Interview with Dan Barker on Future Directions
Edouard Tahmizian | Dan Barker | February 12, 2023 | Kiosk Video
Tune in to Freethinker Podcast with host Edouard Tahmizian in this roughly 20-minute interview with Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) co-director Dan Barker about his recent trip to India and the Atheist Centre there, FFRF's legal victory to display a secular nativity scene with a manger holding a copy of the Bill of Rights in Texas' state capitol, the FFRF's involvement in the formation of the Thomas Paine Memorial Association to establish a permanent Thomas Paine memorial statue in Washington, DC, and Barker's latest books, including the (Richard-Dawkins-inspired) title God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction (available in paperback in May 2023). In Dawkins' The God Delusion, the first sentence of chapter two characterized the biblical God as "the most unpleasant character in all fiction; jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." In Barker's forthcoming (and expanded) paperback edition of God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction, each of the 19 chapters in part 1 ("Dawkins was Right") lays out the biblical verses (especially those in the Old Testament) backing up each of Dawkins' characterizations of Yahweh. In part 2 ("Dawkins was Too Kind"), Barker adds eight additional chapters on the personality flaws of the biblical God that Dawkins could have mentioned: pyromaniacal, angry, merciless, curse-hurling, vaccicidal, aborticidal, cannibalistic, and slavemongering. On an FFRF companion website to the book, Barker lists a sampling of verses on all of these characteristics, adding three more still: homicidal, evil, and terrorist. Barker also dives into what to expect from his longer-term book project (slated for 2024), The End of Worship, which in part 1 ("What is Worship?") just allows religious believers to speak for themselves long enough to incriminate themselves (so that Barker can't be accused of straw manning them). In part 2 ("Why Do We Worship?"), Barker lays out his hypothesis that some human beings voluntarily subjugate themselves to a "master" or king-like higher power for biological reasons instilled in us over the generations by those in power. In part 3 ("Should We Worship?"), Barker adds his personal take on whether worship is a desirable behavior for us to engage in. Check out this quick overview of the shape and direction to look forward to in Barker's future projects!