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My Interview with Michael Shermer

On Sunday, February 18, 2018, I did a podcast interview with Michael B. Shermer, a well known author on issues related to science and religion (the one I most recently read: The Science of Good and Evil), based on my new book: The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. The interview is part of the Science Salon series, number eighteen. Dialogues are hosted by Michael Shermer and presented by The Skeptics Society, in California.

Dr. Michael B. Shermer holds a graduate degree in experimental psychology. He is a historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. Shermer engages in debates on topics pertaining to pseudoscience and religion in which he emphasizes scientific skepticism

Among other things in this interview we discuss the modern atheism movement, religion and politics, the intractable problem of evil, the early understandings of Jesus (how could he be both man and God?), the beliefs of ancient pagans about the gods and the afterlife, the message early Christians proclaimed to pagans in order to convert them, and lots of other topics.

To see more about the book, go to http://www.bartdehrman.com/the-triumph-of-christianity/

Audiobook excerpt link: https://soundcloud.com/simonschuster/the-triumph-of-christianity

Learn more about Science Salon: https://www.skeptic.com/lectures/science-salon/

Dr. Michael B. Shermer holds a graduate degree in experimental psychology at the California State University, Fullerton. He is an American science writer, historian of science, founder of The Skeptics Society, and editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, which is largely devoted to investigating pseudoscientific and supernatural claims. Shermer engages in debates on topics pertaining to pseudoscience and religion in which he emphasizes scientific skepticism.

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A Welcome Review of The Triumph of Christianity

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Comments

  1. Avatar
    Healy53  February 26, 2018

    My Amazon review:

    The greatest story ever told about the greatest story ever told

    Ehrman submits a believable tale about the spread of Christianity which, itself, is based on a quite unbelievable origin story. Sadly, after reading a book that I’ll suggest to anyone (theist or otherwise) who’ll listen, I’m left feeling that we Homo sapiens are indeed a foolish species willing to merely follow our elders when adopting a faith system that easily wiped out most of its predecessor systems by converting religion to a zero-sum game which could be “won” with Christianity’s exclusive nature along with Homo sapiens hereditary disposition to believe amazing stories told to us with passion and unsupported certainty along with simple math and the time necessary for Christians to outnumber followers of other belief systems. Add to that the power of the state, whether it be that of the Roman Empire of Constantine’s era or the modern-day American government which both supported and support Christianity with greater zeal than its competing belief systems yet remain legally “secular”, and the Western world remains a witness to the triumph of Christianity.

    Ehrman’s telling of this tale includes conveyance of Christianity’s initial non-violent doctrine of conversion (“truth cannot be joined with force, nor justice with cruelty”) as well as its desire for freedom of religion. Although religious violence wouldn’t exist for centuries and is not within the scope of Ehrman’s telling, both doctrines would eventually be overturned as Christianity in a recently reunified Roman Empire shifted from upstart religion during Constantine’s reign (306-337 CE) to becoming the politically safe and legal state religion by Theodosius (379-395 CE) after Julian’s brief return to paganism (361-363 CE) and a string of successor Roman Emperors preferring religious conformity in the form of Christianity as a distinct political strategy. Although the author does not draw the analogy, a comparison can be considered between the roots of the triumph of Christianity and Christian intolerance after its Roman and American births.

  2. Avatar
    mannix  February 26, 2018

    If I were living in the mid first century I think the most appealing aspect of Christianity would be the afterlife teaching. The “…last shall be first, etc…” would ensure that social injustice and wrongs committed against one would somehow be righted provides solace to anyone who suffers now in this world. I suppose Jesus’ “Beatitudes” put forth this hope. More basically, Christianity offers an antidote to the *fear of death*, which I believe even the most stolid of humans are challenged by at least a few times in our lives.

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