Last September, four of the world’s most famous sceptics, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens gathered together for a first-of-its-kind, unmoderated 2-hour discussion on religion, belief, and scepticism.
After several setbacks (including the Writer’s Strike) comedian Bill Maher’s new documentary, Religulous, will be released in theatres October 3rd, 2008. Known for his stance against religion, Bill Maher’s views on the various world religions are explored as he travels to numerous religious destinations, such as Jerusalem, the Vatican, and even Salt Lake City. He interviews believers from a variety of backgrounds and groups, including Jews for Jesus, Muslims, polygamists, Satanists, Hasidic scholars and even Rael of the Raelian Movement.
From a Variety story on Religulous:
Explaining his impetus to make the film, Maher said: “I wanted to make a documentary, and I wanted it to be funny. In fact, since there is nothing more ridiculous than the ancient mythological stories that live on as today’s religions, this movie would try to be a real knee-slapper. Unless, of course, you’re religious; then you might not like it.”
In 1707, a biblical theologian named John Mill was the first to collect and combine the text of some 100 extant New Testament manuscripts. After 30 years of study he noted over 30,000 various major to mostly slight errors in the different versions of the New Testament manuscripts. His discovery brought to light the fact that so many different versions of the New Testament exist and that the book many people think of as the immutable word of God has an uncomfortably long history of changes.
The following video lecture is a tremendously interesting look at some of the discrepancies by world renowned bible scholar and author Dr. Bart D. Ehrman.
“There are places where we don’t know what the authors of the New Testament wrote. […]
The problem of not having the originals of the New Testament, though, is a problem for everyone—not simply for those that believe that the bible was inspired by God.
For all of us, I think, the bible is the most important book in Western Civilization. It continues to be cited in public debates over gay rights, abortion, over whether to go to war with foreign countries, over how to organize and run our society. But how do we interpret the New Testament? It’s hard to know what the words of the New Testament mean, if we don’t know what the words were.
And so in this lecture I’ll be talking about not knowing what the words were and what we might know about the originals of the New Testament, how they got lost and how possibly they might be reconstructed.”
[Misquoting Jesus| Youtube]
Richard Dawkins takes a stab at why we’re here, using science and reason to back up his answer. It’s an interesting and inspiring perspective on an old question.
[The Big Question – YouTube]
I’ve talked about Richard Dawkins’ documentary The Root of all Evil before, but something I came across the other day which I found very interesting is The Big Picture: Debate on Dawkins’ Root of all Evil.
(Coincidentally my friend Shannon Phillips is one of the producers on Avi’s other show, On The Map.)
A recently released Gallup Poll indicates that more Americans accept theory of creationism than the science of evolution.
I have to ask myself, is it because those pesky scientists have been wrong about so many things or because religion has been so particularly good at teaching us about the way the world is?
The data from several recent Gallup studies suggest that Americans’ religious behavior is highly correlated with beliefs about evolution. Those who attend church frequently are much less likely to believe in evolution than are those who seldom or never attend.
I’d be interested if there is also a correlation between those that finish high school and those that trust the science behind the theory of evolution, and again between those that go on to University and if they believe in so called “intelligent design” or evolution.
The data indicate some seeming confusion on the part of Americans on this issue. About a quarter of Americans say they believe both in evolution’s explanation that humans evolved over millions of years and in the creationist explanation that humans were created as is about 10,000 years ago.
Quite frankly, no matter which side of the debate you take, you have to admit the data indicate that about a quarter of Americans are stupid.
“I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously.”
Twenty years ago today, I was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. That’s right, the Mormons. At this time, I won’t go into any detail how that’s worked out for me.
I will point out though, that a couple of days ago, the American channel PBS aired a documentary titled “The Mormons” which offers at least a relatively fair look at the church, its inspiring history and many of its blemishes. If you’ve ever wondered what the Mormons are all about, this documentary is a good place to start.
I believe the author and producer, Helen Whitney, tries to come off as impartial, however, she did make the impression to one of her interviewees that she really didn’t want to hear any negative comments about the church, even if they are true. In an off camera pre-interview he asked her, “If you love the church so much, why don’t you join it?” She responded, “well maybe if I were younger.” It gives cause to wonder at her true impartiality.
Still the documentary will probably show you whatever you are looking to find, whether it’s support for the church or evidence that Joseph Smith was a con man who was so convincing that he even had himself fooled.
You can view it online in its entirety at pbs.org/mormons/.
This is about ten years old, but I just discovered it recently and think it applies pretty much perfectly to a conversation I had only a week ago. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, there are still people who refuse to accept evolution as “science”.
An atheist professor at Virginia Tech responds to the statement that in the aftermath of the recent killings atheists are no where to be found and can offer nothing to those grieving.
Back in the 60’s and 70’s there was a “Jesus Movement” in the United States where a lot of young people involved in drugs, rock & roll, and the anti-establishment hippie culture found “salvation in Jesus” and turned to writing music centered on Christ. Pretty soon, there were enough people interested in the genre, that in 1979 Creation Festivals were started as an alternative venue to traditional rock concerts.
[..]Creationfest, [is] a four-day Christian rock show-cum-revival held every summer in Eastern Washington where religion, politics, and music collide. It is here that thousands of eager young Christians gather to worship, save souls, and get “Crunk on Christ”. Jesus Freaks takes you deep into the heart of this contemporary Christian culture where religion and rock n’ roll make strange bedfellows. (25 mins)
Quotable quote: “I betcha Jesus can, like, ya know, he’s the baddest b-boy in the world, ya know what I’m saying—he can do the windmill while doing the robot and the electric boogaloo at the same time, ya know.”
(via Smashing Telly)