I’m once again only posting an update in response to another podcast appearance – but it’s a little different this time.
A few months ago David at The Graceful Atheist podcast reached out to me about doing an episode after I had endorsed his show in an earlier post. I put it off for a while but then in early April my dad suddenly passed, and I realized that doing the show might be a helpful step in the grieving process – for me, and possibly others. You can listen to the episode here.
As hinted at in the podcast, I don’t know what the future holds for this blog. My dad was a force for good in large part because of his faith, not in spite of it. I don’t want to participate in potentially taking that away from anybody, so I don’t expect to be engaging with apologetic type content in the future. But I also don’t want to bury the past, so I don’t foresee taking anything down. I don’t know what the path forward here might look like, but I do know that I want to error on the side of building up, not tearing down.
Apparently new blog posts are now dependent on me appearing on Dale’s “Real Seeker” podcast. I joined Dale this morning to interview Dr. Bruce Greyson about his Near-Death Experience (NDE) research and his upcoming book. I thought it went well and appreciated the tone of the show and content that Dr. Greyson shared. There is no doubt that people are having these experiences and are genuinely transformed by them, but this hasn’t yet convinced me that there’s an afterlife – though I’m certainly interested in learning more and will probably read the book when it comes out. I did have one unasked question that I left as a comment on Dale’s post, so hopefully Dr. Greyson will be kind enough to share his thoughts on that.
I’ll also take advantage of this rare blog post to pitch a relatively new genre of podcasts that I have discovered. When one dives into the God debate online, it doesn’t take long to discover all the ridicule, distrust, and derogatory memes coming from both sides of the fence. So it has been refreshing to see what appears to be a rise of content that espouses a more reconciliatory perspective on the loss of faith and which embraces the positive aspects of the religious life. If that sounds appealing to you, I recommend you check out the following podcasts:
The Graceful Atheist – David usually interviews somebody about their deconversion experience, or about the loss of faith in general. He is always very respectful toward believers and maintains a high degree of epistemic humility.
Humanize Me – Bart Campolo – exvangelical and son of Tony Campolo – hosts a podcast about “building great relationships, cultivating wonder, and making things better for other people”.
When Belief Dies – Explores doubt and deconversion from a real-time, personal perspective.
Reenchantment – “Daniel Lev Shkolnik is a Humanist looking for deeper, more meaningful ways to live as an atheist. Each week, he dives into ancient wisdom traditions and modern psychology to find fresh ways of making sense of our place in the universe.”
As much as I would like to publish content here more frequently I don’t see that ramping up any time soon. There is a lot of competition for my time in the foreseeable future, but I’ll try to put up something every once in a while to keep things from getting too stale. Let me know what you thought of the NDE show, and if you have any other suggestions that would fit into the podcast genre noted above.
I have made my debut appearance on a podcast, joining Dale Glover and Robert L. White on Dale’s “Real Seeker Ministries” podcast. Dale was the co-host of Skeptics and Seekers and has since moved on to do his own thing, and Robert has a blog and podcast focused primarily on presenting his epistemology (I also recently interacted with Robert regarding a particular miracle claim that he had raised when he was previously on Dale’s show).
The topic of discussion was consciousness. We covered a lot of ground and the flow was largely organized around various arguments that Dale had previously presented for and against dualism and physicalism. Having now listened back to the podcast, I am reasonably content with my contribution even though the real-time nature of the format presented a new challenge for me. It was a pleasant discussion and I’ll be interested to hear whether there are any follow-up thoughts or questions from those who manage to make it through the two and half hours. Enjoy!
These days there is a wealth of knowledge to be passively acquired by listening to various podcasts. I recently added a few more to my rotation and upon surveying the collection I felt like the subset of podcasts that deal with Biblical studies and related topics are worth highlighting. For whatever reason I find the topic fascinating and enjoy discovering all the insights that you would never hear coming from the pulpit. So without further ado…
Amatuer Exegesis – “A podcast exploring the most read and least understood anthology the world has ever known”. Excellent series by The Amatuer Exegete that focuses on uncovering what the Biblical author’s really intended with their texts. The first season just completed.
