Why Did Christianity Take Over the World? Smithsonian Lecture 3.

Here is Lecture 3 (out of 4) that I came at the Smithsonian Associates in Washington DC on Feb. 10, 2018, based, again, on my book The Triumph of Christianity.   This lecture deals with the key aspects of the early Christian movement to try to explain its success.  What was it about Christianity that allowed it to take over the entire Christian empire?   People have all sorts of “common sense” answers to the question — as did I for many ...

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Who Were The “Pagans” Christians Were Converting?

PART TWO of FOUR: Pagan Converts and the Power of God

This is the second lecture I gave at the Smithsonian on Feb. 10, 2018, based on my book The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World.  The premise behind the lecture: as Christianity spread throughout the Roman Empire, it converted almost entirely pagans (after the first couple of decades).   Who were these people, and what were they converting *from*?  And why?

Paganism is not and was ...

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Fund Raising Event on the Blog: Contradictions in the Gospels??

We will be engaging in an unusual fund-raising event on the blog in a week or so.   A well-trained Anglican priest named Matthew Firth had issued a challenge that no one could point out any contradictions in the Gospels of the New Testament that could not be explained.  As I understand it, he offered an award of $1000.  OK then!  Someone on the blog contacted me to see if I’d be willing to take up the challenge.

Of course, there is ...

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A Blog Anniversary! Seven Years!

Today is the seven anniversary of the blog.   My first post (which I reposted a few days ago) appeared on April 3, 2012.  I never thought it would last this long.  I figured I would run out of things to say in about six months.   Hasn’t happened yet!   There’s so much interesting material back in ancient Christianity, starting with Jesus and the New Testament, and going on up through the next three hundred years, that it seems inexhaustible.  And readers ...

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Secular Versions of the Coming Apocalypse

I have been describing my ideas about the book I’m proposing to write, tentatively called Expecting the Apocalypse.  In the past couple of posts I’ve talked about the heightened expectation that the world would be ending soon with the return of Jesus, an originally fundamentalist Christian view that started off in the 19th century and that has moved into much broader circles in American culture.   Part of my book will be looking not only at this religious view, but also ...

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Don’t Trust What You Read!

In response to my post yesterday about whether the author of Mark was a Jew, in which I said no Jew would make the claim that Mark does, in chapter 7, that “all Jews” washed their hands before eating — a claim that is simply not true — a couple of astute blog members have pointed out  that there is another text, certainly written by a Jew, the Letter of Aristeas (about the how the Septuagint — that is, the ...

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Your Thoughts on the Blog?

It is difficult for me to know what really “works” on the blog.   On the whole, most things seem to work well: as I’ve reported recently, the blog continues to grow.   We are working toward 7000 members (but I very much want that in six figures!) and this past year we raised on average over $420 a day for charity.  That’s a lot of dosh.  All to the good.

But I’m concerned about the quality of the blog and whether it ...

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My Pod Cast Interview with Sam Harris

On May 1, 2018 I was interviewed by Sam Harris for his podcast “Waking Up.”  Ostensibly the interview was to be about my book “The Triumph of Christianity: How A Forbidden Religion Swept the World” but we covered a wide range of topics, from my autobiography to numerous substantive issues, including the nature of miracles, the composition of the New Testament, the resurrection of Jesus, the question of heaven and hell, the book of Revelation, the End Times, contradictions in the ...

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Hey, They’re Free! Memberships Still Available for Those Who Can’t Afford Them

Do you OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW want a free one-year subscription to the blog (because, for various reasons, you, or the one you know, cannot afford it)?   I STILL HAVE FREE MEMBERSHIPS TO GIVE OUT.   Please ask or encourage someone you know to ask.

Here is the original announcement from a couple of weeks ago, with instructions about how to obtain one.

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Thanks to the incredible generosity of members of the blog, I am happy to announce that there are ...

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My Research Goals for 2019

I occasionally get asked what I’m “working on,” and it seems like January 1 is a good time to lay out my research goals/directions for the year.  As some of you know, a couple of years ago I decided to cut back and become less busy with research.  That lasted a couple of months.  But, well, it was a *nice* couple of months.  Now I’m back in over my head – but enjoying that immensely as well.

I have four major ...

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