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 Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Christianbook.com, and WipfandStock.com. It is available as a Kindle book at Amazon.com and as an ebook at WipfandStock.com.
“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