Cover image of Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey
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Education
Religion & Spirituality
Religion

Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Updated about 1 month ago

Education
Religion & Spirituality
Religion
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Please stop hoarding kindness.

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Please stop hoarding kindness.

iTunes Ratings

129 Ratings
Average Ratings
99
15
5
3
7

Informative

By old geek 5555 - Jan 12 2015
Read more
Entertaining and informative.

yes

By Truth105 - Jul 08 2014
Read more
I look forward to every episode.

iTunes Ratings

129 Ratings
Average Ratings
99
15
5
3
7

Informative

By old geek 5555 - Jan 12 2015
Read more
Entertaining and informative.

yes

By Truth105 - Jul 08 2014
Read more
I look forward to every episode.
Cover image of Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

Latest release on May 18, 2020

Read more

Please stop hoarding kindness.

Rank #1: Sweeping Graham Cracker Crumbs

Podcast cover
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Becky, Dan, and Luke discuss hoaxes, state legislation, college, Salish Sea conservation, rebuffed preachers, and mo(o)re.

News

Feb 17 2020

56mins

Play

Rank #2: Infernal

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Josh and Becky swat down charlatan cures for COVID-19, talk with Thomasin Satanlad about The Satanic Temple’s infernal ritual at the statehouse steps, and answer some listener questions.

News

Feedback

How [do I] kindly respond (or not?) to loved ones who post religious faith statements and images? Do you just ignore? And how [should I] respond to prayer requests for loved ones of loved ones. Hoping for creative, kind yet honest suggestions.-Mary from Pierce County

I was listening to your Of Faeries and Fish episode, and wanted some clarification. In the episode, you guys mention a part of the Bible in which Jesus whips people selling stuff in the temple. Can you clarify which part of the Bible that is?-E. Nix from The Internet

What is an atheist?-Arrbey from Facebook

Mar 12 2020

57mins

Play

Rank #3: Era Dust

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Sam & Becky, from the safety of their home, welcome remote guest host Shujin Tribble as they contemplate parody ceremonies for cats, criticize craft store antics, and say bye (finally?) to the saga of Coach Joe Kennedy. Also: hotdogs.

News

Feedback

Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns only come in packages of just eight? -Owen from The Internet

Covid-19 has largely shut down our work, and we’re looking for ways of being upbeat, silly, and have some minimal time with a few friends–a total of 6, including ourselves. Just so people don’t take my head off: everyone who is invited to this has been isolating for the past week. We’re not seeking fun at the expense of social responsibility. What we are celebrating: our cats become “mature/adult” cats. So we decided to throw a Catceanera party for one, and a Cat Mitzvah for the other. Any suggestions for activities/ceremony/gifts for our fun loving, irreverent cat celebration? Ever a fan (and happily a patron), Colin -Colin from Seattle

Favorite Cat Dances

Mar 24 2020

46mins

Play

Rank #4: Leadership Track

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Becky returns from Camp Quest NW’s inaugural teen leadership retreat, Dan previews his tour of summer camp biomes, Justin fills us in on Russian election interference developments, and we all take a look at political perceptions.

News

Mar 03 2020

57mins

Play

Rank #5: Tastebud MMA

Podcast cover
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Dave and Josh help Command-line Deity Sam celebrate a numerically interesting birthday.  They talk sports, booze, virulence, and Christian lawmakers, and mourn the untimely passing of a stunt-obsessed flat-earther.

News

Feedback

Happy birthday! Give yourself the gift of no news for a while. -Urethramancer from Twitter

Happy 20200220! I hope you’re having a relaxing day. -Endigo Vandane from Twitter

Best wishes! -John from Idaho

Do you feel a crushing psychological weight now that you are the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything? -Theo from Washington

Missing y’all’s voices. Don’t think you’re not missed. -Randy from Twitter

What does it feel [like] to see your Linux server crash and not having a God to pray to? -Camilo from Quebec

Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? -Justin from Tacoma

Feb 24 2020

56mins

Play

The Front Fell Off

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Sam explains the extended gaps between recording sessions and teeth. He and Becky discuss cognitive dissonance, Roman history, dogmatic thought, and data backups as they respond to listener feedback.

