Tag Archives: Christopher Hitchens

#83 – Leaving the Mormon Church

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In this edition of the podcast, Aidan is speaking to Eric Pratt, a former radical member of the Mormon Church. Born and raised in Utah, Eric was a follower of Mormonism for over 20 years, including two years spent as a proselytizing Mormon missionary. In this intriguing audio, Eric tells the story of his indoctrination into, and his escape out of, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Eric also talks about the infamous founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, what it was like to be a missionary, the prevalence of misogyny within religion, living a moral life as an atheist, and much more. A prequel of sorts to this episode is also available, see episode 82 – Project Extra: The Legacy of Christopher Hitchens.

Expanded show notes:

Recovering from Religion offers resources to people who are seeking advice on leaving religion.

Related episodes:

#82 – Project Extra: The Legacy of Christopher Hitchens

#81 – Project Extra: Revisiting The Covenant

#80 – Richard Carrier on Christianity, Jesus, and Christian Apologetics

#45 – De-Platformed: Challenging Bad Ideas [a wide-ranging conversation with British ex-Muslim, Sadia Hameed]

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#82 – Project Extra: The Legacy of Christopher Hitchens

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This episode of the podcast is a bonus audio edition ahead of a full-length episode to follow. Aidan’s guest is Eric Pratt, who for over 20 years was an aggressively active member of the Mormon Church, including two years spent as a proselytizing Mormon missionary. Although it is addressed only briefly in this episode, in the full episode, Eric will explain his journey into, and out of, the Mormon faith. In this bonus audio, Aidan and Eric talk about the life and influence of Christopher Hitchens, whose reasoned arguments assisted Eric in leaving religion altogether. Aidan and Eric also discuss atheism and religion, friendship, and Eric’s possible foray into podcast hosting. Eric, as will be discussed in the full episode, is not on social media, but is working on a book about his life which will hopefully be available in the near future.

Related YouTube videos [Note: external content]:

Coming Soon: Leaving the Mormon Church [Clip: Christopher Hitchens]

In an upcoming podcast episode, Eric Pratt, a former member of the Mormon Church, explains his indoctrination into the religion, and his escape many years later. Eric credits the work of the late Christopher Hitchens in helping him forge a new life. This recording took place, coincidentally, on 13 April, Hitchens’ birthday. Hitchens would have been 69.

#80 – Richard Carrier on Christianity, Jesus, and Christian Apologetics

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by author, historian, philosopher and exceptional debunker of Christian apologetics, Dr. Richard Carrier. What are the origins of Christianity? What is the evidence for a historical Jesus? What is it like to debate Christian apologists, and what are the common arguments made in defence of the faith? These questions, and much more, are answered in this episode. Dr. Carrier’s books and articles have received international attention. With a Ph.D. from Columbia University in ancient history, Dr. Carrier specializes in the intellectual history of Greece and Rome, particularly ancient philosophy, religion, and science, with an emphasis on the origins of Christianity, and the use and progress of science under the Roman empire. Dr. Carrier is also a published expert in the modern philosophy of naturalism as a worldview.

Dr. Carrier is the author of On the Historicity of Jesus, Proving History, Sense and Goodness without God, Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, Not the Impossible Faith, Why I Am Not a Christian, and Hitler Homer Bible Christ. For purchase options, see https://www.richardcarrier.info/BooksbyRichardCarrier.html

Dr. Carrier’s website is an incredible resource for additional information, including articles, useful links, classes, social media, and more. See https://www.richardcarrier.info/

Expanded show notes:

A summary of Christianity, as discussed on this episode:

[Source unknown]

“The belief that some cosmic Jewish zombie can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.”

Richard Carrier debates William Lane Craig: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead (2009)

#74 – Déjà Vu: Consciousness and Free Will

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan is joined by Mary Shores, author of Conscious Communications: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Harnessing the Power of Your Words to Change Your Mind, Your Choices, and Your Life, to discuss neuroscience, positive thinking, free will, the self, consciousness, stress, the negative aspects of social media, and much more. In fact, Aidan and Mary are having this conversation for the second time, the previous conversation having been lost due to the capricious nature of technology. This time, however, nothing was lost, and a wide-ranging conversation has been preserved. Recognized as a leader of innovative thought, Mary travels across the United States giving lectures, and teaching courses, and has been featured on local and national radio and television shows, podcasts, and blogs. Within this episode, Mary speaks candidly about life’s challenges, providing practical guidance, alongside first-hand experience, to explain the power of positive thinking. 

