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Friendly Atheist Podcast

This is the podcast for http://FriendlyAtheist.com

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Ep. 31 - Lucien Greaves, Spokesperson for The Satanic Temple

Lucien Greaves is the spokesperson for The Satanic Temple. You know his organization because they’ve been very active recently regarding church/state separation issues. In Oklahoma, where there was a Ten Commandments monument near the Capitol building, Greaves’ group requested putting up a statue of Baphomet… leading to all sorts of chaos. They’ve also tried to put up a Satanic display in the Florida Capitol building. And, my favorite, after a Florida school district allowed an outside group to do a Bible giveaway for students, they requested to distribute a Satanic coloring book… which may lead to an end to outside book distributions for good in that district.We spoke with Lucien about how he doesn't actually believe in Satan, what his group's relationship is like with other Satanic groups, and why they conducted a Pink Mass over the grave of Fred Phelps' mother.


10 Dec 2014

Rank #1

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Ep. 105 - Dr. Dawn Eden, Catholic Convert and Author

Dr. Dawn Eden was born into a Jewish family, became an Agnostic during her teenage years, and then found God and became a Catholic in her 30s. Along the way, she was a rock journalist and worked as an editor for the New York Post and Daily News. Since her conversion, she’s written several books including The Thrill of the Chaste and Remembering God's Mercy: Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories. She's also a long-time blogger at the Dawn Patrol.Before giving a talk at a church just outside of Chicago recently, we had 20 minutes to chat. We used the limited time to talk about her unique religious journey, whether allowing priests to have sex is a good idea, and how she arguably kickstarted my own career with one blog post. (As I make clear in the podcast, there were several points I would love to have pushed back on and debated further, but time didn't allow for it.)


1 May 2016

Rank #2

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Ep. 51 - Megan Fox, Evolution Exhibit "Auditer"

Megan Fox is the apparent evolution-denier who "debunked" a science exhibit at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History and posted the video on YouTube.In a long, far-ranging, and sometimes infuriating interview, we talked about the reactions to her "audit" videos, whether her gender plays a role in the backlash, and why she doesn't consider herself a Creationist. We also discussed why she believes not censoring the Internet in a local library's adult section sanctions "taxpayer funded access to child porn." (In response to her battle with the Orland Park Public Library, readers of Friendly Atheist raised nearly $7,000 for the library's general fund.)

1hr 41mins

19 Apr 2015

Rank #3

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Ep. 222 - The Men Who Regret Their Abortions

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.-- The Trump administration is using Bible verses to justify tearing children away from their parents. (1:29)-- Canada's Supreme Court says legal societies can reject the accreditation of an anti-gay Christian law school. (14:52)-- Abortion: Why won't anyone think of the men? (28:14)-- A Christian Right group plans to spend $20 million for the upcoming midterms. How will you respond? (40:42)-- A study says religious people live several years longer than atheists. Don't believe it. (50:09)-- These cities are in danger of outbreaks due to parents not vaccinating their kids. (58:30) -- Ireland has set a date for a referendum to overturn the law banning blasphemy. (1:02:12)-- Another Bangladeshi atheist was murdered. (1:08:38)-- Why would a UK legislator block this bill? (1:13:25)-- We got mail! (1:16:34)

1hr 27mins

16 Jun 2018

Rank #4

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Ep. 82 - Sarah Haider, Ex-Muslim

Sarah Haider was born in Pakistan as a practicing Shia Muslim. She moved to Texas and, in her late teens, began reading the Qur’an critically. It wasn’t long before she became an atheist. In 2013, she co-founded Ex-Muslims of North America, where she advocates for the acceptance of religious dissent and works to create local support communities for those who have left Islam.We spoke with Sarah about why it's dangerous for Muslims to leave the faith even in the United States, what the New Atheists get right and wrong about Islam, and why we need to stop using the word "Islamophobic."


