Inquisitive Minds Podcast Critical Thinking on History, Religion, Politics and Culture

October 26, 2015  
On this week's episode of the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we discuss the characterization of the figure of Satan in the Hebrew Bible. How did the writers of the Jewish scriptures understand evil and its connection to the figure of Satan? What was the role of Satan and how was such a figure related to the character of God? Was Satan always seen as the arch enemy of God or did he progressively morph into an evil character? Did Satan become the personification of the bad side God? These and other questions concerning the figure of Satan are explored in this week's podcast.

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In this episode, we continue last week's discussion on the possible connections between Homer and the gospels. We also look at how several Hebrew Bible stories were imitated by the writers of the story of Jesus. Some of the examples discussed are taken from MacDonald's recent book on imitations of Greek epic in Mark and the works of Luke-Acts.

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This week on the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we discuss two other scarce resources created by religion and mentioned in Hector Avalos' book Fighting Words: (1) Group Privileging and (2) Salvation. The Hebrew Bible promotes the idea that Israel was specifically chosen by God and they were not to mix with other nations. Salvation was also reserved for people who belonged to the group and adhered to its laws and rituals. As with inscripturation and sacred space, group privileging and salvation create violence since religious groups believe they are the chosen ones who have the knowledge to the path of salvation. We will also see how some scholars will try to minimize violence in the Hebrew Bible by referring to what they call the "Greater Good" theory. As of today, we are pleased to welcome Calogero Miceli as co-host on the podcast; his insight and comments will be greatly appreciated.

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In his book Fighting Words. The Origins of Religious Violence, Dr. Avalos explains how inscripturation and sacred space are two scarce resources created by religions, and that such resources often engender violence. This week we discuss inscripturation and sacred space in the context of Judaism and the Hebrew Bible. In this episode we will also revisit two recent events related to our topic. Please note this will be Brice Jones' last episode as co-host of the podcast. Calogero Miceli will be stepping in as regular co-host as of next week. We thank Brice for his great work as co-host and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

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In our new series dedicated to the Religion and Violence, we will be discussing Hector Avalos' relevant book: Fighting Words. The Origins of Religious Violence (Prometheus, 2005). Is religion is prone to violence? What are different theories of violence and how does one define religion? Is religion the cause of all violence? If not, what are the differences between religious violence and secular violence? According to Avalos, religion causes violence when it creates scarce resources. As a result, the benefits of that religion are not equally distributed among everyone, and this is what essentially lies at the root of religious violence.

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