Show 242: Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges Doesn’t Believe in Atheists!

From the Publisher:

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Fascists and the NBCC finalist for War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning comes this timely and compelling work about the “new atheists”, those who attack religion to advance the worst of global capitalism, intolerance and imperial projects.

Chris Hedges, who graduated from seminary at Harvard Divinity School, has long been a courageous voice in a world where there are too few. He observes that there are two radical, polarized and dangerous sides to the debate on faith and religion in America: the fundamentalists who see religious faith as their prerogative, and the “new atheists” who brand all religious belief as irrational and dangerous. Both sides use faith to promote a radical agenda, while the religious majority, those with a commitment to tolerance and compassion as well as to their faith, are caught in the middle.

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Show 241: Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason

With reading on the decline, scientific and historical illiteracy on the rise, and a mass media dedicated to the dumbing-down of our minds, it is crucial now more than ever to understand just how we got to this point and what we can do about it. This Sunday, Susan Jacoby will discuss her new book “The Age of American Unreason” to enlighten us on the aforementioned trends. Jacoby dissects a new cultural phenomenon at odds with our Enlightenment traditions that has at its core a disdain for logic and evidence, a triumphalist religious fundamentalism, a mediocre public education system (at best), and the triumph of infotainment. Jacoby’s analysis describes and points out this anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism for what it is and what it has cost us as a society.

The Age of American Unreason is Susan Jacoby’s eighth book. Jacoby’s “Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism” (2004), was hailed in The New York Times as an “ardent and insightful work” that “seeks to rescue a proud tradition from the indifference of posterity.” Among her other books are “Wild Justice: The Evolution of Revenge,” a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1984, and “Half-Jew: A Daughter’s Search for Her Family’s Buried Past.”

Show 224a: “The Deepening Crisis: Islam and the Structure of Global Power”

From 9/11 to the continuing invasion and occupation of Iraq to the saber rattling of a possible war against Iran, Americans have been inundated by the so-called “war on terror;” and at least as some see it, the war against Fundamentalist Islam. On the Right, we hear of “Islamo-fascism” and are warned that if we don’t stifle the great evil of Islamic terrorism, we are heading for another world war. In liberal circles, while the rhetoric is different, we are still told that the U.S. will hunt down terrorists wherever they may be, and that militaristic – even nuclear – measures against the Middle East are very much “on the table.”

In contrast, the Left has recognized that the ‘war on terror’ is really a pseudo-war against that which the U.S. itself helped create, and that our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, and perhaps soon in Iran – which are making the world less safe regarding terrorist actions – are about controlling the precious, if deadly, energy resource of oil, and thus controlling the market so as to benefit the rich power elite.
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Show 204: Jeff Sharlet – “BattleCry”

This Sunday, join co-host Sunsara Taylor for an exciting talk with Jeff Sharlet about BattleCry, the Christian fundamentalist movement that is training an army of youth to conquer the country and the world for their hateful, intolerant god.

In a recent issue of Rolling Stone, Jeff Sharlet, religious scholar and widely published author, took this exposure further in his piece, “Teenage Holy War: Behind-the-scenes with the most militant Christian youth crusade in America”

Excerpt: “Luce ends his rallies with an illustration from the Book of Judges: the story of a man who, after he gives over his concubine to be gang-raped, kills the disgraced woman and cuts her into twelve pieces, then sends one to each of the tribes of Israel as a reminder of what happens to the ungodly. For a finale, Luce or one of his junior pastors dissects a mannequin labeled with the sins of secularism and then – to the cheer ‘Cut up the concubine!’ — sends his assistants into the crowd to distribute the pieces.” (for the full piece, see here )

In March of 2006, Sunsara Taylor reported from inside BattleCry’s stadium, writing the first national exposure of this growing Christian fascist youth movement that has connections all the way up to George Bush himself. Her three part series appeared in TruthDig.com (here) and CounterPunch.org.

Show 182: Fund Drive Special: Ann Druyan & Stephenie Hendricks

For the 2-hour Equal Time for Freethought October marathon special, the bridge between science and religion will once again be crossed… this time to analyze the special relationship between the two and to find out what can go wrong when the latter steps to hard on the toes of the former. For this program, we talked to Ann Druyan and Stephenie Hendricks.

