This American Life’s Ira Glass Talks About His Atheism

The owner of my soul, Jim Henderson, loves to speak to non-Christians about their (lack of) religious beliefs, and he recently combined two of my favorite things: Atheism and “This American Life” host Ira Glass:

Their relationship goes back a few years. In 2009, TAL did an episode called “Bait-and-Switch” in which Glass interviewed Henderson about his unique evangelism methods and how other Christians love to use the bait & switch strategy. This interview was conducted more than a year ago but was only posted online yesterday.

Glass and Henderson also talked about how Christians are often picked on by the media:

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.

  • Andrew Hall

    I love This American Life.  Didn’t Glass just co-write a movie too?

  • Hemant Mehta

    Sleepwalk With Me — it was awesome! :)

  • Gus Snarp

    Can’t watch this now, but I’m anxious to see it. Especially curious about the notion that Christians are picked on by the media. Not sure I buy that.

  • Jim Henderson

    Jim Henderson here

    Love to get ink from Hemant


    More fascinating segments coming from Ira

  • Baal

    Ira’s point regarding media portrayal of christians is that often we get coverage of the wacky ones but he know several christians in his life who do not resemble the media portrayal of christians.

    This is an example of why atheists should not act like our media portrayal (or stereotypes – which is something like an angry nihilist(?)).  

  • Pseudonym

    You should definitely listen to it, because Ira doesn’t mean by that what a lesser mind would mean by that.

  • Nick Franco

    Gotta disagree with Glass, here. Christians aren’t “portrayed”as negative; they have decided, as a culture, to allow their most prominent facemen to be the ones who happen to have the most negative message.  

    I, too, know a ton of calm, kind, wonderful Christians who I am honored to call my  friends and family. But they will not stand up and publicly disagree with any crazy talking head that calls themselves a Christian. For whatever reason, they just plain won’t.
    The image that Christians have in the media is the one they allow.  And by no means is it unfair to call out the crazy ones, because the crazies are the ones that somehow end up with the most power.

  • Donaving

    Looking forward to them. It’s refreshing to see–earnest conversation about Faith that isn’t about “winning the argument”. You seem well matched–not as combatants–but as friends, sitting down to talk about important things.

  • Gus Snarp

    I’ve seen it now, still don’t agree with him entirely. I agree in the sense that a broader portrayal of Christians could be done, and his way of approaching it would certainly make a valuable contribution to an understanding of American Christianity, but I think the problem is the notion that most of America lacks that understanding. As an atheist from a Jewish background, he has a very different perspective from most of America. Most of us were raised Christian, most people assume, mostly correctly, that most people around them are Christian. So we clearly know that there are all kinds of Christians. I think people tend to assume similarly that the people we see in the media are Christians even if they’re not portrayed that way in particular. That’s my view at least. But it’s true that there was (and is) certainly room for a deeper, broader look at the scope of Christianity in America.

    Edited to add: I think it’s also interesting that those really extreme sounding fundamentalists that Glass says aren’t like the fundamentalists he knows often are the leaders that those nicer Christians are hearing in the pulpit on Sunday.

  • Jim Henderson

    Hemant – 1400 views of Ira talking per Atheism in the past 48 hours – thanks for the promo- you should play my interview with you per how you are obsessed (were obsessed?) with Joel Osteen – that one has over 69,000 views