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

In our third and last podcast dedicated to the "The Second Wave of the New Atheism. A Manifesto for Secular Scriptural Scholarship and Religious Studies", we will answer as to why the authors have framed their manifesto in the context of the New Atheism. This question was asked several times by some of our listeners. We would like to discuss how Avalos and Gagné respond to people who think the manifesto should not be associated to the New Atheism.
   
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This week again, we examine the manifesto written by Hector Avalos and André Gagné entitled: "The Second Wave of the New Atheism. A Manifesto for Secular Scriptural Scholarship and Religious Studies." We invite scholars of religion or scriptural studies who share some of the ideas and would like to become signatories, to contact the authors at the information found on the manifesto's website accessible here.


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Happy New Year to all our listeners! We are back with a new episode of the Inquisitive Minds Podcast. This week, we discuss Part 1 of a manifesto written by Hector Avalos and André Gagné entitled: "The Second Wave of the New Atheism. A Manifesto for Secular Scriptural Scholarship and Religious Studies." The piece was first published on January 7, 2016 on the Bible and Interpretation website. We now have a permanent page where you can find the manifesto and the signatories who have recently endorsed it (read the statement here). Scholars of religion or scriptural studies who share some of the ideas and would like to become signatories, can contact the authors at the information found on the website.

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This is Part 2 of our interview with Dr. Hector Avalos (Iowa State University). In this week's episode, Prof. Avalos answers a wide array of questions. He shared his thoughts on the Historical Jesus, health care and the rise of Christianity, scarce resource theory in relation to religion and violence, the role and responsibilities of biblical and religion scholars in today's world, the end of biblical studies, and his future research projects, and many more topics. Once again, listeners will appreciate Dr. Avalos' perspective on such crucial issues.

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In our series on atheism, we examine the question of non-belief in Antiquity. In the first part of this episode, we review Jan N. Bremmer's article in the Cambridge Companion to Atheism on the various ways certain philosophers spoke and defined atheism and/or agnosticism. We then discuss whether or not human beings can be moral without belief in god/gods. Are atheists immoral because of their unbelief? Is good behavior only possible for those who embrace religion? Can non-believers also live meaningful lives or is meaning only to be found through religion? Do people really need to rely on some kind of transcendent reality or supernatural entity(ies) to find true purpose? Ancient and modern critiques argue that morality and meaning do not require one to adopt a religious outlook on life.

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This week's podcast is dedicated to the social impact of atheism. Some people today are "coming out" as atheists and speak about how religion has negatively affected their lives. They also advocate for a complete separation of government and religion. In the past few years, we have seen the rise of what some call the "New Atheists". Often labelled as radical and outspoken, these individuals have made a tremendous impact on the lives of millions people through their writings; for example, just think of the influential works of the famous "Four Horsemen": Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, and Harris. Many other prominent writers, bloggers, and vloggers have now followed their lead. But what exactly is atheism? How does it differ from theism and other forms of beliefs or non-beliefs? These are some of the questions we address in this episode.
 
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