Feedback

In the same way that Hitler is dishonestly labeled as a atheist, I know for a fact that modern Christians will also do the same mis-labeling when they decide to disown Trump.  So, how do you godless weirdos generate income with the internet? This Coronavirus resulted in me losing my job as a valet driver.-Michael from The Internet

I and the rest of your audience were lucky to get what you so freely gave and shared with us.

It’s hard to reflect on the positives of your accomplishments when many times you can only see what still needs to be done while you’re on the inside.

You answered many of the questions both atheists and non-atheists struggle with in our personal struggles with religion, or at least addressed them so we could move forward to our own solutions from where we were stuck. You did it in an approachable format that had previously been unavailable to the general public.

I feel I’ve made a friend, even though we’ve never met. I’d never felt that way with other atheist leaders, though to be honest Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her family were not the highest bar to beat. But you were literally just another geeky, nerdy guy who happened to be an atheist and could intelligently speak to it. And your other discussions were fun, even when it went off on MLS or comic tangents that normally don’t interest me. But it’s also hard to relate to more modern leaders, intellectuals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens or entertainers like Bill Maher and Penn Gillette. They’re good, but I doubt any could be half as entertaining while being relatable like you and Becky and the rest of your eclectic group of friends and acquaintances.

You’ve helped spread not only information about atheism, but rational thinking and showing how much religion and other personal philosophies often violates people’s rights because of its followers dogmatic thinking.

I especially appreciate your discussions of LGBT issues within religions as a retired gay man who’s been an atheist since 15.

You also helped me improve my knowledge on how, from a rational thinker perspective, to defend a woman’s right to choose, the problems with anti-vaxxers, the difference between being a culture with largely Christian origins vs being a Christian nation, the background of our founding fathers in their understanding of the importance of the separation of church and state, and even that some evangelists like Harold Camping can be friends even if you’re vastly different people with vastly different viewpoints.

Your guests have probably educated me on more general science than any media educator not named Neil deGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye.

So thank you Sam for these last ten years. -Steve from The Internet

In lieu of new episodes, I had been listening back to the most recent batch. Some of the episodes get funnier when listening back to them. Like hearing about Becky getting Sam season tickets for his birthday. D’oh! On the topic of backups; for the love of IBM, backup your data! -Odd from Norway

May 18 2020

33mins

Play

…or I might be full of shazbot.

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On the precipice of a full decade of Ask an Atheist, Sam talks about the show and his increasing disillusionment with being a public atheist. Then, we talk about real-life Scooby Doo ghosts.

Liberty

It’s getting increasingly difficult to talk about atheism these days, and I’ll explore some of the reasons over the next few weeks. But I’ll mention one now: The problem is no longer “Salvation,” but “Liberty.” Obviously.

Ever since this nation turned to marketing as it’s instrument of national consensus, all political power has pointed to a mythical, trans-cultural and poorly-educated Bud the Chud who swills natty ice; owns a pickup truck he destroyed to roll coal on; eight rattle-canned AR-15s he can’t shoot, can’t maintain, and can’t handle with any degree of safety; all bought on credit he can’t afford.

Anyone with a clear eye and the philosophical equivalent a drink in their belly can tell you that all political entities in America tilt to Bud. Even the good ones and sometimes, especially the good ones. Again, obviously.

In the last couple weeks, “Live Free or Die” has transmogrified into “Live free and Die” as Bud’s aspirants gather ’round and huff each other’s bodily fluids. All of this in the name of a “Liberty” defined before modern medicine, before genetics, before even germ theory, at a time when “fornicating with livestock” wasn’t as much of an insult as it was a tempting career opportunity.

These people are not Bud. They have morality, they care about others, they pay attention to the news enough to be scared. We live with them , we trade with them, we lend each other power tools. But it’s getting harder and harder to get through to them, thanks to the instruments of national consensus and mob psychology– and we have to, one way or another. Time is running out. People are dying.

I’m American enough to believe in Liberty. This is why, in the past, I’ve stood up for people who believe in it even when I think their notions of liberty are at best childish. For Liberty to be true, it must not be a spiritual concept but a mundane one that contends with physics and biology, with desire and need. We need to engineer it, just as the framers did, but more cogently and with more nuance, for our morality is superior and our world much larger than theirs.

