Bart Ehrman Robert Price Debate Preview

We had a chance to speak with all of the speakers that will be present at the Mythinformation Conference III to hear what the are looking forward to at the event.

We spoke with Allie Jackson CEO of Atheist Republic, Dan Barker Co-President of FFRF, Matt Dilahunty of the Atheist Experience Show, Miguel Conner host of Aeon Byte Gnostic Radio, Thomas Smith host of the Atheistically Speaking Podcast, Kristyn Whitaker Hood social media director of Mythicist Milwaukee, and of course Bart Ehrman and Robert Price.

Listen to the podcast to get a sneak peek on what each speaker will bring to the table at the conference and what they are looking forward to during the debate. Did Jesus exist? We will finally witness the best possible arguments on both sides of this debate live in Milwaukee! If you haven't purchased tickets yest, you can get the in person tickets or live stream tickets here.

 

Atheism 101 Podcast Hosts Matt and Tim

 

The Atheism 101 Podcast contains questionable taste, bad jokes and good research. Your hosts will usually agree but when they don’t be prepared for petty name calling, whining and desperate call backs to poorly remembered to desperately googled research. They are human after all. Feel free to call them on their bullshit, but if you do be prepared for some blow back.

Matt and Tim of the Atheism 101 podcast join us to discuss how and why they created the podcast. Matt and Tim share how much work goes into the research every week. They pride themselves on having accurate information. As a result of being close friends, they are very competitive and constantly challenge each other on various topics. This is well documented in their podcasts. Don't miss this interview! 

A Satanist Group that Doesn't Believe in Satan

Co-founder Doug Mesner and chapter head Nikki Olden Moungo join us for a discussion on the The Satanic Temple (TST). They explain the mission of the organization and how they utilize the Satan figure as a way to promote reason and secularism.

The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Politically aware, Civic-minded Satanists and allies in The Satanic Temple have publicly opposed The Westboro Baptist Church, advocated on behalf of children in public school to abolish corporal punishment, applied for equal representation where religious monuments are placed on public property, provided religious exemption and legal protection against laws that unscientifically restrict women’s reproductive autonomy, exposed fraudulent harmful pseudo-scientific practitioners and claims in mental health care, and applied to hold clubs alongside other religious after school clubs in schools besieged by proselytizing organizations.

The Satanic Temple announce headquarters opening in Salem, MA The Satanic Temple will open its doors to the public on September 23rd, 2016 at its Salem, MA headquarters, which also serve as an art gallery/witch-hunt museum SALEM, MA September 14, 2016 – The Satanic Temple (TST) is announcing the opening of its international headquarters in Salem, MA on September 23rd, 2016. The headquarters resides at 64 Bridge Street in an old Victorian house built in 1882 that was once used as a funeral home.

African Americans for Humanism w/ Norm Allen Jr.

Norm R. Allen Jr. was the first and only full-time African American secular humanist activist traveling the world promoting secular humanism and skepticism. Norm Allen is also the president of NP Solutions, a writing business headquartered in Buffalo, NY. In Africa, he helped establish and/or strengthen 72 humanist groups in 30 African nations.

He founded African Americans for Humanism (AAH) in 1989 and led the organization until 2010. While he was with the Center for Inquiry – the organization under which the Council for Secular Humanism, AAH and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry were based – he was an editor with Free Inquiry magazine. He also edited the AAH Examiner, the quarterly journal of African Americans for Humanism.

Allen is the editor of two groundbreaking books, African –American Humanism: An Anthology and The Black Humanist Experience: An Alternative to Religion. He has written numerous articles for magazines, newsletters, books, and encyclopedias. He has been featured in media such as C-Span, BBC Radio, National Public Radio and the O-Reilly Factor.

Allen joined the Institute for Science and Human Values, led by the late humanist pioneer Paul Kurtz, in 2010. He headed their international outreach efforts and edited their journal, The Human Prospect, until 2013.

