Atheism Discussed on NPR

Yesterday, NPR’s “The Kojo Nnamdi Show” dedicated much of the episode to a discussion about atheism (click LISTEN at the top of the page to hear it). You can download the podcast directly through this page, too.

I haven’t heard the discussion, but it features Amanda Knief (Secular Coalition for America), Roy Speckhardt (American Humanist Association), and Edwin Kagin (American Atheists) so I’m guessing the discussion was positive and a chance for the stereotypes against us to be knocked down. There’s also a transcript of the discussion here. Feel free to point out any interested pieces of dialogue in the comments!

(Thanks to Holly for the link!)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://www.allourlives.org/ TooManyJens

    “I’m guessing the discussion was positive and a chance for the stereotypes against us to be knocked down”

    Kojo Nnamdi has a good, smart show, so I’m sure it was. That’s great.

  • treedweller

    I found this a little dull (reading transcript only, not listening) as someone who is, shall we say, beyond the basics, but this was an excellent opportunity to present the notion that we already accept here: atheists are not evil and should not have to hide their disbelief. I’m sure there are plenty of xians who found the whole thing offensive on principle, but the panel was respectful, clear, and concise. I think some why-rock-the-boat types may have realized that discrimination against atheism is a problem the way any discrimination is a problem and the solution is to stand up and be counted. Well done.

  • Anonymous

    I’m listening now, and Krista Tippett is irritating me. She was obviously brought in as some sort of neutral voice here and just started dropping a lot of standard liberal religious tropes such as “christian values” and “fundamentalist atheist” (speaking of new atheism). I’m going to tear my hair out.

    • Rieux

      “Neutral,” my foot. She’s the representative of the atheophobic status quo.

  • Annie

    I lost interest after 22 minutes, but I think it was a very calm and informative discussion for those who know little about atheism.  Unfortunately, most people who listen to NPR are probably rational enough to not be bothered by non-believers. 

  • Karen

    Intelligent and a decent atheist primer for the non-atheist.
    I, on the other hand, felt as though I’d swallowed a Quaalude before the show started.  Slow and dull for the freethinker.
    But, I would have enjoyed being in the room with a person who would find the show controversial.
    Interesting!

  • dkeane

    It was an excellent program.  I agree that Krista Tippet is this squishy religious type that likes to talk about the shared experiences of religious values.  She also avoided the entire discussion about religious intrusion into politics.  There was also a shot across the bow for Dawkins and Hitchens, about how they do not express what they believe in, which plays into an obvious stereotype.  at least no one brought up PZ to her.

    • Rieux

      I agree. The discussion was predominantly positive (the callers were terrific), while Tippett filled the apparently mandatory role of apologist for the privileged majority and its right to silence challenges to its privilege. She played her part swimmingly, talking disingenuous smack about Dawkins et al. and patronizingly demanding that nonbelievers emphasize what are for, in light of the fact that the things we’re against make her rich and famous.

      As long as the Tippetts of the world continue to frame the discourse, atheists will always be a despised minority. Thankfully, she failed for most of the NPR episode, and it appears her kind is failing more broadly as well.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the whole problem is that the folks who would be watching the show/NPR aren’t the folks I have problems with. It’d be wonderful if you had this matched up with the day the local cable providers were changing around the channel lineup. :)

  • Puckishone

    “Sean Piashay”??  That transcript certainly wasn’t typed by one of us elite, ivory-tower liberal atheist types.  I think I threw up a little bit in my mouth reading that.

  • Dan W

    I don’t listen to NPR nearly as much as I should. This was a pretty good show, and I agree with what previous commentors have said about Tippett’s role.

  • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

    The day I saw this post, I also heard this story on my local station:
     http://www.kcrw.com/etc/programs/uf/uf110308breaking_away

    It’s an ex-hasidic man talking about learning to live outside his religious community. Pretty interesting!


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