An Atheist Will Co-host a Radio Show with an Evangelical Christian Later Today

My friend Todd Stiefel (whom I just mentioned yesterday) is participating in a fun, radical experiment today: He’s co-hosting a radio show with an evangelical Christian.

Here’s how it happened, according to Todd:

Since November, I have been a monthly guest on a North Carolina state-wide Christian radio show. Originally, I reached out to the host, Steve Noble, to see if he was interested in having me on the show to cordially breakdown misconceptions between atheists and Christians. At the time, I saw him as a major local opponent as he had been a leader in repeatedly putting up a nativity scene in a public park and in fighting against marriage equality.

I was surprised to find that he is a kind man who works hard for what he thinks will make the world a better place. He is altruistic, we just very much disagree on many issues. That said, we agree on many things as well and have come to learn that we share many values in common. We have even become friends and started to move closer to one another on some key divides between our communities. For example, in response to an email recently, he said, “It would be like me continuing to say that atheists have no basis for morality — clearly they do, its just not what ‘we’ would call transcendent.” I agree completely; atheists have a non-transcendent basis for morality. Frankly, it is nice to see the discussion moving from if atheists can be moral to evangelicals trying to figure out why we are moral.

Along these lines, Steve has helped me with some new inter-belief work. He introduced me to some of his friends at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. One of the professors, Dr. Bruce Little, invited me to do an ask-an-atheist for as apologist philosophy class yesterday at the seminary. It was very productive and gave me a great deal of hope that we will be able to overcome some of the biases facing atheists, even among future Southern Baptist ministers.

Last month, Steve hosted me for an ask-an-atheist call in show. On Monday, March 25, 4:00p-5:00p (EDT), we are going to switch seats and Steve is going to let me host his evangelical radio show with him as the guest for an ask-an-evangelical hour. Please support this dialogue by calling in live to the show to ask questions: 877-448-7884. Alternatively, you can post questions in the comments and I will use those if there is a lull in live callers.

Our ground rules, regardless of which of us is hosting, are that we will keep things cordial, polite and friendly. You can ask any question you want; his show’s motto is “no sacred cows.” But, we will hang up on rude callers.

You can listen to the show online. You can listen to it in the North Carolina Triangle area on these stations: Raleigh FM 105.7 — Durham FM 105.5 — Chapel Hill AM 1030.

I’m looking forward to this; it is going to be fun.

I am, too. It’s a call-in show, so if you have a good question to ask, get on the air!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    i’d like to know why so many xtians feel perfectly comfortable telling lies. about how they will be “forced” to marry gays, or that it is impossible to find a decent, moral atheist, or that xtianity is under attack… every day i read about yet another xtian liar. what is it about xtianity that makes liars feel so welcome?

  • sfd4304

    As someone who lives near Southeastern Baptist Seminary, I loved reading that Todd Stiefel was invited to the seminary. It makes me hopeful that the community will become more accepting of their atheists neighbors.

  • Matt

    Sounds awful.

  • Mary

    It’s too bad that I don’t have any questions. I was raised an evangelical, so believe me all the “answers” will remain in my brain forever.

    • Gus Snarp

      I am in a similar boat. I wasn’t raised evangelical, but I did attend an evangelical church through high school, and I simply have no questions. I know all I need to know about evangelical Christianity.

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    I’m listening now… so many nutty Christian advertisements. I learned about Iron AcademyBecause biblical manhood is never an accident.

  • graciebaddog

    Chance of finding a down load of the broadcast?

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      I haven’t been able to find one. I think the radio show’s website is c2athisweek.org/CMS/blog, but it currently shows only a database server error page.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      The website is up now. It has a podcast section. I expect it will be there.

      • Graciebaddog

        Thanks found it!

  • graciebaddog

    Ok…
    I admit I was Ed from Atlanta on the show.. I get a bit nervous doing
    stuff like that, I am sure it came across on the call. My question was
    “My mother is a believer and none of her family believes. That will mean
    she will spend eternity in heaven knowing her husband and sons are
    burning in hell. Isn’t that cruel? Why would god do that? Or is she
    going to have her mind wiped or be placed on a Valium drip for all of
    eternity?

    It seemed like he kept changing the question (which was
    on the screen in front of him I’m sure) I felt like I had to keep him
    on point, that the question was about my mom’s feelings in heaven, not
    about me. At the end when the ramifications of knowing your family is in
    hell forever it seemed to sink in, he said something about how
    wonderful heaven will be, so she won’t care about what happend to her family.

    I’m going to have run that by her.

    • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

      I didn’t notice you being nervous. I recognized immediately what you were asking about, and it was clear that Steve Noble misunderstood or wanted to avoid it. Given his treatment of other questions, I think he was being evasive. Ultimately, his answer is untouchable. We have no way to measure the effects of heaven — if it exists — on a person’s happiness. At best, your mother can only speculate based on whatever her notion of heaven is.

      For what it’s worth, your “valium drip” remark got a good laugh out of me.

  • cipher

    to see if he was interested in having me on the show to cordially breakdown misconceptions between atheists and Christians

    What kind of “misconceptions” exist on our side? They think we’re going to hell, and they’re just fine with that. What more is there to know?

    We have even become friends

    Bullshit. You aren’t friends, no matter how much you’d both like to delude yourselves into thinking you are.

    I find this offensive.

  • RBH

    Interesting. Three days ago I got an email from a Baptist pastor in a nearby city inviting me to talk about doing an ‘Ask an Atheist’ session at his church. We’re meeting to talk about it later this week. A few years ago I did a 3-part series of talks on evolution and morality in a church, and found it a very interesting experience.


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