Tibetan Buddhism 101 W/ Dr. David DiValerio

Dr. David DiValerio is an Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies program and the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His major publications include "The Holy Madmen of Tibet" and the "Life of the Madman of Ü"

His primary research interest is the history of Tibetan Buddhism, with a focus on the Kagyü sect. He is also interested in the institutional and literary histories of the other sects of Tibetan Buddhism, the tantric traditions of India, religious asceticism, and sainthood. He works mainly in classical and modern Tibetan.

He is currently working on a monograph about long-term meditative retreat in Tibet. This study focuses on individual yogins’ relationships with society, with each other, with the material world, with food, and with their own bodies, and the ways those relationships are transformed in the course of undertaking extreme ascetic trials. This study is built upon close readings of Tibetan retreat manuals, descriptions of tantric practices, religious biographies, poems relating meditative experiences, letters, and more.

David takes us through his firsthand experience with Tibetan Buddhism and his experience of living in India, Nepal, and Tibet. We discuss the difference between Buddhism in the west vs. the East. We also get a glimpse into not well known tantric practices. Don’t miss this interview! 

The Funny Side of Critical Thinking w/ Ian Harris

Ian Harris joins us for a very funny and insightful loo into critical thought. We are huge fans of Ian and the message behind his comedy. He joins us for a podcast discussion on why he is an atheist and the importance of bringing this aspect into his comedy. His bio is so impressive we wanted to keep it in its entirety below: 

When a comedian is compared to Lenny Bruce, Bill Maher, and George Carlin, it means he has something that others don't: a risky, cerebral style of comedy that slices as it skewers. Requiring an unwavering skepticism in the face of religion, the paranormal, astrology, and the apocalypse, Ian Harris's paint-stripping wit ensures belly laughs while also ruining his chances of being invited to a church potluck. Fortunately for him, he has plenty of other places to be, including headlining comedy clubs, colleges and theatres around the world. A top headliner for over 20 years,

Ian has been named #25 on Entertainment Journal's TOP 100 COMEDIANS list, was a semi-finalist in Comedy Central's “Laugh Riots Competition” and dubbed “Top Character Comedian in Town” by Backstage West.

One of the top Voice Over artists in Hollywood, Ian has provided the voice to clients such as FOX, Disney XD, DirecTV, Bravo, Fuel, Lays and Full Tilt Poker. Ian also narrated the music driven show “Mad Genius” on Fuse TV, Scripps “Top 3 of Everything” and Pepsi/Twitter’s “Live for Now”. His remarkable talent has resulted in Ian being regularly seen and heard in sketches on “JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE”, COMEDY CENTRAL, BONES, Playboy Radio, SiriusXM and on DirecTV’s new MMA drama, “KINGDOM”. Ian's hour special "CRITICAL & THINKING", which AXS TV called "a truly masterful hour of wit and derisive jabbing," can be seen currently on Hulu and iTunes. Ian’s comedy is cutting edge, thought provoking and cleverly crafted; with a unique point of view, Ian delivers a style of stand-up all his own.

The Eric Andre Show Experience

Mythicist Milwaukee (MM) team members have spent the past four days on the road in support of comedy TV show "The Eric André Show." MM helped the show's tour manager line up guests for their live shows in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan - putting atheist activists and mythicists in front of ranch-dressing-loving crowds of up to 1,500 and connecting them with two very well-connected actors. Activist Melissa Pugh and mythicist Dr. Richard Carrier were among the guests the MM team lined up for the show.

Now in its fourth season, The Eric Andre Show is a late night talk show on the Adult Swim network. A parody of low-budget, 1980’s public access talk shows, the series is hosted by comedian Eric André (Man Seeking Woman, 2 Broke Girls) along with comedian Hannibal Buress (30 Rock, Broad City, Neighbors), who serves as André's deadpan sidekick.

MM's president and co-founder, Sean Fracek, has been reaching out to the tour's managers to find collaboration opportunities after he learned that André was an open atheist. Penn Jillette even had a cameo on Season 4 of the show (chanting, "Magic, Magic, Atheism!"). The tour's manager took MM up on the offer - asking for support to find guests for their upcoming shows. “This event marks another major step in the continual transition of secularism into the modern mainstream and popular culture.  The Eric Andre Show is bringing to new and younger audiences a unique and creative way to collaborate with atheists with humor but without ridicule.,” says MM co-founder Fritz Blandon.

