Conversations on Race, Authority, and all that Divides Us w/Tim Wise and Kristian Williams

Over the last few years we have seen an increase in state-sponsored violence in America. We have seen the militarization of the police departments and the continued racist-inspired arrests and killings. We have also seen Right Wing politicians trying to out-extreme each other to the degree that they make the Tea Party movement seem tame. There has also been increasing discrimination towards the LBGT community and an explosion of conservative and pro-authoritarian television programs such as Blue Bloods and NCIS, and films such as American Sniper. What ties all these things together?

In 2009, we had Kristian Williams on the program to talk about his book, Our Enemies in Blue. The book is out in a new edition and the timing could not be better with the police murders of black men rising across the nation. We also talked more broadly about the underlying philosophy of a policed society, and what we might do to change things. So today, we will revisit some of these ideas and bring things up to date. Afterwards, we will be talking with anti-racist activist Tim Wise, who has been on Equal Time a few times in the past as well, about some of these same things from a different point of view. His upcoming book is called Under the Affluence.

Kevin Kruse on his new book, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.

Matthew LaClair speaks with Princeton history Professor, Kevin Kruse. Professor Kruse is the author of  White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, and the subject of Saturday’s show, One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America, released on April 14th.

Professor Kruse originally set out to write a book on the rise of the religious right, which he assumed would focus on Americans’ fear of the “godless Communists” of the Cold War.  He discovered however that this generally accepted theory missed the mark, and that it was in fact corporate America that used religious beliefs to promote propaganda decades earlier that would tie religion and neoliberal capitalism together. The phrase “One Nation Under God,” and “In God We Trust” did not stem solely from fear during the Cold War, but was instead promoted, organized, and funded by corporate interests.

To many non-believers, especially those who don’t come from a religious background, it’s hard to understand how intelligent, rational people can believe in Christianity or in the god it espouses.

Chris Redford – known on YouTube as Evid3nc3 – addresses this seeming contradiction in a unique way in his video series “Why I am No Longer a Christian”. He shows how, in his own mind, the belief was held up, and the complex (and sometimes counter-intuitive) way he began to lose his faith – without having any idea that that’s what was happening at the time.
He conveys how deeply compelling the faith can be to believers, while also showing how this all-encompassing experience can be produced by human psychology. He also addresses the historical origins of God, the relationship between science and Biblical accounts, and other related topics, as he takes the viewers through the evolution of his thought.

Ultimately, he makes a compelling case for the need for evidence in determining one’s beliefs, even as he takes the viewers through his first, tentative steps into atheism. He also argues for evidentialism, a philosophy which emphasizes evidence as the standard for forming beliefs.

Join us as we discuss these fascinating topics with Chris Redford! Redford earned his PhD in Computer Science in 2012 (after producing the video series), and is working in industry as a Research Engineer for the evidential interpretation of sensor webs.

Naturalistic Support Workshop

** On this program we aired a PSA for an event taking place on April 10/11 at Columbia University on Death and Dying. For the full segment, see below!