22 Nov 2015

Rank #5

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Ep. 17 - Pam Mueller, Jeopardy Champion

Pam Mueller may be best known as a frequent contestant on Jeopardy! where she has won more than $180,000 during her many, many episodes, including her run to become champion of the 2000 College Tournament. She also worked on Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign, graduated from Harvard Law School, and is now a grad student in Psychology at Princeton University. We spoke with Pam about her research into notetaking, the end of Howard Dean's campaign, and the oddest place she's been recognized.


10 Dec 2014

Rank #6

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Ep. 20 - TAM2014 - Steven Novella And Jon Armstrong

Jessica spoke with Skeptics Guide to the Universe host and neuroscientist Steven Novella and magician Jon Armstrong about skepticism and the brain, our faulty memories, and how the placebo effect is not what you may think.


10 Dec 2014

Rank #7

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Ep. 122 - Ray Comfort, Evangelist and Producer of The Atheist Delusion

Ray Comfort is the founder and CEO of Living Waters. He's written dozens of books, co-hosted "The Way of the Master" with Kirk Cameron, and produced several movies including Audacity and Evolution vs. God. He recently released Fat Chance (subtitle: Why Pigs Will Fly Before America has an Atheist President) and the movie The Atheist Delusion. Rather than have a debate about God's existence, Ray and I spoke about whether Christians must accept a literal interpretation of Genesis, what he thinks will happen if atheists are elected to political office, and what might change his mind about Christianity. Also: Crocoducks.


14 Aug 2016

Rank #8

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Ep. 61 - Matt Dillahunty, Master Debater and Co-Host of The Atheist Experience

Matt Dillahunty is a former fundamentalist Christian who now debates religious apologists. He was the President of the Atheist Community of Austin for several years and co-hosts The Atheist Experience call-in show. He recently began a video series teaching viewers how to respond to frequently-used apologist arguments.Jessica spoke with Matt about his religious upbringing, why he loves debates, and what he sees as the future of faith.


28 Jun 2015

Rank #9

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Ep. 229 - Broccoli, The Atheists' New Worst Nightmare

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.— Willow Creek megachurch’s founder Bill Hybels has now been accused of sexually harassing his assistant decades ago, and the lead pastor quit as a result. (2:15)— Jeff Sessions‘ “Religious Freedom Task Force” is just a government program to help conservative Christians discriminate against groups they hate. (18:09)— Child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church would stop if only seminaries required applicants to abstain from lust or masturbation for a year, says priest. (23:55)— Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss no longer has his top science job at Arizona State after an investigation found that he groped a woman at a conference. But he’s still on the school’s payroll. (28:58)— Want to volunteer with Franklin Graham‘s Samaritan’s Purse group to help with California wildfire relief efforts? You need to be anti-gay first. (36:44)— There can be no compromise between LGBTQ Americans and conservative Christians. (41:59)— Move over, bananas. Atheists have a new worst nightmare: Broccoli. (50:43)— Pope Francis says the death penalty is never okay. Hallelujah! (55:02)— A Mormon woman couldn’t get a Temple Recommend because she breastfed her baby in church. (1:04:27)

1hr 19mins

6 Aug 2018

Rank #10

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Ep. 115 - Jerry Coyne, Author of Faith vs. Fact

Dr. Jerry Coyne is a now-retired Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. He has written over 115 refereed scientific papers; 130 additional articles, book reviews, and columns; and a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr).He may be most familiar to listeners for his books Why Evolution is True (which spawned his blog of the same name) and Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible.At the recent American Humanist Association conference in Chicago, we spoke with Dr. Coyne about why science and religion are incompatible, the problems with the "Regressive Left" on college campuses, and what he discusses with his atheist/scientist friends.


26 Jun 2016

Rank #11

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Ep. 11 - Billy Hallowell, TheBlaze.com

Billy Hallowell is the faith editor for TheBlaze.com, perhaps better known as Glenn Beck’s website. He has also written pieces for The Washington Post, The Daily Caller, The Huffington Post, and several other websites, and he is a frequent guest on Fox News Channel. His interest in politics and social issues goes far back, though. He used to be the CEO of VoterWatch, a non-partisan nonprofit focusing on government transparency, and even began a website in high school encouraging students to make a difference in their communities.We spoke with Billy about what he's learned from working under Glenn Beck, what conservatives do poorly, and how we share a surprising bond involving actor Nicolas Cage.


