Course: Historical Jesus – 6 night Course May 2010

I shall be running a six night course, late May 2010, at the Council of Adult Education in Melbourne, Australia, on searching for the historical jesus, looking at the historical figure behind the religion – what do we know?

Course: searching for the historical jesus

Explore the historical Jesus, separate from the figure of devotion. In doing so, review the use of Christian and non-Christian sources and treatment of miracle claims, society, political and regions of early first century Israel and Middle East, analysing the primary source – the Gospels, review of research from the past 300 years, how Jesus, the man, is profiled by today’s scholars and future direction of research.
Class details
6 sessions:
Tuesdays 6.00PM-7.30PM: 25/05/10 to 29/06/10
Venue: 253 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
Session 1:
Review of research over the last 300 years with particular emphasis since Albert Schweiter’s book, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906).
Session 2:
Nature of historical research, including use of Christian and non-Christian sources and treatment of miracle claims with a close look at the Resurrection story.
Session 3:
Society, politics and religions of early first century Israel and Middle East.
Session 4:
Analysing the primary source – the Gospels.
Session 5:
How Jesus the man is profiled by today’s scholars – disagreement and consensus.
Session 6:
Future direction of the Jesus research

Link to CAE details and bookings

Alex McCullie

News: my CAE Courses Melbourne 2010 (so far)

Atheism & Agnosticism:rejecting the god delusion: Tuesday 6.00-7.30pm: 16 March to 13 April 2010 (5 nights)http://www.cae.edu.au/?course=DNT800

Searching for the historical Jesus – what do we know?: Tuesday 6-7.30pm 25 May to 29 June 2010 (6 nights)

Naturalism – a complete world-view without god: Tuesday July 6-7:30pm 6 July to 20 July 2010 (3 nights)

Alex McCullie

Comment: The Alpha’s are coming

The most recent mailout of the National Secular Society (UK) warns of Christian fundamentalism creeping into British schools via the Alpha religious course. To quote the article:

Fundamentalist Alpha Course infiltrating more schools
The fundamentalist Christian Alpha Course is being operated in state schools up and down the country, drawing in children to its particular brand of literalist religious dogma – and all with the schools’ approval and support.
The NSS is receiving increasing numbers of complaints from parents who are alarmed by the number of evangelical groups that are being allowed into schools to spread intolerant religious teaching, but the Alpha course is by far the most organised and widespread.
The Times Educational Supplement last week reported the growing influence of Alpha in schools. It cited Archbishop Blanch CofE High School in Liverpool, where “Youth Alpha” courses have been running for 3 years and has had 300 pupils participating. It runs for eight weeks at lunchtime and is promoted throughout the school on notice boards and in assemblies.
The course was set up with the headteacher’s backing by Reverend Kate Wharton, the Bishop of Liverpool’s appointee on the school’s board of governors. She claims that the Alpha Course is a “balanced introduction” to Christianity.
What she does not mention is its homophobia and the final sinister “holy spirit” session that encourages participants to speak in tongues and behave hysterically.
Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “This is real fundamentalist stuff all wrapped up in reassuring words and delivered by a bloke in a jumper with a permanent smile who looks remarkably like Tony Blair. This is not a ‘balanced introduction’ to anything; it is a carefully planned attempt to push people in a very specific direction. It is deeply manipulative and has no place in schools paid for by the taxpayer.”
Quoted in the TES, Jonathan Bartley of the Ekklesia Christian “think tank” said the courses deal with doctrine rather than Christianity as a way of life. “It’s about sin, hell and resurrection and what people must do to get to heaven. I would be very worried about the adult content being used in schools unless it has been heavily modified.” He said that Governing bodies of “faith schools” (who are mostly representatives of the local diocese) are “overstepping the mark” in pushing these courses in schools.
Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the NSS, told the TES: “We have pupils, a captive audience, funnelled into hardline proselytising on school premises. These schools should be seeking permission from parents, but I’ll bet they aren’t.”

Fundamentalist Alpha Course infiltrating more schools

The fundamentalist Christian Alpha Course is being operated in state schools up and down the country, drawing in children to its particular brand of literalist religious dogma – and all with the schools’ approval and support.

The NSS is receiving increasing numbers of complaints from parents who are alarmed by the number of evangelical groups that are being allowed into schools to spread intolerant religious teaching, but the Alpha course is by far the most organised and widespread.

The Times Educational Supplement last week reported the growing influence of Alpha in schools. It cited Archbishop Blanch CofE High School in Liverpool, where “Youth Alpha” courses have been running for 3 years and has had 300 pupils participating. It runs for eight weeks at lunchtime and is promoted throughout the school on notice boards and in assemblies.

The course was set up with the headteacher’s backing by Reverend Kate Wharton, the Bishop of Liverpool’s appointee on the school’s board of governors. She claims that the Alpha Course is a “balanced introduction” to Christianity.

What she does not mention is its homophobia and the final sinister “holy spirit” session that encourages participants to speak in tongues and behave hysterically.

Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society, said: “This is real fundamentalist stuff all wrapped up in reassuring words and delivered by a bloke in a jumper with a permanent smile who looks remarkably like Tony Blair. This is not a ‘balanced introduction’ to anything; it is a carefully planned attempt to push people in a very specific direction. It is deeply manipulative and has no place in schools paid for by the taxpayer.”

