Rank #1: Ep. 90 - Chris Shelton, Former Scientologist
He just published a book called Scientology: A to Xenu: An Insider's Guide to What Scientology is All About.
We spoke with Chris about what tipped him off to the Church's deceptions, what he was taught about Xenu, and what he believes would be the single biggest blow to the Church's existence.
Jan 17 2016
Rank #2: Ep. 87 - Eric, a Former Member of the Worldwide Church of God
Jessica spoke with him about his upbringing in the church, how it affected his childhood, and how he ultimately left it all behind.
*We apologize for the sound quality in this episode! The audio equipment wasn't working properly so we had to resort to alternate means.
Dec 27 2015
Rank #3: Ep. 197 - 2017 In Review
We covered a whole variety of topics, going month by month, so feel free to jump around and listen in at any point!
Dec 30 2017
Rank #4: Ep. 199 - They Gave the Pastor a Standing Ovation for Assault
-- All the action in local governments: A secular affirmation, the end of one city's invocations, how one politician compared atheist invocations to baby murder, a delightful atheist invocation in Florida, and two officials in California who aren't standing for the Pledge. (4:46)
-- Feminine hygiene products are free for public school students in Illinois and California. (18:32)
-- An elected official told his committee they needed another man to fill a vacant seat because the Bible said so. (20:02)
-- Dan Harmon's worthwhile apology. (26:39)
-- Megachurch pastor Andy Savage received a standing ovation for assaulted a girl decades ago then giving a half-hearted apology for it. (31:21)
-- Joshua Feuerstein said the actresses at the Golden Globes couldn't credibly speak out against assault because they were "dressed like hookers." (44:35)
-- Gwyneth Paltrow wants you to spend $135 to spray coffee up your butt. (59:54)
-- A Turkish scientist claims Noah called his son on a cell phone before boarding the Ark. (1:00:30)
-- Bill Donohue claims the Catholic Church is a “model” for handling sexual misconduct. (1:02:03)
-- Singer Charlie Daniels doesn't like that Taco Bell mocked the Illuminati. (1:03:20)
-- Donald Trump's "spiritual advisor" is capitalizing on her fame by asking everyone to give her a month's salary. (1:04:37)
Jan 13 2018
Rank #5: Ep. 105 - Dr. Dawn Eden, Catholic Convert and Author
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.)
May 01 2016
Rank #6: Ep. 142 - Questions From Atheists
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?
Jan 01 2017
Rank #7: Ep. 193 - Will Anything Prevent A Roy Moore Victory?
-- Donald Trump screwed up Christianity 101 at the White House Christmas Tree Lighting. (1:17)
-- Will anything prevent evangelical Christians from voting for Roy Moore in next week's special election to the Senate? (7:36)
-- In a tragic story, an atheist activist killed his wife, then himself, in a "suspected murder-suicide." (27:26)
-- American Atheists' new billboard campaign says “Just Skip Church… It’s All Fake News!” (32:24)
-- Does the Creation Museum's new exhibit make Creationists look dumb? Or did I speak too soon? (34:10)
-- And what can we learn from Ark Encounter's attendance numbers? (39:15)
-- Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias can't explain his biographical lies. (45:25)
-- These Christian standardized exams are bad indicators of college performance. (58:13)
Dec 02 2017
Rank #8: Ep. 196 - The CDC's Word Ban Is Only Kinda Scary
-- Did the CDC really ban words like "science-based" and "transgender"? (1:21)
-- An Oregon atheist threatened to sue over a religious street banner, but he has no case. (5:42)
-- An Australian politician plans to defend Christianity against mockery. (9:49)
-- Ivanka Trump wishes everyone "Happy Holidays!" (16:45)
-- It doesn't matter that the BBC’s Head of Religious Programming is an atheist. (17:45)
-- OKCupid says liking Donald Trump is a dealbreaker for users. (21:26)
-- Democratic men are more likely to be feminist than Republican women. (23:50)
-- A Milwaukee priest came out as gay, everyone celebrated it, but it's still heartbreaking. (30:57)
-- Cardinal Law is dead. (38:11)
-- "Feminism" is Mirriam-Webster's Word of the Year. (41:37)
Dec 23 2017
Rank #9: Ep. 204 - Prayers Don't Prevent School Shootings
-- Republicans should just admit their prayers to stop school shootings aren't helping. (1:09)
-- A pastor was found with a naked, tied-up man in his car. He swears “on a stack of bibles” that nothing happened. (11:45)
-- This racist cartoonist published a cartoon attacking DREAMers. (14:55)
-- A Colorado teacher has been charged with abusing and assaulting a student who wouldn't stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. (19:50)
-- Even Omarosa Manigault, a minister, thinks Mike Pence is a crazy Christian. (23:57)
-- The Trump administration's response to the Rob Porter scandal has been disappointing and exactly what you'd expect. (26:55)
-- The Tennessee GOP Unleashed an attack on a “radical atheist” running for State Senate. (32:46)
-- Dennis Prager says evangelicals aren’t hypocrites for backing Donald Trump. Even though they totally are. (39:35)
-- A New Mexico city owes the ACLU $700,000 after not taking their advice about a Ten Commandments monument, then losing the court case. (50:54)
Feb 16 2018
Rank #10: Ep. 92 - William Shunn, Author of The Accidental Terrorist
He’s still not allowed to return to Canada.
We spoke with Bill about what it's like to be a Mormon missionary when your heart's just not into it, how the Mormon Church catches escaped missionaries, and the extreme length he went to to prevent his mission partner from leaving the base.
