Religious Conservatives Wrong on Church Freedoms

April 22, 2014
By
Rob Boston

Rob Boston

The Attempt to Redefine Religious Liberty is Misguided & Endangers Rights of Others

Conservative Christians complain that their religious freedoms are under attack partially because women in our country seek to use legal and effective birth control. These methods are included in a larger package of coverage offered in President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. This mandate to include contraceptives vexes the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood, a custom wood products manufacturer, and the Southern Baptist owners of Hobby Lobby, a craft store retailer. These proprietors claim that their religious liberty is restricted by the psychic shackles of the contraceptive mandate, distressing their godly conscience. With the enthusiastic support of religious conservatives, the legal attempt to seek an exemption reached the Supreme Court this March. Rob Boston, Director of Communications at Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and my guest on today’s podcast, rejects the notion that these business owner’s religious liberty is in jeopardy. He argues that religious conservatives are redefining religious liberty in a flawed and damaging way. Boston has worked at Americans United since 1987. He’s editor of the organization’s Church & State magazine and the author of four books, the most recent published this year titled, Taking Liberties: Why Religious Freedom Doesn’t Give You the Right to Tell Other People What to Do.

MP3 File
(37 minutes, 40 seconds, 18.08 MB)

Click here to listen to my podcast with Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club, The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children | Click here Listen to my podcast with Sean Faircloth, author of Attack of the Theocrats!: How the Religious Right Harms Us All-and What We Can Do About It | Click here to read the New York Times article explaining why morning after pills don’t cause an abortion

Bible Geek Views Jesus as Myth, Book of Acts as Funny Fiction

April 2, 2014
By
Dr. Robert Price

Dr. Robert Price

New Testament Scholar Dr. Robert Price Gives Brief Tour of the Search for the Historical Jesus

A small number of responsible and qualified scholars are currently representing a view of the the historical Jesus that is sure to have Christians rising from the church pews in indignant anger. These scholars are called “mythicists,” and they claim that Jesus was not an historical person, but a fictional or mythological character invented by early Christians. One popular proponent of the mythicist view is Dr. Robert Price. He is professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute, and he teaches philosophy and religion at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary. Price is the founder and editor of The Journal of Higher Criticism. He is a Fellow of both The Jesus Seminar and The Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion, and he is also a Research Fellow for the Center for Inquiry Institute. Price is a prolific author – his work can be found at this link - and he also hosts two podcasts, The Bible Geek and The Human Bible. When I heard that Dr. Price would be in my home town of Portland, Oregon on Thursday, April 10 to deliver a speech titled, The Christ Myth, well, I just had to see if I could catch up to him and ask a few questions.

MP3 File
(51 minutes, 31 seconds, 24.73 MB)

Listen to my podcast with Dr. Richard Carrier here | Listen to Carrier eviscerate the book of Acts here

Philosopher Argues Against Christianity’s Double Standard

March 11, 2014
By
Philosopher Matt McCormick

Philosopher Matt McCormick

Drawing Ire From a Religious Crowd, Matt McCormick Says Case Against Jesus’ Resurrection is ‘Overdetermined’

Philosopher Matt McCormick created controversy in the small town of Manteca, California recently by delivering a speech against belief in the resurrection of Jesus. Approximately 300 religious people gathered in front of the library throughout the talk, hosted by the Stanislaus Humanists on January 15. They prayed, swayed and spoke in tongues, encircling the building at one point to shout out the Devil. McCormick joins the podcast to discuss his Manteca experience and his 2012 book, Atheism and the Case Against Christ. McCormick is a professor of philosophy at California State University–Sacramento. He argues that believing in the resurrection on historical grounds is a double standard, since believers reject analogous supernatural claims. McCormick compares the evidence for the resurrection in the Christian tradition to evidence presented during the Salem witch trials. The results are surprising and fascinating.

MP3 File
(53 minutes, 45 seconds, 25.81 MB)

Check out Matt McCormick’s blog Proving the Negative • See McCormick’s talk in Manteca here

Data, Death Threats, and Disinformation: The Modern Global Warming Debate

February 11, 2014
By
Dr. Michael Mann

Dr. Michael Mann

Renowned Scientist Provides Robust Climate Change Evidence; His Work Comes With A Price

Dr. Michael Mann, my guest on today’s podcast, says that global warming is real, is caused by human beings, and supports this claim with data both plentiful and compelling. This makes him very unpopular in some circles. Mann has been harassed, maligned and has even received death threats. He is an award winning climate scientist whose work contributed to a Nobel Prize and a 1999 graph dubbed the hockey stick. The graph modeled earth’s climate during the past 1,000 years, and its shape resembles that particular piece of sports equipment – a long shaft of a handle with the blade jutting alarmingly upward. Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). We discuss his work and his 2012 book The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.

MP3 File (53 minutes, 30 seconds, 25.69 MB)

Minds Held Hostage: Adapted Human Brain Prone to God & Other Glitches

January 14, 2014
By
Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr.

Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr.

Evolutionary Psychologist Reveals a Robust Science of Faith

Dr. J. Anderson Thomson, Jr. – you can call him Andy – guides us through a provocative tour of the human brain on religion. Thomson introduces us to the many cognitive adaptations luring us into religious belief and other irrational ideas. One of those ideas happens to be, disturbingly, suicide bombing. He’ll provide an answer to the age-old question of why a talking wolf is more memorable than a tree balancing your checkbook. Thomson’s current research interest is in the area of evolutionary psychology and using its principles to understand depression, suicide terrorism, and religious belief. Thomson wrote the 2011 book, Why We Believe in Gods, A concise guide to the science of faith. He is a psychiatrist in private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is also a staff psychiatrist at Counseling and Psychological Services at the University of Virginia Student Health Services, and the Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy at the University of Virginia.


MP3 File
(61 minutes, 14 seconds, 29.39 MB)

Listen to a podcast on the Stanley Milgram obedience and authority experiment here, or read about it here • Listen to Julia Sweeney’s hilarious monologue, Letting Go of God, here

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