I am aware that the similarities between Bud’s Liberty and Bud’s Salvation are profound. On Sundays, Bud can be found in Church, praying for an eternal subservience to a celesital Authority, disguised as Salvation. His prayer is presided over by a Micro-Torquemada who fancies himself a mere shepherd. He has sex with Bud’s children. During the week, Bud can be found at a rally, rooting for an eternal subservience to a corporeal Authority disguised as Liberty. His rally is presided over by a Micro-Hitler with good teeth or bad hair and a lack of moral conscience. He has sex with everything else Bud has.

But I must face the mein as well as the method, and here I find the atheism stance falls short. But what does that mean? Like, in reality, not on Junior High Civics Planet.

First, the presidential election. 2016 was a weird year, and I found myself feeling like a Cassandra and ultimately treated like one. I have no desire to repeat that experience. Even if I could, my crystal ball is cracked and only plays reruns of McHale’s Navy and I don’t even know what auspices are let alone how to read them. The political waters are turbid and rough with this present crisis, and I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. The best thing I have is silence, and I shall provide it.

Second is how we’re going to deal with the political and religious hucksters and jackasses who are using the pandemic for personal gain. We’re collecting those stories and we’ll deal with them in-depth, but I’m going to wait until we know what the death toll is. That way, I know what tone to take.

Hair Care

To Whom It May Concern;

I see where this is going, and before you ask: no. Holy cats, no. Absolutely not. Please register my official protest in the log. I love you dearly and I also prefer being alive, therefore I must respectfully decline.

The last time I had any input on your hair was such a “success” that I’d sooner sign on to issue you three high colonics and an appendectomy before I would have any responsibility– and therefore potential blame– for your hair.

Issue the first: I do not manage my own hair in any reasonable capacity. Also, I have nearly zero experience with any sort of hair care. The last time I even got a haircut was only because a powered drill got caught in it. I have less hair experience with hair styling than a four year old with a pair of crinkle-cut scissors and a bad idea.

Issue the second: We are completely at odds when it comes to the philosophy of hair. To you, it appears to be a primary form of self-expression and identity, tied not only to personality but also to professionalism. To me, hair is a tertiary sexual expression substance that exists mostly for the enjoyment of others, expressly yourself.

This is not a criticism. It makes sense. Professionally, you’re a literal figurehead: you exist at the front of the classroom and must be meaningfully interfaced with in order for the ship of education to progress. On the other hand, I’m more akin to engine oil: I have no fixed position, when I’m functioning properly I’m essentially invisible, and under no circumstances does anyone really want to look that closely at me.

With Love, Respect, and more than a little Snark,

Sam

News

Apr 30 2020

1hr 15mins

Play

Sparky On Ice

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Sam and Becky talk with Robert Ray, a frequent guest on Ask An Atheist over the years. He’s a Humanist Celebrant, podcaster, father, and electrician who is recently back to the US after spending a year in Antarctica. Then we talk about A Car Tunnel of Not Fire.

News

Apr 13 2020

39mins

Play

Extra: I Can Smell Through Time

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We’re doing alright– and we explain a little of that in this Podcast Extra. We talk about what’s going around the house, what projects we’ve been up to, and why we don’t have a show today.

How are you?

Things We Mention

News

Feedback

Is it ethical to setup a virtual board game night where you play pandemic, plague Inc, and zombieside?
Bobby from Mesa, AZ

Fire

Everything wasn’t on fire, but it felt like it for a moment.

Mr. Adventure

Mr. Adventure is lost in thought.

Apr 05 2020

33mins

Play

Doorknoblicker

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Sam and Becky remotely welcome Johnathan Arriola as they talk about hotdogs, religion in the era of social distancing, and the mystery of Trump’s religious affiliation.

