan Barker
Last week Dan Barker came to UofU thanks to SHIFT. He gave about a 90 minute presentation, then signed books afterwords. On my way up I had run into backed-up traffic and I almost turned around; I'm glad I didn't.
Dan Barker is one of the better known atheists out in the world, but he isn't in the limelight like, say, Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins. Dan Barker seems to support the New Atheism, but he also came off as much more tolerant and kind-hearted than people generally find other New Atheists. I enjoyed listening to a person who is so involved with the Freedom From Religion Foundation but also has a clear head on his shoulders.
Dan was never forward about the more 'tolerant' things he thinks, but amidst stating that he wanted no religion in the world he also said that some good comes directly from religion, and that there are several ways secular are religious organizations can work together. He also, like many others, said subtly that he wonders what would replace religion if we did get rid of it. He also mentioned that as a preacher before he is still a preacher as he travels around to where people want to hear his message of 'atheism,' lol.
He was also pretty funny. In telling his story of how he lost faith in faith and became an atheist preacher and eventually left the 'field' he said many funny things about his history. I think my favorite was when he realized he had lost his faith, and explained how he had been testing his faith/religion and when he tossed out the bath water he found that there was no baby! Also, when he shared why he remained a preacher for four months after becoming an atheist he also had a lot of funny stories to say about that too. Such as having to perform his piano pieces and sing and realizing how amazingly horrible and stupid his music was! Especially how so many people felt the spirit when he talked, or when one church wanted him to convert an atheist friend they all had. Haha, an atheist preacher trying to convert an atheist.
Having met him I can say Dan Barker seems like a pretty decent guy, and I've been enjoying the Freethought Radio podcast too. I wish there had been a piano for him to perform, that could've been pretty funny. He's also made some parody hymns. Generally I don't like things like that, but the one I heard had me laughing. Got my handshake. Got my picture. Now on to better things in life.