10 Dec 2014

Rank #12

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Ep. 234 - Sorry, Sinead

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.— These Christians are threatening to follow the law if they don’t get to pray over the loudspeakers before football games. (2:20)— A new book talks about the harm of the evangelical “purity” movement. (7:53)— Several states are launching their own investigations into the Catholic Church. (17:37)— Researchers calculated how much money victims of Catholic Church abuse lose over their lifetimes. (22:18)— A Mexican cardinal says victims of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal have their own skeletons and should shut up. (28:55)— Sinéad O’Connor deserves all the apologies for calling out Catholic Church abuse long before it was a news story. (31:09)— A Christian school has banned all Nike products for athletes after the Colin Kaepernick ad. (37:20)— A bunch of evangelical Christians released a statement denouncing social justice activism. (45:55)— A Texas pastor sexually assaulted a teen in church. Is the church handling the situation properly? (58:53)— American Atheists has a new president. Here’s what he should focus on. (1:03:34)— Is it fair to question Serena Williams about her Jehovah’s Witness beliefs? (1:25:38)

1hr 49mins

8 Sep 2018

Rank #13

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Ep. 213 - The Even Sadder Creation Museum

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.-- Kent Hovind is advertising his new Creationist theme park using a meme mocking Creationists. (1:41)-- White evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump is at an all-time high. (7:37)-- The frighteningly conservative White House Bible studies being run by Capitol Ministries’ Ralph Drollinger. (13:40)-- A Stanford study doesn't really show that the most religious kids do best in school. (17:56)-- Pope Francis lied to a kid about whether or not his dead atheist father was in Heaven. (26:18)-- This is a fairly accurate assessment of why people think Christians are "A**holes." (32:36)-- Liberty University makes bank through its online education program. Too bad it's not good for students. (34:50)-- Focus on the Family is legally a "church" now, and you should see how they pulled it off... (41:23)-- Students at “Christian Hogwarts” are doing something called "grave sucking" and trying to walk through walls. (52:06)-- Was Democratic National Committee vice chairman Keith Ellison right to say, "Women are dying" because his party loses elections? (57:34)-- We answer listener mail! (1:09:21)

1hr 31mins

21 Apr 2018

Rank #14

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Ep. 226 - Throw Away The Used Communion Wafer

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.-- The new Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the one right-wing group that opposed him (temporarily), and his claim that church/state separation is "based on bad history." (0:30)-- This is why it's a problem believing communion wafers are the literal body of Christ. (20:14)-- Apparently you're not a real man unless you have a first-born son. (25:29)-- Kentucky can't decide if religious license plates should be allowed because atheists would get to have them. (27:44)-- Donald Trump's spiritual adviser Pastor Paula White says (wrongly) Jesus never broke the law. (33:00)-- A judge ruled against the least offensive atheist bus ad ever. (38:09)-- What did you do, Papa John? (43:47)-- The studio behind God's Not Dead wants to make a movie about the Thai kids trapped in a cave. (46:53)-- The Center For Inquiry is suing CVS for selling homeopathic medicine in misleading ways. (52:40)-- Australia is punishing parents who don't vaccinate their kids. Good. (57:52)-- The UK government is planning on banning gay conversion therapy. (1:01:10)-- A 12-year-old girl is working to bring a Pride parade to Buffalo Grove, Illinois. (1:04:20)

1hr 10mins

14 Jul 2018

Rank #15

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Ep. 230 - Southern Baptists Can't Handle A Vegetarian's Plea