Jan 31 2016
Rank #11: Ep. 131 - Vyckie Garrison, Former Quiverfull Mother
She recently received American Atheists' Atheist of the Year award and runs the blog "No Longer Quivering" to provide support to women and children who are escaping abusive religious movements and to provide the public with accurate and compassionate information on the unique challenges faced by the spiritually abused.
We spoke about what her Quiverfull lifestyle entailed, how she escaped it, and what advice she would give to other women in her position.
Oct 17 2016
Rank #12: Ep. 114 - Katherine Ozment, Author of Grace Without God
For years now, she has been exploring how the ever-growing segment of non-religious parents raise their children. They're not all atheists, but they have to grapple with the Big Questions about life and death and belonging, all without supernatural faith. She wrote a magazine article about it a few years ago, and she has now written a full-length examination into the topic.
I spoke with her about what secular "grace" looks like, why atheists may want rituals traditionally reserved for the religious, and how the landscape for atheist parents is rapidly changing.
Jun 19 2016
Rank #13: Ep. 190 - Roy Moore Needed An 11th Commandment
-- The Texas shooter was allegedly an atheist. Is it true? What would that even mean in this situation? (0:49)
-- Roy Moore, the family values Christian and Senate candidate, allegedly molested a 14-year-old girl several decades ago. (14:41)
-- Congressman Jared Huffman said he doesn't believe in God... and no one seemed to care. (31:50)
-- Ex-Jehovah's Witnesses are making their presence known in Kingdom Hall meetings. Is that a good tactic? (40:31)
-- Donald Trump supposedly wants to revoke the Church of Scientology's tax exemption. (52:24)
-- Does your church have secrets? FaithLeaks wants to know. (1:01:25)
Nov 11 2017
Rank #14: Ep. 173 - Creationists Can't Do Math, Either
-- Ark Encounter lost a tax rebate worth up to $18 million to avoid a 50-cent-per-ticket safety fee.
-- Creationists are mocking Flat Earthers for taking the Bible too literally. Really.
-- The "inspirational" Mormon story that is anything but uplifting.
-- The MN town that shut down a "free speech zone" to prevent Satanists from using it.
-- How Wisconsin is considering a bill that would make it harder to train OB/GYNs.
-- The BYU-Idaho professor who lost her job for supporting LGBT equality.
-- The Boy Scouts may allow girls before they allow atheist boys.
-- The African-American pastor who renounced his ordination with the Southern Baptist Convention.
-- The Muslim Democrat running for Senate who received a surprising message from her Republican opponent.
-- Richard Dawkins getting de-platformed by a radio station in Berkeley, CA.
-- Doctor Who isn't a man. And other things Hemant doesn't understand. (1:26:48)
Jul 22 2017
Rank #15: Ep. 187 - Jacindamania
-- The new Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, is an ex-Mormon who describes herself as Agnostic. (1:41)
-- There's a push for Christian churches to clarify where they stand on issues involving LGBTQ rights. (8:18)
-- An ad campaign for the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter makes no sense at all. (19:40)
-- Most Americans no longer believe you need God to be good. (28:00)
-- Here's how a Religious Right group is misleading Congress about support for the Johnson Amendment repeal. (35:06)
-- The Boy Scouts of America will let girls join! But open atheists are still banned. Don't worry. A Christian alternative still proudly bans everyone who isn't a straight, cisgender boy. (44:04)
-- Young people are shedding their faith long before they go to college, contrary to the plot of movies like God's Not Dead. (56:35)
-- Go watch this incredible (and short) documentary of an atheist who escaped the train to Auschwitz during World War II. (1:11:00)
Oct 21 2017
Rank #16: Ep. 185 - Your Post-Vegas Thoughts And Prayers Aren't Helping
-- Your thoughts and prayers after the shooting in Las Vegas aren't helping. (1:06)
-- The folks at Fox and Friends think the shooter just “didn’t believe in God.” (14:31)
-- The worst response to the shooting came from a Mormon who blamed the victims. (22:02)
-- What should we make of the survivor who said he found God after surviving the massacre? (24:25)
-- A woman says God protected her... after surviving an awful car accident. (32:53)
-- The 14 Attorneys General who say a Giant Christian Cross in a Florida park is totally secular. (36:27)
-- It's okay to question a judicial nominee's religious history. (43:31)
-- Anti-abortion politician Rep. Tim Murphy is resigning after allegedly texting his mistress to tell her to abort their possible lovechild. (53:27)
-- Flipping the bird in church is constitutionally protected speech! (56:47)
-- Happy stories... about why Olive Garden is ruining Hemant. (1:02:22)
Oct 06 2017
Rank #17: Ep. 95 - Jeffrey Tayler, Author and Salon Columnist
I spoke with Jeffrey about Salon's reputation for publishing just about anything criticizing atheists, what the public doesn't understand about the New Atheists, and the impact religion will have on the 2016 elections.
Feb 21 2016
Rank #18: Ep. 122 - Ray Comfort, Evangelist and Producer of 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.
Aug 14 2016
Rank #19: Ep. 61 - Matt Dillahunty, Master Debater and Co-Host of The Atheist Experience
Jessica spoke with Matt about his religious upbringing, why he loves debates, and what he sees as the future of faith.
Jun 28 2015
Rank #20: Ep. 177 - People Are Seriously Boycotting The Eclipse
- Kentuckians for Coal are boycotting the eclipse.
- A Melbourne archbishop says he'd rather go to jail than report child abuse told to him during confessional.
- Donald Trump's lawyer comparing George Washington to Robert E. Lee.
- A New Zealand pastor advocates killing gay couples.
- Comedian Tim Allen doesn't understand evolution.
- There's a Chick-fil-A, which is closed on Sundays, in the Atlanta Falcons' new football stadium.
- The Juggalos are coming to D.C.
Aug 19 2017