For more information on Mary, you can head to Mary’s website at http://www.maryshores.com/, you can find Mary on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mary_shores, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/shoresmary/ and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/maryshores. For options on purchasing Conscious Communications, head to http://maryshores.com/the-book/.

Expanded show notes:

As a thank you for listening to the podcast, Mary is currently offering a free download for the Conscious Communications Guidebook, which serves as a companion course for Conscious Communications. Featuring over 35 pages of exercises, you can sign-up for your free copy at http://maryshores.com/guidebook.

#73 – Abraham’s Secular Covenant

#71 – Inspiring The Aidan Project

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In a very different edition of the podcast, Aidan takes you behind the scenes of The Aidan Project. Within this reflective podcast, Aidan introduces Inspiring The Aidan Project, a potential separate podcast series which would highlight the men and women whose thinking has inspired Aidan. Aidan then presents a pilot episode for this prospective series; the pilot tells the story of George Orwell. Also in this episode, Aidan offers further reflections on Winston Churchill, following episode 69: The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours, and talks about every podcaster’s worst nightmare: a full-length conversation which will never be heard.

Expanded show notes:

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

Churchill was flawed like all the greats but his achievements outshine his shortcomings, Sky News, 1 February 2018.

Mary Shores web site

More information on the pilot for Inspiring The Aidan Project:

Copy of Copy of UPSTART

Potential artwork for Inspiring The Aidan Project

Inspiring The Aidan Project is a prospective podcast series, separate to The Aidan Project.

Inspiring would feature five-minute episodes telling the stories of the incredible men and women who have inspired my thinking, for better or worse, according to your preference.

In some instances, I may disagree with certain statements and behaviours of the luminaries in question, but this does not obscure their overall importance. This is because, as Christopher Hitchens so adeptly explained, “The essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks.”

Hitchens, Orwell, Paine, Bentham, Mill, Russell, Gandhi, Voltaire, Luxemburg, Hume, Aristotle and Arendt are examples of notables who have passed on. However, Inspiring would also profile living persons, too. After the introductory episode, each edition would be an episode unto itself, which is to say, you could listen in any order.  Episodes would neither be released in order of how I rank their influence – even if this were possible – nor according to the year of their birth. All episodes must simply meet the criteria, which is principally of being a person who inspired me to think critically. It may be, too, that a given person was somewhat dogmatic and prone to superstition; nevertheless, their immense moral courage and/or grand ideas served to inspire me, thus meriting their inclusion.

I want to pay homage to the men and women who inspired me, because I merely stand on the shoulders of these giants. I hope these persons could inspire you, too.

Your feedback will be important to me: I want to hear what you think of the vision, the format, the pacing, even down to the cover art and podcast’s title! Please get in touch.

After I have collated your feedback, the podcast could be launched as a separate entity to The Aidan Project, to be made available via this web site and via all major podcast providers. Episodes could possibly be released within a number of ‘seasons’, ala Netflix.

Kind regards,
Aidan

Aidan Coughlan
2 February 2018

#70 – Notes on the Great Debate: Paine Versus Burke

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In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan looks at the remarkable debate that is, according to some historians, the origins of left versus right politics – or progressive versus conservative. In the late eighteenth century, Edmund Burke went up against Thomas Paine, each offering entirely different opinions on the French Revolution. Paine, writing in his most celebrated book, Rights of Man (1791), argued: “Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.” Burke had spoken out against the revolt in France, saying the chaos and upheaval would eventually be settled by a dictatorship. He was right. Paine certainly did not see Napoleon coming. Britain avoided revolution; instead, Britain moved further to the right. This episode further explores some of the themes from episode 69, The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours. Aidan also gives his damning verdict on the dire standard of discourse on social media, where debate is certainly not great.

Related links:

How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently.

#69 – The Churchill Myth: Many Dark Hours

#58 – Notes on Shame and the Modern Pillory

Guest Appearance on Miracles and Atheists

‘The Great Debate’ bibliography:

Paul Langford, ‘Burke, Edmund (1729/30–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4019, September 2012, accessed on 14 October 2017.

Mark Philp, ‘Paine, Thomas (1737–1809)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography web site, http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/21133, May 2008, accessed on 14 Oct 2017.

Jonathan Sperber, Revolutionary Europe 1780-1850, (Harlow: Pearson, 2000).

Adam Zamoyski, Phantom Terror: The Threat of Revolution and the Repression of Liberty 1789-1848 [audiobook], (New York: Harper Audio, 2014).