Episode 10 | The Interview: Joseph Becker

This week, Justin sits down for an interview with author Joseph Becker. They talk about Joseph’s upbringing in Orthodox Judaism, his path towards atheism, the importance of science and critical thinking, and his children’s book series, Annabelle & Aiden.

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Episode 9 | The Future of Faith: A Conversation with Tylor Lovins

This week, Justin sits down with friend and collaborator Tylor Lovins (@tylorlovins). They have recently begun a dialogue on religion and secularism for Christianity Now. In this conversation, Tylor shares with Justin his evolving sense of philosophy and theology, the impact that secularism has had on religion and politics, the problems associated with “identity politics,” and the nature of beliefs in the modern world.

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It’s Time to End the War on Pot

This originally appeared in Reason Revolution, episode 8.

In 1936, a church-funded film called Tell Your Children was released in theaters. Originally produced by George Hirliman as a propaganda film, Tell Your Children displayed youths gone wild under the influence of marijuana. However, it is best known to the world under its later title, Reefer Madness. A more salacious version, released just years later, cemented its place as one of most ill-conceived, yet undeniably fascinating pieces of film. In both versions, young people have their lives ruined by the “dangerous” effects of marijuana, with violence, promiscuity, and death as a result of their inhalations. This type of presentation is known as “voodoo pharmacology,” the idea that any drug, no matter how benign, could cause “uncontrollable urge[s] of craving and compulsion.”

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The Special Comment: What We Lose, and Gain, From Leaving Religion

This originally appeared in Reason Revolution, episode 6. 

What do we lose when we leave religion? I have been asked to respond to this question by a friend and, to be honest, it’s not easily answered. For us atheists, it’s obvious to mention all the terrible things we abandoned when leaving religion. The dedication to barbaric texts and practices; the racism, homophobia, and misogyny of its most fundamentalist believers; the superstitions that hinder scientific and moral progress. All of these are good reasons to leave religion on the “ash heap of history.” Nevertheless, many still yearn for something bigger than us, something to confide in when times are tough. There is still a longing for the “transcendent,” alongside the need for community, that keeps droves within the fold.

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The Special Comment: In Defense of Journalism

This originally appeared in Reason Revolution, episode five.

The front page of the June 18, 1972 issue of the Washington Post centered around the Nixon administration’s efforts in North Vietnam, Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern’s chances in the New York primary, and an impending US appeals court ruling involving an airline pilot strike and its demands for stronger protections against hijacking. However, among the other articles on the front page, one became the most important, not only for that day, but for the ensuing two years. “5 Held in Plot to Bug Democrats’ Office Here,” was the headline for an article by veteran Post reporter Alfred Lewis. “Five men, one of whom said he is a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency, were arrested at 2:30 a.m. yesterday in what authorities described as an elaborate plot to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee here,” Lewis reported.

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Episode 5 | Chiropractors, Looted Relics, and the Decline of White Christian America

This week, Justin talks about Robert P. Jones’ research on the “Decline of White Christian America,” Hobby Lobby CEO Steve Green’s looted relics for his Bible museum in Washington, D.C., and why Chiropractic medicine Is nonsense. Also, Cardinal George Pell’s alleged sexual abuse, the link of Saudi Arabia to Islamism, and Kentucky’s public school class on the Bible.

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