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This Week: Replacing Belief

Separation of Church and State

Our next episode will feature Scott and Casey as they explore the US’s widely cheered and widely challenged separation of the church and the state.

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About the Author: Sam Mulvey

Sam Mulvey is a producer and the technical brain behind Ask an Atheist. He is a collector of vinegar varieties, vintage computers, antique radios, and propaganda.

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Eric November 16, 2010 at 6:10 am

Good to hear. I was actually going to write to both you and the atheist experience regarding the stated policy of not talking about politics. It seems to me that the effect religion has on … well everything in out Government is something that should be discussed by atheists and especially on popular programs like these as well as on Youtube [I know it's discussed more there].

I believe that the question that most “sort of believers” ask “what harm does it do”? can best be answered by looking at the morons that religious people send to Washington to make out policy. I’m listening to you right now discussing the jackass that is potentially going to be on an energy committee that believes the bible should be used to decide what direction out country takes regarding global warming. I know I don’t need to bring up the other potential problems like gay rights, our military [gay rights and potential perceptions of "holy wars"], reproductive rights etc. Personally I don’t believe that anyone that doesn’t require evidence or logic for their belief system should not be allowed to make decisions about anything that effects others, much less the policies of out entire country.

Good job guys, we’ll keep watching on the web

Thanks for spreading sanity

E

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Kazim November 17, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Eric,

After the show I got interviewed by Casey for another half hour or so, and a lot of that interview WAS specifically focused on my own liberal politics. I assume this is going to be available on the site sometime soon, though I can’t find it yet.

Long story short though, I agree with you. It’s easy and right to attack religiously motivated lunacy that comes into play in national politics. The sticky area is that many of us have our own opinions that aren’t necessarily directly related to the religious lunacy, and that’s where there’s a question of whether it’s a good idea or not to splinter the atheist movement into political factions.

Russell

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Mike Gillis November 17, 2010 at 2:58 pm

I agree with Russell about the inherently divisive nature of atheists — as organizations and shows — becoming overtly partisan.

I think it’s important for us to speak out on political issues relating to religion, belief, church/state separation, skepticism and science. When we’re speaking out as representatives of atheist organizations or television shows, I prefer that we limit ourselves to those topics in the political realm.

As individuals, we all have strong opinions on everything from healthcare to financial regulation to taxation, but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to use an atheist show to air these opinions, especially given the diversity of opinion on these topics in the atheist community. Plus, they really have nothing to do with belief or atheism.

The producers of Ask an Atheist decided at the show’s inception to avoid becoming partisan or in wandering into topics that drift away from the show’s main thesis on atheism, church/state separation and skeptical inquiry. When we take stands against creationism in public schools or in favor of gay rights, we do so because we see religious ideology at its core.

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