Answering the Music Man: Dan Barker’s Arguments against Christianity

Answering the Music Man Cover

This Summer 2020, I published a book I co-edited with Tricia Scribner that answers objections to Christianity from Dan Barker. Barker, ex-preacher (and Christian musician) and co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, travels widely, arguing in debates and speaking on his beliefs that Christianity is false, God does not exist, and the Bible is filled with errors and mythology.

I first saw Barker at my seminary’s annual apologetics conference (National Conference on Christian Apologetics) in 2017. Barker debated Dr. Richard Howe on the existence of God. During the debate, it was obvious to me that Barker had a shallow understanding of Christian theism, and his case against Christianity was more a collection of assertions than reasoned arguments. So, I was surprised to hear that some people in the audience thought Barker made a better case than Howe.

Barker has been touted as one of America’s leading atheists. Yet when I looked at his writings and other debates, it was clear to me that Barker’s reasons for disbelief are poorly reasoned and miss the mark as they are aimed at a mistaken caricature of Christian theism. This is why I gathered a group of scholars from my seminary to write a book exposing Barker’s misunderstandings of Christianity and providing compelling answers to his “arguments.”

Answering the Music Man provides answers to Barker’s main claims against Christianity from his books godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists; God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction; Mere Morality; and Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning. In Answering the Music Man, the contributors and I cover topics such as the definition of “atheism,” the compatibility of faith and reason, God’s existence, God’s attributes, supposed Bible contradictions, whether morality can be objective without God, Jesus’ resurrection, whether life can be objectively meaningful without God, and more.

If you are interested in how to answer Dan Barker and other New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, then you will thoroughly enjoy this book. A unique aspect of this book is that all of its contributors have taught or studied at Southern Evangelical Seminary, so many of the chapters defend Christianity using the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. Also, students of Aquinas will enjoy Dr. Richard Howe’s chapter that provides an argument for God’s existence found in Aquinas’ De Ente et Essentia.

Answering the Music Man is available in hardcover and paperback at,,, and It is available as a Kindle book at and as an ebook at


“This book is a helpful and clear response to Dan Barker’s popular-level atheism. It examines his terms and labels, his assumptions, and his arguments in an incisive and accessible manner. Though one may disagree here and there, the book overall presents a highly effective and robust challenge to Barker’s version of atheism as well as presenting the case for the Christian faith.”

Paul Copan, Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics, Palm Beach Atlantic University; author of Loving Wisdom: A Guide to Philosophy and Christian Faith

“As much as this book is about Dan Barker, it is about the new atheism in general. It explains and refutes such views in an academic but accessible way. Being broad in topics and deep in content, it is a wonderful apologetic resource not only to refute the new atheism but to introduce the reader to classical views on many important topics.”

J. Brian Huffling, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Theology, Southern Evangelical Seminary

SES Podcast on Animal Suffering and Death

I recently sat down with Eric Gustafson from Southern Evangelical Seminary to discuss the topic of my dissertation: the problem of animal suffering. Eric has been my friend for years now, and I had a great time going back and forth with him discussing the question of why God allows animal death and suffering. In the podcast, we talk about the steps my argument takes in my book Thomism and the Problem of Animal Suffering. So, we discuss topics like the nature of pain, the nature of non-human animal minds, and the question of why God made a world that contains animal death. We also talk about something that Eric is highly interested in, which is the biblical debate over whether God allowed animal death before the Fall of Adam and Eve.

Here is a link to the podcast: Animal Death: A Chat with Dr. Kyle Keltz

If you enjoy the podcast or have any questions, feel free to let me know in a comment or email.

‘Are Insects Capable of Suffering?’ in God and the World of Insects

Lampion Press recently released a book titled God and the World of Insects, edited by Josh Shoemaker and Gary Braness. I contributed to the book by writing a chapter titled, ‘Are Insects Capable of Suffering?’

GodInsects-Front.pngIn the chapter I explore the question of whether insects are able to feel pain. This is important from a Christian perspective because if insects are capable of suffering, then this would exponentially multiply the problem of animal suffering, which is the philosophical claim that God most likely does not exist since it seems that so much animal suffering has occurred.

In the chapter, I first describe two philosophical Christian views of animal minds: neo-Cartesianism and Thomism. After this I discuss the scientific study of animal consciousness, pain, and self-consciousness. Next, I explain the current scientific consensus regarding whether insects are conscious, feel pain, and are self-conscious. Finally, I conclude that the scientific evidence indicates insects do not add to the problem of animal suffering regardless of whether someone holds to a neo-Cartesian or Thomistic view.

This book is mainly a scientific exploration of the world of insects. The first part of the book discusses the design and nature of insects from a Christian perspective. The second, smaller part, considers theological topics such as the purpose of insects and humanity’s role as caretakers of insects.

Other contributors include Ann Gauger and Paul Nelson from the Discovery Institute, Fazale Rana from Reasons to Believe, and many more people who are much smarter than me!

You can order the book on Amazon or directly from Lampion Press. It is available on Kindle and in paperback.

‘Thomistic Moral Arguments’ in the Latest Christian Apologetics Journal



I recently had an article published in the Christian Apologetics Journal (my seminary’s semiannual publication) that is titled ‘Thomistic Moral Arguments’.

In the article, I argue that contemporary philosophers have misinterpreted Aquinas’ Fourth Way as a type of moral argument for God’s existence, when it is in fact mainly a metaphysical argument for God’s existence. After this, I emphasize that Aquinas doesn’t have an argument that is similar to the contemporary version of the moral argument for God’s existence, but does have several arguments that deal with God and morality.

In particular, I discuss and explain two arguments that Aquinas uses regarding morality. The first I discuss is an argument for the existence of the moral law. The second is an argument for the enforcement of the moral law, which Aquinas believes can only be eternal separation from God.

I believe that these Thomistic moral arguments can be beneficial for Christian apologists who use the classical approach to defend Christianity. Specifically, they can bridge the gap between arguments for God’s existence and the historical evidence for Jesus’ resurrection. These Thomistic moral arguments follow-up arguments for God’s existence by showing that God created a moral law and that the only proper punishment for breaking this law is separation from God. They are easy to memorize and should make it clear that we all are in need of a Savior. Hopefully they will generate more interest in hearing evidence’s for Christ.

Above I have posted a link to my seminary’s website where the issue with my article can be purchased, and also a link to the paper that I have stored on my website.

I hope you check it out!

National Conference on Christian Apologetics 2016

I will be speaking at this year’s National Conference on Christian Apologetics in Charlotte, North Carolina. My session is titled ‘Would a Good God Allow Death Before the Fall?’ Using concepts from Thomistic philosophy, I will discuss whether it is logically compatible to believe that God is good and that animals died before Adam and Eve sinned.

There will be over 60 speakers, including Norman Geisler, Gary Habermas, Richard Land, Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Fazale Rana, Lee Strobel, and J. Warner Wallace. Registration is open now:  I hope to see you there! #NCCA