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Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary Paperback – July 1, 2009


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Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary + Deconverted: A Journey from Religion to Reason + Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: Kenneth W. Daniels (July 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0578003880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0578003887
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kenneth W. Daniels (1968-), son of evangelical missionaries, grew up in Africa and returned as an adult to serve with Wycliffe Bible Translators in Niger on the edge of the Sahara Desert. While studying the Bible on the mission field, he came to doubt the message he had traveled across the world to bring to a nomadic camel-herding ethnic group. Though he lost his faith and as a result left Africa in 2000, he remains part of a conservative Christian family. He currently resides with his wife and three children in suburban Dallas, TX, where he works as a software developer. Daniels received his BS in computer science and engineering from LeTourneau University, Longview, Texas, and a one-year certificate in biblical studies from Columbia Biblical Seminary (now Columbia International University), Columbia, SC.

Website: www.kwdaniels.com
Blog: www.deconversionoasis.com

Customer Reviews

.A very well written, thought provoking book.
Amazon Customer
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in reading what may be the reasons for someone's chage of heart regarding one's faith.
Victor
If you're an atheist who needs something to hand to your believing loved ones, this is a good book to start with.
Dana Hunter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

126 of 132 people found the following review helpful By Guy P. Harrison on August 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
Ken Daniels has produced a powerful work that will give Christian readers much to think about. "Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary" is an important book that should be widely read. The author's approach is gentle and honest while still managing to be unflinching and thorough. As a former fundamentalist Christian missionary who devoted far more time and energy than most to serving that religion, he obviously remembers what it feels like to be fully immersed in belief. Fortunately, Daniels has retained plenty of sympathy for those who cannot yet see that the supernatural claims of Christianity cannot stand up to honest scrutiny.

This brilliant book is not a vicious attack on Christians. It is a strong but polite plea for them to see and hear new ideas, to consider the possibility that their belief system might be a mistake. Daniels maintains a humble tone throughout the book. He does not blast believers with arrogant claims of intellectual superiority on the question of faith. He simply shares thoughts and questions about his journey through Christianity and escape from it. This is a powerful story and Daniels has many piercing ideas that are likely to carry considerable weight with believers because of his difficult work as a missionary in Africa. Daniels earned his stripes as a committed Christian. He went way beyond the easy life of a casual Christian sitting in a pew on Sunday mornings. He lived his Christianity; he made serious commitments and followed through with sacrifices for his religion. For someone like him to walk away from it, with great reluctance, humility, and no rage says a lot. It gives Daniels tremendous credibility.

Daniels is well read and obviously knowledgeable about Christianity.
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63 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Frisbee Guy on August 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
I grew up in an evangelical, and might I say wonderful, Christian home. I've been a passionate follower of Jesus for as long as I can remember. I am a graduate of a famous Bible college, and spent 10 years overseas as a missionary. My doubts about hell, God, the reliability of the Bible, and other things brought me back to the U.S., and I eventually went through a deconversion of sorts. Reading Daniel's story was somewhat like reading my own story - there was so much I could relate to. His book was a great help as I was going through this process (still am). Daniels is really thoughtful in his presentation. I highly recommend it to anyone who is questioning their faith.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence D. Spencer on August 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've read the similar books by John Loftus and Dan Barker. Those are good, too, but Ken Daniels' book is the only one I'd give without hesitation to a believing friend.

Barker's otherwise excellent book suffers from a forward by Richard Dawkins that will cause the very people who most need to read the book to shut it before they reach page 1. Loftus' closely reasoned volume is at times too academic to appeal to the masses, yet too awkwardly written to appeal to the educated book-lover. Daniels' book is perfect: persuasive, humble and elegant.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Barratt on September 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a person who recently deconverted from a strict and insular flavor of Christianity, this book was a wonderful read.

Many of the other Skeptical authors (Dawkins, Harris, etc), while powerful and helpful in their own ways, don't quite speak the language of the "once convicted." They understandably have a hard time putting themselves in our shoes, and speaking to us where we are or were. (Much as I would have a hard time connecting deeply with, say, a Mormon.)

Ken gets it. There were so many passages that made me laugh out loud in the sheer joy of shared experience. When you are leaving your faith -- especially one that almost all your friends and family belong to -- it can be a lonely time.

This book is deeply researched, and clearly presented. Many times he selected the same examples and arguments that I have been using over the last year -- but other times, added surprising new (and helpful) bits of evidence or context to the picture. I'm going to be giving this book to people who have questions about where I am now, because it so perfectly captures my own point of view.

Thank you, Ken, for having the courage, and putting the time and effort into writing this book. Best $0.99 I ever spent.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By D. Visco on November 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I would like to thank Kenneth Daniels for writing what for me is one of the most outstanding books on Atheism I have had the pleasure to read.
I have read the usual suspects...Chris Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris...to name but a few. I have grown weary of the in-your-face attitude of many authors who personally attack their readers of faith which does nothing to promote understanding and true intellectual discourse.
Thank you, Mr. Daniels, for bringing peace to my heart in my resolve to reject my religious roots.
I read many of your chapters to my Christian husband and it helped him to understand me better.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to truly understand atheism and how difficult it is to "come out" as an atheist.
An intelligent, articulate, and emotional journey.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Craig on July 21, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. Ken Daniels did a very nice job of walking the fine line between skepticism and disrespect. Unlike so many other skeptical "New Atheist" authors, Daniels does not seem to be out for blood but rather to educate his readers. As any good communicator knows, talking down to an audience only serves to alienate them further. Daniels smartly (and seemingly sincerely) treats his Christian readers as the intelligent individuals with deeply held beliefs that they are. What he does is walk these readers through his mental journey from believer to skeptic/non-believer. It is, of course, up to the reader to decide if Daniels' journey makes sense personally.

For the formerly believing but now apostate readers, such as myself, Daniels lays out a familier story: Years of service to a chosen Christian faith, occasionally challenged by information or ideas that don't quite fit the party line. These "seeds" then take root and grow in the mind over time until they cannot be ignored. Eventually, Daniels, for the sake of intellectual honesty and personal integrity, takes a serious look at the details that have been bothering him. Much to his dismay, he finds they have merit, are worthy of closer inspection and lead to other problems for his faith. Eventually, again for personal integrity's sake, he can no longer identify himself as a Christian.

There is a lot in this book for both Believing Christians who have an open mind and former believers who are still trying to come to terms with the loss of a faith that had been central to their life for years.
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