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!

Naturalism + Politics = Humanism

On this program, one of our goals has been to try to see how the various parts of humanism operate. We have looked at this by examining each part individually, and have – when able – discussed how one part fit with another. Of course, we first had to be clear what those parts were!

Humanism doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. Some refer to the Renaissance humanism, while others to the Enlightenment. While most see science or scientific naturalism at the core of Humanism, others would suggest that morality or applied ethics are at the center.

But when it comes to politics, things tend to get fuzzy and blurry. At various times on ETFF, we have tried to figure out why this is. After all, does not naturalism and critical thinking lead to an understanding of human nature…which makes pretty clear what a healthy person and society would look like? And does not the written and often repeated (in print and otherwise) humanist ethics mean nothing at all if they are not applied in the real world? And are not politics and economics indeed at the core of our societies and demonstrate just what we believe about what it means to be human?

We have long explored these questions because they are indeed central if we are to create a humanistic future global culture. On today’s program, we will speak with two authors who have written essays for the two most prominent humanist magazines in the country: Lawrence Davidson in Free Inquiry (the journal of the Council for Secular Humanism), and Lorenzo Ospri in The Humanist (the journal for the American Humanist Association.

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/ Arnell Dowret

Fund Drive Special: Brain Games

Why do we behave as we do?  This Saturday for its membership drive special ETFF delves into what social science and neuroscience can tell us about ourselves as we present our look at the popular NatGeo series Brain Games.  In contrast to presentations that are long winded, dry, and pedantic, Brain Games disseminates complex information about the human experience in a manner that is entertaining, hip, fast paced, fun and compelling.

We’ll be playing clips from the series plus we’ll have a live call-in with a neuroscientist Katherine LaClair (sister of co-host Mathew LaClair), and (if we have time) we’ll play an ETFF exclusive interview that we did with Brains Games host Jason Silva.

Matthew A. Sutton on American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism

This Saturday, host Matthew LaClair interviews Professor Matthew Avery Sutton from Washington State University, where he teaches religious, cultural, and 20th century US History. He is the author of three books, starting with Aimee Semple McPherson and the Resurrection of Christian America, which served as the basis for the PBS documentary, Sister Aimme. He then wrote Jerry Falwell and the Rise of the Religious Right, followed by the subject of today’s show, American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism, released just last month.

American Apocalypse recounts the history of the American evangelical movement, focusing on rapture theology. It’s history and development since the mid-19th century is a fascinating tale that provides us with an otherwise forgotten and neglected part of American history. Of particular importance is the concept of Armageddon or the “end-times,” a theory that remains an important part of the cultural and political landscape, effecting decisions not only in the lives of individuals, but in domestic and foreign policy.

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/Arnell Dowret

The Funnier Side of ETFF w/ Julianna Forlano!

Arnell Dowret welcomed Julianna Forlano of WBAI’s own The Julianna Forlano Show!

Naturalistic Support Workshop w/Arnell Dowret

“Shame on Me? Shame on You?”

What does it mean to feel shame? Is it helpful towards healthy behavior, or is it actually harmful? What is the naturalistic take on shame, and how might we handle this often debilitating emotion?

Shame will be the topic of this weeks Naturalistic Support Workshop, so…