Monday, May 13, 2013

Barker up the Wrong Tree: the "Genius" of Dan Barker

Barker is a former Church of Christ minster who turned atheist and has for 30 years been a very vocal atheist guru. In fact he was "new atheist" before there was a new atheist movement. I had stuff on Doxa answering some of his antics. I lost it over hte ages and had promised someone to put Barker stuff up. So this is it. But I really don't feel he's worth wasting our time on. He is the epitome of the angry fundie atheist opportunist with noting to say and plenty of fire and venom to say it with. This is an online copy of material form Barker's book Losing Faith in Faith.

First let's see some of his ingenious bible contradictions:

First we have a quote that tells us more about Barker than it does about the Bible.
PAUL SAID, "God is not the author of confusion," (I Corinthians 14:33), yet never has a book produced more confusion than the bible! There are hundreds of denominations and sects, all using the "inspired Scriptures" to prove their conflicting doctrines.
That's funny, I don't actually find the Bible t be a confusing morass of incoherent gibberish I find it to be pretty understandable. Then again I went to a real Methodist school of theology (I doubt know that Barker went to a real theology school, probalby some Church of Christ preaching school). Maybe he's confused by the Bible or maybe he's just capitalizing upon people's lack of training. these are just listed in a row as though they are complete thoughts themselves.

Why do trained theologians differ? Why do educated translators disagree over Greek and Hebrew meanings? Why all the confusion? Shouldn't a document that was "divinely inspired" by an omniscient and omnipotent deity be as clear as possible?
 Why do trained physicists differ? Surely science is fact and fact is obvious so why should there be any differences? I find arguments in physics all the time, such as Fred Hoyl who has entertained the public for years with steady state theory. There are people like Andre Linde who is producing inflationary models while for the majority the Big Bang theory still "the standard model." Every single academic discipline I've ever heard of is full of disagreement. Why do educated people in all fields differ in their interpretation of the facts? life is just not that obvious. That's a very freshman like view point. why is this guy such an amateur?

"If the trumpet give an uncertain sound," Paul wrote in I Corinthians 14:8, "who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air." Exactly! Paul should have practiced what he preached. For almost two millennia, the bible has been producing a most "uncertain sound."
The problem is not with human limitations, as some claim. The problem is the bible itself. People who are free of theological bias notice that the bible contains hundreds of discrepancies. Should it surprise us when such a literary and moral mish-mash, taken seriously, causes so much discord? Here is a brief sampling of biblical contradictions.

More capitalizing n ignorance.

now we have a bit of multiple one-liner things.


Should we kill?

  • Exodus 20:13 "Thou shalt not kill."
  • Leviticus 24:17 "And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death." vs.
  • Exodus 32:27 "Thus sayeth the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, . . . and slay every man his brother, . . . companion, . . . neighbor."
Difference between God commanding killing in time of war and individual premeditated murder. Of course he doesn't bother with things like context.  This is a typical atheist habit, they want things to be spelled out real clearly and not involve any learning or any kind of complex ideas. For a movement that prides itself on appearing more intelligent and more learned their opponents they are incredibly simple minded.

Should we tell lies?

  • Exodus 20:16 "Thou shalt not bear false witness."
  • Proverbs 12:22 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord." vs.
  • I Kings 22:23 "The Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee."
  • II Thessalonians 2:11 "And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie." Also, compare Joshua 2:4-6 with James 2:25.

This is incredibly dishonest and manipulative. He's comparing a command to us not to lie with God's allowance of the king's lie, placed in the form of God's action but in terms of ancinet world thinking we should understand that it's permissive not active. Even if it is active it's obvious the false prophets are in rebellion they are already sinned, they already left God so forcing the to sin again is not hurting they they already are as hurt as you can get. They have essentially already told lies and accepted lies that's why they are false prophets.

This is hilarious the way this guy thinks. It makes sense that he's chruch of Christ because this is the kind of legalism I remember from the Church of Christ preachers I knew, well not all but some. These next few examples demonstrate real dishonesty in several ways:

Should we steal?

  • Exodus 20:15 "Thou shalt not steal."
  • Leviticus 19:13 "Thou shalt not defraud thy neighbor, neither rob him." vs.
  • Exodus 3:22 "And ye shall spoil the Egyptians."
  • Exodus 12:35-36 "And they spoiled [plundered, NRSV] the Egyptians."
  • Luke 19:29-34 "[Jesus] sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village . . . ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. . . . And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them, Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him." I was taught as a child that when you take something without asking for it, that is stealing.

