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Episode 36: Raphael Lataster – “there was no Jesus, there is no God”

16 Nov

Gabe and Erik have the opportunity hang out with Raphael Lataster and talk about his book there was no Jesus, there is no God. Erik is awash with nostalgia, remembering the doctrines and teachings of his youth spent in the Catholic church, meanwhile Gabe relishes in the opportunity to pick Raphael’s brain.

The discussion was long and covered a lot, but was a ton of fun. Brace yourself for a huge endorphin rush.

Listen to this episode

The discussion is, like the book, (kind of) broken into two parts, following some intro stuff. Here’s how it went down:

  • Raphael’s view of religion as a friendly skeptic/atheist/pantheist
  • Usage of the word atheist
  • People lowering their standards of evidence for beliefs regarding their religion

Part 1: Jesus and the historical method

  • How the gospels are dependent on each other
  • Non-existant sources used as evidence of Jesus’ existence
  • Bart Ehrman’s views on the historical Jesus
  • The lack of primary sources for Jesus
  • The historical Jesus and the criteria of authenticity used by biblical scholars
    • Criterion of coherence: “…as it is traditionally understood, judges as authentic those elements which fit well with what has been established about Jesus by the other criteria”
    • Criterion of embarrassment: “…in which accounts embarrassing to the author are presumed to be true because the author would have no reason to invent an embarrassing account about himself”
    • Criterion of vividness: events described in rich, vivid detail, are considered more authentic
    • Criterion of least distinctiveness: “…relies on the assumption that when stories are passed from person to person, the peripheral, least distinct elements may be distorted, but the central element remains unchanged”
    • Criteria of Greek and Aramaic context: assuming the reliability of events taking place in a Greek or Aramaic context
  • Mythic hero archetypes, and Pagan precursors to Jesus
  • The apostle Paul, and ways of understanding his writings
  • Diversity of early Christian communities
  • The field of biblical studies not responding to criticisms
  • History as a probabilistic study

Part 2: Philosophical arguments for the existence of God

  • Classical evidentialist arguments for the existence of God, as presented by William Lane Craig
  • The kalam cosmological argument: an exercise in armchair cosmology
  • How most of these arguments don’t get you anywhere near the Christian God
  • How seriously are classical arguments taken by philosophers?
  • A peek at Raphael’s upcoming PhD thesis and book

Books referenced in this episode:

Check out some more of Raphael’s stuff:

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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Guest, New Episode

 

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