Sean Fracek, Hannibal Buress and Fritz Blandon backstage in Milwaukee at The Eric Andre Show Live.

Sean Fracek, Hannibal Buress and Fritz Blandon backstage in Milwaukee at The Eric Andre Show Live.

Melissa Pugh, Eric Andre, Fritz Blandon and Sean Fracek backstage in Minneapolis at The Eric Andre Show Live

Melissa Pugh, Eric Andre, Fritz Blandon and Sean Fracek backstage in Minneapolis at The Eric Andre Show Live

Melissa Pugh, grassroots and outreach coordinator for the United Coalition of Reason, was a guest on the Minneapolis show.  “It was so much fun. Eric made the point to highlight the fact that there are atheist activists out there, which brings this topic to the attention of these younger audiences who are more-often-than-not, non-religious. His antics may be whacky, but just having atheists guests on the show gives this audience proof that they are not alone in their non-belief.”

 

Dr. Richard Carrier, historian, author, atheist activist and leading scholar on the Christ Myth Theory, appeared on the Milwaukee show. “Andre's show is a parody, and as such, intentionally subverts the corporatized nature of talk shows as mutual promotion festivals. He does everything possible to prevent guests from using the show as a venue for their own promotional goals. And yet, even in that environment, a huge, young audience is nevertheless being exposed to the very idea that atheists exist as scholars and authors, can endure a roasting with aplomb, and aren't ‘above’ being entangled in the stage humor of avant-garde artists. But even more subversively, we're actually acknowledged as existing by the whole production, side by side with the same status as artists and celebrities. Notably, of all the jokes told at my expense on stage, none of them made fun of my being an atheist. I was as humanized as everyone else who ever occupies that same hot-seat.”

The Occult Foundation of Scientology w/ Tony Ortega

Tony Ortega is a journalist who was formerly the editor of The Village Voice. He's written about Scientology since 1995, and in May 2015 released a book about Scientology's harassment journalist Paulette Cooper titled 'The Unbreakable Miss Lovely.' 

Tony continues to break the big stories that center around Scientology. He is relentless in his efforts to expose the very sinister treatment of the Scientology members by its leadership as well as the lies that Scientology leaders hide behind.  He consistently updates his website with the new articles and information aimed at what actually goes on in Scientology here.

He continues to monitor breaking developments in the Scientology world from an undisclosed location in an underground bunker that he shares with four cats.

During the interview Tony explains who L. Ron Hubbard was in reality vs. the L. Ron Hubbard Scientology sells to their members. We discuss the connection between L. Ron Hubbard and occult leaders Aleister Crowley and Jack Parsons and the antichrist baby that L. Ron Hubbard was in charge of producing. After this interview you should have no doubt in your mind that Scientology was developed out of concepts used in the occult.

Tony also explains how and why Scientology was breaking into major U.S. government buildings and how they got away with it for years. He also explains how David Miscavige takes over Scientology after the death of L. Ron Hubbard. You will learn how David has escalated the mistreatment of their members and leaders and continues to go after anyone that speaks out against the church to this day. This is a must listen interview with Tony Ortega! 

Promoting Skepticism Through Comedy w/ Willie Barcena

Comedian Willie Barcena is not afraid to take on religion as a stand-up comedian. In his 2016 Netflix special “The Truth Hurts” he challenges the existence of God and the accuracy of the Bible.

Willie Barcena is a comedy veteran that never shies away from a challenge. Willie’s talent has garnered him 12 appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” more than any other Latino Comedian in the history of the Tonight Show. Jay even invited Willie to perform for the troops in Afghanistan. Barcena helped provide much-needed laughter to that part of the world. 