We see first of all not exactly a command. It's about Moses being commissioned to free his people from slavery, it's a more of a prediction about how it will turn out.  It' not a license for all believer to steal. The passage from Luke doesn't even say there taking the donkey and foal without permission.

Shall we keep the sabbath?

  • Exodus 20:8 "Remember the sabbath day to keep it holy."
  • Exodus 31:15 "Whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death."
  • Numbers 15:32,36 "And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day. . . . And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the Lord commanded Moses." vs.
  • Isaiah 1:13 "The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity."
  • John 5:16 "And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day."
  • Colossians 2:16 "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days."

this one he surely knows the answer to, he knows he's using it dishonestly. It's based upon the distinction between law and the new covenant. In the first example we see that the principle of Grace is active in the OT. Since Barker doesn't understand the idea of Grace all he sees is a contradiction. The other two are clearly New Testament so they are clearly overtly about the distinction. The cross has done away with the law, we are no longer under law but Grace. He can't understand that but he knows enough about the language of the Bible to understand that he's playing on ignorance.

We can see enough form this stuff to get the drift that Barker is a con man. He's so cynical about the nature of the world that he can't even be honest enough to make a valid argument agaisnt the faith. He has to manipulate and play upon ingorance to create confussion there is none. Look at the first statements he makes he's setting up the unwary to see the passage s in a certain light.

That's part of the atheist  brain washing.

speaking of stealing I stole the horrible pun in the title from J.P. Holding. maybe if the 10 commandments were written to day there would be an 11th saying "thou shalt not pun."


JBsptfn said...

Thanks for posting that.

Barker is right out of the John Loftus school of Atheism. Those two aren't to be taken seriously. I wonder sometimes where they are coming from.

What is sad, though, is this comment I read from an atheist on Yahoo. It was in the comments section of this article that Richard Leakey had about Evolution being recognized as fact someday.

This person said something about recommending Dan Barker's books, and that Dan threw the baby out with the bathwater (in regard to Christianity) and found that there was no baby (probably referring to Jesus).

Metacrock said...

I don't see Barker as being anyhing like Loftus. I agree that John uses some slight of hand at times, they are both arrogant. yet Loftus is a lot more erudite and intellecutal. Barker is just a big con man hick. He strikes me that way. If I was going to debate the two of them at different times. I would worry about Lofuts a bit and read up on stuff. I would brush up my augments for him. To prepare for Barker I would read mad magazine to get in a sarcastic mood.

Metacrock said...

I thought you would get a kick of it if I actually got around to doing the Barker stuff.

JBsptfn said...

When I think of Loftus, I think about that entry you did about him in July (Loftus is projecting again). He doesn't look too good in that one.

Also, here is another list that he had on that Opposing Views site:

One of the books is The Communist Manifesto, and another one is...wait for it...The Origin of Species by Darwin. He also has a book each from Nietsche, Freud, and Hume.

(Also, some moron said that the Bible debunked Christianity in the comments section).

John may not be as bad as Barker, but he doesn't seem too awful far off.

Metacrock said...

Initially I empathized with him. Christians were saying he lied about studying with Craig. Atheists at the time were saying I lid being a Ph.D. candidate in history of ideas. I contacted Craig and found that he was a student, Craig said "one of my best." Loftus does know that literature. He's not being pretentious when sights Nietzsche and Hume he really knows their stuff. I began telling people stop saying he's lying. He also went out and found out (called the right people) that I was a Ph.D. candidate but he went on carm and said as I ask him to.

then he was exposed by the CADRE for handling certain aspects of documentation dishonestly.

JBsptfn said...

Jime Sayaka had a blog entry about Loftus four years ago:

In this entry, Jime cited some comments that John made on the CADRE blog. One of them was about the pages that Aquinas used defending his Christian beliefs.

Metacrock said...

yes that sounds like what I was referring to.

JBsptfn said...

Another point: I didn't say that John doesn't know that literature (like Hume and Nietsche). I was just criticizing him because he thinks their books, along with others he mentioned, debunk Christianity.

I do understand why you sympathized with him at the start, though.

Metacrock said...

Yes I understood. I can't criticize someone for using Nietzsche and Hume they are so large in the modern tradition that one can't ignore them. I don't like them. He does. I do criticize him for that.