Mythicist Milwaukee Buzzed Belief Debate
The 2014 Pew Report on religious beliefs indicates that one in 10 U.S. adults claim to be atheist and half of Millennials do not believe in God with absolute certainty. No wonder discussions of religious faith (or the lack thereof) can be somewhat contentious around the kitchen table of a typical holiday gathering. Endeavoring to foster discourse on the subject, Mythicist Milwaukee founders Sean Fracek and Fritz Blandon will unleash the first round of their Buzzed Belief Debate Series, “Are There Reliable Sources for the Miraculous Resurrection of Jesus?” at Shank Hall this Saturday.
“We aspire to shine a light on ancient mythologies to gather an understanding of religion today,” said Fracek. The Mythicist community’s mission is to advance the theory that certain figures of antiquity—including major biblical characters considered by some to be historical—are actually myths. With Christianity’s origins being a hot topic among secularists, Fracek states, “It’s a phenomenon; when I meet new atheists the first question they ask is, ‘Did Jesus exist?’”
Mythicist Milwaukee commenced in early 2013 as a Facebook page posting religious memes that garnered substantial feedback and drew the attention of noted author Dorothy Milne Murdock, known as Acharya S, who had published numerous books on the parallels between the Gospel narrative and traditional pagan symbology. Fracek and Blandon maintained an online communication with Murdock until her passing on Christmas Day 2015.
Devoted to freethought activism, Mythicist Milwaukee holds secular Meetups at Milwaukee Collaborative every Tuesday evening and has a “core group of people, each contributing their unique technical and creative skill sets” to help spread the word. Guest speakers, a live radio show and Sunday podcasts are all part of their format. Recently, they have teamed up with filmmaker Jozef K. Richards from King’s Tower Productions to produce a YouTube series entitled “Holy $#!%” and are in the process of making a film, Batman and Jesus, to demonstrate how myths evolve and echoing Fracek’s passion for comic books. Blandon enthusiastically remarks, “We wanted to put Milwaukee on the map and get secular people engaged!”
Saturday’s debate will feature Justin Bass, who holds a doctorate degree in New Testament Studies, making a case that the early letters of Paul and Synoptic Gospels attest to the reliability of Jesus’s resurrection. Atheist historical scholar Dr. Richard Carrier will argue against it.
In October, Robert Price and Bart D. Ehrman will capture international attention and go head-to-head at Turner Hall. Sound and visual artist Mario Quadracci proposed the debate forum idea to Mythicist Milwaukee and is a major sponsor for both events. Recalling an earlier conversation with Fracek, Quadracci spoke of the possibility of attracting something to Milwaukee: “Wouldn’t it be awesome for people in this city who haven’t heard this perspective witness it in a non-collegiate, interactive and fun venue?” This weekend, believers and non-believers alike will get a chance to come together, have a cocktail and feast on the evidence presented.
The next Buzzed Belief Debate takes place on Saturday, March 19, 2016 from 7-10 p.m. at Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. Free admission for advanced registration; $5 at the door. Must be 21 or older to attend. For details, visit mythicistmilwaukee.com.