Everyone should take a moment to reflect ne the fact that 7 years ago, 2,974 people lost their lives due to religious belief (theism in general). Just a reminder as to why such irrational delusions need to be removed from the planet.
Here are some of the reviews I have received from some of the 40 or so wonderful people who attended my lecture in New York City yesterday afternoon.
From LorMarie (a Christian):
In addition to church, I attended a lecture by Rook Hawkins of the Rational Response Squad. His presentation focused on how OT texts created the “character called Jesus.” I of course do not agree with his assertion but I have to admit one thing. He’s well read, serious, and dedicated to his cause. I was impressed.
From Harry at the NYCA Meetup Site:
The speaker's thesis is not highly original, but I think he has contributed to the scholarship on the subject. We'll just have to see what the peer reviewers say.
From Jane Everhart:
Big crowd, nice people. The talk by Rook Hawkins of Philly's Rational Response Squad was informative & deeply researched. It was surprising to see that this young man, one of Atheism's "Bad Boys," turned out to be a nice, respectable, well-informed, gracious young man who was accompanied by his Dad. Viva the Nice Bad Boys!
From Serge Ledan at the NYCA Meetup Site:
So I get out of work today and as always I walk across the busy intersection to get to my car. As I pass by several cars and come up close to one truck, I note there is something oddly familiar about the step to get into the truck's bed. I recognized it upon closer inspect - a Darwin fish placed, upside down, lazily on the back of the truck. Gah, damnit! I knew exactly what happened when I got back to the car and saw the glue residue from the fish. Some Christian, probably in a fit of that good Christian lovin', decided to dispose of my heathen fish by tearing it off my car and sticking it somewhere "obscure". They probably assumed that when the truck drove off, the fish would fly off the step and get run over a bunch of times somewhere out in the middle of the street and I would be none-the-wiser until I got home. Luck, or perhaps their stupidity, happened to side with me. I managed to get enough of the glue residue to "sticky" status so I could push it back into its place and hopefully it wouldn't be torn off again later.
Talk about Christian values - what the hell gives them the right to violate my personal property? How about I go to their house and rip off all their crosses from the wall, and toss them in the dumpster.
Here are some of the details of the lecture.
Title: Spoken by the Prophets: How Interpretation of Jewish Scripture Created the Character of Jesus.
Topic: Hawkins will discuss the conflict between historical Jesus scholarship versus the use of literary criticism and how a better, more probable explanation can be given for the existence of the legend of Jesus. Offering a new interpretation of the Gospels, Hawkins will explain how the Gospels are not representations of a unique form of Greco-Judaic biography that came about sui generis; instead, the Gospels better express the genre of the Jewish Fiction novel. Hawkins will show this by presenting cases in the Gospel narratives where literary allusions take place not only between the Gospels and the Old Testament, but between the Gospels and Greco-Roman literature. The question of 'why' fictions were written, 'where' the character of Jesus fits in, and 'why' this genre strains the case for a historical Jesus will all be discussed.
[UPDATE - 8/2/08] Cory has since adjusted his perspective on this. He has shown once more why he is to be respected, despite his beliefs. Although we disagree, the fact that he continues to show honesty and cordiality, and our continued success at finding some common ground, he has great quality. I hope one day he will find that to be completely honest he needs to drop his belief in superstition, but until that day (if it comes) I hope to continue being his friend. (And, as Cory should know, as his friend, I will continue to try to help him free himself of his God addiction, which I think hinders him mentally and physically) Please read his blog and comment there as a sign of appreciation for his honesty at least in adjusting his position and recognizing his emotional reaction.
At what point can we stop worrying about this? Christians, get a grip, please. Cory Tuchulski (you know him from this blog debate, which we are still waiting for him to continue) from has recently posted a blog echoing Jimmy Akin (another Christian who cannot think beyond what sermons were preached at him) in demanding PZ be fired. I'm ashamed of Cory, because I know he is not generally like most Christians out there, and I have grown to respect him as a person.
Mythicism, Minimalism, and it’s Detractors
By Rook Hawkins
Mythicism and Me
Signed With Love, A Dead Civilization
By Rook Hawkins
Thomas Cahill wrote that “the Historian’s principal task should be to raise the dead to life.” Cahill is certainly right. Often times in antiquity, ancient historians would take this statement too literally, raising their protagonist from the dead using all sorts of miraculous and fictional motifs to do it. Thankfully, the days where city founders and saviors would meet their righteous followers on the road before ascending off into the sky are over, particularly when it comes to literary exegesis (although there are still a few evangelical and reactionary historians who try to do this with the Gospel Jesus). Modern historians have new ways to bringing the dead back to life, and more often than not, this is accomplished with methods revolving around science instead of superstition.