Ian Punnett was the featured guest during our one-hour Live Chat on 2/23/11. Below are excerpts (Coast Insiders can view the full transcript) in which he discusses ancient religious literature, paranormal experiences, and some of his favorite show topics.
Ian, do you think Bart Erhman is accurate in saying many Bible manuscripts were altered by scribes?
Yes, there really isn't any doubt that some MSS in the Bible have been altered. They are called "scribal errors" and they are fairly common, although not every scholar will agree on every error. Some of them are ridiculously obvious.
Do you read any Vedic literature, such as the Bhagadvad Gita? Hinduism includes Jesus in their scriptures apparently.
I have read parts of the BG and I have studied Hinduism from time to time. I love other traditions' literature.
Do you believe Jesus lived in India during his vacant 19 years?
It's possible. Marcus Borg proffers that but there is no proof of it. Also, Jesus wouldn't have had to live in India to be influenced by it.
Do you think the Gospel of Judas is credible? Fake? Really old fiction?
It was pseudonymous, to be sure, but that doesn't mean it was fiction. It just wasn't written by Judas. Just because it's not factual doesn't mean it's not truthful.
Have you ever had a scary paranormal experience?
Sure, major UFO sighting, a couple of ghostbusting trips to cemeteries and one night where I had to sit up with the dead. That was weird.
What happened with the UFO? What did it look like?
My story is too long to tell here but I mention it from time to time. Pretty cool--it was a tri-sighting.
Ian, have you actually seen a ghost? Briefly, what did it look like? I haven't been lucky enough to see anything.
No, but felt one. Saw a light bouncing with no explanation, heard music with no source (that I could find) but did not see a full on specter.
Who has been your favorite coast guest that you've interviewed?
Lately--and only lately--it was Gary Jenson who wrote "Holy Ghosts." I just love that book and we have become very good friends. We just emailed today. I am partial to the guests that I become friends with (about three dozen or so).
I noticed sometimes you are pretty cynical with the guests that have unusual experiences. Since C2C is mainly based on the unusual, do you think your attitude is in conflict with the basis of the show?
I think you mistake that with skeptical and I am fine with that. I am not cynical by nature.
You do some great shows with a music theme, what is your favorite band?
It all starts with the Beatles, doesn't it? That having been said, I've been digging LCD Soundsystem lately, Beethoven's #7 and Alan Jackson.
Joe in NJ
I thought your interview with Al Jardine was very good.
He was cool. I love rock shows. Never quite sure how they belong on Coast but if Art can do Crystal Gayle (so to speak), I should be able to do a Beach Boy (so to speak).
Do you ever have problems with guests who like to use a lot of foul language or is that something you fore-warn them about?
Yes, when one guy was hammered (or high) on the air. He was an ass and he kept swearing.
You are always so prepared, but you were a bit blindsided by Will Elliott. How did you feel about that whole mess?
I was completely blindsided by that because I had read his book and all his promotional material. I believe he had recently come off his meds and just didn't tell any of us about it.
What prediction(s) from this year's show do you believe has the best chance of coming to fruition?
That if oil hits $150 our recent economic gains will get wiped out. Other than that, our greatest fear will be our prosperity--again.
I was pretty bummed about the interview with the guys from Cracked, but since the topic was zombies, any chance of having Max Brooks back on sometime?
I wish I could have Max Brooks on but I do have a much, even cooler Zombie show on the way to thrill your BRAINS!!!
Are there any subjects you prefer to not explore while on the air?
I don't love shows about politics or when conversations go there. Whether it's a purely liberal jag or some conservative rant, when a guest can only see things through a political filter, it gets boring to me.
Joe in NJ
Any upcoming guests you would like to let us know about?
Yes, "The Myth of the Great Ending" is on the way!