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This Week on the God Discussion Show:  Christianity, Atheism and the U.S. Religious Landscape

This Week on the God Discussion Show: Christianity, Atheism and the U.S. Religious Landscape

Follow religious and political news and it’s easy to conclude that America is intellectually and emotionally polarized.  In speech and writings designed to support a particular worldview, history is re-written, Christianity and other faiths are distorted and sometimes hated, and atheists face discrimination and contempt.  All of these things contribute to the divisiveness.

Is there a common ground where people can meet and just “get along,” or are we becoming so extreme in our opinions and agendas that communication is impossible?

We’re going to take a snapshot view of these issues in our August 16, 2012, edition of the God Discussion Show.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SHOW NOTES ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Show Time: Thursday night, August 16, 2012, 6 Pacific / 7 Mountain / 8 Central / 9 Eastern / GMT=Friday, August 17 @ 2 AM

Call-In Number: 914-338-0452 (or, when show is live, simply push the SKYPE button that appears on the show page.)

To hear the show live and participate in the web-based chat room: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/god-discussion/2012/08/17/christianity-atheism-and-the-us-religious-landscape

How it works … When you visit the show page (linked immediately above), the podcast will automatically play out of your computer speakers when it is live. A SKYPE button will also appear that you can simply press and connect with the host (if you have SKYPE, that is). A web-based chatroom will be running contemporaneously with the show, where you can post questions and comments.

More info about time zones, the chat room, archive downloads and hosts: The God Discussion Show Page.

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Dr. Paul SerwenikPaul J. Serwinek, Ph.D. – The U.S. Religious Landscape and the Atheist “Religion.”

According to Dr. Serwinek, atheism is a religion that has a faith basis to it.  As a director of the Christian Sociological Society, Serwinek will examine the spiritual based religious and non-spiritual religious landscape in the United States, as well as the dialogue between Christians and atheists.

Paul is prepared to discuss why Christians do not seem to be able to communicate with atheists, the three arguments that atheists use to disarm Christians, and a possible logical position that might make sense to the two camps.

Dr. Serwinek is a retired researcher and consultant in the areas of Human Resources, Business Ethics and Applied Sociology and serves as adjunct professor at a number of Christian colleges in Michigan.  He was an instructor in the Sociology Department at Wayne State University and Management Department at the University of Detroit-Mercy.

He earned his Ph.D. in Sociology from Wayne State University and his Masters in Business Administration from the University of Detroit.  He is currently a member of and participant in the American Sociological Society and Sociology of Religion Section.  He is the author of Finding Fulfillment – Wisdom for Practical Living (Vision Books, 1997) and The Most Popular Songwriter (Advantage Books, 2009).

Chris RoddaChris Rodda, Senior Research Director, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, on The Jefferson Lies and Christian Nationalism.

After she published her heavily documented research in Liars for Jesus in 2006, Rodda became the Military Religious Freedom Foundation's senior research director.  Liars for Jesus examines the claims about history made by religious right leaders who have either taken quotes out of context or misrepresented facts in order to portray the United States as a theocratic Christian nation, grounded on biblical principles.

Chris has been working on a soon-to-be-published book that debunks Texas evangelist David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson.  Last Thursday, the controversial book was dropped by Thomas Nelson Publishing Company, which said that it "lost confidence in the book's details," whipping up a firestorm of opinions expressed on the Internet and in national media.  By the weekend, Rick Green, who co-hosts the WallBuilders radio show with Barton, issued a challenge for anyone to give an example of “a specific inaccuracy or false claim by Barton.”  Rodda immediately accepted the challenge – and was censored and ridiculed by Green for doing so.  The weekend’s events unfolded into a stunning display of how the religious right “wins” an argument by silencing or distorting the words of critics, even those of faith who are apparently “not the right kind of Christians.”

In a pre-recorded discussion with Rodda, we’ll talk about the Green debacle, about her upcoming book, and about the increasing influence that Barton and other Christian nationalists are wielding in the country, including government influence and in our nation’s military.

Justin Griffith and Christopher HerrJustin Griffith and Christopher Herr, Atheists in Foxholes.

Many critics of atheism say that there are no atheists in foxholes, to which Justin Griffith has a simple response:  “There are no chaplains in foxholes.”

Griffith is the Military Director of American Atheists and best known for his groundbreaking work in creating the successful “Rock Beyond Belief” event at Fort Bragg, where he is stationed.  Joining him in our pre-recorded discussion is Christopher Herr, a Marine stationed in Yuma.

While the two men do not speak on behalf of the Department of Defense or their respective units, they offer us civilians a glimpse of the pervasiveness of Christian privilege and expectation in the armed forces.  Among other things, they reveal that atheists are not able to meet on base and in the Army, non-believers must take “spiritual fitness tests” which have been an enormous expense to taxpayers that has done little to prevent the rash of suicides occurring in the U.S. military.

Griffith and Herr are working on a second “Rock Beyond Belief” concert, this time to be held at Camp Pendleton, where over the past decade, the local Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa has had unprecedented access to Marines. Despite their controversial end-times message and history of sex scandals, the group has co-sponsored several high-profile concerts and other events with the approval of local Navy and Marine Corps commanders.

Be sure to join us and discover how Justin, Christopher and others are working toward creating a fair and civil environment for non-believers.

We really would like people's participation in the Christianity and "atheism is a religion" discussion, and all points of view are welcome.  If you would like to participate but do not have Skype or unlimited long distance, please contact the host, Deborah, by midnight your time on Wednesday, the 15th, so that we can arrange to call you from the switchboard.  If you wish, we will make sure that your identity is anonymous.

If you miss the show, archives are available about 5-10 minutes after the show and are hosted on BlogTalkRadio and iTunes. There's a BlogTalk Radio widget on the bottom of this and every other page on GodDiscussion.com for quick access.

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