Tag Archives: Religious Belief

#83 – Leaving the Mormon Church

arch-arches-astronomy-33609 Cropped
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

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]

#81 – Project Extra: Revisiting The Covenant

pexels-photo-459319 Cropped
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In an intriguing episode from February 2018, #73 – Abraham’s Secular Covenant, Bernard Lamborelle discussed his remarkable book, The Covenant: On the Origin of the Abrahamic Faith, by Means of DeificationThis episode,  #81 – Project Extra: Revisiting The Covenant, is an abridged version of a follow-up conversation which was streamed live on Facebook on 6 April 2018 (The Aidan Project Live #3: Revisiting the Covenant). In this bonus podcast audio, Bernard provides a brief summary of his thesis, discusses additional evidence which was not covered in the original podcast episode, and addresses the response to his argument that the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – very likely do have a real story to tell about a covenant, but not a religious one. 

Expanded show notes:

The Aidan Project Live #3: Revisiting the Covenant


Those who are interested in checking out the book can download it for free until 6 May 2018 via Smashwords using code HZ96M. Head to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/766677

You can visit Bernard’s web site at http://www.earthlycovenant.com/ and follow Bernard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/blambore.

The Aidan Project on Facebook
The Aidan Project on Twitter
Join the podcast’s mailing list

#73 – Abraham’s Secular Covenant

sand-1696378_1920 Cropped
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

Abraham is the common patriarch of the three major world religions. Indeed, Abraham was supposedly a man of such faith in God that, when commanded to do so, he would have sacrificed his son, Isaac, to prove his devotion. Such fanciful tales are easily dismissed, but Aidan’s guest, Bernard Lamborelle, argues that the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – very likely do have a real story to tell about a covenant, but not a religious one. Instead, an earthly tale, argues Lamborelle, would later be adapted and obscured until a simple handshake between Abraham and a mortal lord became a story which proclaimed a divine covenant with the almighty. Lamborelle’s industrious research resulted in a book, The Covenant: On the Origin of the Abrahamic Faith, by Means of Deification, which takes readers back to 3,500 years ago, to a time when men of power were viewed as living gods. Using a holistic, literal, and secular interpretation, this historical essay first demonstrates that the Abrahamic narrative from Genesis is far more coherent when considered from the standpoint of a mortal lord alongside the establishment of an earthly, rather than divine, covenant. In this episode, Aidan and Bernard discuss the fascinating reframing of Abraham’s covenant, the implications that the adoption of such an understanding could have for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, and a great deal more, including the battle between the forces of secularism and religious literalism.

Bernard has very kindly made the book available via Smashwords for a period of 30 days following the release of this episode. Head to 
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/766677 and simply enter the code HG64L at the checkout. The offer expires on 16 March 2018.

You can visit Bernard’s web site at http://www.earthlycovenant.com/ and follow Bernard on Twitter at https://twitter.com/blambore. Bernard would be delighted to hear from you.

Expanded show notes:

51cOI-YA9WL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

Bernard Lamborelle, Rehabilitating Sodom in support of the LGBT community.

The Aidan Project Live: Inside Veganism

#71 – Inspiring The Aidan Project

Guest Appearance on Miracles and Atheists

On Thursday 18 January, I appeared as a guest on Miracles and Atheists, a live Facebook show in which believers and non-believers engage in civil discourse. I discussed atheism, my view on miracles, the collision between religion and secular values, Christopher Hitchens, faith healers, and much more. A replay is available – my guest spot begins at around 02:36:00.

For more information on Miracles and Atheists, see https://www.facebook.com/miraclesatheists/.

Follow The Aidan Project on Twitter and/or Facebook for updates on upcoming external appearances.

#68 – Notes on Pascal’s Wager

church-window-window-church-stained-glass-390052 Cropped.jpg
[Problem with the web audio player? Click here for the full range of listening options]

In this edition of The Aidan Project, Aidan examines Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal (1623–62) was a talented French mathematician, physicist, inventor and writer, but he is most famous for his theological work. Pascal’s famous wager argues that it is rational to believe in God, because the benefits of this belief being justified when you die are vast: Entry into heaven, avoidance of hell. By contrast, said Pascal, even if God does not exist, the costs of living as if God does exist are trivial. To not believe in God, therefore, is irrational. Whilst it also means you will never know that God does not exist if He, in fact, does not exist, you risk fiery damnation if He does exist. Your life is a bet, believed Pascal, and, on the balance of probability, there is only one way to place it – on belief.  In a mathematical sense, if we believe in God, and He exists, the rewards are infinite, and if we are wrong, the losses are hardly worth worrying about. If we do not believe in God, but we are wrong, the punishments are potentially infinite. Aidan examines the merits of Pascal’s Wager, and explores its common criticisms. Place your bets.

Further reading:

Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, (London: Transworld, 2006).

Christopher Hitchens, God Is Not Great, (New York: Twelve, 2007).

Paddy McQueen and Hilary McQueen, Key Concepts in Philosophy, (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2010).

Pascal’s Wager, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/pascal-wager/.

Bertrand Russell, What I Believe, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2004 [originally published 1925]).

The Quran, Chapter 29, Verse 46, https://quran.com/29/46-56.

 

Extraordinarily Bad Ideas

python

A scene from the religious satire, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979, directed by Terry Jones.

My latest podcast, Notes on Belief, in which I argue that beliefs matter and are open to reasonable scrutiny.

The phrase, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” was famously offered by Carl Sagan as a response to beliefs formed despite a lack of tangible certification. Christopher Hitchens, likewise, stated that, “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

These quotes typify my approach to unsubstantiated claims and superstitious beliefs. I released a podcast on June 15, Notes on Belief, which was well-received by the majority of those who heard it (and listened to the argument carefully). As I was so grateful to receive such positive feedback, I have decided – in case you missed them – to point out a selection of other Aidan Project podcasts in which irrational religious beliefs are rightly challenged. I am quite sure that more such episodes will follow, as there are no shortage of theocratic outrages deserving criticism, in the past, in the present and, inevitably, in the future.

It is imperative that society tackles the issues surrounding belief honestly. No free pass for religion, ever. My mission is to speak candidly and to challenge abhorrent ideas.

Liberalism does not mean rolling over for fear of causing offence. Liberalism means standing up for decency and veracity in pursuit of a just world, not apologising for the obscenities of others. I want to do something during my fleeting existence that, even in the most minute way, pushes society towards a brighter future. It is a rather modest, microscopic, contribution amongst such a vast array of discourse, but it is my own.

Thank you for your support,
Aidan

t: @theaidanproject
f: facebook.com/theaidanprojectblog
e: theaidanprojectblog@gmail.com

All of the following show links open in a new web browser tab, or you can find all of my previous episodes on iTunes or YouTube.

Notes on Manchester – My thoughts on militant Islam.

Western Downfall: Why Trump Won – In a wide-ranging episode, the issue of belief – both secular and religious – is addressed.

The Art of Terror – How do you win a battle against a theocratic enemy that values death more than the West values life?

Left to Die: Whilst Liberals Slept – The regrettable issue of liberals apologising for obscene religious beliefs and turning on would-be reformers.