Religious Book Burning

Destruction of books by fire has been used through the ages as a means to eradicate ideas considered blasphemous, heretical or against the prevailing religion of a certain country. This lecture will focus on only one element of book burning, the religious one. There are other types of book burning, including books considered seditious or […]

Sex in Medieval Convents

The history of celibacy and the Christian religion, most specifically the Catholic faith, is well known.  Christianity is a sex negative religion.  But when historians write about sex, celibacy and the convents of the Medieval Era, several different viewpoints emerge, viewpoints which seem to be conflicting in many aspects.  The history of women in convents […]

Marriage and Christianity

The lecture will discuss the medieval Christian Church and its stance toward marriage, including marriage forms, beliefs about sexuality, abortion and contraception.  Many of the lectures in this series have exposed the diversity of church concepts about the nature of the trinity, the church services, and so on.  It took many church councils and much […]

Christianity’s Condemnation of Homosexuality and Cross-dressing

My lecture is gratefully indebted to Vern L. Bullough, James A. Brundage, Warren Johansson, William A. Percy, and Jacqueline Murray.  References to their fine works may be found below in the bibliography. This lecture will be concerned with the concepts of homosexuality, lesbianism, and cross-dressing during the Middle Ages.  All three topics are controversial subjects, […]

Suicide and Secularism

This lecture is gratefully indebted to the work of A. Alvarez, Zilla Gabrielle Kahn, and Jennifer Michael Hecht.  References to their work may be found below in the bibliography. My lecture topic is on the issue of suicide, with specific reference to the question of whether the secular community should do more to discourage suicide.  […]

World War One and the Rise of Spiritualism

In earlier lectures at AtheistScholar.org, I have interrogated the concept of the desire for human immortality and its causes.  (Please see two lectures:  The Illusion of Immortality, Part 1 and The Illusion of Immortality, Part 2.)  Many scholars and researchers have reached the consensus that for numbers of people, the Western concept of immortality, with its promise of […]

Miracles Debunked

My lecture is gratefully dependent on the research and writing of Joe Edward Barnhart, David Corner and Joe Nickell, as well as other scholars. References to their work are listed below in the bibliography. I would like to begin my discussion of miracles with a definition of the word, “miracle.” This is not as simple […]

Slavery, The Bible, and Abolition

Slavery continues to exist in the present day.  Most societies agree that the practice of slavery was, and still is, a heinous, immoral, and unconscionable institution.  Institutional, state-sanctioned slavery has disappeared in most parts of the world, but many countries continue to impose labor on state prisoners. Some nations still force labor on their citizens […]

Christian Sadomasochism

Sadomasochism – Gratification, especially sexual, gained through inflicting or receiving pain; sadism and masochism combined. This lecture will glance at the extreme fasting that was taken up by women saints and mystics in 13th and 14th century Europe. I shall discuss the self-denying life stance of earlier monks called the Desert Fathers, who influenced the women saints. […]

Jesus’ Imagined History

I would like to begin this lecture with the thought that I had for many years before undertaking this series of lectures on atheism and related topics. I have never believed that Jesus was a divinity, even as a child.  As I grew older and became more interested in the ancient world of Greece and […]

Christianity’s Damnation of Sex

I have pondered and read a great deal about the subject of this lecture, Christianity’s damnation of sex in the late classical age of Rome. In the process, I have learned a great deal, which I shall try to share with my listeners. But there are still important questions raised by many scholars that have […]

Myths of Christian Persecution

I am most indebted to Candida Moss and to Paul Koudounaris for their research and insights into the history of the Catholic Church and its martyr/saints.  This lecture would not have been possible without their books. There is a great deal of historical correction taking place in the contemporary Catholic Church.  The official sources of […]