WXXI AM News

atheists

A new book from a Swedish philosopher aims to give new meaning to atheism. Martin Hagglund argues that for too long, atheists have allowed their views to be maligned as having no sense of meaning. Instead, he writes that when there is no everlasting life to come, every hour of every day becomes imbued with deep meaning. His book is not only a call for a reevaluation of meaning; it’s a call for a fresh look at economic systems that allow some people more freedom of time than others.

Our guests discuss it:

  • Matthew Brown, family doctor in Rochester
  • Lawrence Torcello, associate professor in the department of philosophy at RIT

Author Andrew Sullivan wrote a piece about religion that has lit up the internet, with praise from some, like David Brooks, calling it one of the finest pieces on religion ever written. The criticism has been just as intense, with many atheists pushing back against Sullivan's contention that every human being is religious, and even atheists are religious people. It's akin to the notion that for atheists, their religion is science.

Our guests discuss why they think these views are condescending and misguided. In studio:

  • Dan Courtney, co-founder of Young Skeptics and an atheist activist
  • Ty Gagnon, atheist with degrees in philosophy and theology
  • Tom Proietti, resident scholar in media for St. John Fisher College

Polling shows that the number of Americans who self-identify as non-religious is rising. But many atheists say this is actually a difficult time for them in this country. That’s because lawmakers who cite deeply religious backgrounds often set policy. The Supreme Court is just the latest front in those battles.

We discuss it with a panel of non-religious people and leaders. In studio:

 

 

Perhaps the most controversial DNC email released in the recent leak was the one that questioned whether Bernie Sanders is actually an atheist, and whether that could be used against him with voters. Across the country, atheists groaned at yet another slur against the non-religious. Polls show atheists are viewed with great suspicion by religious Americans.

We talk about atheist-phobia, and whether atheists feel like they'll have a chance to ever hold higher office in this country. Our guests:

We have a conversation about the impact of raising children to believe in a god, or not.

Dan Arel is the author of the new book, Parenting Without God. He'll explain why he thinks raising children in a religious household is a recipe for poor critical thinking, and more. Our guests in studio offer a counterpoint, talking about the possible benefits of raising children to have faith in a deity. Our guests:

Finding meaning without deities: we'll talk to documentary filmmaker Christopher Johnson about his new film, "A Better Life." It's coming to our area, and we'll get a sense for why he wanted to tell the story of how atheists find meaning. We'll also hear from listeners who share how they find meaning.

Rochester has a new Sunday Assembly, and it's a place for atheists to come together. We'll sit down with Leslie Hannon and Kim Teal , who are helping coordinate the local chapter of a growing national movement. What do atheists say about the concept of coming together in a setting that resembles a church? Who is attending?