Friendly Atheist Podcast Episode 58: Jessica Hagy, Cartoonist and Author of The Art of War Visualized

Our latest podcast guest is Jessica Hagy, a cartoonist and writer best known for her insightful and hilarious webcomic Indexed, in which she draws charts and Venn diagrams connecting completely different ideas and getting us to think about them in different ways.

Her latest book is The Art of War Visualized. It’s the Sun Tzu classic reworked and with illustrations.

During a recent stop in Chicago, we spoke about her career change from copywriter to professional author/illustrator, where she finds inspiration for her work, and how her cartoons made their way into my math classes.

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What Religious Cults Seem to Have in Common

Jeff C. Stevenson first heard of the “All Saved Freak Band” in the 1970s. He listened to their music, thought it was unique, and continued to acquire their albums over the years. It was only later that he realized the band was really just an outreach tool for Rev. Larry Hill’s Church of the Risen Christ, a group with a mysterious and seemingly-shady history.

When he finally got in touch with one of the band members to hear the backstory, he also gained access to several other members of the church. It turns out the group was a cult, replete with brainwashing and abuse (“emotional, physical, sexual and mental”). Three members ultimately died and another was permanently disfigured as a result of following Hill.

Now, after speaking with 17 survivors, Stevenson is finally sharing their stories in Fortney Road: The True Story of Life, Death, and Deception in a Christian Cult (Freethought House, 2015):

In the excerpt below, Stevenson talks about the similarities many cults have with one-another and where Larry Hill fits in:

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Author of Awkward Moments Children’s Bible Cancels Similar Qur’an-Themed Project

Horus Gilgamesh is the author of the Awkward Moments (Not Found In Your Average) Children’s Bible, which documents many of the Bible’s little-known verses.

After writing that book and a sequel, he decided to do something *really* blasphemous: create a similar book focusing on the Qur’an.

Unfortunately, the Awkward Moments (Not Found In Your Average) Kid’s Koran won’t be coming out anytime soon since he’s decided to pull the plug on the project:



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New Biblical Guide to Hell for Small Children is Sick and Depraved

To be honest, I was unaware that people calling themselves Puritans still existed. 

A new Christian book for children, The Cage: A Young Children’s Guide to the Biblical Teaching on Hell, by C. Matthew McMahon, Ph.D., Th.D., was published this month by Puritan Publications of Tennessee. McMahon is an American Calvinist Reformed theologian, adjunct professor at Whitefield Theological Seminary, and editor of A Puritan’s Mind, which the publisher’s promo describes as “the largest Reformed website on the internet for students of the Bible concerning Reformed Theology, the Puritans and Covenant Theology.”

The “tastefully illustrated” book is “aimed at children 5 to 9 years old.” The dedication page gives a taste of the dark things to come:

“But I will warn you to whom to fear: Fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him!”  (Luke 12:5)…

“Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell,” (Proverbs 23:14).

Those “tasteful illustrations”? Take a look at just one page:



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Sam Harris’ Next Book, About Islam, Now Available for Pre-Order

If you’ve been following Sam Harris‘ new podcast or blog posts, you know he’s been working with Maajid Nawaz (a former self-described radical Muslim) on a book about Islam.

That book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue, is now available for pre-order:



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