Easter, Ishtar, Eostre and Eggs

Easter, Ishtar, Eostre and Eggs

As I mentioned in my last post, two things we can now be sure the internet will deliver up at Easter are rehashes of the tedious “Jesus never existed” thesis and memes telling us that “Easter is actually pagan!”.  The one above has become one of the most popular in recent years, so much so that its “Ishtar = Easter” claim has taken on internet factoid status. More recently, online New Atheists seem to have finally worked out that the…

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Easter, the Existence of Jesus and Dave Fitzgerald

Easter, the Existence of Jesus and Dave Fitzgerald

As Easter comes around again, it seems the internet will be serving us up two things that we now see every year.  The first is brainless memes telling us that Easter was originally “a pagan fertility festival”, that the word Easter is derived from “the Mesopotamian goddess Ishtar” and that her sacred symbols were rabbits and eggs.  All of which is complete garbage.  But lately this annual irritation has been joined by a new Easter tradition – articles dusting off…

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Cats, the Black Death and a Pope

Cats, the Black Death and a Pope

New Atheists really love their internet memes.  There are whole Facebook groups that seem devoted to nothing more than the posting and exchange of snappy quotes and pithy mockery of religion, all served as an easy-to-share GIF or JPEG, each accompanied by a chorus of approval and agreement in the comments.  These are often quotes from leading atheists or expressions of disbelief at stupid things said or accepted by religious believers, which forms a rich seam of material to be…

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The Great Myths 3: Giordano Bruno was a Martyr for Science

The Great Myths 3: Giordano Bruno was a Martyr for Science

Last month the Italian National Association of Free Thought gathered in the Campo de’Fiori in Rome to commemorate the 417th anniversary of the execution by burning at the stake of Giordano Bruno on that spot on February 17, 1600. The ceremony highlighted Bruno as a free-thinker who ran afoul of dogmatic religious beliefs. But he was also remembered by others as a scientist who died because his rational thought contradicted the superstition of his day and a symbol of an…

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Serious Inquiries Only podcast – Did the Catholic Church Support Hitler?

Serious Inquiries Only podcast – Did the Catholic Church Support Hitler?

Thomas Smith was good enough to have me back on his “Serious Inquiries Only” podcast (formerly “Atheistically Speaking”), this time to tackle the question “Did the Catholic Church Support HItler?“.  Unfortunately we didn’t quite get time to go into the related question of Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust, but I did a further 30 minutes on that topic which Thomas will be making available to his patrons as bonus content.  Since the myth of “Hitler’s Pope” is common in…

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The Great Myths 2: Christmas, Mithras and Paganism

The Great Myths 2: Christmas, Mithras and Paganism

Well, it’s Yuletide and so tis the season to be merry, to buy presents, to queue for ages in airports and to eat too much.  It’s also the season when New Atheists fill their social media feeds with smug memes like these:       How do they know these things about Mithras and December 25th?  Well, they read them in memes on other New Atheists’ Facebook feeds.  Though the fact that this idea was given a boost by the…

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“The Dark Ages” – Popery, Periodisation and Pejoratives

“The Dark Ages” – Popery, Periodisation and Pejoratives

  “When the Pope ruled England, them was called the Dark Ages!” (East London street orator, reported by Herbert Butterfield, 1931) The concept of “the Dark Ages” is central to several key elements in New Atheist Bad History.  One of the primary myths most beloved by many New Atheists is the one whereby Christianity violently suppressed ancient Greco-Roman learning, destroyed an ancient intellectual culture based on pure reason and retarded a nascent scientific and technological revolution, thus plunging Europe into…

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Atheistically Speaking Podcast on Jesus Mythicism

Atheistically Speaking Podcast on Jesus Mythicism

Thomas Smith was kind enough to have me back on his “Atheistically Speaking” podcast for a two part discussion on Jesus Mythicism and why it’s rejected by the vast majority of scholars: Did Jesus Exist? Part One Did Jesus Exist? Part Two Needless to say, some of his audience are not pleased, though others seem more open-minded.    

“Inciting Incident” Podcast on History for Atheists

“Inciting Incident” Podcast on History for Atheists

Al Laiman from the “Inciting Incident” podcast enjoyed my chat with Thomas Smith a few weeks ago and decided to have me as a guest on his show.  Unfortunately our first conversation failed to record, so we tried again last weekend and the podcast is now up.  We cover some of the same ground as I did with Thomas, though I go into a little more detail on the myths around Galileo and the Great Library of Alexandria.  We also…

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Edward T. Babinski Objects

Edward T. Babinski Objects

My interview with Thomas Smith on the “Atheistically Speaking” podcast last week has stirred up an interest in the topics we covered among some of Thomas’ audience.  Inevitably, given that I had to skate over some topics pretty quickly, not everything I was saying seems to have been grasped fully by some listeners.  The part of the conversation on Galileo was very rushed and that is a complex subject, since many New Atheists find it hard to get their head…

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