New Testament Review – A very informative and well done podcast in which two Duke PhD candidates review influential New Testament scholarship. I only discovered this a few weeks ago and this has constituted the entirety of my podcast listening since then as I have been catching up on the full back catalog.
NT Pod – Podcast by Duke professor Mark Goodacre about the New Testament and Christian origins. There isn’t a consistent release schedule with this, but there’s a substantial back catalog you can work through.
Bart Ehrman Blog Podcast – Weekly readings from Bart Ehrman’s blog. Each episode reads one new post and one post from several years ago, so even if you subscribe to the blog this is still valuable as a way to learn about things that were covered in the past.
Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean – Philip Harland’s podcast, primarily focusing on Christian origins and the relationship between early Christianity and other religions. I’ve posted on this before and I suspect there won’t be anything new posted to this series (it’s been many years) but the back catalog is still well worth a listen if you haven’t caught it before.
Enjoy! Please also let me know if you have any additional suggestions. I’m constantly struggling to keep up with my podcast queue, but still also always on the lookout for new ways to expand my mind.
I took advantage of the new .blog top-level domain to do something I’ve wanted to do for some time – I’ve transitioned the blog to my own hosting account, now resident at measureoffaith.blog. This is mostly driven by the fact that I’m a geek and want to try some things that couldn’t be done on a standard wordpress.com account, but for the time being everything should look pretty much identical to the way it did before. The transition is supposed to be seamless for all followers and readers and all permalinks should still work, but please let me know if you discover any issues or have any suggestions for the new site.
2015 was an embarrassingly quiet year on this blog. I spent a lot of time early in the year reading and thinking on moral ontology and after outlining a big multi-part series of posts on the topic I found myself all wrapped up in semantics and disenchanted with the project, so I abandoned it and took a break. More recently the dearth of content has been primarily driven by a need to spend my time on other matters – a condition that will almost certainly persist for the next few months.
Regardless, I want to do better. There are still so many ideas and so much content that beckons. With a profusion of drafts patiently waiting in my queue, I know I can muster up a few hours a month to publish something. So that’s my goal. At least one post per month this year. Even if it means cheating and publishing some pithy article with minimal meaningful content – you know, like the three week late “new year’s resolution” article that you’re currently reading (January……..☑).
In preparation for this, I reviewed my drafts and consulted my Magic 8-ball and put together a sampling of article titles that I would like to try and complete this year. Let me know what you think looks most interesting and maybe I’ll prioritize accordingly. I look forward to many interesting discussions in the coming year. Hopefully.
Oh crap. Did I really just quasi-commit to one post a month?
Wow, it’s been nearly 6 months since my last post. How did that happen? Oh well. I still have a lot of posts in the works, and someday I hope to actually finish and publish them, but for now I just wanted to offer a podcast recommendation.
Phil Harland is a religious studies professor at York University in Toronto and runs a podcast called Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean. I just finished listening to the first seven series and, while much was familiar, it was very educational and a great way to experience a scholarly yet secular view on Christian origins and related topics. I highly recommend adding it to your collection of listening material. Enjoy!
Sometimes when we bury ourselves in the ruminations of the “intellectual elite”, we can lose sight of the fact that they are no less human than we are. It’s good to have the occasional reminder that we’re all in this together and that there’s nothing particularly magical about the words that come from any one person.
It’s been nearly 10 months since my introductory post but I’ve decided to introduce myself again. It’s time to stop hiding.
About two months after that first post I revealed my inner turmoil to my wife. A couple months later I talked to my brother. About a month later I talked with my parents. A few months after that I shared with our church group. Those were all difficult conversations but, in the end, pretty much everybody now knows where I’m at and many of them have seen this blog. This means that my original reasons for hiding my identity have been disposed of. If I’m going to place such a high value on truth and honesty then I can’t continue to hide behind a screen name.
My name is Travis Rothlisberger and henceforth all of my posts with be produced under the name “Travis R”. “Measure of Faith” is no longer an identity; it is only the name of this blog.