Dr. Robert M. Price is Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies at the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary. He is also the founder and Editor of The Journal of Higher Criticism, and was a fellow of the controversial "Jesus Seminar." Now, he is leading the closest thing to the "Desoterica" (a fictional symposium in A Secret of the Universe) as the executive board member of "The Jesus Project." This unique and enthralling theologian is a prolific writer and speaker, and has been kind enough to join Steve on his radio program for two fascinating interviews (which you can hear for free, in the archives here).
Bishop John Shelby Spong, whose books have sold more than a million copies, was bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark for 24 years before his retirement in 2001. His admirers acclaim him as a teaching bishop who makes contemporary theology accessible to the ordinary layperson. He's considered the champion of an inclusive faith by many, both inside and outside the Christian church. Steve's interview with Bishop Spong was sufficiently compelling that Steve re-cast the conversation into Chapter 22 of his novel, the Bishop's kind permission. Hear the actual exchange at www.truthdriventhinking.com/audioblog.htm ( here).
Truth-Driven Thinking is the title of Stephen's first book, as well as the web site and home of Steve's radio program that explores a broad range of issues. There are hours and hours of free, fascinating programming at the site, as well as many other links and resources for critical thinking.
Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the coptologist, theologian, and NT scholar who at least in part served as Stephen Gibson's prototype for the character of Sandra Flemming. Bart D. Ehrman is the author of more than twenty books, including two New York Times bestsellers: Misquoting Jesus and God’s Problem (a brilliant survey of human suffering and the age-old "problem of evil" faced by the "free will" defense of human suffering). Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and is a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. His work has been featured in Time, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and other print media, and he has appeared on NBC's Dateline, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, CNN, The History Channel, National Geographic, the Discovery Channel, the BBC, major NPR shows, and other top media outlets.
Earl Doherty was fictionally portrayed as himself in A Secret of the Universere (with kind permissinon). Certainly controversial, Mr. Doherty is the author of The Jesus Puzzle, and a leading researcher and author who—among many others—argues against the reliability of any evidence for a historical Jesus like the ones portrayed in the canonical and non-canonical gospels. Though the very moral of Stephen's book begs the question of the relevance of this debate, it is nonetheless a fascinating and ongoing topic among a small-but-growing segment of New Testament scholars.
Joseph Campbell was the great mythologist and comparative religion scholar who identified the common motiffs shared by so many world religions, and articulated many of the great lessons that can be learned from religion and myth. His "Hero's Journey" was behind the Star Wars epics, and is used by some, like Tom Harpur, to describe the journey portrayed in Stephen Gibson's novel.
Tom Harpur also played the role of pivotal insight in the eyes of both leading characters of A Secret. Tom Harpur is Canada's best-known spiritual author, journalist, and TV host. Tom is a prolific writer with over ten Canadian bestsellers to his credit. The former Rhoads Scholar has been a journalist at the Toronto Star covering ethics, spirituality and religion for the past 30 years. He was the Religion Editor there for twelve years, and since 1984 has contributed regular columns. Tom Harpur's books, videos, and columns have made him a compelling spiritual leader for every generation and all faiths. His endorsement of this story was a humbling honor for Stephen.
The Center for Inquiry is the think tank and policy institute in Amhurst New York. Along with DJ Grothe, the produce a wonderful radio show and podcast where intellectuals discuss differing views from very different perspectives. The organization is pro-secular, pro-science and reason, but all worldviews will enjoy this fine example of just how intellectually honest discourse can be.
Apologia is a fantasic interfaith dialogue radio show and podcast. It demonstrates that a) very well trainined scholars can have sharply different theological and philosophical interpretations of our human experience; and b) that reasonable people can come to improved understandings of one another through intellectually honest, truth-driven (not emotion-driven) dialogue. Regardless of your "side" on matters of theology, you will learn a great deal by tuning into Apologia. Do it!