The Malcontent’s Gambit

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Richard Carrier: Mythic Jesus More Probable Than Historic Jesus

Historian Dr. Richard Carrier discusses his scholarly theory for a mythical Jesus in his peer reviewed book, On the Historicity of Jesus, Why We Have Reason For Doubt. Carrier is a philosopher and historian with degrees from Berkeley and Columbia, specializing in the contemporary philosophy of naturalism, and in Greco-Roman philosophy, science, and religion, including the origins of Christianity. The gospels, and the book of Acts, are unreliable, writes Carrier, and the Epistles contain an alarming and surprising lack of historical data. The extra-biblical evidence is no help to the historicist, either, as it provides no reliable data on a living Jesus, as well. For example, passages mentioning Jesus in the Ancient historian Josephus’ work were most likely not original, but added later by Christian scribes. Carrier concludes that mythicism is far more probable than a historical Jesus. Carrier draws upon mainstream scholarship in the field of biblical studies, and also uses Bayes’ Theorem to assess the historical evidence.

Host of The Malcontent’s Gambit, Alan Litchfield, earned a bachelor’s of science in technical journalism with a minor in anthropology from Oregon State University, and has worked in the graphic arts and communications industry for several years. His podcast, The Malcontent’s Gambit, was awarded the Best Northwest Podcast by the Center For Inquiry-Portland in 2012. Alan is a contributing member of the Center For Inquiry and a coordinator for the Beaverton Atheists.

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Theology Follies: Confusing God & Infinity; Vic Stenger Remembered

I dedicate this podcast to Dr. Vic Stenger, a three-time guest on this show. I was saddened to hear of his death last August at the age of 79.During my last conversation with Stenger, a retired particle physicist, we briefly discussed the subject of infinity. After our talk I realized that I was extremely confused about the subject. My guest on today’s show will provide some clarity. His name is James A. Lindsay, author of Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly. Lindsay is an author and an outspoken atheist voice who holds degrees in physics and mathematics, including a doctorate in the latter. Motivated by a love of knowledge and learning, he writes and speaks in an attempt to clarify our religious and cultural landscape and by doing so to help heal the related harms. Lindsay is also wrote God Doesn’t; We Do: Only Humans Can Solve Human Challenges. We end this podcast discussing Stenger’s contribution to secularism and science, after which I conclude with a few more words about Stenger.

Iraqi Rips ‘Non-Liberal Left,’ Cheers Ayan Hirsi Ali, Decries ISIS

During this podcast I talk with Faisal Saeed Al-Mutar about the violent Muslim extremist group ISIS, American strategy in the Middle East, the non-liberal left and the vilification of activist, writer and critic of Islam Ayan Hirsi Ali. We end our discussion on the subject of civil rights. Al-Mutar, an Iraqi born writer, public speaker, community manager, web designer and a social activist living currently in the United States. He is an advocate for freedom of thought, science, reason and the free market of ideas and economy. He is the founder of the Global Secular Humanist Movement and Secular Post. He is a Community Manager at Movements.org, a columnist for Free Inquiry Magazine, and is on the editorial board of Applied Sentience. Al-Mutar has been featured in and has written for many national and international publications.

Raising Godless Children: No Indoctrination Required

A significant hurdle secular parents face is deciding how to navigate the religious dogma prevalent in the modern cultural landscape. How do they sidestep the all-too prevalent superstitious psychobabble and raise smart little critical thinkers without achieving what they most want to avoid: indoctrination. Today’s guest, writer Dan Arel, the author of a new book, Parenting Without God – published on August 22nd – will discuss the importance of raising godless children and provide some good advice. Arel is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in SalonAlterNet, The Huffington Post, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, American Atheist Magazine, and many others.

From Earth to Multiverse – The Evolving View of Our Cosmos

I’m honored to have Physicist Vic Stenger on the podcast today. Stenger is a retired elementary particle physicist and has written many critically well-received popular books that interface between physics, cosmology, philosophy, religion, and pseudo-science. His new book,God and the Multiverse, tells the evolving story of humanity’s understanding of the universe, from ancient times to the present. The book, and our conversation, starts with the ancient Greeks and progresses from an earth-centered model through a sun-centered model of our solar system, moving through the medieval period and onward into the discoveries of Galileo, Newton and Einstien. We discuss the current understanding of Big Bang cosmology, which posits an initial exponential expansion of matter and energy and the creation of lighter elements, and eventually, the formation of stars and heavier elements. Stenger discusses the merits of the multiverse, and ponders what we might discover in the future. He provides us with a fascinating and informative tour of the cosmos and our understanding of it. Join us while we consider this awe-inspiring journey.

The Christian Bible: A Handbook for the Subjugation of Women

The Old Testament is notorious for its stories of violence, genocide and atrocity condoned by a fictive god. This alleged scripture is especially heinous to women, and the New Testament offers no refuge, as it advocates a subservient role for women and condones Old Testament barbarism. I’ll discuss both the biblical abuse and Christianity’s ongoing threat toward women today with my guest,Annie Laurie Gaylor. Gaylor is co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. Our talk features one of Gaylor’s books, Woe to the Women: The Bible Tells Me So, published in 1981, a guide to the Bible’s mistreatment of women.

A False History of the West: The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is holy scripture for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a religion with more than 15 million adherents. Earl Wunderli, my guest on today’s show, was raised Mormon, but he eventually questioned the truth claims found in the book, prompting him to embark on a study that was meticulous and exhaustive, taking years to finish. He gathered his findings in a work published in 2013 titled, An Imperfect Book: What the Book of Mormon Tells Us about Itself. The results are surprising and interesting. He’ll tell us about the massive, painstaking effort he undertook, what he discovered and what it means to him. Wunderli has degrees in philosophy and law from the University of Utah. Earlier this year, Biblical scholar Dr. Robert Price praised Wunderli’s work in a book review forFree Inquiry, writing, “This may be the most important book yet written about the Latter-day Saint scripture.”