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What are the psychological roots of faith beliefs?  Can we make our own rules for life or are we subject to a higher level of meaning? Can we dispense with religion as a ‘virus of the mind’, or are even atheists fundamentally religious deep down?

Jordan B Peterson and Susan Blackmore debate these questions and more in the first episode of The Big Conversation.

Jordan B Peterson has become a popular public intellectual in recent years for his popular online lectures and his stance against political correctness. The Canadian psychology professor has also debated influential atheists on the value of religious belief, a theme which features prominently in his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life : An Antidote to Chaos.

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist, lecturer and author of books including The Meme Machine and Seeing Myself: the new science of out of body experiences. She views many forms of religion as fundamentally negative for human flourishing and has written that: “religions are an example, par excellence, of memeplexes that use wicked tricks to ensure their own survival.”

Their conversation ranges across the benefits and problems of religion, the new atheism, cultural memes, meaning and Peterson’s own increasingly strong regard for historic Christianity and the value of Bible stories.

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