Willie has appeared on many TV shows including: “Moesha,” “The Wayans Brothers,” and he was chosen to be the host of the popular Si-Tv production “Latino Laugh Festival – The Show.” He’s also made multiple appearances on tours such as “Que Locos,” “Latino Laugh Festival,” “Montreal’s Just for Laughs,” and “Crown Royal Latin All Stars Comedy Explosion.” Willie had his one hour Comedy Central which was received with rave reviews.

Willie joined us to discuss his career as a comedian and how hard it has been to challenge the stereotype of a Latino comic. Willie is no stranger to adversity. In his comedy he challenges religion, race and politics. Don’t miss this very funny and insightful interview with Willie Barcena! 

A Summer Camp for Reason w/ Amanda K. Metskas

Amanda K. Metskas is the executive director of Camp Quest Inc. She has been involved with Camp Quest since 2003, and served on the board of directors from 2004-2007. Amanda became executive director when Camp Quest, Inc. hired her as its first staff person in January 2008. As executive director, Amanda oversees the growth and development of Camp Quest. Amanda holds an M.A. in political science from The Ohio State University, and a B.A. in international relations and psychology from Brown University.

Amanda joined us for a podcast interview to discuss her work with Camp Quest. Amanda was featured at the Reason Rally ’16 Convention and spoke about the amazing work she is doing with the summer camp for atheists, humanists, secularists etc. What are the goals for a summer camp that revolves around reason? Make sure to listen to this interview to find out!  

Are Religious Courts on the Rise? w/ Maryam Namazie

Maryam Namazie is a political activist, campaigner and blogger. She is an atheist and the Co-Founder of The Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain.

Born in Iran, and leaving in 1980 after the Iranian Revolution was expropriated by the Islamists, she began her human rights activism via refugee work in the Sudan & Turkey.  These efforts won her the Julia B Friedman Humanitarian award and the International Rescue Committee medal in the late 1980’s.  Her passion for freedom & human rights won her many more awards than we have room for in this blog.

She has spoken at countless events regarding women rights, free expression, Islamism, and secularism – and has been interviewed by all the major media news outlets. She’s an advisor to the Raif Badawi Foundation for Freedom She is the Spokesperson for “One Law for All” and “Equal Rights Now” campaigns. She also hosts the television program “Bread & Roses TV”

Maryam took a break out of her very busy schedule to join us for a podcast interview. We discuss the practices and negative effects of the Sharia Court system in the UK. She also shares with us the work she is doing with the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. Maryam Namazie is truly an inspirational leader that is challenging the negative impact that religion has on people that do not have a voice. Do not miss this interview! 

Membership Spotlight on...Ex-Jehovah's Witness, Daniel Wiebe

Wiebe and Walter Reed, aka Killah Priest at the Mythinformation II VIP After-Party. 

Daniel Wiebe has been making up for lost time.

“I think I have learned more in the last two years than I did in the previous thirty-six,” he says.

Wiebe grew up an only child in a Jehovah’s Witness family in Wisconsin. His education was filtered through the church. He now can read about philosophy and the sciences.

“I was raised with a religious education that was largely based on deconstructing the beliefs of other religions,” says Wiebe. “It’s incredibly liberating to be able to continue that process now in seeing where the beliefs I grew up with came from.”

Wiebe and David Fitzgerald at Mythinformation II VIP After-Party, Oct 2015

He says he was indoctrinated to believe Jehovah’s Witnesses was “the one and only organization that had God’s approval.”

Wiebe was baptized at 16 years old.

“It was always understood that leaving the religion after my baptism would mean leaving God, my family, and my entire social circle,” says Wiebe.

At 24, he began having doubts about his beliefs. Over the next decade he says he experienced a “growing existential panic.” He exited the religion in September 2014 knowing his beliefs were a lie.

“It was like waking up from a dream, and as the dream ended all the relationships I had in that dream ended as well,” says the now 38-year-old.

Sam Harris was helpful in his deconversion by pointing out the absurdity of religion.  Today, he is reading more scholarly literature.

“I’m like a sponge soaking up information related to comparative religious studies,” he says.

