SkepSun #165 (11_22_2015)

On Freethought Radio, Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker declare “We love Paris, and detest religious terrorism.” In the news, we’ll hear about Governor Kasich calling for an agency to spread “Judeo-Christian values” and Mormons are leaving the church over their gay-marriage stance. After hearing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Annie Laurie and Dan talk with Fernando Alcántar, a Mexican immigrant who was converted by American missionaries, became a Christian leader, and then became a gay atheist activist. His new book is To The Cross and Back: An Immigrant’s Journey from Faith to Reason.

Speaking of immigration, Gordon Bonnet has a thing or two to say to those who’d close the U.S. borders to refugees fleeing for their lives from Syria. He’ll even quote Christian scripture in a column from the Skeptophilia blog from the past week entitled “I was a stranger and you took me in.”

Then, in the wake of Islamist-sponsored massacres in Beirut, Paris and Bamako, what does the future look like for muslims in Western Societies, what are the prospects for a global civilization with shared values and what is the way forward?  Is a conversation even possible? Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz show that it is. Juliette Kayyem, Lecturer in Public Policy, at the Harvard Kennedy School moderates a discussion at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics between Maajid Nawaz, a British muslim and former jailed Islamist, Chairman of Quilliam, the world’s first counter-extremism think tank and Sam Harris, well known “New Atheist” author and neuroscientist.  The discussion, which took place in September of this year, centers around their jointly authored book, Islam and the Future of Tolerance .

Here is a Seidel to the Andrew Seidel article I mention at the end of the show.

Islam & Future of Tolerance

SkepSun #122 (01_18_2015)

Prominent news publications refused to show the cover  this week’s post-attack Charlie Hebdo which shows a tearful Mohammed holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign underneath the words, “All is Forgiven.” We’ll hear two very different takes on the limits of speech that ridicules religion. Salman Rushdie told an audience at the University of Vermont last week that there must be none at all, while the Pope  said as he boarded a plane for the Philippines said that there not only are there limits, but that punching someone who insults your mother is entirely “natural.” The  limits to free speech, if there are any, are also the subject on a podcast of the National Constitution Center, on which Eric Posner from the University of Chicago and Jonathan Rauch from the Brookings Institution join host Jeffrey Rosen. Is it hypocritical for France to enforce laws that criminalize so-called hate speech against Jews, for instance, at the same time as they defend the right of cartoonists to draw caricatures of Mohammed? Then we hear the most recent Point of Inquiry podcast on which Josh Zepp’s speaks with Jytte Klausen, a political scholar and professor at Brandeis University who in 2009 published a book about the 2005 Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed that sparked anger and protest in some corners of the Muslim world. Much to Klausen’s surprise, Yale University Press refused to include the very cartoons she was discussing. Klausen joins Zepps to talk about the precariousness of the struggle for free expression, and the balance we strike between security and freedom. Finally, with radical Islam in the international spotlight, one Saudi cleric decides it’s a good moment to issue a fatwa against…Frosty the Snowman. Gordon Bonnet of Skeptophilia has the details. But first, On Freethought Radio Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker talk with Eric Stone, an FFRF Life member who helped stop prayers at Concord, California city council meetings. Then they ask former Seventh Day Adventist minister Ryan Bell what happened after his experiment to live a “Year Without God.”

The Pope demonstrating that punching someone who insults your mother or your religion is "only natural" on Jan. 15, 2015.

Turning the other cheek, like freedom of speech, has its limits: the Pope demonstrating that punching someone who insults your mother or your religion is “only natural” on Jan. 15, 2015 to the delight of all aboard his plane.


SkepSun #64 (11_10_2013)

It’s the second of our two WRFI fundraiser live shows. Our guest in hour two is Demir Barlas, Ithaca resident, husband, father, ex-Muslim and atheist. What’s it like to be an “out” ex-Muslim and what should the rest of us believe about Islam?  A religion of peace hijacked by extremists, or something else, and is an Islamic reformation possible? Up first, though, is Freethought Radio. Annie Laurie Gaylor has the day off and Dan Barker is flying solo.  He’ll tell us about FFRF’s new lawsuit in California state court, challenging official city prayer and the City Chaplaincy in Pismo Beach, California. Then we’ll hear Dan Savage’s “Emperor Has No Clothes” award acceptance speech from the FFRF annual convention that took place in September and Dan’s talk with Peter Boghossian, author of the new best-seller, A Manual For Creating Atheists.

Thanks to everyone who helped to make WRFI’s fall fundraiser a success!