Dan Barker

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Dan Barker
Dan Barker.jpg
Daniel Edwin Barker[1]

(1949-06-25) June 25, 1949 (age 73)
Alma materAzusa Pacific University
Occupation(s)Co-president, Freedom From Religion Foundation, author, musician
Known forAdvocacy of atheism and rationalism
Criticism of religion

Daniel Edwin Barker (born June 25, 1949) is an American atheist activist and musician who served as an evangelical Christian preacher and composer for 19 years but left Christianity in 1984. He and his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor are the current co-presidents of the Freedom From Religion Foundation,[2] and he is cofounder of The Clergy Project. [3] He has written numerous articles for Freethought Today, an American freethought newspaper. He is the author of several books including Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist.[4]

Barker has been an invited speaker at Rock Beyond Belief.[5] He is on the speakers bureau of the Secular Student Alliance.[6]


Barker received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by the Standard Community Church, California, in 1975.[1] He served as associate pastor at several churches: Religious Society of Friends (Quaker), a church in the Assemblies of God fellowship, and an independent Charismatic church. He receives royalties from his popular children's Christian musicals, Mary Had a Little Lamb (1977) and His Fleece Was White as Snow (1978), both published by Manna Music.[7]

In 1984, he announced to his friends, family, and co-ministers that he became an atheist,[8] and appeared on AM Chicago (hosted by Oprah Winfrey) later that year on a show about "kicking the religion habit".[9]

Personal life[edit]

Barker and Gaylor met when both were guests on the show. They began dating six months later and married in 1987. They have a daughter, Sabrina Delata.[10]

He is a member of the Lenni Lenape Delaware Tribe of Indians,[11] and in 1991 edited and published Paradise Remembered,[12] a collection of his grandfather's stories as a Lenape boy in Indian Territory.

Barker belongs to a number of high-IQ societies, including the Prometheus Society.[13]

Freedom From Religion Foundation[edit]

Barker introduces himself and the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

He is the current co-president with his wife Annie Laurie Gaylor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an American freethought organization that promotes the separation of church and state.[citation needed] Barker is co-host of Freethought Radio, a radio program based in Madison, Wisconsin for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers that began in 2006 and has included interviews with Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Christopher Hitchens, Philip Pullman, Daniel C. Dennett, Julia Sweeney, and Michael Newdow.[14]

Media appearances[edit]

Man in his fifties standing and speaking wearing a tan suitcoat holding up a red book, man in his forties seated, large audience visible at right
Barker with a red Bible, debating Dinesh D'Souza at UCSD in 2011.

Barker has appeared on dozens of national television and radio programs to discuss and debate issues related to atheism and the separation of state and church. He has discussed nativity scenes on government property,[15] the campaign against a Mother Teresa stamp,[16] prayer in public schools,[17] and has appeared on Oprah Winfrey, The O’Reilly Factor, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Phil Donahue, Hannity & Colmes, Maury Povich, Good Morning America, Sally Jessy Raphael, and Tom Leykis, as well as many international television and radio shows.

He was featured in a New York Times article about the growth of atheism in Southern states,[18] has given addresses on his own "de-conversion" across the United States,[19][20][21][22][23][24] and has participated in more than 125 debates around the country.[25]

Barker and his wife host a weekly one-hour radio program, Freethought Radio. It is carried on several stations throughout the Midwest and is available through podcast.[26]



  • Mary Had a Little Lamb (Manna Music 1977)
  • His Fleece Was White as Snow (Manna Music 1978)


  • Barker, Dan (1990). Maybe Yes, Maybe No: A Guide for Young Skeptics. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0879756079.
  • Barker, Dan (1992). Maybe Right, Maybe Wrong: A Guide for Young Thinkers. Prometheus Books. ISBN 978-0879757311.
  • Barker, Dan (1992). Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist. Madison, WI: Freedom From Religion Foundation. ISBN 978-1877733130.
  • Barker, Dan (2002). Just Pretend. Freedom From Religion Foundation. ISBN 978-1877733055.
  • Barker, Dan (2008). Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists. Ulysses Press. ISBN 978-1569756775.
  • Barker, Dan (2011). The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God. Ulysses Press. ISBN 978-1569758465.
  • Barker, Dan (2015). Life Driven Purpose: How an Atheist Finds Meaning. Pitchstone Publishing. ISBN 978-1939578211.
  • Barker, Dan (2016). God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction. Sterling. ISBN 978-1454918325.
  • Barker, Dan (2018). Free Will Explained: How Science and Philosophy Converge To Create a Beautiful Illusion. Sterling. ISBN 978-1454927358.

Music albums

  • Night at Nakoma (2008, piano solo)
  • Friendly Neighborhood Atheist (2002, FFRF album)
  • Beware of Dogma (2004, FFRF album)
  • Adrift On A Star (2013, FFRF album)


  1. ^ a b Lueders, Bill (July 28, 1991). "Fervor in reverse". The Milwaukee Journal. pp. 7–13.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Grauvogl, Ann (December 18, 2009). "Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor are happily God-free". Isthmus The Daily Page. Archived from the original on November 7, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  3. ^ unknown (n.d.). "The Story of The Clergy Project". The Clergy Project. Retrieved July 3, 2022.
  4. ^ "“God is a delusion”: I was a Pentecostal preacher — until I lost my faith". Salon.
  5. ^ Griffith, Justin (January 16, 2011). "Dan Barker Joins the Lineup". Rock Beyond Belief website. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  6. ^ "Dan Barker". Secular Student Alliance. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Manna Music All Songs List". Manna Music. Archived from the original on October 11, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  8. ^ Von Busack, Richard (October 3, 2002). "Heretical Animals". Metro Silicon Valley. Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  9. ^ "The Oprah Winfrey Show". AM Chicago. 1984. Archived from the original on December 19, 2021. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  10. ^ Erickson, Doug (February 25, 2007). "The Atheists' Calling". Madison.com. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  11. ^ "Delaware Tribe of Indians".
  12. ^ Barker, Dan (1991). Paradise Remembered a Lenape Indian Childhood and Other Stories. Dan Barker. ASIN B00GW4Z9LS.
  13. ^ "Dan Barker - Freedom From Religion Foundation". ffrf.org. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  14. ^ "Freethought Radio".
  15. ^ "Fox & Friends". Fox News. December 4, 2010. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  16. ^ The Daily Show (March 14, 2010). "Mail Mary". Comedy Central. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  17. ^ "Does Prayer Have A Place In Public Schools". Fox News. August 14, 2011. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  18. ^ Sella, Marshall (December 7, 1997). "Faith Is a Fraud; Godless And Proud of It". New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2007.
  19. ^ Lazarus, Bill (January 24, 1991). "Minister-turned-atheist Speaks This Weekend". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  20. ^ Lyman, Wendy (April 28, 2004). "Dan Barker Speaks Tonight at Schofield". The Flip Side. University of Wisconsin. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  21. ^ "Atheism speaker attracts large crowd". The Spectator. University of Wisconsin. April 24, 2004. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  22. ^ Baker, Jim (November 13, 2004). "Former preacher 'de-converts' to atheism". Lawrence Journal World. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  23. ^ Tonge, Shawn (March 11, 2013). "Evangelical preacher shares story of conversion to atheism". Michigan Central Life. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  24. ^ "Minister-Turned-Atheist Discusses Journey to Deconversion in Lawrence University Address". Lawrence University. May 11, 2006. Retrieved August 21, 2013.
  25. ^ "The Interminable Debate". The Harvard Crimson. April 30, 2008. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  26. ^ "Freethought Radio & Podcast". Retrieved June 12, 2013.

External links[edit]