Now *this* isn't the kind of interview I get asked to do every day! Hanny Seylim is a former Muslim who split his time growing up between Egypt and Ireland (a parent from each) and now lives in Melbourne. For his podcast, Critical Faculty, he interviews all sorts of critical thinkers in numerous different fields (physics to NT!). Hanny knows a *lot* about early Christianity and wanted to interview me about my work. I think this one is unusually good. Enjoy!
Last month I did a long and detailed interview with Derek Lambert, the person who started and runs an interesting podcast called MythVision Podcast. Derek is unusually well informed about the New Testament and he has deep and penetrating questions about my positions/views in some of my popular books, especially in light of what a very conservative evangelical apologist John McLatchie has been saying about my, well, sloppy ignorance. I had never heard of McLatchie before, but that's not unusual. There are over two billion Christians in the world and I've never heard of most of them. Still, not that many of them assault my intelligence without telling me directly (e.g. in an email) that I'm an idiot. Still, maybe he's right about everything. That's the nice thing about human intelligence. You yourself have it, and you can make up your own mind. In any event, here's the interview. The bit with McLatchie kicks in part way through, but the whole thing is about important topics that I"ve dealt with in my writings.
What We Know Today About Religions and the Afterlife (in the US): Platinum Guest Post by Sharon Friedman
I am pleased to be able to publish this Guest Post by one of our Platinum members Sharon Friedman. Sharon has been a blog member for some five years. Here is an intriguing post with some statistics to make you ponder and reflect on a topic near and dear to many of us. If you have questions comments, go ahead and make them! Many thanks Sharon. ***************************** Often on the blog, people ask Bart “what did Christians or Jews think about some topic?” It’s definitely difficult or impossible to know that about the past. We do know something about what they currently think. Fortunately, groups like the Pew Research Center and NORC at the University of Chicago ask people religious questions. Let’s look at that source of information for insights into our discussion of the afterlife, specifically what do Christians, Jews and Muslims currently think about heaven and hell? Pew does a Religious Landscape Survey about once every 10 years or so. It’s chock full of information. There is a crosswalk between belief in heaven [...]
You may already know New Testament scholar and blog member James McGrath. James is the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, with many academic interests similar to mine. Six years ago we were both at a conference at York University (Toronto) that was dealing with ancient Christian apocrypha. I gave a talk on pseudepigraphy in the antiquity, in which I argued that it was not an acceptable practice to write a text claiming to be a famous person (when you were someone else). In the modern world we call that a "forgery"; I argued that in the ancient world they also used negative terms for it and consistently disparaged the practice (contrary to what you often hear). After my talk, James happened to be sitting across from me, and he suggested that one could write a (Paul Simon imitation) song "Fifty Ways to Forge a Gospel." I laughed and didn't think he was serious. He was. And he did. And now he's not [...]