Quoted in the TES, Jonathan Bartley of the Ekklesia Christian “think tank” said the courses deal with doctrine rather than Christianity as a way of life. “It’s about sin, hell and resurrection and what people must do to get to heaven. I would be very worried about the adult content being used in schools unless it has been heavily modified.” He said that Governing bodies of “faith schools” (who are mostly representatives of the local diocese) are “overstepping the mark” in pushing these courses in schools.

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the NSS, told the TES: “We have pupils, a captive audience, funnelled into hardline proselytising on school premises. These schools should be seeking permission from parents, but I’ll bet they aren’t.”

Alex McCullie

News: 4 Night Course Problem of Evil Melbourne

16 November: Monday 6.00-7:30pm for four nights, discussing the history of this argument, how can a  loving, all-powerful, morally-perfect God exist with all the suffering (evil) in the world. I shall run this as a balanced review of the key arguments. CAE Melbourne City-centre

Alex McCullie

News: Approved UK Science Schooling – Christian Faith Style

“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence.

Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie,’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.


Could a fish have developed into a dinosaur? As astonishing as it may seem, many evolutionists theorize that fish evolved into amphibians and amphibians into reptiles. This gradual change from fish to reptiles has no scientific basis. No transitional fossils have been or ever will be discovered because God created each type of fish, amphibian, and reptile as separate, unique animals. Any similarities that exist among them are due to the fact that one Master Craftsmen fashioned them all.”

Extract from Biology 1099, Accelerated Christian Education Inc. (1995). (see full article with this quotation at Fundamentalist exams on a par with A-levels TES Connect)

This beggers belief but, unfortunately, it is likely to be true… (Would moderate Christians please speak up in opposition instead of their usual muted responses). Religion is this form, lamentably all too common, continues to threaten the health of our societies. Governments in the name of pluralism seek to pander to their distortions and excesses.

Alex McCullie

News: The Teaching Company – Free Offering

I’ve purchased many lecture series from the Teaching Company to listen in the car or during train trips. The courses cover many academic subjects by high qualified US professors. I’ve worked through Bart Erhman’s courses on Lost Christianities, New Testament and After the New Testament. They are very professionally produced recordings with accompanying notes. Initially their courses appear expensive. However the prices are regularly reduced so check the On sale link on their web site for very affordable pricing.

Here’s a link to a free course from the Teaching Company on Martin Luther King. Have a taste of something pretty impressive.

Alex McCullie

News: My Next Atheism Course at CAE

I’m running another public course on ATHEISM, AGNOSTICISM & UNBELIEF in Melbourne, Australia during February and March this year. Again this will be part of CAE’s Lifestyle – Philosophy program. The details are:

Topic: ATHEISM, AGNOSTICISM & UNBELIEF

Sessions: 6.00PM-7.30PM: 24/02/09 to 24/03/09

Overview: Discuss the opinions of key intellectuals, activists and critics from Ancient Greece, the Enlightenment and 19th century free thinkers to today. What of naturalism, morality, spiritualism, nationalism, religious activism and secular society?

Link: CAE course details and booking

Alex McCullie

Course: Atheism (at CAE) – July 2008 Melbourne, Australia

On Monday 28 July I’ll be running a 5 night public course – introduction to Atheism & Agnosticism – as part of the lifestyles department at Council of Adult Education, Melbourne, Victoria.

Enter the world of atheism and agnosticism with related ideas of secularism, theism, materialism – old and new. How atheism relates to morality, meaning of life, happiness, science, spirituality and death. Each week bring a specific profile of atheist thinkers.

Enrol by phone

Telephone enrolments can only be accepted if you have one of the following credit cards:

  • Mastercard
  • Visa

Phone 9652 0611

8.30am to 6pm Monday to Thursday
8.30am to 5pm Friday

Please have your credit card number, card holder’s name and expiry date ready. It will also assist us if you have your student number ready – if you have participated in a previous course, you will find your student number on your class receipt.

Class details

5 sessions:
Mondays 6.00PM-7.30PM: 28/07/08 to 25/08/08

Venue: CAE Building B – 253 Flinders Ln, Melbourne

Fee: $139.00 - Code: DNS22801

Content

Session 1

What is atheism? Starting with a broad introduction to atheism and agnosticism, including historical perspectives, we also look at related concepts of theism, religion, faith, secularism and materialism. The first profile is ancient Greek philosopher, Epicurus (341-270 BCE), one of atomists who believed that the universe consisted on an infinite number of atoms forming matter without any supernatural intervention.

Session 2

Does science and, in particular, evolutionary theory support today’s atheism? How was our world view changed with the publishing of Darwin’s On the Origin of the Species in 1859? Tonight’s profile is Baron d’Holbach (1723-1789), friend of Denis Diderot and David Hume, who was an atheist writer and philosopher during the French Enlightenment.

Session 3

How do atheists see the world without gods? We examine two world views – naturalism and secular humanism. The profile is atheist Robert Ingersoll, a famous and popular orator in the late 19th century US.

Session 4

Can there be a Godless morality? We look at morality, death and personal meaning in a world without God. Simone de Beauvoir, wife of Jean-Paul Sartre, was a highly influential 20th Century writer and philosopher as well as the intellectual precursor to the feminist movement.

Session 5

Where is atheism today? We look at population distributions. Do the successful publications of atheist books mean an increase in acceptance? Or, are there other more serious challenges? What does future hold? Richard Dawkins, British biologist, recently authored God Delusion, a best seller in many countries. He is an outspoken and controversial atheist who regularly attacks religious belief. Dawkins is our final profile.

Alex McCullie