News

Feedback

Thoughts on if there will be a religious resurgence post-pandemic or an exodus? There’s a joke in there somewhere…[Also], why do some people feel that doctors and science can be so wrong that they lick doorknobs? -Daniel from Tacoma

I see many folks wearing gloves to protect themselves. COVID13 gets into you via mucus membranes. You touch an infected item, then touch your eyes, nose, mouth with or without these gloves, you’ve introduced the virus to yourself. Like writing the combination down on a locked combo lock, false security.. -Paul from Ashford

In response to how our listeners are doing: We’re fine. My lovely and talented wife is sewing masks at the moment. I’m starting work on a technician class training course. Social distancing makes classroom training unworkable, so I guess it’ll have to be online. -John from Idaho

Wipes and Sprayers… -Shawn from the Internet

The reason for [why hotdogs com in 10-packs but bun are 8 to a pack] is obvious: The other two sausages are for the non-human weenie-roast participants. For those unfortunate individuals without furry housemates, may I suggest slicing them up and pan-frying them? -Jennifer from the Internet

I’ll have to remember the hot dog and bun thing for the next time someone tells me the universe is finely tuned. -Victor from the Internet

Mar 30 2020

55mins

Play

Era Dust

Podcast cover
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Sam & Becky, from the safety of their home, welcome remote guest host Shujin Tribble as they contemplate parody ceremonies for cats, criticize craft store antics, and say bye (finally?) to the saga of Coach Joe Kennedy. Also: hotdogs.

News

Feedback

Why do hot dogs come in packages of ten, but hot dog buns only come in packages of just eight? -Owen from The Internet

Covid-19 has largely shut down our work, and we’re looking for ways of being upbeat, silly, and have some minimal time with a few friends–a total of 6, including ourselves. Just so people don’t take my head off: everyone who is invited to this has been isolating for the past week. We’re not seeking fun at the expense of social responsibility. What we are celebrating: our cats become “mature/adult” cats. So we decided to throw a Catceanera party for one, and a Cat Mitzvah for the other. Any suggestions for activities/ceremony/gifts for our fun loving, irreverent cat celebration? Ever a fan (and happily a patron), Colin -Colin from Seattle

Favorite Cat Dances

Mar 24 2020

46mins

Play

Infernal

Podcast cover
Read more

Josh and Becky swat down charlatan cures for COVID-19, talk with Thomasin Satanlad about The Satanic Temple’s infernal ritual at the statehouse steps, and answer some listener questions.

News

Feedback

How [do I] kindly respond (or not?) to loved ones who post religious faith statements and images? Do you just ignore? And how [should I] respond to prayer requests for loved ones of loved ones. Hoping for creative, kind yet honest suggestions.-Mary from Pierce County

I was listening to your Of Faeries and Fish episode, and wanted some clarification. In the episode, you guys mention a part of the Bible in which Jesus whips people selling stuff in the temple. Can you clarify which part of the Bible that is?-E. Nix from The Internet

What is an atheist?-Arrbey from Facebook

Mar 12 2020

57mins

Play

Leadership Track

Podcast cover
Read more

Becky returns from Camp Quest NW’s inaugural teen leadership retreat, Dan previews his tour of summer camp biomes, Justin fills us in on Russian election interference developments, and we all take a look at political perceptions.

News

Mar 03 2020

57mins

Play

Tastebud MMA

Podcast cover
Read more

Dave and Josh help Command-line Deity Sam celebrate a numerically interesting birthday.  They talk sports, booze, virulence, and Christian lawmakers, and mourn the untimely passing of a stunt-obsessed flat-earther.

News

Feedback

Happy birthday! Give yourself the gift of no news for a while. -Urethramancer from Twitter

Happy 20200220! I hope you’re having a relaxing day. -Endigo Vandane from Twitter

Best wishes! -John from Idaho

Do you feel a crushing psychological weight now that you are the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything? -Theo from Washington

Missing y’all’s voices. Don’t think you’re not missed. -Randy from Twitter

What does it feel [like] to see your Linux server crash and not having a God to pray to? -Camilo from Quebec

Best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten? -Justin from Tacoma

Feb 24 2020

56mins

Play

Sweeping Graham Cracker Crumbs

Podcast cover
Read more

Becky, Dan, and Luke discuss hoaxes, state legislation, college, Salish Sea conservation, rebuffed preachers, and mo(o)re.

News

Feb 17 2020

56mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

129 Ratings
Average Ratings
99
15
5
3
7

Informative

By old geek 5555 - Jan 12 2015
Read more
Entertaining and informative.

yes

By Truth105 - Jul 08 2014
Read more
I look forward to every episode.