Atheist Ira Glass Believes Christians Get the Short End of the Media Stick

So, an athe­ist and a devout Chris­t­ian walk into a Taco­ma hotel restau­rant-bar…

Wait, though, it’s not what you think! The athe­ist in ques­tion is pub­lic radio star Ira Glass, ami­ably sit­ting for an inter­view with ama­teur spir­i­tu­al anthro­pol­o­gist and for­mer This Amer­i­can Life guest Jim Hen­der­son. The mutu­al respect is refresh­ing. Hen­der­son makes it his mis­sion to seek out influ­en­tial peo­ple who are “unusu­al­ly inter­est­ed in oth­ers,” and will­ing to “stay in the room with dif­fer­ence.” Glass’ relaxed and chat­ty demeanor trans­lates to mis­sion accom­plished.

The non-believ­ing child of sec­u­lar Jews does his tribe proud by vol­un­teer­ing the opin­ion that Chris­tians get a bum rap in the nation­al media. The por­tray­al of Chris­tians as “doc­tri­naire crazy hot­head peo­ple” does­n’t square with fond rec­ol­lec­tions of for­mer pub­lic radio col­leagues who kept Bibles on their desks and invit­ed him to screen­ings of Rap­ture movies (At WBEZ? Real­ly?).

The civil­i­ty of the dis­course could renew your faith in mankind, what­ev­er your beliefs.

You can watch oth­er parts of the longer inter­view on YouTube here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ira Glass on the Art and Craft of Telling Great Radio Sto­ries

The Unbe­liev­ers, A New Film Star­ring Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, Wern­er Her­zog, Woody Allen, & Cor­mac McCarthy

Does God Exist? Christo­pher Hitchens Debates Chris­t­ian Philoso­pher William Lane Craig

Alain de Bot­ton Wants a Reli­gion for Athe­ists: Intro­duc­ing Athe­ism 2.0

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is in Ira’s camp. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday

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Comments (10)
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  • Rain,adustbowlstory says:

    When it comes right down to it, who does­n’t, on television,get the short end of the stick? Unless you’re Ken/Barbie?

  • Ben says:

    Here is the Prayer Shield episode of TAL they are dis­cussing:

  • Karen Falgore says:

    Chris­tians can be intense and the media loves to rip us apart in the polit­i­cal are­na. Over­all though most peo­ple tend to lean Chris­t­ian in the media so it’s not that bad.

  • Thank you. How did you hap­pen to “dis­cov­er” my inter­view with Ira? One cor­rec­tion- say­ing I’m ” devout” is prob­a­bly a bit over­stat­ed-:)

  • Ayun Halliday says:

    Wel­come, Jim! Let’s just say life has turned me into an excel­lent unearth-er of inter­est­ing things, and how would you feel about “com­mit­ted” as a descrip­tion?

  • Ayun per­haps this will give you a feel for how I view the idea of ded­i­ca­tion. I hope that when I see Jesus his first words to me will be ” nice try” -:)

  • Adam Malooly says:

    This was a real­ly inter­est­ing inter­view. Thanks for doing it Mr. Hen­der­son. It was nice to hear a pop­u­lar athe­ist talk about bad Chris­t­ian por­tray­al in the media. It’s so frus­trat­ing to watch. Maybe its a self per­pet­u­at­ing cycle of a fear to say some­thing about what we believe and then lash­ing out with all this pent up emo­tion and sound­ing like an idiot. It’s also prob­a­bly because most of the peo­ple grew up with a sour taste in their mouth for the stal­e­ness of the church and are over­ly crit­i­cal and find the nut­ters on pur­pose. I have a friend who’s that exact sit­u­a­tion and its fun­ny to watch him try an put his spin an his angry view of Chris­tian­i­ty.

  • Peter says:

    Hey… I too work at WBEZ and would say that it is a work­place as well as a pub­lic radio sta­tion. Mean­ing, in addi­tion to the egghead/secular reporter types you might expect, we also have deeply reli­gious peo­ple who run our busi­ness and main­tain our offices and process our pay­rolls. Our office man­ag­er is a lay preach­er. It’s a great place to work, for that among many rea­sons.

  • Brandon G says:

    This was such a encour­ag­ing and inter­est­ing inter­view. I am a devout/committed Chris­t­ian who also loves NPR and This Amer­i­can Life. I don’t get spun up that Chris­tians are por­trayed so neg­a­tive­ly in media, but real­ly just that it is so unre­al­is­tic. I also get frus­trat­ed that some Chris­tians dis­miss NPR with being uneven and lean­ing too lib­er­al. This inter­view kinds of slaps down both of those issues for me. Loved it. Love Ira Glass too.

  • Tom Molinaro says:

    Won­der­ful and enlight­en­ing inter­view. Thank you.

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