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

This week on Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we talk about some of the recent events taking place around the globe. With so much happening all at once we discuss a number of issues including the recent elections in France and South Korea, nuclear armament, the investigation into potential US electoral corruption, healthcare, and so much more.

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This week on the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we examine the problems with hasty conclusions and imprecise definitions. As news came of the identity of the suspect responsible for the bomb threat at Concordia University on March 1, 2017, people realized that a lesson against hasty conclusions and analysis needed to be learned. This unfortunate episode and others like it comes at a time when many feel a growing atmosphere of discrimination against Muslims and other religious groups. This has forced some Canadian parliamentarians to propose a motion against Islamophobia and systemic racism. In this episode, we discuss how this motion uncovered the uncomfortable reality that Canadians and Quebecers are quite divided over the issue of anti-Muslim sentiment and what some see as the threat of the Islamization of Canada.

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In this week's episode of the Inquisitive Minds Podcast, we discuss two recent events which happened in the Province of Quebec: a shooting at an Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City on January 29th and a bomb threat at Concordia University on March 1st. We try to understand the possible motivations behind such acts and the implications this might have on Quebec society in general.

 

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This week we continue our discussion about the advent of Donald Trump as president of the U.S. We will once again focus on the content of Trump's inaugural speech and say a few words about the culture of "alternate facts" that has permeated the politics of this new White House administration.

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This week we discuss the advent of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America. Many were surprised and shocked to hear that he had won the election and still really wonder why people voted for him. In this episode, we will try to understand the implications of this election for the American people and the rest of the world. We will end with a few remarks concerning the religious content of the inauguration and Trump's speech.

 

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This week again, we continue with our topic on "Assaulting Cultural Heritage: ISIS's Fight to Destroy Diversity in Iraq and Syria." A conference on this theme was organized by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) and held at Concordia University on September 25-26, 2016. This episode focuses on the Christian tradition and notes some of the recent destructive actions brought about by ISIS from a comparative perspective. We end with a few words on the shared apocalyptic worldview embraced by some religious extremist groups.

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In the next two podcasts, we discuss some aspects of a recent conference entitled: Assaulting Cultural Heritage: ISIS's Fight to Destroy Diversity in Iraq and Syria. The event was organized by the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS) and was held at Concordia University on September 25-26, 2016. These episodes will focus on a paper given during the first panel of the conference on ISIS and the Intellectual Roots of Assaulting Cultural Heritage.

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This last episode on Whitmarsh's Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World focuses on atheism in the Roman Empire. The rise of Rome brought with it the belief that the Empire's existence was the result of a divine mandate. Some opposing voices were raised against this idea of divine providence. Atheistic arguments circulated through various doxographies written mostly by people opposing non-believers. These texts give us insight into how disbelievers argued somewhat successfully against theistic perspectives. As Rome embraced Christianity, rulers such as Theodosius I (379-395 CE) established that it was now insufficient to simply adopt the right religion; one also needed to adhere to the right theological position on the right religion. Codex Theodosianus goes as far as treating "heresy" (which was now clearly understood as an incorrect theological position) as crime against the state. According to this law, "any crime committed against divine religion is treated as an aggression against everyone".

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In this third episode dedicated to Tim Whitmarsh's book, Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World, we review his section on the Hellenistic Era where kings were sometimes worshiped as "gods". Some philosophers, however, were skeptical of such ideas and adopted an agnostic position toward the existence of gods. Epicureans, on the other hand,believed in gods but not in their involvement in the world, and since the gods were different in matter and not part of this world, they even thought that there existed a plurality of universes; a concept similar to what is now referred to as "multiverse".


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We continue our discussion of Whitmarsh's Battling the the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World. The second part of his book deals with the atheism in Classical Athens (5th-4th centuries BCE). In this episode, some important figures of that time period such as Thucydides (author of the Peloponnesian War), Protagoras, Democritus, Aristophanes, Euripides, Plato, as well as Anaxagoras, Diogoras of Melos, Socrates, and Theodorus of Cyrene and their impact on atheistic thought are reviewed.

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