The Christlike Subversiveness of Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”

In 1979, John Cleese and Michael Palin had a debate about Monty Python’s film The Life of Brian with two defenders of the Christian faith  — one an English bishop. The question is whether the film’s parody of institutionalized religion and religious hypocrisy amounts to ridiculing the personage of Jesus and Christianity in general.

Does Post-Modern Skepticism Support Religious Belief?

One of our listeners (and contributors! Thanks again!) Ernie P. has posted on our Facebook page: You all (on the podcast) seem to assume that ‘belief in the irrational’ is a strongly correlated with religious belief; I would argue that (depending on how you define it), it is a factor in all human belief, and […]

Eric Reitan (via Pale Blue Dot) Refereeing the Atheism Debates

I’ve written before about Eric Reitan, a modern follower of Scheleirmacher, and on this episode of Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot, Reitan gives I think a great explanation of the disagreement between the new atheists and humanistic, liberal Christians: they may agree on nearly all of the same principles (being against Biblical inerrancy and […]

Swinburne Contra Dawkins on Complexity and Creation

Watch on YouTube. A name that popped up in Episode 43 and Episode 44 was that of Oxford philosophy professor Richard Swinburne. Swinburne has made his reputation positing analytic arguments in favor of Christian theism. As Robert pointed out toward the end of Episode 43, most Christians, even if sympathetic, would probably not find Swinburne’s arguments […]

Topic for #44: “New Atheism”

We have long promised to more systematically cover these guys who generate so much fun sniping on our blog here, and as of last Sunday, the full as-of-now-regular podcaster lineup (myself, Seth, Wes, and Dylan; we will still have some guests on, though) recorded a discussion of: -The first two chapters of Sam Harris’s The […]

Topic for #43: Arguments for the Existence of God

On many episodes we’ve mentioned in passing, or given some author’s criticism of, the classic arguments for the existence of God: -The ontological argument, whereby some quality of the idea of God itself is supposed to necessitate that such a being exists. The most famous versions are by Descartes and St. Anselm. -The cosmological argument, […]

Atheists Against Atheism

Not all atheists are on board with ‘the four horsemen’ of the New Atheism: Dawkins, Dennett, Harris, and Hitchens. Julian Baggini, podcaster and author of Atheism: A Very Short Introductionpoints out their generally unsophisticated grasp of religion. I met Baggini in New York last December when he came to speak to a small group of […]

Notes on Dennett’s “Breaking the Spell,” Part 1

For our atheism episode (which has, incidentally been pushed back to be recorded in late May or possibly June… sorry, Russ!), I’m trying to read through the most popular of the “new atheist” books, and I’m sure we’ll only end up discussing some select portions of the books in any detail, so as I’m going […]

“New” Atheism as Cultural Movement

An article by Paul Pardi (“Philosophy News Service”) at the Huffington Post sums up the significance of “new atheism:” 1. The arguments of Harris, Dennett, Dawkins and Hitchens tend not to be “new” and don’t engage the actual arguments of liberal theologians. 2. As a social movement, they’re nonetheless affecting the perception that the mass […]

The Quarrel Between the Thomists and the Straussians

Brian Leiter bizarrely endorses this idiotic review by Aristotle scholar Peter Simpson of Richard G. Stevens’ Political Philosophy: An Introduction. It’s clear that the logic behind this endorsement is that Simpson criticizes the book because it has been written by a Straussian, and Leiter despises Straussians. Unfortunately, the logic behind the review is that Simpson […]

Massimo Pigliucci on In-Your-Face Atheism

Pigliucci strongly rebukes the organization of which he is a lifetime honorary member, for an ad calling all religions “scams”: First, the ad is simply making a preposterous claim that cannot possibly be backed up by factual evidence, which means that, technically, it is lying. Not a good virtue for self-righteous critical thinkers… Yet, several atheists […]

Judging Religion vs. Judging “Twilight”

Some of our ongoing atheism discussion here brought to mind an analogy that I think is best illustrated by a comic from Lore Sjoberg’s Bad Gods. See the comic on Lore’s site. Punch line aside, the point should be clear. To argue effectively against religion, you have to be familiar with religion, and to argue […]

The Tedium Debates: Dawkins vs. the Pope

How philosophically uninteresting are the atheist debates? Yes, it’s nice that something akin to philosophy is actively debated in the media, that ongoing disputes about religious matters will hopefully keep the spirit of the times moving forward by providing active intellectual and/or spiritual alternatives to people beyond whatever religion they may have been brought up […]

Armstrong on Dawkins and Harris

This is a follow up to my last post, which you should look at the comments on for some good comments by Wes. I’ve now read the part in Armstrong where she addresses Dawkins directly (from p. 304 of “The Case for God”): For Dawkins, religious faith rests on the idea that “there exists a […]

Armstrong and Dawkins

Continuing my independent (i.e. not directly for the podcast) reading into the atheism debate: Nearly done with the Karen Armstrong book. This is a good bit of secondary literature, with short summaries of the views re. God of a really impressively wide range of historical figures. Her overall view is that of apophatic, or negative […]