Friday, December 26, 2008

The Jesus Project

I've finally collated all my notes and correspondence from the Jesus Project conference held earlier this month in Amherst, New York. Titled "Sources of the Jesus Tradition: An Inquiry," it's goal was to work out (through discussing problems with the sources) what the exact aims of the Jesus Project should be and whether it's principal objective was viable: determining, with sound objective methods, what facts (if any) can be known about the historical Jesus. I've already outlined the administrative basics in my previous entry. Today I'll talk about the philosophy of the conference. Next week I'll talk about what actually went on there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On Radio This Friday

I'll be on live broadcast radio this Friday evening, discussing the origins of Christmas and the historicity of Jesus. It's the new Lowwdown show on KCAA 1050 AM (an NBC affiliate), which hits some of the Riverside market in Southern California (but you can also listen online from their website), with hosts Robert and Loredana (The Legal Diva). Normally I don't do call-in shows anymore, but since this one's broadcasting to a major market (albeit on a minor station) and is relatively mellow and the hosts are nice, I'll see how it goes. The show airs Fridays from 6-7pm (and they do take calls during the show). I'll be on this Friday (December 19), probably not for the whole thing, but maybe the first half-hour or so (the show actually starts around 6:06pm and will have a bunch of intro from the hosts, though that may come up later, since I'm the critical one, as you know). For those who miss it, it should eventually be archived for streaming or downloading (to run the mp3 for that specific show click here).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Loftus & Paolos

I've been reading various books on the side, in odd places where I can't do anything else (like the eye doctor or local eatery). These are books fans have sent or bought for me, which can take my mind off the endless attention to all things Jesus. I appreciate that. I get to books that way that I'd never likely be able to read otherwise. Today I'm going to review two books together, because they have a similar aim yet entirely different background and approach.

I finally finished reading Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity by John Loftus and Irreligion: A Mathematician Explains Why the Arguments for God Just Don't Add Up by John Paulos. Both were released in 2008, although Loftus' book is a substantially revised and altered edition of his 2006 book Why I Rejected Christianity (with new chapters added, some removed, others improved, but some still the same). I read Paolos all through, but I only read select sections of Loftus and skimmed the rest, because Paolos is brief, while Loftus is vast. The one is a renowned mathematician and atheist who finds religious belief simply illogical, and cuts right to the chase, with enjoyable humor and remarkable brevity, in dismissing twelve common arguments for God. The other is an ex-Evangelist (and William Lane Craig protege) who renounced his faith and now provides the complete guide to why, addressing almost every conceivable argument for Evangelical Christianity in extraordinary and sobering detail.