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics.— The rest of Willow Creek church’s leadership resigned over the Bill Hybels scandal. (0:28)— Brock Turner lost his appeal to overturn a sexual assault conviction. (16:14)— A one-minute video promoting animal rights was too controversial for a Southern Baptist group. (20:40)— An anti-abortion pamphlet was found inside a box of diapers. (28:30)— An Atlanta charter school tried to avoid a Pledge of Allegiance controversy… only to get embroiled in a Pledge of Allegiance controversy. (32:25)— A Tokyo medical school changed test scores to purposely exclude women… for years. (37:28)— Why are people abandoning religion? Not believing in God isn’t the #1 reason. (42:10)— Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert is rewriting history and blame atheists for wrecking his Ten Commandments monument. (52:10)


11 Aug 2018

Rank #16

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Ep. 133 - Phil Vischer, Co-Creator of VeggieTales

If you’ve ever seen VeggieTales, you’re familiar with Phil Vischer. He’s the animator, puppeteer, writer, voice actor, and songwriter who co-created that series. His production company soon grew to over 200 workers by the year 2000 before a lawsuit sent the company into bankruptcy and forced Phil to basically start over again. He now runs Jellyfish Labs, where he produces faith-based content. He also hosts the Phil Vischer Podcast which is a very entertaining show all about Christianity in a post-Christian America. We spoke with Phil about why Christian media is so cringeworthy, how he tells Bible stories that may offend parts of his audience, and what the hell is happening with evangelicals in the upcoming election.


30 Oct 2016

Rank #17

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Ep. 232 - The Mormon Who Ended An Engagement Over A Fantasy

Jessica and I sat down to talk about several stories from the past week involving religion and politics. — Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) used Christianity to cover up his campaign finance fraud. (2:55) — The Catholic Church has spent millions of dollars in New York lobbying against bills that would let victims of child sex abuse seek justice. (7:50) — Good news! Claiming to have flown in an alien spaceship is no longer a dealbreaker to get an endorsement from the Miami Herald. (11:50) — Christine Hallquist, a trans woman, is the Democratic nominee for governor in Vermont! (16:55) — A conservative legal group is furious that Hawaii asked non-profits to play by the rules this election season. (18:58) — An Arkansas school district did not like the contextualized “In God We Trust” poster offered to them by American Atheists. (23:25) — Surprise: HPV vaccines aren’t bad for you! (28:23) — A young Mormon woman dumped her fiancé after she realized he watched porn. (33:38) — The Christian family that handles snakes in church can’t stop getting bitten by snakes for some reason. (43:30) — Rose McGowan goes from hero to ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ in a recent #MeToo story. (47:14) — The former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was charged with forcible touching. (50:37) — Hemant will be in Portland, Oregon on Friday, August 31 for a free conversation about religion with a Christian apologist. Expect all the fireworks! (51:39) — Thanks to our Patreon supporters! (52:15) — Is Donald Trump the first atheist president in history? (52:43)


25 Aug 2018

Rank #18

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Ep. 142 - Questions From Atheists

We (Hemant and Jessica) sat down to answer several of the questions atheists told us they had trouble answering.They included: Should you be vocal about your atheism in the South? Is it okay to have your child baptized to please your parents? And could you ever date someone who was religious?

1hr 10mins

1 Jan 2017

Rank #19

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Ep. 113 - Julia Sweeney, Comedian and Author

Julia Sweeney may be best known for her years on Saturday Night Live, where she famously played the androgynous character Pat. But she has since written multiple one-woman shows and books which speak to her experiences as a cancer survivor (God Said, Ha!), atheist (Letting Go of God), and mother (If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother).Speaking of which, if you haven't heard Letting Go of God yet, stop what you're doing and go listen to it. It's an incredible, funny story of how Julia shed her Catholicism. (A condensed version of the show was featured on a 2005 episode of This American Life.)At the recent American Humanist Association conference in Chicago, we spoke with Julia and her daughter Mulan about how the character Pat would go over today, the movie Mulan finally watched for the very first time, and what Julia thinks about the new all-female Ghostbusters reboot.


12 Jun 2016

Rank #20