The first Mythinformation Conference brought Wiebe and his wife, Emily, to Mythicist Milwaukee.

“I looked at Emily and said, ‘These are my people,;” he says. “Becoming a member was the next logical step.”

Wiebe says the Mythinformation Conferences and Buzzed Belief debates are important to educating society.

“I am proud to support it,” he says.

Want to enjoy member benefits such as the many Member-Only parties?? Become a member.

 

The Effects of Child Indoctrination w/ Dr. Bill Zingrone

Dr. Bill Zingrone joins us on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

Dr. Bill Zingrone is a college instructor and secular activist with a PhD in developmental psychology and research interests in cognitive development and evolution, with a driving motivation to dispel outdated religious based ideas about human nature that are ingrained in the folk beliefs of our modern culture. 

He is a very active member of the secular movement in Illinois. Bill joins us to discuss his upcoming book. He also explains to us what negative effects child indoctrination can have on children and why this is not a good practice. He discusses his role as the Chair of the Secular Coalition of Illinois, and how and why people should support this initiative.  You can find out more about his work and his upcoming projects on his website.

Jacob Woelfel Speaks Batman & Jesus, Holy Shit

You may wonder how one becomes a Bat-Priest.

For Jacob Woelfel, it started 12 years ago in high school when he met Jozef K. Richards.

“The next thing I knew I was just being a part of what he was doing,” said Woelfel.

At the time, Richards was already working on “Friday Night Weekly” and other film projects.

“He is ambitious, there’s no way around that,” Woelfel said.

When Richards asked him to take the Bat-Priest role, he thought it was interesting, but there was reluctance.

“I really wished I could do something a little more serious,” he said. “And then it turned out that, hey, this actually is pretty darn serious.”

Besides the depth of the film, there was another aspect that surprised him.

“I’d never thought to compare the two things, at the very least Batman and Jesus. Usually you see the comparison of Superman and Jesus...since there’s so many biblical themes in that comic and that cartoon,” Woelfel said.

Woelfel is also featured in the “Holy Shit” Bible satire series. His favorite moments from the show are both from the latest episode, Top 10 Killers in the Bible.”

“Kill the babies. That makes me laugh every time. It’s so strongly written and it shows such a clear, I guess, hypocrisy of ‘How dare you do that thing? Let’s do that thing’,”

The other is a more serious moment at the end.

“That whole monologue, I thought, was very powerful and you can see that [Jozef] wasn’t acting. He feels this way and it comes out that way. It’s brilliant,” said Woelfel.

Local Promotion at the Newaukee Night Market

“Answer a question, win a prize! Free bubbles!”

This is not the sound of a carnie recruiting customers. It is Mythicist Milwaukee promoting Batman & Jesus and the upcoming Buzzed Belief debate. The team regularly steps out onto the streets of downtown Milwaukee to meet the community for trivia and prizes.

Newaukeeans answered questions about Batman and Jesus to win a prize from the mystery bag. Participants enjoyed the option of taking bubbles over the mystery prize. It was a tough choice, but the bubbles prevailed as the more popular choice. The team receives a lot of positive feedback from the people at the market, especially considering that they are spreading the Jesus Myth theory.

Of course, Mythos the Minotaur was in full force, dancing most of the night and taking pictures with fans. He is popular!

For everyone in the area, find us during the next Newaukee Night Market.

Share Your Support for Dr. Richard Carrier

Link to Dr. Carrier's blog "Apology and Going Forward

From Dr. Richard Carrier:

Many people have told me they don't find what's being said about me comports with their experience, and asked how they can tell their story, of how they've seen me behave or how I've behaved with them. I'm astonished by how unlike my actual behavior has been to what's described, too, so I definitely appreciate data on that.

Mythicist Milwaukee has agreed to help with this. If you prefer to remain anonymous, to avoid harassment or being outed, you can send what you want published by Facebook private message to their press manager, Kristyn Whitaker Hood. She will be able to verify you're a real person that way, and will publish your story, without your name attached, through the Mythicist Milwaukee website, sometime later this week.