Carl Sagan is considered one of the greatest scientific minds of our time. His ability to explain science in terms easily understandable to the layman in bestselling books such as Cosmos, The Dragons of Eden, and The Demon-Haunted World won him a Pulitzer Prize and placed him firmly next to Isaac Asimov, Stephen Jay Gould, and Oliver Sachs as one of the most important and enduring communicators of science. This December will mark the tenth anniversary of Sagan’s death, and Ann Druyan, his widow and longtime collaborator, will mark the occasion by releasing Sagan’s famous “Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology,” The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God.

The Varieties of Scientific Experience has been edited and updated with an introduction by Ann Druyan. In the book, Sagan discusses his views on topics ranging from manic depression, creationism and so-called intelligent design, and the likelihood of intelligent life on other planets, to the likelihood of nuclear annihilation of our own.

In Divine Destruction: Dominion Theology and American Environmental Policy, Emmy-winning broadcast journalist Stephenie Hendricks charts the important connections between “Wise Use”—a rabidly anti-environmental philosophy—and dominion theologists—far-right Christian ideologues who believe that there is no reason to protect the environment given the imminence of the Second Coming of Christ. This political collaboration reaches all the way to the Bush administration whose environmental policies are deeply influenced by dominionist thinking. Divine Destruction is an in-depth look at the radical remaking of American environmental policy already underway—in terrifying secret.

Show 176: Esther Kaplan

From the Introduction of Esther Kaplan‘s With God on Their Side: How Christian Fundamentalists Trampled Science, Policy, and Democracy in George W. Bush’s White House:

“(Six) short years and a political lifetime ago, George W. Bush lost the 2000 popular election by more than half a million votes and assumed the leadership of a divided nation. (Since then) the Christian right has (aquired) more political power than at any point in its history, and Bush has governed from the far right. He has antagonized much of the world and a broad swath of the American people by launching a bold policy of preemptive war; by flouting international treaties on global warming, arms, and war crimes; and by invading Iraq despite global opposition. He has cemented a profoundly elite economic agenda, giving away hundreds of billions of tax dollars to corporations and the wealthy while undermining labor unions and relaxing laws monitoring public lands, environmental pollutants, and media ownership … He amassed a record deficit conservatively estimated to exceed $500 billion and then threatened social program austerity….

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Show 163: Michael Neumann – The Case Against Israel

Humanism is a sociopolitical philosophy concerned with promoting, among other things, a behavior of peoples via ethical and moral interactions.  These ethics and morals include compassion, truth, honesty, interconnectedness, and fairness, and a resort to reason and the understanding of cause and effect in society.  Humanists, therefore, tend to look at the philosophical and scientific underpinnings of human behavior – studying both the biological and anthropological nature of our species – toward the attempt of creating a truly egalitarian, planetary culture – a culture, while not diminishing local cultures, strives for a universal humanity where violence, war, racism, and other social injustices become obsolete.

So what is a humanist take on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?  Is there a way to look at this conflict not from an Arab or Jewish point of view, or even a political or historical point of view?  And if so, what would we learn from such an exploration?

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Show 160: Julia Scheeres

“In the name of religion, (Julia) Scheeres (Jesus Land) and her adopted black brother, David, suffer cruel abuse, first in their Calvinist home in Indiana in the 1970s and then when their surgeon father and missionary-minded mother send the teens to a fundamentalist Dominican Republic reform school that is run like boot camp.  The self-righteous sermonizing would be hilarious if it were not the justification for vicious punishment.

“The racism is open, from the other kids and from authority.  Scheeres tries to find comfort in drink and in sex with a classmate … What is unforgettable is the tenderness between sister and brother, as uplifting as any sermon.  Their relationship is never sentimentalized: She is ashamed of the times she turns her back on him, tired of being called “nigger-lover . . . the black boy’s sister,” but they help each other through the worst with horseplay, humor, and courage” – Hazel Rochman @ American Library Association
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