Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot presents quite a bit of this ongoing debate in its nearly 100 episodes (and can also set you up with a fairly thorough set of ideas re. contemporary ethics; I’ll post on that after the Hume/Smith ethics episode goes up).
In this interview with Gregory Dawes from the University of Otego in New Zealand, we hear a former minister who converted to atheism precisely because of his historical investigations into the Jesus story. He talks about naturalistic vs. religious explanations and why we might want to pursue the former even in cases where we don’t have enough evidence either way (he mentions Swinburne a couple of times).
As a general note on the podcast for those that haven’t checked this out: this falls into the same category of other podcasts I’ve written about here before like Elucidations and Diet Soap, all of which I like, which are basically interview format: find a guest who has written a paper or book or otherwise has things to say, and pretty much let them say it.
In all three of these cases, the hosts do a good job contributing to the discussion, i.e. they’re very interested in the subject matter and do some preparation. Still, the format is limited in that if the guest sucks, the episode sucks. I’ll admit that my first couple of tries in the past with Pale Blue Dot were thwarted by the fact that the episodes often lead off with a “tell me about your spiritual journey” section, and my patience for that is fairly limited (I’ll cave in and listen to some of the grossly popular “This I Believe” podcast at some point, but I generally don’t like that format; the “man on the street” parts of the otherwise pretty consistently good Philosophy Talk podcast are definitely its weakest part) for that kind of thing. I’m also interested in the relation between these podcasts and academia: some of them will only have “academically respectable” university professors on them. Pale Blue Dot is all about the ideas, meaning you have to do additional research on your own to figure out in some cases whether the guest is a crank or not, or you can deny that that question has any meaning apart from what you the listener takes out of what you hear.