They will protect your identity. If you want to publish openly, then please, feel free to post your story online, on Facebook or anywhere, and post or tag it to me or my wall. Kristyn will collect all those links and publish them, too.

High-Infidelity w/ Reginald Finley

Reginald Finley aka The Infidel Guy joins us on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

Reginald Finley aka The Infidel Guy joins us on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

From 1999 to 2012, The Infidel Guy, aka Reginald Finley, created orignal media featuring programs covering theology, philosophy, and science. He is currently a science popularizer, biology educator, and genetic genealogist.

Over 500 programs were conducted before the program's end. Reginald Finley now spends his time advocating for the improvement of the general public's critical thinking skills, as well as fostering the public's understanding and acceptance of science.

How to Keep the Church and State Separate w/ Andrew Seidel

Andrew Seidel Joins Us on the Mythicist Milwaukee Show

Andrew Seidel joins us to discuss the current projects that the Freedom From Religion Foundation is working on. He explains how busy they have been with the new Ark , built by young Earth creationist Ken Ham in Kentucky.  He covers many successes that FFRF has had in various states including, having the Kansas Police department agree to remove “Romans 13:4” decal from their police vehicles.  

Andrew also gives us a sneak preview into his upcoming book that will focus on whether or not the U.S. was founded as a Christian nation. If you ever wondered what FFRF does and why this organization is so important please listen to this interview!

Andrew Seidel graduated cum laude from Tulane University with a B.S. in neuroscience and environmental science and magna cum laude from Tulane University Law School, where he was awarded the Haber J. McCarthy Award for excellence in environmental law. 

He studied human rights and international law at the University of Amsterdam and traveled the world on Semester at Sea. In May of 2011, Andrew completed his Master of Laws at Denver University Sturm College of Law with a 4.0 GPA and was awarded the Outstanding L.L.M. Award.

He has written a book on International Human Rights Law and his essay on the role of religion in government and the founding of our nation placed second in the FFRF's 2010 graduate student essay contest. Andrew is a former Grand Canyon tour guide and accomplished nature photographer; his work has been displayed in galleries in Colorado, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and Maryland. He joined the FFRF staff as a constitutional consultant in November 2011.

Another Gateway to Reason w/ Thomas True

Gateway to Reason 2016 is happening! Thomas True joins us to discuss the second installment of the Gateway to Reason conference that is taking place in St. Louis, MO on August 12-14, 2016.

This three day event will be hosting nationally known secular names such as David Silverman, Dr. Darrel Ray, Keith Lowell Jensen, Steve Hill, Susan Corbett, David McAfee, Nathan Phelps, Stephanie Guttormson, Andrea Desky, D. J. Grothe, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, Matt Dillahunty, William Poire, James Croft, Emery Emery & Heather Henderson, Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Rebecca Hensler, Mandisa Thomas, Ryan Bell and more!

The Mythicist Milwaukee team will have representatives in St. Louis for this exciting conference. Use the codes: dogmadebate or mythicistMKE to save $15 of the general admission price until the day of the conference. Make sure to reserve your tickets and book your hotel today!

Hosts of The Scathing Atheist Take Podcasting to a New Level

Noah and Heath from “The Scathing Atheist Podcast” join us on the “Mythicist Milwaukee Show”

During this interview we discuss many atheistic topics such as Ken Ham’s Ark, the Reason Rally, and much more. We find out how The Scathing Atheist team met and why they started the podcast. We also touch on the topic of the mythicist position and discuss whether or not it is a benefit to the overall atheist movement.

The Scathing Atheist podcast is a very witty and well produced podcast that keeps you up to date on anything in the atheist world that is worth knowing. This show is jam packed with very funny and original segments and sketches. The Scathing Atheist team is a very creative and intelligent group of individuals that keep you entertained all the way through each podcast.

The team also hosts the God Awful Movies podcast, where they watch and review various religious movies. This podcast also demonstrates the team’s incredibly talented comedic skills. Imagine a movie critic show with no filter that doesn’t hold back from ripping apart bad movies, with an atheistic bent.