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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Atheist activist promotes book on free-thought

Author Dan Barker expresses his view on good behavior and morality without God on Thursday, October 20. Kate Paloy|[email protected]

Don Barker says it was the desire to speak the truth that drove him to become an atheist, according to the former evangelical minister who spoke to a crowd of around 100 students and faculty in the Cultural Awareness Center Oct. 20.

Barker spoke about living in guilt and using fear as a way of getting people to “do good.” According to Barker, people are born with a natural, moral sense of right and wrong and can be free in thought.

“In the Bible, humans were portrayed as submitting as if they were slaves. That’s not a book on how to be a good person. That’s a book on how to be a horrible person.”

As the co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Barker was invited by the Sac City Freethinkers Club to talk about his new book “The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-filled Life Without God.”

Barker admitted that there are aspects of atheism that could be proved to be invalid but that people who do believe in God are hesitant to do the same.

Audience member Jim Andersen brought his 19-year-old son, Blake Andersen, an international relations major, to hear Barker speak.

“I am glad to see the college was comfortable enough to let [Barker] speak,” Andersen said.

A former composer of Christian songs, Barker gave a presentation on the non-existence of God called “You can be good without God.”

He made up a scenario of God being a neighbor to devout Christians to illustrate how God speaks to people in the Bible regarding hell.

“I have created a dungeon, a punishing place,” said Barker, playing the role of God. “It is not a good place and you will not have to go there if you follow me. I know it is a bad place for I created it.”
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Barker’s visit to City College was met with controversy even before he arrived.

Fliers and banners made by club members promoting Barker’s speaking engagement at the Cultural Awareness Center were systematically torn down throughout campus according to physics major and Sac City Freethinker’s President Donald Paet.

“I don’t think that any other club on campus, that I’m aware of anyway, deals with this kind of vandalism and disrespect for freedom of expression and freedom of speech,” said Paet. “We have every right to have banners up just like any other club on campus.”

Paet invited all people who agree or disagree to join in on open forums at the Sac City Freethinker’s Club.

“Everyone should be able to disagree with one another, but we should have an open forum to discuss these things,” Paet said. “I’ve always encouraged people who disagree with me to come and ask all the questions you want. That’s what we’re about, critical thinking.”

Additional reporting done by || Kate Paloy

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