The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine

A Skeptical Studies Curriculum Resource

Jesus, the Easter Bunny, and Other Delusions:
Just Say No!

In this talk, Dr. Peter Boghossian argues that faith-based processes are unreliable and unlikely to lead one to the truth. Since our goal as knowers is to have more true beliefs than false ones, faith, as a process for getting to the truth, should be abandoned in favor of other, more reliable processes. The talk was followed by a question and answer session from the audience. This presentation, sponsored by the Freethinkers of Portland State University and published by, was given by Dr. Peter Boghossian of Portland State University on January 27, 2012.


18 responses to “Jesus, the Easter Bunny, and Other Delusions:
Just Say No!”

  1. John Moriarty says:

    My hunch is that Bogo would annihilate WLC

  2. Mitch says:

    Just brilliant!

  3. Rich says:

    Good video – America needs more of this stuff.

  4. David says:

    what the heck are the subliminal message slides about! absolutely no need for them, ruins the video!

  5. Kat says:

    His thesis is simple and straightforward, brought to you in accessible language and a charismatic manner.

  6. Lewis Breland says:

    This is one of the most coherent thoughts I’ve ever heard. The fairies, leprechauns and gods have passed into the trashbin of my mind.

  7. Tom says:

    If Dr Boghossian were debating the slippery snake, Lane Craig, I am sure he would be humiliated, thus rendering all his cogent and obvious arguments redundant; a pity, but true. As an ardent Hitchien myself, it should be crystal clear how much people are swayed by people, not by their propositions. This guy here totally misses the target of his proposed thesis by simply giving a lacklustre performance. My point is this: Michael Jackson had bags of charisma plus talent; Hitler had great impact through his passion of delivery and belief; Lane Craig is mesmerising no matter how ridiculous and intellectually challenging his propositions; Hitchens was undeniably brilliant because of his knowledge and charm etc. etc. We humans operate on emotional connections, even if reason tells us that what we believe cannot possibly be true, therefore, truth will never usurp the primeval need humans have for bullshit delivered passionately and coherently. If I could change just one thing about religious believers is this: whatever faith you adhere to, please keep it to yourself and out of the public/political spheres. If you have found God, then great; now just go away and die asap, and then we’ll all be happy!

  8. Steven Mading says:

    The audience keeps laughing at what I assume to be the slides in the presentation, but the slides are often not shown in the video which is annoying – I feel like I’m only getting half the talk when I can only hear, not see the talk. (the motions of the presenter are not as important as the slides. If the camera can only show one camera angle, then point it at the damn screen! Gaaar.

  9. TheProphetNabob says:

    Doctor Doctor, stop repeating yourself.

    Doctor Doctor, stop repeating yourself.

    Other than that I really like you and your talk.

    Other than that I really like you and your talk.

  10. karen Mkrtchyan says:

    Homeopathy is reliable…
    Come to India and you will know…
    Besides,my granddad passed away a week back, and he has been using homeopathy to cure hundreds of people…
    So, please, you can’t challenge just about everything…:)
    With God and angels shit, I agree, but not with homeopathy..

  11. Colin says:

    Hi Pam

    I would be grateful if you could explain to me

    (a) why you think the nature of faith cannot be conceptualised, and therefore talked about in ‘intellectual’ terms

    (b) Why you think I flatter myself on being an ‘intellectual’ (while obviously failing)

    (c) What bit of the English language you think I am reinventing

    (d) Why you think the argument is inadequate – it is clear that you think it is tired, but I’m not sure you explain why it is false

    (e) Why you think an inability to trawl through the whole one and a half hours is evidence of being ‘closed minded’.

    I did have a little flick further on, and the bit where he gets the audience to call out ‘unreliable’ sounds positively liturigcal!



  12. Pam says:

    “As if…rationality is not a belief, and does not have its own (passionately held) faith.”

    Not that old chestnut again – all of them (the religious pseudo-intellectuals) pull it out again and again and prove once again that they are unable to understand the English language and/or are forced to reinvent words to counter an opposing argument. He didn’t even watch the whole thing which is typical of a closed minded view that is unable to put forward a decent/coherant opposition.

    Put your sonic screwdriver away and try using your brain.

  13. brian says:

    this guy is not about being popular or diplomatic,dont expect that. Hes about reality. the truth.Some say it hurts.Its still the truth.

  14. Colin says:

    Pff, where can I start? OK

    1.) Faith-based beliefs are not a way to the truth. As if…rationality is not a belief, and does not have its own (passionately held) faith. Gosh, I wish we could all be so free from faith, you declaim from your little pulipt of rationality!

    2.) Your bathroom door – rationalists measure it, faith-based people do irrational things like sacrifice goats. Some things are quantifiable, and some aren’t. I can use a tape measure to measure the width of my door, but I can’t use a tape measure to measure the value of human life. or love, or loyalty, or the purpose of human existence. Or can I? My love is greater than your love, because my love is 67.4 and yours is 67.9? Good for cheap laughs, but the point is vacuously reductive.

    3.) Of course astrology is bullshit. Is that the best example of faith you can find? You assume that ‘evidence’ removes you from unreliability of faith. Can you not see ‘evidence’ for the faith-based construct that it is?

    4.) Evidence can change? So that makes you think there is no such thing as reality? Of course not. You just think that reality is different. New evidence is presented to sad deluded people with ‘faith’? So they think there is no such thing as ‘God’? No, they just reassess who they think God is, and what they think his relation to the world is. Evidence doesn’t change ultimate realities, for theists or secularists alike.

    Pff, I’ve listened to this guy talk for four minutes, I can’t be arsed with any more of it. Maybe in the next hour of a half he will offer a corrective to the shallow showboating he has been offering up so far. Let me know if he comes up with anything substantial.

    Good big words though!

    • chris says:

      You posted all that after only 4 minutes… Good job listening and forming your opinion.

  15. Christopher Smith says:

    Completely argree with what he says, but his rather intense personality makes him difficult to listen to.

  16. me says:

    If you can’t work out how to forward the video, that’s probably for the best.

  17. berty says:

    Spoilt by the moaning bird at the start couldn’t be arsed to wait tobwatch the rest.

Skeptic Magazine App on iPhone


Whether at home or on the go, the SKEPTIC App is the easiest way to read your favorite articles. Within the app, users can purchase the current issue and back issues. Download the app today and get a 30-day free trial subscription.

Download the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, available on the App Store
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for Android, available on Google Play
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for iOS, available on the App Store
Download the Skeptic Magazine App for Android, available on Google Play
SKEPTIC • 3938 State St., Suite 101, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105-3114 • 1-805-576-9396 • Copyright © 1992–2024. All rights reserved • Privacy Policy