Our very first TMR Movie Roundtable will kick off with a three-way conversation—between Yours Truly, Mark Campbell and Frank Johnson (former researcher for Chris White's productions)—on the compelling 1970 TV movie The Brotherhood of the Bell, starring Glenn Ford.
The Brotherhood of the Bell tells the story of college professor Dr. Andrew Patterson (brilliantly played by Glenn Ford) who as a young student became involved with a mysterious secret society at college called “Beta, Epsilon, Lambda” (acronym “Bel”). Although this turned out well for him for years—his career benefited from his being a member in all kinds of ways, even beyond his knowledge—reality dawns when 22 years later he is called upon to initiate a new member into the Brotherhood and to receive an assignment that he must carry out as an act of loyalty to the Society. Patterson must try to persuade an academic colleague to turn down an important job offer—because the Fraternity wants someone else in that position—and, in case that colleague should refuse, Patterson is provided with a dossier of information to blackmail that colleague into submission. Reluctantly Patterson carries out the assignment, but the colleague freaks out and commits suicide. Thus, filled with remorse, Patterson decides to break the story to world about the wickedness of the Society and its assignments, but the influence of the Society is much bigger than he realises. Every technique is used against him to undermine his credibility: he loses his job, his wife, his standing in society. Vainly he hopes that the media will help him to blow the whistle, yet the media ends up being manipulated against him. Eventually his boss believes his story, and there's a chink of light at the end of the film as they hit on the idea of persuading other members of the Society to come forward. But does it succeed?
This roundtable discussion is due to be published on 16th of February.
Note: It is intended that each of the films in this series will be connected to themes explored in the TMR podcast.
What kind of narrative is Noah's Flood? Is it history or myth? Or are we, by even asking such a question, imposing our modern concepts on ancient Scripture?
We welcome once again Dr. John H. Walton—Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, Illinois—for a conversation on the fascinating book he co-authored with Dr. Tremper Longman III—Distinguished Scholar at Westmont College—entitled The Lost World of the Flood : Mythology, Theology and the Deluge Debate.
Prior to his current position as Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, Dr. Walton was Professor of Old Testament at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago for twenty years. Among his many publications (some co-authored with colleagues) is the "Lost World" series, which includes: The Lost World of Scripture, The Lost World of Genesis One, The Lost World of the Israelite Conquest, The Lost World of Adam and Eve (which he joined us back in 2016 to discuss), and The Lost World of the Torah.
We shall welcome once again the theologian and lecturer Dr. Martin Erdmann, Director of the Verax Institute, for a follow-up interview on the subject of Civil Religion.
"American Civil Religion is the most effective rival religion to true Christianity in the US"—Martin Erdmann
As a fish is unaware of the water in which it swims, so the majority of Americans do not perceive that there exists in the US today a state religion, incompatible with true Christianity, yet not openly opposed to it. Feeding on the many symbols, events, ideals and heroes of America's history and public life, and borrowing from the language and metaphors of Christianity, this state religion vies for the allegiance of every citizen. Arguing that every state cultivates its own particular brand of civil religion, Dr. Erdmann encourages us to stand firm when our allegiance to Christ is challenged by the state, and advises us to remain vigilant as we approach the days of a global civil religion.
We shall welcome again the Yorkshire-born journalist, educator, photographer and political activist John Booth—who joined us in 2016 to discuss his excellent article, "Fifteen Years on from 9/11"—for a conversation on the alleged suicide of British weapons expert Dr. David Kelly.
John Booth—whose career in journalism has included working for news organisations in Africa, the US and the UK—currently writes for Lobster magazine (http://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk) and LAFZ (the magazine for Pakistani diaspora — http://www.lafzmagazine.com). He is also a founder member of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign.
The interview will explore Dr. Dentith's own research, as a PhD philosopher, on Conspiracy Theory Theory, and include discussion of various views as expressed in the edited collection.
Matthew Dentith, PhD (Auckland), is the author of The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories (Palgrave, 2014), the first single-author book-length treatment of the philosophical issues surrounding conspiracy theory, and editor of Taking Conspiracy Theories Seriously (Rowman and Littlefield, 2018), an edited collection of the most recent work on conspiracy theory theory. He has been a Fellow in the Institute for Research in the Humanities (ICUB) at the University of Bucharest, and the New Europe College in Bucharest. His current research project focuses on conspiracy theory, conspiracy theory theory, and secrecy.